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Trump To ABC: "I Think I'd Take" Info About 2020 Opponent From Foreign Powers; Says "It's Not An Interference"; Trump: "I Think I'd Take" Dirt From Russia On Political Rivals; Trump: "I Think I'd Take" Dirt From Russia About Political Rivals; Says "It's Not An Interference"; Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) Is Interviewed About President Trump's Comment On Accepting Dirt From Foreign Government; House Oversight Votes To Hold Barr And Ross In Contempt; Trump: "The FBI Director Is Wrong" About Contacting The FBI In Foreign Govts Offer Info On 2020 Opponents. Trump: "I Think I'd Take" Dirt from Russia on Political Rivals; Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is Interviewed About Trump Saying He'd Take Dirt from Russia on Political Rivals; Trump's NK Answer: "Not What I Meant, It's What I Said". Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired June 12, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: ... this. Obviously, we're going to have much more on all of these breaking developments. To our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTRONT next breaking news, a bombshell from President Trump just moments ago, he says he has no problem getting dirt on his 2020 opponent from foreign adversaries, including Russia. Plus, the House Committee holds two top Trump officials in contempt for failing to turn over documents. The President doesn't want anyone to see what's in them. And the President's North Korea problem, his attempt to clean up his astonishing comments raising more questions tonight. Let's go out front.

And breaking news, stunning words from the president tonight. Trump saying moments ago that he would take dirt on his 2020 political opponent, if Russia, China or any foreign country offered that dirt. That he'd take the dirt and not call the FBI.

The President just telling ABC News that he see absolute nothing wrong with this. George Stephanopoulos asked the President whether his son, Don Jr., Should have accepted a meeting with Russians to get information on Hillary Clinton dirt on her, well, here's what the President said to George just moments ago.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Should he have gone to the FBI when he got that email?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK. Let's put yourself in a position. You're a congressman, somebody comes up and says, "Hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI? I don't think ... STEPHANOPOULOS: If it's coming from Russia, you do.

TRUMP: I'll tell you what, I've seen a lot of things over my life. I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don't call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book. He called the FBI.

TRUMP: Well, that's different, a stolen briefing book. This isn't a stolen - this is somebody that said, "We have information on your opponent." "Oh, let me call the FBI." Give me a break. Life doesn't work that way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The FBI Director says that's what should happen.

TRUMP: The FBI Director is wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, "We have information on your opponent." Oh, I think I'd want to hear it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP: It's not interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI. If I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, right, they come up with oppo research. "Oh, let's call the FBI." The FBI doesn't have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk honestly to congressmen, they all do it. They always have and that's the way it is. It's called oppo research.


BURNETT: OK. It's a stunning exchange. And as George referred to, the FBI Director, Christopher Wray, let me just remind you that this FBI Director, of course, is Trump's FBI director. He appointed him. And Christopher Wray just to Congress last month was asked, right, whether you should call the FBI of a foreign government or anyone affiliated with one gives you information on your opponent.

Christopher Wray said, quote, my view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that's something that the FBI would want to know about. Well, you heard President Trump, he says, Wray is wrong.

Abby Phillip joins me live at the White House. Abby, this is a stunning statement from the President of the United States. ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's stunning, Erin,

particularly because of how it has really demonstrated the slide for President Trump where he has gone from a place of acknowledging on some level that this was wrong to try to rationalize it. Now, remember this Trump Tower meeting that is really part of what we're talking about here is something that the President tried to lie about. He said that that meeting was about Russian adoptions.

And that was partly because the President knew that there would be a political blowback from acknowledging that that meeting was about getting dirt from Russia, about Hillary Clinton. And now here we are, two years later, and the President is now saying that that was a OK. And I think that that, Erin, is really just a demonstration of how the president is now trying to change public opinion on the matter of whether it is OK to get dirt from foreign governments.

And I think it really undermines in a lot of ways the entire Mueller investigation. The President is saying it was not interference. The Mueller report makes it clear that the Russian interference was systematic and sweeping in its nature. That is a quote from the report. It is not something that the Mueller report described as simply opposition research or trying to get dirt on a political opponent. It was interference by a foreign government and the President is now saying that there was absolutely nothing wrong with that.

And I should also add, Erin, that just earlier today, President Trump was talking about this very subject and he suggested that his campaign aides had actually rebuffed the Russians and that he pointed to that as proof that they had actually done the right thing at the time. It's clear, Erin, that they didn't do the right thing at the time then and he's now saying that they would have had no reason to rebuff the Russians because getting dirt from the Russians, there's nothing wrong with that in the President's view.

That is stunning because I think also, Erin, a lot of Republicans disagree with that. That question that was asked to Christopher Wray, that was asked by a Republican lawmaker. So it's clear that there is not unanimity on this issue, even on the President's side of the political spectrum, which is what makes this all the more really stunning for a President of the United States to say in the Oval Office, no less.

[19:05:33] BURNETT: I mean incredibly stunning and, of course, you remember the emails were explicit. It was Russian government. The woman who hosted ended up being at the meeting, of course, is an admitted informant for the Kremlin. Thank you very much, Abby.

I want to go now to Philip Allen Lacovara, he served as Counsel to the Watergate Special Prosecutor, Juliette Kayyem who is Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Mark Preston, CNN Senior Political Analyst.

Juliette, let me just start with you.


BURNETT: It's a pretty stunning thing what we just heard here. I mean I don't even know where to give the exact quote but perhaps this one, "In my whole life, I've never called the FBI." You don't call the FBI.

KAYYEM: Right. That's the businessman Donald Trump which you can ask yourself why did he never call the FBI if he saw something illegal, showing that he's never morphed into the commander in chief and the person that the constitution expects to protect the United States democratic system. So I'm kind of over shock at this stage, like in other words this has been hinted at for a long time by the Trump people.

They first denied the meetings and they said the meetings were about adoptions and they said, "Well, the meetings really didn't matter." And then they said, "Well, they mattered, but they didn't matter that much." And then now the meetings are totally fine and then let's have future meetings.

So they've been laying this out, just quickly to think about it both in terms of offense and defense. Offense is this is a welcome mat. It is a come hither, not just for the Russians, but for the Chinese and not just Donald Trump but for every Republican running that he wants to win in the House or the Senate.

On the defense side, this may be related to concerns Donald Trump has about some of these pending cases and what they are going to show about his family's collusion, I'm going to use the word, with the Russians. So that's how I sort of would interpret this, not surprising, but still shocking series of events today.

BURNETT: Philip, I mean what's your reaction? The President of the United States has just said in the Oval Office that he wouldn't necessarily call the FBI if approached by a foreign government. In fact he said, "Oh, I want to hear it. I would take the information. I'd listen." What's your reaction?

PHILIP ALLEN LACOVARA, FORMER COUNSEL TO WATER GATE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's another example of the President being politically tone deaf because he's obviously in conflict with his own FBI Director. But I think a key point can't be overlooked here which is that what Chris Wray was saying as FBI Director is what a decent, honorable citizen should do. But the Mueller report concluded that it was not currently a criminal violation for the Trump campaign to engage in all of the collusion that Juliette just mentioned.

There was a lot of collusion with the Russian's efforts to engage in our electoral process, but under the current laws, there is nothing illegal about it. So what Donald Trump is essentially saying is if we can get away with it, we'll do it regardless of whether or not it's the decent thing for people to do if they care about American democracy.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, Mark I guess that's what's so stunning about it. But let me just play again, Wray, because obviously this is another example of Trump breaking with his intelligence agencies. Christopher Wray is his FBI Director. Christopher Wray was asked this question, what would you do and here's what he said, let me play him saying and I quote it a moment ago, but let's hear it from his own mouth.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: My view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that's something that the FBI would want to know about.


BURNETT: George asked him about it, Mark, and he expressly he said he's wrong about his own FBI Director. OK. What does Chris Wray do now? This is a big moment.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a big moment but I would put this in a category of a lot of big moments and I'm not sure we'll see anything from Christopher Wray. We haven't seen anything very much from a lot of the cabinet members or from Republicans who disagree with what Donald Trump has said.

Now, we've seen the likes of James Mattis who was the Defense Secretary who had enough and he left. I mean he stood on his own principle and he left his position, but I don't think we're going to see any outcry from Republicans. I don't think we're going to see Christopher Wray come out and say anything. I think that he's just pretty much going to be quiet and try to keep his head down.

I think what's important too, we're looking at this as Donald Trump saying this, but I also think we have to look at the greater picture of this, Erin, and this is Donald Trump saying this inside the Oval Office, sitting at the Resolute desk, saying that it's OK to get this information. The optics of this are terrible and really I wonder what the long-term consequences are going to be for people to think that this is OK, when it's clearly not.

[19:10:26] BURNETT: Philip, what are the legal issues here? I mean you point out obviously in the Mueller report lots of collusion, but not rising to the level of a criminal conspiracy, which would be prosecutable. However, when a president says I could be offered information by the Russians or the Chinese or anyone else and I would take that call and I wouldn't necessarily call the FBI, just to be clear, is that against the law or not against the law or does it depend on what the information is?

LACOVARA: Well, when they were trying to sort out some basis for a criminal case in connection with the famous Trump Tower meeting, they were identifying the statute that prohibits foreign nationals or foreign governments from participating directly in presidential campaigns are not permitted, for example, to give cash contributions. And so the issue was, was this so-called opposition research that the Trump campaign wanted to get something of value that would violate that statute?

And the simple answer is that it's not clear whether mere information even if it's dirt on your opponent designed to influence the election violates the existing criminal statute which is why it seems to many of us that this is something that Congress ought to be addressing pretty quickly.

BURNETT: And that - and we're going to be talking to a couple of people from Congress in just a few moments to see what this does to the whole conversation, the impeachment conversation. Juliette though when Bob Mueller spoke, he spoke to an audience of one about what happened, about what mattered so much, and what should matter to every single American about what happened here and here is how he closed his comments.


ROBERT MUELLER, SPECIAL COUNSEL: I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.


BURNETT: And yet Juliette one American, the most powerful American tonight just said, "I'd do it again."

KAYYEM: That's absolutely right and remember that the last line of the report is, of course, no one is above the law. Sometimes people forget how the report ends, but what's important is Mueller is focusing us on volume one. We tend to get focused on volume two, which is obstruction of justice, because we can see it, we sort of we're familiar with it. Volume one is the key to what, in fact, was so fundamentally and existentially wrong with what the Trump campaign did.

And I just want to say one more thing, this is a challenge not just for Democrats and Republicans in impeachment. This is also a challenge for us in the media, analysts, reporters, whatever else, how will we interpret, use, analyze information known to be given to a campaign by a foreign entity stolen in WikiLeaks shared in other cases - let me just put it this way, it's not going to be Norway. We know it's not going to be Norway, it is going to be Russia or China.

So I think this is the time for all of us to be thinking about how will we use that information, report and analyze that information because we can't validate it or give it approval.

BURNETT: So Mark, what do you make though of the fact that he answered the questions in this way? I mean, obviously, this is what he really thinks, he's being casual, he's answering it. But he knows what he's saying, he means what he says and he says what he means, we'll talk about that later in the show. He didn't say all of this not knowing the repercussions. He knows perfectly well that he's giving the bird to the entire Russia investigation. PRESTON: Right. And because there are no repercussion at this point,

everything Donald Trump says and does, as you say, is very calculated. I mean people say he's dumb. He's not. He's not he's extremely smart.


PRESTON: And quite frankly he really knows how to manipulate the news media. He's done a very good job. That is in part to a skill and also in part because of his position. He's the most powerful man in the world. I mean so, of course, he's going to draw our attention.

But as he is saying this, Erin, and did you see when he was challenged by George Stephanopoulos about Christopher Wray's comments, he said, as you said, "Well, he is wrong." He was angry to be challenged at that point. Well, let me tell you what's going on right now. The Department of Homeland Security is working to make sure state election officials are up to speed on what's going on. We also know the FBI is briefing the Democratic presidential campaigns and they're going to brief the Republican National Committee as well.

So Donald Trump can go out there and say that he may take this oppo research while he's working against his own people trying to stop it.

[19:14:59] BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And next, we have more on this breaking news. We're going to talk to the Head of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. Plus, President Trump on using Kim Jong-un's family as intelligence assets, trying to say he said what he said but he didn't mean what he say, what does that mean?


[19:18:51] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump saying tonight that he would take dirt on his 2020 political opponent if a foreign country offer them and he would not necessarily tell the FBI.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

TRUMP: I think maybe you do both. I think you might want to listen. There's nothing wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, "We have information on your opponent." Oh, I think I'd want to hear it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our elections?

TRUMP: It's not interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with oppo research, they come up with oppo research. "Oh, let's call the FBI." The FBI doesn't have enough agents to take care of it. When you go and talk, honestly, to congressmen, they all do it. They always have, and that's the way it is. It's called oppo research.


BURNETT: Former CIA Director John Brennan just weighing in saying, quote, this is just the latest example of a Vice President Biden mean when he said that Mr. Trump and his existential threat to our country. "Unfit to be President" is a gross understatement.

Out front now, Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Member of the House Oversight Committee. Congresswoman, thank you for your time. What's your reaction to what the President just said that he would accept dirt from foreign governments and not necessarily call the FBI. He adds, by the way, he has never called the FBI.

[19:20:22] REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE BRENDA (D-MI): This is clearly, if anyone is asleep, if anyone hasn't been paying attention to a President of the United States that has no respect for our democracy, has no respect for the checks and balances, and clearly has no understanding of his role of President of the United States, this is clear, he didn't stutter.

He said the FBI probably wouldn't understand it and he made that allegation that Members of Congress do this all of the time.

BURNETT: Yes, what do you make of that?

LAWRENCE: Opposition research is when you go on Google and you go on and read newspaper clips and you find out where individuals you're running from, where they stand, we don't go to outside countries and ask them to provide information. There's actually agencies in the United States that you do research, so you know how to run against your opponent.

What this man is talking about and he is the President of the United States is how he can violate the rules and policies of our country by prohibiting outside foreign entities to interfere with our democracy. It is past said, it is past frustration, this is criminal. It is criminal and we need to hold this president accountable.

We've been talking about impeachment. Few people understand that if we impeach him and I feel that we should begin that process, if we impeach him he still is sitting in the White House because the Senate has to act. I don't know what's happening to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who continuously put their head in the sand.

This issue, our country, the citizens, our democracy is bigger than Donald Trump and we need to act. I mean that should be scary, that should frighten people, and we need to do our job. I sit oversight and we went through six hours of hearings today where the other side, my opponent, my colleagues on the other side were obstructing, and stalling saying that a joint bipartisan requests subpoena for documents that the President is now saying under executive order, executive privilege you don't have to give anything to Congress.

They didn't say to the Democrats, because the Republicans signed on too. He said, "You do not have to give it to Congress." Wake up. BURNETT: So let me ask, I want to ask you about that in a moment, but

first what he said when he specifically was asked about how Christopher Wray said I would hope and he almost said it with a little bit of a snark and a sneer, I don't mean it negatively, but he was saying it basically Christopher Wray was saying, "Of course you should call the FBI. As in it is so obvious, I would hope, that any American citizen would call us."

He was saying it with a little bit of attitude because it just seems so obvious. Well, the man who just appointed him to be director of the FBI just said he's wrong and he said so tersely and curtly and clearly with anger. So what now for Christopher Wray?

LAWRENCE: Well, he can be part of the revolving door that we see in the White House where people are appointed with the understanding or the expectation from the President of the United States that you do what I tell you to do your oath to office or your job description to the people of the United States is not why you're here. You're here to do what I want and what I want you to do. So his days may be short now. We'll be looking for a new person.

BURNETT: So you mentioned today the vote for contempt and you did vote to hold the Attorney General Bill Barr and the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt. Do you expect, Congresswoman, that the full House will act on this or do you think that that this is actually going to be a moment where you can come to an agreement with this administration on those documents?

LAWRENCE: So one of the things the public needs to be very clear on because the comment that we're rushing it we started this investigation over a year ago and six weeks ago, nine weeks ago, a joint, again I want to make it very clear, the Republicans signed the subpoena along with the Democrats from the Oversight Committee demanding and requesting subpoena the documents for us to do a complete investigation and the president has interfered saying that he at this point is doing executive privilege and directing the administration not to give any paper to Congress.

We are going to bring this to the floor for vote. We even, our chair, Cummings, actually called and tried to work out an agreement. They refused to talk to the chair and so we are at the point where we're going to do our job and use every tool that we have and the President of the United States, Donald Trump needs to understand as he travels all over the world, he see kings and queens and he sees these individuals who are exactly in charge of everything that happens. He has a democracy, checks and balances and he is not the king of the United States of America.

[19:25:56] BURNETT: Congresswoman Lawrence, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And next, more in the breaking news, the Head of the House Intelligence Committee will join me. And then Trump's answer about using Kim Jong-un's family members as intelligence assets by the CIA. So where does the President of the United States stand?


[19:30:09] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, President Trump contradicting his hand-picked FBI director on whether the FBI should be notified if a foreign country such as Russia calls with political dirt in a campaign.

Trump making the comments as he once again defended his son Don Jr. for taking the meeting with Russians who were connected with the government, one of whom was an informant for the Russian government. And here is what President Trump just said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody comes up and says, hey, I have information on your opponent. Do you call the FBI? I don't think.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: If it's coming from Russia, you do.

TRUMP: I've seen a lot of things over my life. I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI, in my whole life. You don't call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office. You do whatever --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Al Gore got a stolen briefing book, he called the FBI.

TRUMP: Well, that's different. A stolen briefing book. This isn't a stuff -- this is somebody that said we have information on your opponent. Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break.


BURNETT: And he continued when George Stephanopoulos followed up and said, well, Christopher Wray said that's what you should do, your FBI director. And the president said, well, he is wrong. He is wrong, of his own FBI director.

Here's what Director Wray said.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: My view is that if any public official or member of any campaign is contacted by any nation state or anybody acting on behalf of a nation state about influencing or interfering with our election, then that's something that the FBI would want to know about.


BURNETT: As I said, he always says it with the smile because it's so blatantly obvious. Well, you heard the president. The president said, quote, the FBI director is wrong.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT.

Evan, this is pretty incredible. It's an incredible moment overall and incredible moment certainly for the president and his handpicked FBI director.

So, what does Wray do? Is there any response yet from the FBI?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, it's a very tough thing for the FBI director, right? The idea of him getting into essentially an argument with the president of the United States -- there is nothing to be gained from that.

So, we called the FBI. The FBI is officially not commenting on this, Erin. But I can tell you this -- one of the things the FBI is going to be doing is trying to make sure that the Russians or the Chinese or the Iranians do not interfere in the 2020 elections.

And one of the things that the Mueller report told us was that, you know, we know that accepting a thing of value from a foreign country, from a foreign power is against campaign finance law. So, the one issue now that has been crossed is they know this. The Mueller report established this.

So, if anyone, the Trump campaign or any other campaign accepts something of value from a foreign power, they've been warned and the FBI will be enforcing the law. So I think --

BURNETT: And just to be clear, Evan, something of value does not need to be something -- well, it could be information, right, that's the point.

PEREZ: It could be information, exactly, because in this case, you have information that is being used to help one campaign and hurt another. And so, look, I think it's very clear that come 2020, if this campaign or any other campaign accepts something of value from a foreign power, they will be getting the FBI calling on them and they're going to have a legal problem.

So, the president may feel that he is OK with this. I think the FBI has other ideas. And so does the Justice Department.

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

So let's go now to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff.

Congressman, your reaction to this exchange that you just saw with the president and George Stephanopoulos, where the president says he'd take the call, he'd take the information, probably wouldn't call the FBI, and his FBI director is wrong in saying he should.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, my reaction is much the way it is often these days which is stunning on the one hand and not at all surprising on the other.

Donald Trump has made it clear that he will engage in any action, no matter how unethical or unpatriotic, that he will go right up to the line of what's legal and indeed he looks like he crossed that line many times.

So, no, on the heels of Rudy Giuliani saying that, you know, he was off to Ukraine to see if he could get that foreign power to investigate a family member of one of the president's political rivals, on the heels of Jared Kushner refusing to rule out getting foreign help or whether he would call the FBI, it's not surprising. But it's stunning and does tell us we're going to have to legislate.

One of the conclusions Mueller was for the able to reach, one of the elements of the conspiracy he wasn't able to prove were with respect to Jared Kushner and the others getting dirt from the Russians was that that dirt getting -- getting dirt in that context was something of value that should have been reported. So, we're going to have to legislate that. Yes, you've got to report foreign contacts.

[19:35:01] And when you receive foreign help like, it's a campaign contribution.

BURNETT: And so, what you're saying is Mueller -- as Evan is pointing out, Mueller saying it's a thing of value. You're putting forward that that should be a law so it would be clear what was laid out in the Mueller report was indeed a criminal violation.

SCHIFF: I think it's going to be absolutely necessary, both to require disclosure of those kind of foreign contacts, particularly with a hostile foreign power but also to make it clear in terms of campaign law that if you get opposition research from a foreign government that that is something of value that needs to be reported. To deter the kind of unethical unpatriotic conduct the president engaged in the last campaign and apparently is completely willing to do all over again. He's learned absolutely nothing.

BURNETT: Just to be clear, you know, when George said, well, you know, Al Gore got the stolen briefing book, right, and reported it, the president said, well, this is different. This was just information. So, he is basically saying well the information that we could have thought could have gone into a briefing book, would have thought would have been that quality it's different because it wasn't already in the book? That's the argument he is making.

SCHIFF: Well, you know, the fact is this was stolen too. This was data stolen from the Clinton campaign. So whether it's a briefing book or stolen through a cyber-attack, that absolutely makes no difference whatsoever. The president's argument doesn't hold up.

And what's more, not only Christopher Wray disagrees with him, we had a hearing just today with FBI agents, former assistant U.S. attorney that was the Republican chosen witness, a Fox News contributor, and he too said they should have called the FBI. Anyone getting an overture by a foreign power during a presidential campaign should call the FBI.

BURNETT: I saw that. And I wonder what this means for Christopher Wray, who no doubt wants to do, you know, the right thing and try to keep stability and calm at the FBI. What's he supposed to do right now? Does he just sit there and try to ignore it and hope that this goes away?

SCHIFF: Well, I think that he is managing to walk the fine line very carefully of staying out of the public, you know, line of sight when he is differing with the president, unless it's absolutely necessary when he is asked a direct question like he was, he's going to give a direct answer whether the president likes it or not. But he does everything he can to avoid putting himself in the position of getting into a brawl with the president because he views his mission as looking after the men and women at the bureau, making sure the mission of the bureau gets done, and avoiding unnecessary friction with the White House.

BURNETT: So, where the president is going to try to take a leg to stand on on this, is to say that this was opposition research, right? If I could have gotten it from anyone, I got it from -- I happened to get it from a hostile foreign power, and, oh, you guys, meaning, you, Chairman, do it all the time. Here's what he said.


TRUMP: You go and talk honestly to congressman, they all do it. They always have. And that's the way it is. It's called oppo research.


BURNETT: What's your response to that?

SCHIFF: That's pure non-sense. In fact, this point came up in the committee today when one much our members pointed out that not a single member of the House of Representatives goes either soliciting foreign assistance in their campaign or I think if it were offered to them would go and not report it. I sure as heck hope that all my colleagues would do that.

So, the president is completely out of line. But this is typical for Donald Trump, which is he projects on others his own lack of morality. If he wouldn't call the FBI, he assumes no one would. If he is deceptive about something, he assumes everyone is.

If he is willing to do the unpatriotic thing and go to a foreign power for help, he assumes everyone will do the unethical thing. But that's just not the case and God help us if it ever becomes that way.

BURNETT: Chairman Schiff, thank you

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Trump bragging about the, quote, beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un. But was it? Well, we actually now have some new details about exactly what was in that letter, what Kim wrote to President Trump.


[19:42:45] BURNETT: Tonight, Trump says what he means and he means what he says, except when he does not. Today, the president was asked about comments he made yesterday, suggesting he would not have used the best possible asset to spy on North Korea, Kim Jong-un's half brother.

Here's what he said.


TRUMP: No, it's not what I meant. It's what I said. And that's -- I think it's different than maybe your interpretation.


BURNETT: So Trump said he didn't mean what he said.

So, let's be clear on what he said. Trump was asked about North Korea. And he brought up a "Wall Street Journal" report that said Kim Jong-un killed his half brother after finding out he was a CIA asset.

So, here is how Trump put it.


TRUMP: I saw the information about the CIA with respect to his brother or half brother. And I would tell him that would not happen under my -- under my auspices. That's for sure. I wouldn't let that happen under my auspices.


BURNETT: Kim Jong Nam would have been one of the most valuable assets with inside knowledge about the rogue hermit regime or anyone in the Kim family, a regime where any intelligence is important for the world and the United States. I mean, Kim Jong-un, remember, has put out videos showing the White House in flames. He's tested nuclear missiles which can strike the continental United States and strike as far east as Chicago.

So, when President Trump brought up the report saying Kim Jong Nam was a CIA asset and said that wouldn't happen under his watch, the world took notice, including the former head of the CIA.


JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, he has no appreciation for the importance of the intelligence profession and the work that intelligence professionals do around the globe to include going out and trying to recruit individuals to provide us the insights we need to keep our country strong and safe.


BURNETT: Words matter. When it comes to North Korea, Trump means what he says, as he said himself. Of course he did. Back in 2017 when he was threatening Kim's regime.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I hope that they are going to fully understand the gravity of what I said and what I said is what I mean. So, hopefully, they'll understand, Peter, exactly what I said and the meaning of those words. Those words are very, very easy to understand.


BURNETT: Except for when they're not.

So, if Trump says he said what he said but it wasn't what he meant this time, then what did he mean?

[19:45:04] OUTFRONT now, Anna Fifield, Beijing bureau chief on "The Washington Post" and the author of the new book "The Great Successor", where she broke the news about Kim Jong Nam being a CIA informant.

And Bob Baer, former CIA operative.

So, Bob, OK, I mean, it's pretty amazing, talking about North Korea. I say what I say, I mean what I mean. I mean what I say, I say what I mean. OK, you get it.

But today, no. He doesn't. He said what he said but doesn't mean it. He was given the opportunity to clarify, so then OK, what did you mean? But he didn't.

What do you make of this?

ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I look at it from the perspective of the Central Intelligence Agency. And this president is so volatile and it's unclear whose side he is on, whether North Korea or Washington's side.

You know, it's like don't spy on North Korea. It's sort of like Roosevelt handing an order down don't spy on Japan before Pearl Harbor. I mean, it's fantastic.

It's -- you know, he is clearly siding with the adversary and that's a message that's going down the ranks just as it's gone down the ranks of the FBI, don't spy on the Russians because you'll end up losing your job and your pension.

BURNETT: Anna, I mean, when Kim Jong-un hears this, what does he think?

ANNA FIFIELD, THE WASHINGTON POST: I mean, this has to be a gift to him. I mean, there is so little human intelligence about North Korea. The CIA calls it the hardest of all the hard targets. If it's true as are the reported that Kim Jong Nam was in fact an informant for the CIA there would be a huge boon for the intelligence community in America.

But I think what Kim Jong Un has been very assiduously doing is he has been studying Donald Trump very carefully. You know, the North Koreans have read "The Art of the Deal". They had read "Fire and Fury", and they read Trump's tweets. They are very adept at reading him and knowing what he wants to hear.

So, we have seen this repeatedly with the kinds of words that Kim Jong-un has been saying to President Trump and now, President Trump's returning the favor.

BURNETT: I mean, it's incredible when you say there is confusion about what side the president of the United States is on. We are talking about North Korea.

I mean, Bob, this -- you know, there is a letter. Anna has insight on this as well because she knows so much about Kim has been studying Trump. But there was a new letter, right, that Trump brought up in all of this, you know, when he said he wouldn't do this CIA asset thing.

He said it was a beautiful letter. And he got a letter on the one year anniversary of their first summit. Here is what Trump said.


TRUMP: He just wrote me a very nice letter. Unexpected. And some day you'll see what was in that letter. Some day you'll be reading about it, maybe a hundred years from now, maybe in two weeks. Who knows?

But it was a very nice letter. It was a very warm, very nice letter. I appreciated it. OK?


BURNETT: A hundred year or two weeks like the taxes, Bob.

Let me ask you one thing that we are reporting now we do know when he says the letter was so important, we have a source familiar with the contents of the letter which said that the letter did not include anything of substance. No details on the deal, no details on ideas for a deal. No details on anything. Just platitudes and warmth.

What does that tell you?

BAER: You know what it reminds me, Erin, I hate to bring up history, it reminds me of Chamberlain in Munich when he made a so-called agreement with Adolf Hitler who then invaded Poland. This is just incredible.

Erin, I've got to say, this is -- we are bordering on treason with Russia and North Korea. And, you know, this guy really has got to be impeached and out of office now, because I'm not sure whose side he is on.

BURNETT: Which I mean -- I think it's an incredible thing to say that somebody would not be sure of that.

Anna, when it comes to the letter, he says, oh, it's beautiful and so important as I said. The reporting we have shows that's not the case. It may be beautiful but there's nothing of substance in it. You write in your book, the Korean language has complex levels of

politeness. And Kim Jong-un made sure to use the most honorific terms when speaking to Trump, something he knew would be appreciated by the American president. You're referring to their first summit.

This is what you're talking about, a letter like this.

FIFIELD: Exactly. They -- I mean, this is all very calculated. And Kim Jong-un has shown himself to be skillful and savvy and knowing which buttons to push when it comes to President Trump. So, he was very flattering, using very formal and deferential language during the summit, making sure to play the junior partner there because he knows Trump responds well to this.

And it can lead to a situation where Trump is declaring a major victory, you know, we won't have to worry about nuclear weapons anymore when Kim Jong-un has not agreed to anything. It's all style and doesn't have to give up any substance.

BURNETT: Any substance at all. And yet here we are.

Thank you both very much.

And I want to get back to our breaking news tonight. The president of the United States telling George Stephanopoulos this.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?

[19:50:08] TRUMP: I think maybe do both. I think you might want to listen. I don't -- there is nothing wrong with listening.

If somebody called from a country, Norway, we have information on your opponent, oh, I think I'd want to hear it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want that kind of interference in our election?

TRUMP: It's not an interference. They have information. I think I'd take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I'd go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong.


BURNETT: He continues to say he's never called the FBI. Give me a break.

And Trump's 2020 rivals are weighing in. Elizabeth Warren: The Mueller report made it clear a foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump. Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation. Now he says he'd do it all over again. It's time to impeach Donald Trump.

Governor Steve Bullock tweeting: 1-800-CALL-FBI. I want to bring in the former FBI supervisory special agent Josh

Campbell. He's worked for two FBI directors, James Comey and Bob Mueller.

Now, Josh, I want to be clear here, one of the most important moments, right, was when George Stephanopoulos and Christopher Wray, your FBI director, your FBI director said this is -- would be wrong, that you should call the FBI and Trump tersely, curtly said, well, he's wrong.

So far, Director Wray has not responded.

Can he stay quiet on this?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I don't think so, because what we've seen here is the president of the United States just completely undercut the director of the FBI. I would disagree with the characterization that he's president's FBI. It's actually the country's FBI, although he's appointed by the president. That's an important data point.


CAMPBELL: But, again, what the president is essentially saying to the American people and to the men and women of the FBI is that I don't believe you. I don't trust you, and when you come out and say something through your leadership, I'm going to go in a different direction.

So, if you're the director of the FBI right now, you have a couple of different options and you can speak out and ensure that you'll take the issues seriously, that you're going to investigate any malfeasance or lawbreaking that may happen in the past or that may happen in horizon, or you can resign.

And there always two different elements that you want to reach there. The first is the Allen principle. If there's something that you see that's so egregious than you disagree with, you have to have that honest conversation and can I stay in this position. And second one is if you no longer think that you're effective. Have I lost effectiveness as it relates to this job and this administration?


CAMPBELL: This sure seems like one of those issues that checks both of those boxes. So, if you're the director of the FBI, you have to have that conversation with yourself and try to figure out what are you going to do. Are you going to speak out or what's next for you?

BURNETT: Right. There is a crucial question for Christopher Wray, right, because his boss has undercut him and said he's wrong about something that Christopher Wray says is a black and white simple issue. They don't agree on perhaps one of the most important things.

And yet, what would be the implication if Christopher Wray would stand up to say, I won't take this anymore and leave even if he did it Jim Mattis style, would that be more disruptive than not? CAMPBELL: Well, perhaps, but sometimes, you have to be a disruptor.

I think, again, it comes down to public confidence in the FBI, in these institutions. If they stay quiet when the president of the United States says, I'm going to continue to accept information from a foreign government, even if it goes against state law, I don't know they would stay quiet, again, when their key constituents is the American people, you have to trust and confidence with them.

I think, Erin, as I heard this today, I think this is one of the most troubling things we've heard from the president because it's not just about things talking about the things from the past in defending himself from actions and allegations and it's looking forward, and him telling the American people what he's going to do if faced with another situation, possible lawbreaking accepting information from a foreign government.

BURNETT: He's trying to change the form, right? To say, oh, it's normal and people do it, it's OK, right? He's trying to change the norm and make people think that something that is not OK, is OK.

CAMPBELL: That's right. He's a norm buster, we know that. Again, he came to town when he was elected, essentially on that platform, that he was going to do things differently.

But at some point, that clashes with the law. The law is the law. You can't accept a thing of value from a foreign government. That is illegal. The president was sitting in the Oval Office saying, yes, I'll do it.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

And Jeanne is next.


[19:58:00] BURNETT: Tonight, a sticky situation came between Trump and the president of Poland.

Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the cameraman checked his focus, a mysterious glint, something special awaiting President Trump and the leader of Poland.

SONG: Itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout --

MOOS: But this spider went up the presidential podium judging by the single strand of a web. The spider web is literally going from mike to mike LOL.

The mighty strand managed to survive President Trump adjusting his microphone. The president was unaware.

TRUMP: Honored to welcome President Duda. MOOS: And an uninvited dude had left his mark.

We first became aware of the web via the web when a self-proclaimed media nerd tweeted, OK, Jeanne Moos, whatever you're working on for tonight, stop. Now, you'll be reporting on the Rose Garden spider web, and we are.

The strand survived multiple handshakes, perhaps symbolizing an arachnid warning not to waiver from the truth at this press conference. Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

The strand barely escaped some of President Trump's gestures.

TRUMP: That plane can land dead straight.

MOOS: OK, this wasn't quite as dramatic.


MOOS: As when president Obama nailed a fly.


MOOS: When a fly landed on then-candidate Trump's hair.

TRUMP: Going to have that wall.

MOOS: Even walls won't keep out pesky bugs.

At the Rose Garden event, it was as if a spider had written the president's remarks describing that web.

TRUMP: The enduring ties of civilization, the unbreakable bonds.

MOOS: But the bond was broken almost half an hour into the presser.

TRUMP: Let's see, who do I like? Nobody, that's the end.

MOOS: His outstretched pointer was the end for the spider web that snagged the president. Should have vacuumed the podium instead of the red carpet. You can put your shoes back on.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: That was one speedy spider, right?

Thanks for joining us.

Anderson starts now.