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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) is Interviewed About Biden Campaign's Sudden Flip-Flop on Abortion Funding; Video Shows U.S. & Russian Warships Nearly Collide. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired June 7, 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: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Trump gets vicious and personal escalating his feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling her a disgrace to herself and her family. Plus, breaking news, the clock ticking on a deal with Mexico, Trump not backing down from the threat of crippling tariffs. And what Joe Biden's flip-flop says about him and his campaign. Is this a bump in the road or something much bigger? Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, on the attack. President Trump just arriving back in Washington after spending time on his flight back, ramping up his attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and it is personal now. The President clearly consumed by reports Pelosi told Democrats in a private meeting in Washington that she wants to Trump in prison.

The President tweeting in part, quote, nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement, especially since I was with foreign leaders overseas. Well, of course, Pelosi made her comment in a private meeting in Washington. Trump though was overseas and sat down on foreign soil while veterans gather.

The President sat next to the crosses honoring the ultimate sacrifice of thousands of American soldiers and he gave an interview right next to those crosses. You'll see them in the entire interview. And he gave an interview ahead of a ceremony to honor those American heroes and that was an interview where he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... people like Nancy Pelosi that honestly they don't know what the hell they're talking about. I think she's a disgrace. She's incapable of doing deals. She's a nasty, vindictive, horrible person because she's a disaster.

Angry people like Nancy Pelosi who don't have what it takes, they don't know what's going on. They get angry. She is a terrible person and I'll tell you her it's nervous Nancy because she's a nervous wreck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: For a guy who gets imagery, he really blew that one. I mean, it's sort of disconcerting to watch that with those crosses. Now, Nancy Pelosi was there actually and she also did an interview and she was asked about Trump. She though refused to talk about him at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't talk about the President when we're out of the country. That's my principle. So I won't go there.

With all due respect to your question, I'm not here to talk about impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House. Kaitlan, the President, obviously, livid about Speaker Pelosi and to such an extent that he really missed some pretty important optics at the least.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, White House officials joke that there was essentially a 0 percent chance that the President wasn't going to respond to the Democratic House Speaker saying that she would like to see him in prison. And not only did the President go after her in that interview that you just showed there, but he continued to tweet about it on the flight home from Europe today, going after Nancy Pelosi saying that not only is she a disgrace to herself, but also to her family and also going after those House investigations that have only begun to grow in recent weeks.

Now, with the President criticizes Pelosi, it is interesting because that is something he typically in the past has refrain from doing. But now recently we've seen essentially the gloves come off when it comes to Nancy Pelosi and you're seeing the President let that remark about how he should be in prison get under his skin here.

Now, what's interesting is the President is returning to Washington that is divided for Democrats. They are that Nancy Pelosi is struggling to keep her caucus in line about whether or not they are going to move forward with impeachment, where the facts are going to take them. But the President is coming as you see in those calls grow while he's been overseas.

So the question is what is the President going to say about it next. Now, when he landed here tonight, he did not speak to reporters as he made his way to the White House, shaking hands with some of the supporters. But, Erin, you can bet he's likely to tweet about it throughout the weekend.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And I want to go now to democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Congresswoman, you have called for an impeachment inquiry and the Speaker obviously is not there. But she did say as we understand it in this private meeting behind closed doors with other Democratic leaders that she wants to see Trump in prison.

The President responded in part, well, you heard everything that he said. And, of course, the tweet, "She's a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement, especially since I was with foreign leaders overseas." Was her comment appropriate?

REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): First of all, the President's comment was totally inappropriate. It was shameful, first of all, that he's bad mouthing the Speaker on foreign soil. The President and my congressional colleagues went to Normandy to honor the bravery of those soldiers who served our country in World War II who died for our country.

And here he is on foreign soil responded to some report. He doesn't even know what the report was, quite frankly. And in fact he disrespected, I think, the office of the presidency and he certainly disrespected our country and he disrespected the Speaker I was, quite frankly shocked and disgusted.

[19:05:10] BURNETT: Well, certainly the image of those crosses as he was saying that I think would be disconcerting for anyone. He did also tweet today, Congressman, and I quote him, "Nervous Nancy & Dems are getting zero work done in Congress and have no intention of doing anything other than going on a fishing expedition to see if they can find anything on me. Go to work on drug price reductions and infrastructure."

Now, of course, he had said no infrastructure deal. I mean I understand there's another side to this, but does he have a point that there's too much focus on impeachment in the Democratic caucus right now and not enough on governing?

LEE: This president does not have a point. When you look at our legislative agenda and what we have accomplished, we pass bills to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, we pass The Violence Against Women Act, we pass H.R. 1 to help reduce the money in politics and corruption in politics to enhance our voting rights. We pass pay equity for women. We pass the bill to protect our dreamers and provide a pathway to citizenship. We're doing our job.

Next week, we're going to pass our appropriations bills at least two of them next week, maybe three. And so this president needs to look at what we are doing. I think he has decided that there's only one branch of government. But I tell you one thing, we're doing the work for the people. But we also have to do our constitutional job and hold this president accountable. No one is above the law, not even the President.

BURNETT: And when it comes to that, this is now the heart of it, the Speaker and the Judiciary Chairman, Jerry Nadler, who would be the one to launch the impeachment inquiry. So these are the two, I guess, you would say power players don't appear to be on the same page. And I want to play an exchange between Nadler and Wolf Blitzer this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Are you on the same page with the Speaker Nancy Pelosi when it comes to impeachment?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): As I said we are launching an inquiry now and whether we'll launch an impeachment inquiry, it may come to that. It may come to that.

BLITZER: Well, is there any chance, Mr. Chairman, you would open up an impeachment inquiry without Speaker Pelosi's support?

NADLER: I think that when that decision has to be made, it will be made not by any one individual, it'll be made by the, probably, by the caucus as a whole. Certainly, Nancy will have the largest single voice in, our various committee chairs and rank and file members.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So Congressman, look, we understand now that that the Chairman Nadler is trying to convince Speaker Pelosi to change her mind. He wants to move ahead with proceedings. Should he open an inquiry without her full support?

LEE: This is a process. First of all, the Speaker works in a collaborative fashion. She's working with all of our committee chairs to conduct the investigations and you see the White House stonewalling every subpoena. We're going to issue next week contempt citations and so we have several committee chairs who are working with the speaker to determine the best course of action.

Of course, I do support the inquiry into impeachment and members are really supporting a variety of investigations so that we can hold this president accountable. No one is above the law and, yes, there has been a cover up. And I believe that this process is a good process, because the Speaker is bringing everyone together so that we can all be on one page, because we have got to make sure that the public understands very well the severity of what we are doing.

BURNETT: All right. So you have called for an impeachment inquiry, but the Speaker as I've said, you're supporting her in this process, but she's not agreeing with you yet. And she explained this week one of the key reasons that she is not there on impeachment. I wanted to play it for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: Do you know most people think that impeachment means you're out of office? They think that you get impeach, you're gone and that is completely not true. And I may have thought that myself 50 years ago, but you get impeached, and it's an indictment. It's an indictment.

So when you're impeaching somebody, you want to make sure you have the strongest possible indictment, because it's not the means to the end that people think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So when it comes to this point she's making about removal from office obviously, Congresswoman, as you and I know she's right. If Trump were impeached in the House, he would not be removed from office. Does this mean Pelosi is right to act partially on politics and not just on principle?

LEE: I don't think the speaker is acting directly on politics. She's absolutely correct in explaining the process and the outcome. What is extremely important, I believe, is that we exercise our constitutional responsibility to hold this president accountable and we will go where the facts lead. This is an important and serious moment in our country in terms of our democracy, in terms of our system of checks and balances, but also in terms of our work that we do each and every day for the people.

And so she's got to balance all of this and this is a very inclusive process and there are different points of views and she's bringing consensus to all and also educating the public with regard to the steps that we have to take and that what the possible outcomes would be.

[19:10:25] BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman, Lee, I appreciate your time. Thanks.

LEE: Thank you. Glad to be with you.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the breaking news, racing against the clock. Trump not letting up on his threat to swap tariffs on Mexico, talks tonight going into the 11th hour. Plus Joe Biden with a major flip-flop. Will this silence his critics or make his problem a lot worse? And tensions growing tonight between the U.S. and Russia after this video shows a Russian destroyer nearly slamming into a US aircraft carrier. Is Putin trying to send a message to the U.S.?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:14:32] BURNETT: Breaking news, talks between the Trump administration and Mexico to avoid President Trump's tariff threat are now in their 11th hour. Officials meeting at the State Department and they're right now racing against the clock to try to reach a deal because, of course, the president said that Mexico has to stop all illegal border crossings at the Southern Border where the tariffs are going to kick in and they're coming on Monday.

And it comes as the U.S. economy added 75,000 jobs in May. So here's the thing that matters about that is that it's 110,000 fewer than had been anticipated. Now, that miss along with the threat of tariffs which, of course, get passed immediately on to consumers in the form of higher prices are creating some fears about the economy.

Out front now, Economic Adviser to two presidential candidates including John McCain, Don Luskin, who predicted a Trump win in 2016, his economic model is predicting a Trump win in 2020 as well and former Labor Secretary under President Clinton Robert Reich. OK. Good to have you both with me. Secretary Reich, you say that we

are in a slowdown and that these tariffs could turn it into a recession, probably no one in this conversation is going to say that tariffs are a good thing but why are you so concerned and willing to use the R word?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, Erin, first of all 75,000 new jobs as you pointed out really is a major slowdown and this recovery that started in 2009 is already long in the tooth. So it's not surprising that there would be a slowdown, but that slowdown is also coming at a time when you have tariffs not just the threat of tariffs on Mexico but also some major tariffs on China and the threat of even more tariffs on China second largest economy in the world.

A lot of the market is very concerned about that, a lot of corporations are very concerned. Their costs are going to go up. Consumers cost are going to go up. In fact, the best estimate I've heard is that consumers are going to pay about $400 to $800 more already. That's not good for the economy.

BURNETT: No. Don though you are still optimistic, why?

DON LUSKIN, ECONOMIC ADVISER TO TWO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES INCLUDING MCCAIN: Well, for one thing since the surprise announcement last Thursday that Trump was going to use tariffs as a weapon to get Mexico's attention to deal with the immigration problem, it's not like the markets think anything terrible is going to go wrong. The S&P is up 3.2 percent, even the Mexican stock market is up almost 1 percent as to the cost to the consumer of tariffs.

The reality is that since the tariffs on China were announced 14 months ago, the depreciation in the Chinese currency is more than covered the cost to the American consumer. Now, I'm not a protectionist, I'm not in favor of tariffs, but I'm not in favor of the world's second largest economy ripping America off, I'm not in favor of having the developed world's middle class hollowed out and I'm not in favor of out-of-control immigration coming from Mexico. If tariffs are weapons to get the attention of these transgressors, let's use them.

BURNETT: So now you're saying is - because I guess, obviously, part of the reason the market is not going down is they don't believe the President will actually follow through on it. Republicans in Congress, a lot of them are not for this, they're parading around with studies that make the case that tariffs are a bad thing.

A Bloomberg analysis, Don, showed that if the tariffs on Mexico go into effect and the Chinese tariffs, OK, so you got both of them in full $4,000 in new costs for American families. So that would be four times the average tax cut for an American family. That's a bad thing. So basically what you're saying is you're betting it never has to actually fully be implemented, right?

LUSKIN: I'm betting that Trump is using this as a threat, because in 1977 Congress created a law called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

BURNETT: Yes.

LUSKIN: It gives the president in the case of an emergency the opportunity to use tariffs as a tool. It's the tool Trump has to stop an immigration crisis which by the way isn't free for America to endure. So what I'm betting is that Mexico will do the smart thing and say, "Mr. Trump, I recognize you're holding a big ugly gun in your hand and it's going to cause you something to shoot it, but it's going to kill me if you shoot it. So we're going to help you with this immigration crisis."

This is just a high-stakes poker game.

BURNETT: OK, interesting.

LUSKIN: And it's not that Trump won't follow through, it's Mexico will concede.

BURNETT: So Secretary Reich, I mean, that's the bet the President is making. And look, there's already been some, "Oh, they're going to put National Guard troops on the border." I mean is it possible that that ends up being the case? Mexico knows the President won't actually implement the tariffs, so in a sense he's firing a gun with blanks but they're scared enough that he'll put some in place that they that they move enough and he ends up winning. Is it possible?

REICH: Well, anything is possible, Erin, but the point is that they're putting tariffs on Mexico to try to get Mexico to slow down immigration to the United States. It's like shooting ourselves in the foot to cure a bad cold. I mean it's using a huge and hugely expensive and very dangerous weapon to accomplish something that that weapon was never intended to do.

And it's a bad foreign policy, it's bad for Mexico, it's bad for Latin America, overall, it's bad for us, bad for American consumers, why do it? By the way, let me just say the reason that the market actually is recovering is because you got the Federal Reserve Board and Jerome Powell, the Head of the Fed who are saying, "Look, don't worry because I'll reduce interest rates if things get bad."

Well, that's music to the ears of the market, but the fundamentals in terms of the economy ...

BURNETT: Right, someone will bail them out.

REICH: ... are still in trouble.

[19:20:00] BURNETT: All right. So let me ask you about that Don, when sees the fundamentals of the market in trouble, you have a model that you look at, it's just a, I guess, you're saying it's a non- partisan model. It's an economic model and if it shows one thing then Trump will win reelection and you're confident that he will right now, why?

LUSKIN: Well, right now the model is looking at the way the economy is today. The economy will be different in November 2020, might be better, might be worse. If it's enough worse, Trump is not going to win. But right now the model gives him almost 300 electoral college vote winning margin.

Now, that doesn't have to be exactly right on the money, although the same model predicted Barack Obama in 2012 in real time and got it within four electoral college votes. We call that perfect. So unless the economy really falls apart, Trump's got this thing.

BURNETT: All right. Well, you're the first word, Bob, so you get the last word. Don, thank you.

REICH: I don't believe it for a minute.

BURNETT: Yes. OK. Thank you, both. And next, Biden's bad week, a flip-flop on abortion revelations of campaign plagiarism, questions about the support for the crime bill, is this just a bump in the road for the inevitable nominee or is it worse? Plus, new video of U.S. and Russian warships nearly colliding. Was this a mistake or something more sinister in a vast sea of blue with plenty of other places to go?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:25:18] BURNETT: Tonight, the Biden campaign in damage control mode and pushing back against criticism that the former vice president flip-flopped on an abortion amendment out of political expediency. Biden reversing his long-held support for the Hyde Amendment which bans federal funding for abortion services except in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN: I make no apologies in my last position and I make no apologies what I'm about to say. I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to cost to exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe health care is the right as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right depending on someone's zip code.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, that came less than 24 hours after Biden's campaign co- chair Congressman Cedric Richmond said this on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): He is a deeply religious man. I think everyone knows that and he's guided by his faith and his position on the Hyde Amendment has been consistent and I haven't talked to him today but I have not heard that it's changed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, Democratic Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester who has endorsed Biden. And I appreciate your time. Look, you've known him for a long time. For years he has been obviously firm in his support for the Hyde Amendment in the past as Mr. Richmond said, very consistent.

Biden's campaign was defending his support for days. I mean, they could have changed this right away. They didn't, they defended it. They said he was consistent. Suddenly then he changed. How did the messaging go so wrong here?

REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): So first of all, Erin, I want to say thank you for having me on and also it's my opportunity to actually show some gratitude to the Vice President for landing at this position. This to me is where many of us, whether it's women of color, women who have struggled really want to see us be because we don't want to go backwards.

And your question is really surrounding the fact that he is a person who is - all of the years that I've known him has been very thoughtful and has been consistently not just for the Hyde Amendment like multiple Republican and Democratic presidents and multiple Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, but he's also been a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade.

And I think that's really what the conversation is about today. We are seeing the systemic rollback, not only of Roe v. Wade but also the affordable care act which really is preventing people from getting access. So to me my first thing is to just say I'm pleased to see this is where we've landed.

BURNETT: OK. So as you say, he has given a lot of thought to this broader issue over the years. He talked about it. He's talked about abortion and when he talks about that topic, he always talks about his faith.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: My religion defines who I am and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life.

There's even been disagreement in our church not that abortion is always wrong, but there's debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So how does that change? I mean he's saying, "Faith is the core of who I am and how these decisions are made." Now he's saying, it's become about access to abortion. So I know you support the change, but are you okay with the change in his method?

ROCHESTER: The reality to me is that it's not an either/or. I do know him to be a person of deep faith, but I also know him to be a person who believes in and supports the law of the land. And in these times when we talk about access, access is one of the issues but this is also as fairness and an equity issue.

And he is a leader who actually brings people around him, gets those kinds of opinions, and then makes the decision in addition to, again, his support for Roe v. Wade historically. So I don't see it as an either/or. I'm a person of faith as well and I think one of the things that he has done and shown throughout the course of his career is that he also respects the different perspectives.

BURNETT: Yes.

ROCHESTER: Again, this is about the law of the land and about fairness.

[19:29:55] BURNETT: Are you concerned at all though as a supporter on how this was handled? They went from saying, "OK. No, he's position is consistent." His campaign co-chair went on national television and said, "It's consistent."

[19:30:01] They put out a statement saying it's consistent. Then behind closed doors, you know, some of them were pushing on him maybe you were too, you need to change on this.

And so, he changes and goes out and says the opposite what have his own campaign chairman and statements put out, you know, 24 hours before. That is probably not the way you want things to be, I would imagine. Are you hoping this gets a little cleaner?

REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): You know, it's funny because I was thinking as the opening intro to the interview, we talked about stumbles on the path. And to me, the issue is not about whether you stumble it's whether you get back up and you keep going.

And for me, you know, that's what this campaign is about. He has been out here about a month and building a team, building policies, and platform, and, you know, we want to win for America. I think that's the thing.

I mean, you've a guy who has -- you know, people talk about political expediency. The polls in the past have actually been the opposite. And this is a person who just wants to restore the soul of America, rebuild the back bone of our infrastructure and our country, and unite us. And so the what made me pleased and why I started off with gratitude is because we didn't wait a week, two weeks, three weeks for us to land on the position that will affect most Americans in the best way.

So, to me, it's not about whether you stumble it's whether you get back up and get back in the game and keep going, because this is for our country. The stakes are that high.

BURNETT: Congresswoman, I appreciate your time thank you very much.

ROCHESTER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And I want to go to our "New York Times" column invite and CNN contributor, Frank Bruni.

OK. Frank, what do you make of this and how this was handled? Obviously, when you start out a campaign, you got bumps, right? You have maybe communication paths that aren't operating the way they should. Clearly, that happened here.

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.

BURNETT: However, you also have in this case, someone who's extremely with campaign staff extremely experienced, a lot of people who worked together before backup does this concern you how it was handled given that context?

BRUNI: Well, it should concern Joe Biden's supporters because they misjudged the politicking atmosphere, right? They came out, as you said very well, I'm glad you laid it out. They said clearly he still supports the Hyde Amendment, he hasn't changed, consistent, consistent.

And then 24, 36 hours later, oh, no, we rethought it, because they weren't prepared for the political backlash and they misjudged the political atmosphere. And these are seasoned people.

And the other context here that's really important is Joe Biden has run for president twice before. And both of those campaigns were a sequence of mishaps and miscues, and people said, will it be the same again and we came back from Biden supporters. The Biden campaign, you know, he is a more much seasoned person. This is a smoother operation, and already, we're seeing the stumbles.

In all due respect to the congresswoman, stumbles matter.

BURNETT: Yes.

BRUNI: If you keep stumbling, it doesn't matter you are getting back up. People say, you're someone who stumbles and I can't bet on you.

BURNETT: All right. So, then here's my other question. Obviously, as she points out, this is also an issue of race. So, he's saying, well, the reason I changed is Roe v. Wade is under assault. It's under assault for women who's, you know, a zip code -- right, women who's socioeconomically struggling, women of color, and that's why I'm changing my point of view. OK?

BRUNI: Right.

BURNETT: But when it comes to you talk about mishaps sticking his foot in his mouth and even on race. He said things in the past that if you imagine them said now or by somebody else would be huge stories. Here's a few.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking.

I mean, you got the first sort of mainstream African-America who is articulate and bright and clean and nice looking guy. I mean, that's a story book man. He is going to let the big banks once again write their own rules.

Unchain Wall Street. They are going to put y'all back in chains.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Of course, obviously that -- a horrible reference to African-American and chain gangs.

OK. We -- time has passed since those things said. But it's the same person still. So are those kinds of things a concern now.

BRUNI: Well, they should be a concern. A, a lot of us have change. I'm sure the vice president wouldn't speak that way and he has learned as we all have.

BURNETT: Yes.

BRUNI: But one of the things I think when I say that from the beginning, it was clear he was going to have the challenge of how long he has been on the public stage, how long he has been in the politics, how many positions he's taken, how many news clips there are like that.

And it becomes difficult as a candidate if you have too much experience and too long a history. That is part of what you're seeing here with Joe Biden.

[19:35:00] He may have changed. He may be more woken than he was back then. But all of the positions still exist, all of those clips still exist, you know?

BURNETT: And obviously, you've got 22 other people lying in wait in the hopes that he does something. Because his front runner status is obviously clear right now.

BRUNI: It's a soft front runner status. This is very, very early. And remember a lot of the people who are saying I want Joe Biden are saying it because they want first and foremost to dislodge Donald Trump and they think he is the safest bet.

When things happen like this Hyde Amendment reversal in 24 hours, he doesn't look the safest bet anymore and his campaign should be concerned.

BURNETT: All right. Frank, thank you.

And next, a near miss. Dramatic new video of American and Russian warships almost colliding. They came so close you see the Russians sunbathing. What is Putin trying to prove?

And the fight for 2020 and the battle over women voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In 2016?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Will you vote for him in 2020.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: New tonight, averting disaster. The Navy releasing new footage of a near collision between U.S. and Russian warships. In the video taken from the American ship, the two ships come so close Russian sailors can be seen sunbathing on the stern of their vessel. It's just days after the Navy accused Russia of intercepting a U.S. aircraft.

Alex Marquardt is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[19:40:03] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A brazen challenge. This Russian destroyer according to the U.S. Navy coming within 100 feet of the USS Chancellorsville. The American sailors recording the latest deadly provocation by the Russian military. The Internet taking place in international waters in the Philippine Sea, just south of the Japanese island of Okinawa. The Russian action came as the U.S. cruiser was trying to land a helicopter on its deck given it less maneuverability than usual.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: You have to be on set course and a set speed so the winds across the deck are safe for the helicopter to land.

MARQUARDT: Boxed in, the captain performs of an emergency maneuver called an all engines back full.

KIRBY: You're basically throwing that ship into reverse while its moving forward at 15 to 18 miles an hour would be my guess. It's 10,000 tons of metal moving through the water. It's not going to stop quickly.

And as the ship reacts to that order, as the propellers shift direction, the whole ship is going to shutter. While the Russians blame the U.S. for the incident, the photo from above contradicts that. According to Navy officials who say that the wake curving behind the Russian ship on the left could only be created from a steep turn at high-speed.

Today, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan saying he will protest to Moscow.

PATRICK SHANAHAN, ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: The unsafe unprofessional acts certainly put or men and women at risk.

MARQUARDT: The ship so close together that Russian sailors could even be seen onboard appearing to be sunbathing on the back of their ship, despite the severity of the encounters. The incident coming as Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts the Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two enjoying a more leisurely boat ride in St. Petersburg yesterday. As the two countries grow friendlier, analysts say this latest incident could signal a new dimension for the Russian threat.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They're looking to the kinds of things that they can do in concert with the Chinese to challenge the U.S. and if it means helping the Chinese out in the Pacific, they will do so.

MARQUARDT: The near-collision coming after two other tense interactions with the Russian military. Three days ago, the U.S. accused Russia of intercepting a U.S. aircraft three times in international air space over the Mediterranean Sea. And last month the U.S. intercepted Russian bombers and fighters jets in international air space off the coast of Alaska.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: It's not as if a Russian destroyer can sneak up on a U.S. cruiser. The U.S. Navy had been watching the destroyer. The Russians had been keeping their distance until this incident. Now, Erin what's unusual about in Russian harassment and see it didn't take place near Russian interests. This was in China's backyard. President Putin said this week that the relationship between Russia and China is at an unprecedented level. Of course, their joint interests are directly at odds with American interests -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Alex, thank you very much.

And I want to go to former Army commanding general for Europe and the Seventh Army, Lt. General Mark Hertling.

All right. General, you know, look, obviously you see this. It's daylight, a beautiful day. There is a lot of open sea around them. You know, no one is speaking up on anybody. I want to look at the video again.

Of the images, right of what happens here when the Russian ship is coming in. And then when you see the ships together. This is the picture, right. And then when you see the ships together, the video that the Americans were filming, what does that show you that sort of that white streak?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET,), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It shows me that was a purposeful effort by the captain of the Russian naval vessel, Erin. And the issue with this is this is not something isolated. This is not a one-time incident. There are literally hundreds of interferences of Navy ships, aircraft and even ground forces by the Russian military on a yearly basis, literally hundreds of them. And we are not taking this as seriously as we should be taking it. Because this -- this is one incident that was recorded, reported. The Navy did the right thing and we need to be doing more of this.

BURNETT: So, they're coming in -- obviously, you see the wake. It's high-speed as you point out and it curves, taking the sharp turn. There is something else that stood out in the video that I wasn't sure what to make of, and this was the sunbathers. It appears to be what they are doing. Looks like they are warring shorts on sitting out in the sun.

So, you got a warship, you got them coming in at high-speed during the swerve and yet sunbathing. What do you make of that?

HERTLING: I make of it what I've seen with the Russian military in the past that they will do things like this which are totally unprofessional and they also have a military that is totally unprofessional. If this was a planned maneuver, you would bet that the captain of this ship would have told everybody, hey, full battle stations, get your gear on.

But when you have two guys on the stern of the ship sunbathing, it just tells you how unprofessional not only the captain is for doing the drill, but also the sailors are on this particular vessel.

[19:45:09] And that speaks across the board of the Russian military truthfully.

BURNETT: Well, you know, it's of course also should be concerning for people because that's when horrible, horrible mistakes and miscalculations can happen.

Thank you very much, General.

And next, the fight for 2020 and the message that we are hearing from some women voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to vote regardless against Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to say thank you again to Tyler Perry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: We are going to tell you why a story we covered got filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry's attention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, in the fight for 2020, a new CNN poll shows most Americans believe President Trump will win re-election. But when you ask women voters only, the opinion is split down the middle.

Miguel Marquez went OUTFRONT to the key state of Pennsylvania.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In the crucial Philly suburbs, female voters driving the agenda heading into 2020.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lots and lots of women are acting one step further than what they did before, whether it's vote or volunteer or donate or run.

[19:50:08] Women are stepping it up.

MARQUEZ: Stepping it up in anger over President Trump, his rhetoric, and policies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, didn't we surprise them with women during the election? Remember? Women won't like Donald Trump. We got 52 percent, right? Fifty-two.

MARQUEZ: Exit polls from 2016 indicate 52 percent of white women voted for the president. The reality, only 41 percent of all women supported the president in that election.

Trump's approval among women in the latest CNN poll, 33 percent.

LISA WARD, FORMER REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm going to vote, regardless, against Donald Trump.

MARQUEZ: And she's a Republican-turned-Democrat.

Of all the women we spoke to, electability of any eventual Democratic challenger was top priority.

(on camera): You voted for Donald Trump in 2016?

SVETLANA WALLACE, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Will you vote for him in 2020?

WALLACE: I don't think so.

MARQUEZ: Why?

WALLACE: Oh, he disappoints me.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Svetlana Wallace became an American and Republican 14 years ago. She was solidly conservative. Not anymore.

WALLACE: I thought when I see Hillary and Trump, I thought man can do better job than woman. Now I think maybe even Hillary can do better job. Now, I think it's -- I make a mistake.

MARQUEZ: Northampton County is one of three Pennsylvania counties that flipped from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. Democrats flipped it back in the 2018 midterms.

The president motivating many women here, too.

(on camera): The last president you voted for was Ronald Reagan, correct?

BEVERLY HAMMELL, INDEPENDENT VOTER: Yes, that's correct.

MARQUEZ: And you dislike Donald Trump so much, you might vote for a Democrat in 2020?

HAMMELL: I would vote for anyone, as long as they were a good person and as long as he left, because he is an embarrassment to the American people.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): At mainstream salon in downtown Nazareth, salon owner and conservative Democrat Tammy Kocher says she didn't vote for Trump, but he's been good for business and should be given a chance. Her 2020 vote still undecided.

TAMMY KOCHER, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I think he should be able to try to run the job the way he wanted to, make America great again.

MARQUEZ: Her client Anne Kristina Klinger, Republican since the 1990s. When Donald Trump was sworn in, she became a Democrat.

(on camera): What is so concerning about him?

ANNE KRISTINA KLINGER, NEW DEMOCRATIC VOTER: The lies. I mean, and you cannot contradict yourself like that. You have it on the news what you just said, and then you're saying the next day, you didn't say it. And I don't like how he treats people. I found that's very offensive.

MARQUEZ: Female voters in the suburbs and beyond, an energized and powerful voting bloc, gearing up for an election still 17 months away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: So, the many women we spoke to, despite the big number of female candidates running for president, most said their preference for a challenger was basically anybody who could beat Trump. The names that came up most often were Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, but all of them said they were holding out their final decision until the Democratic field narrows -- Erin.

BURNETT: Miguel, thank you.

MARQUEZ: And next, an incredibly generous response from actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry after he saw this story on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:39] BURNETT: And now, an update to a story we brought you last month as part of CNN's special series "Champions for Change."

We told you about Pastor J.D. Williams and his church, St. John Baptist Church in Far Rockaway, New York. A church that was on brink of destruction when we visited after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Here's a look at the church then and now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR J.D. WILLIAMS, ST. JOHN BAPTIST CHURCH: We need help. And I don't know even where to begin with all that we need. It's just overwhelming right now.

All this was the daycare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The toys, the books. The books was really --

BURNETT: Destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- destroyed.

BURNETT: I remember walking in here and sort of gasping because of how awful it looked.

WILLIAMS: It was just an absolute disaster.

BURNETT: It looks wonderful now, though.

WILLIAMS: You wouldn't know that this was the same room.

BURNETT: No, you would not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A very generous person donated to the church after our report first aired in 2012, and that money helped St. John's Baptist Church rebuilt. And when we returned earlier this year, we saw a church back on its feet. They're even offering tutoring for kids in that basement on the weekends.

But the thing that was hardest for me to hear this time, though, was that the church was unable to replace its vans, because the vans are a lifeline for many elderly members of the congregation. Pastor Williams said many of them are no longer to come to church because it's just too hard to get there. They use the vans to bring them.

But then our update aired last month on CNN. Filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry saw it on his friend Don Lemon's show. He was moved and he moved fast. He bought two new vans for St. John's, and the vans arrived at the church on a rainy day.

Their impact on the congregation was felt immediately.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS: One lady came to me Sunday in tears afterwards, and she said, Pastor, I've been trying to get to church for a while, and now I can have my church pick me up again, as it used to when we had the vans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Beautiful vans. And Pastor Williams says the church was far from being able to afford them. It wasn't even close, not even on the horizon.

But this Sunday, elderly members of the St. John Baptist Church will be able to be with their pastor, their friends, and their community of faith, and that is something the entire congregation is celebrating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Thank you, Tyler!

Thank you!

Thank you, Tyler Perry!

(CHEERS)

WILLIAMS: We'd like to say thank you again to Tyler Perry, thank you to Erin Burnett, thank you for the staff, thank you all for coming out here. And more than all, thank God, who has supplied all of my needs according to his riches and glory.

CROWD: Amen! Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And thanks to all of you.

"Anderson" starts now.