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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Democratic Presidential Candidates About To Take Stage At First Primary Debate After Picture Of Drowned Migrants Intensifies Immigration Fight; Source: Biden Hunkered Down In Delaware For Tonight's Debate; Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) Discusses How Close Biden Is Watching The Debate; New Details About How Father, Daughter Drowned At Border; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) Is Interviewed About The Border Crisis; Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) Is Interviewed About The Mueller Public Testimony. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 26, 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: Congrats to Jen, Jeff and the whole family. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, a defining moment for Democrats. The 2020 candidates gearing up for the first debate. All eyes tonight on Elizabeth Warren. Plus, President Trump blaming Democrats for the father and daughter who drowned at the border. Tonight a top Republican Senator who got emotional about that photo today OUTFRONT. What's his solution? And President Trump unleashing a harsh attack on his Fed chairman. Why is he trying to take down his own people? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, all eyes on Senator Elizabeth Warren. The surging candidates standing literally center stage tonight on the first debate of 2020. Warren already taking the spotlight though today, visiting a detention center in Florida after this horrible picture captured the nation, a father and his 23-month-old daughter drowning in the Rio Grande after trying to cross into the United States illegally.
Warren was unable to get inside the facility in Florida today, but she did tell reporters what she saw from the outside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These were children who were being marched like little soldiers, like little prisoners from one place to another. This is not what we should be doing as a country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Warren led, others followed. Senator Klobuchar visited the facility this afternoon. Tomorrow Beto O'Rourke will visit and Bernie Sanders. And on Friday even more, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro and Marianne Williamson all visiting there. So the reality is, of course, one was there first. She's been driving
the immigration conversation among Democrats and issue that will matter at tonight's crucial democratic debate. Now, one person not on stage is the ultimate rival of every single person there. President Trump talking about this debate for days talking about live tweeting it, all kinds of things, but tonight, trying to play it cool.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everyone said I'll be tweeting. I'll actually be on a plane. And it just seems very boring, but I'm going to watch it because I have to. That's part of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live tonight in Miami at the site of tonight's debate.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORREPONDENT: One, two, three, four, five.
BURNETT: Jeff, I don't know if you can hear me. I know you're getting counted in, but you are getting some new details about how some of the candidates are preparing for this debate about to start.
ZELENY: Erin, we are. Good evening. And there's no question at all, one thing is clear, time is a precious resource for all of these candidates. They're only expecting about, I would say about five or six moments of 60 seconds each. That is the amount of time they're going to have to make their case, to introduce themselves.
So I am told by talking to a variety of campaign advisors, they are not going to take time by and large going after others or even talking about President Trump. They're going to try A, introduce themselves and B, try and sell their own plans.
Now, Elizabeth Warren, as you know, has so many of our own plans and ideas. I'm told by advisors she's trying to boil them down and pair them down to say exactly the ones that she wants to promote. But she also, Erin, will be defending her plans.
ZELENY: Look tonight for several of her rivals to potentially say, "Look, how realistic really is all of this?" So that is one thing that we ever eye on the people directly around Senator Warren, Beto O'Rourke is on one side. Cory Booker on the other side, Amy Klobuchar also there. She of course is going to say she's a proven progressive, she gets things done.
So there is a sense here, Erin, that it is likely to be a civil affair. Do not look for much acrimony or much talking about President Trump either. But tonight, Senator Warren has to show that she really is driving at least round one of the debate.
ZELENY: Erin, one more thing, it seems early for debates, but you'll remember back to the 2008 campaign by this point, the first debate was already in the books three months earlier and the person who did the worst of that debate or one of the worst, his name was Barack Obama. He went on to win. So these first debates, Erin, aren't always determinative.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I guess as we all think, this is starting way, way, way too early. That perspective is important. OUTFRONT now Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, Karen Dunn, one of the most experienced debate prep specialist in Democratic politics. She prepped Hillary Clinton for the 2016 debates and prepped President Obama for debates as well. And hopefully he obviously learned from that first time out. And Mark Preston, senior political analyst.
So Mark, let me start with you. Warren set the tone for the day. I mean, she's the leader. She's the center. She's the spotlight. She's like, "All right. This is how it is. I'm going to own it."
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Follow me.
BURNETT: But who has the most again and the most to lose tonight?
PRESTON: Oh, on the debate stage, I mean, look anyone - well, Warren has the most to lose, because she is considered the front runner.
BURNETT: She's got to look that way.
PRESTON: She's got to look that way and she can't make a stumble. Though I would say the bottom third, when you look at the likes of like Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard and folks at the one percent that are going to be onstage tonight. Unless they have a moment, that can go viral in the next couple of days. This is going to be a very tough night for them.
[19:05:00] BURNETT: Right, because obviously, Joan, it's to make a break for some people, some of the lesser known candidates. This is about you get to the next round, the next debate. This could be single elimination. It's money. It's polls. It's all of those things.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Right. It's donors, exactly. I mean, I think it's a tough place for these other people to be in. Because, yes, you want your viral moment. But the electorate right now, the democratic electorate, they don't want a nasty race. They don't want people tearing one another down.
So the idea that you would go after Elizabeth Warren, because on this stage, she's the front runner, that's going to be tough to do. We'll see if anybody does it and what you do other than that to distinguish yourself, we're going to see, but it's --
BURNETT: So Karen, what do you tell them to do? Because to get a viral moment, it's hard to have that and be alone. It comes from playing off of someone or against someone. There's a villain, hero sort of an angle to it. How do you get a moment without being civil?
KAREN DUNN, PREPARED PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HILLARY CLINTON FOR DEBATES: Yes. Well, I mean, in my view, debates are series of moments. And if you don't have a moment then you might as well not have been at the debate. So I would not advocate the play it safe course for most of these candidates and particularly the candidates who want to make sure that people know that they exist and know that they're in the debate. I think those people need to take a moment to introduce themselves, say why they're running, but then they need to engage either with the moderator or with one of the other people on this race.
BURNETT: I mean, because we're talking five or six minutes for the whole thing. It's a two-hour debate.
PRESTON: If evenly distributed.
BURNETT: If evenly distributed which, of course, it won't be only in the sense of everyone if you're going after Warren, she gets a chance to respond. The time gets used by frontrunners, right, Joan?
WALSH: Yes, absolutely. And she should try to grab the time. I mean, she does have plans. She too is introducing herself even though she's risen and we're all talking about her now. She's not that well known, so this is a moment for her to break out again and validate her status as a real chief rival to Joe Biden.
DUNN: Yes, she's the luckiest person on earth right now at this moment.
BURNETT: Well, because she is the only frontrunner on this stage. Tomorrow night, you have the rest of them.
DUNN: She got a great night and she just needs to --
BURNETT: Interesting. So you do think that is the advantage to be the sole star.
PRESTON: I also think that - I think we're more likely to see fireworks tomorrow night than we are tonight on this stage. I don't necessarily think that Elizabeth Warren is going to come under heavy attack, but the viral moment, however that comes about, it doesn't have to be negative, but it does have to happen, I do think, for some of these folks tonight.
If you're someone like Elizabeth Warren, she can be OK if this is a bland night, because as Joan was saying, she has talked so much about her policy proposals, people are starting to get to know her and she is known as somebody of substance. And that's something I think the candidates have to try to get through tonight that there's substance. BURNETT: And how much does it help her if there's a Pocahontas tweet?
WALSH: I guess it helps her, it could also distract her. I hope she ignores it if it happens and I actually hope a lot of the media ignores if he does decide to start live tweeting. We have decisions to make about how much attention to pay to.
BURNETT: He obviously, Kevin, had said, "OK, I might be tweeting which he loves to say he's going to do, but then today totally different thing. Let me just play it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Everyone said I'll be tweeting. I'll actually be on a plane. And it just seems very boring, but I'm going to watch it because I have to. That's part of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PRESTON: Hey, not for nothing, if I may say, I've been on an airplane before and you don't have to watch it if he doesn't want to. There's a lot of other things he can watch. It's not his job to have to watch it. I mean that is what's wrong with the President and how he's governing right now. He's governing strictly by pure politics.
DUNN: But I hope we'll see 10 people on that stage tonight who hope the President will tweet at them. Because there could no greater present than the President could give one of these 10 folks tonight.
BURNETT: I would imagine to the Democratic base, they want to be the one who would be singled out by him for his ridicule or ire or whatever it may be.
DUNN: Yes, absolutely. Every one of these people wants to prove that they're the one to go toe to toe with Trump in the general election and if Trump takes you on after you've debated nine other Democrats, then that is a great sign for you.
BURNETT: So to the point that Jeff was making, he was saying, Barack Obama the first time out didn't do very well. People were kind of like, "Well, who is this guy?" Whatever. Obviously, he ends up winning the whole thing. So is it possible that we see something like that, somebody who's hovering around 1% that actually could really transform themselves?
PRESTON: So it'll be interesting to see what Jay Inslee does tonight and I say that because we called him this one topic candidate. He's the Governor of Washington. All he talks about is climate change. So there's a whole campaigns about climate change. I interviewed him from my radio show last week. He is very liberal and very substantive on liberal issues that I don't think he does a good enough job talking about that to the liberal base.
So could someone like him rise up potentially? Sure. It won't happen after this debate, but you could see people start to emerge and gain some traction. BURNETT: And what about someone like Cory Booker? A lot of people
know him and knew him coming into this. He has not had a surge in the polls.
WALSH: He has not and he's spending a lot of money in Iowa and other early states. He's got a lot of folks on the ground. He needs a night, he needs to really emerged as a top tier candidate. Right now you've got Elizabeth Warren and a bunch of people who are around 5 percent or lower in the polls.
WALSH: He needs to rise distinguish himself as somebody who's on Warren's level.
[19:10:03] BURNETT: And what do you say to someone like Cory Booker who is known for his erudition and his long sentence given the time constraints that we see here?
DUNN: Well, I believe anybody can learn how to give a one minute answer. I think for Cory Booker and for Beto O'Rourke, what they need to understand is that people are tuning into watch a debate. They want to see a debate and they want to see differences between people.
BURNETT: They don't want to see a monologue.
DUNN: They don't want to see kumbaya. They want to see people get into it and what are the differences on the issues. So I'm very interested to see what is Beto O'Rourke do, what is Cory Booker do and also does Elizabeth Warren attack Joe Biden. That will be very telling about where her mind is.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, your bottom line here is this point of so little time.
PRESTON: Well, there's so little time. You have to have a moment. You can't trip up and if somebody is vanilla tonight and they wash away through tonight's debate, they have one more chance but they really don't have much more of a chance. You have to use this as this - think about tonight's debate as a springboard into the fall. That's what they really is.
BURNETT: Into the fall, well, it is, because donors are watching too, it's not just ...
WALSH: And when we go back to 2007, we thought there were a lot of people then, but what was it, eight, maybe 10? I mean this is so many more people. They can't afford to be Barack Obama, especially because there's no Barack Obama --
BURNETT: No. No, because you don't get another chance.
WALSH: Right. BURNETT: All right. All of you staying with me. Next, new details
about how the frontrunner, Joe Biden, is preparing tonight. Biden campaign insider is OUTFRONT next. Plus, a top Republican choking up after seeing this image.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I don't want to see another picture like that on the U.S. border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator Ron Johnson, you saw there, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Republican, is my guest. And Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says Bob Mueller's testimony before Congress is going to move others to support impeachment proceedings. Is she right?
[19:15:27] BURNETT: Tonight, hunkered down the Democratic frontrunner is in Delaware. As 10 rivals take the stage, Biden's turn is tomorrow. We've got some new details just coming into CNN. Biden has been doing mock debates. Our Arlette Saenz is told one person helping out as former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm who played Sarah Palin when Biden prepped for his VP debates against her.
We also know he's watched some Bernie Sanders exchanges with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 debates and, of course, Sanders will be standing next to Biden tomorrow. OUTFRONT now, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware who has endorsed Biden.
Good to have you back. I appreciate your time, Congresswoman. So how closely is Biden watching the debate tonight?
REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Right. Well, first of all, Erin, thank you for having me again. We're really excited about tomorrow night's debate and he's taking it very seriously. That's one thing is when you think about it this debate is different than the debates that he's had in the past. I mean it's not a one-on-one. It's not a Democrat versus a Republican, so he's taking it very seriously but he's ready.
BURNETT: So one area of course as we're all aware that he may face some real questions about the 94 crime bill which, of course, he proudly championed. Here is some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth is every major crime bill since 1976 that's come out of this Congress, every minor crime bill has had the name of the Democratic Senator from the state of Delaware Joe Biden.
And I'd say lock the S.O.B.s up. The president's plan doesn't include enough police officers to catch
the violent thugs, not enough prosecutors to convict them, not enough judges to sentence them and not enough prison cell to put them away for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congresswoman, he's got to be ready for that. Could comments like that come back to hurt him? Does he have a ready?
ROCHESTER: Well, I think anybody who's had an over 40-year career in elected office will have to have a record of things that they've accomplished and things that they would potentially do differently. But I think it's important first to recognize the context of the times. There were a lot of individuals that supported that bill, including Bernie Sanders, including the majority of members of the Congressional Black Caucus because people were hearing from their constituents and there were some good things that came out of it like the Violence Against Women Act and the ban on assault weapons.
But what is important is that you look at where a person has come. We have a friend in Delaware named Sarah McBride and she has a saying that when you show growth I'll show grace. He has shown a tremendous growth. He has been able to accomplish things that have taken our country forward and I think he will be able to address those issues in addition to talking about his --
BURNETT: Well, it sounds like from what you're saying he's prepared to talk about the positives and the good that came out of it. In a sense they - I mean if I'm hearing what you're saying, I'm hearing echoes of what he may be saying which obviously is more put together in a bit different than he has been thus far on that issue. To your point though, Congresswoman, he's been studying his own record, 50 years. He's got a lot of things.
Is he ready to be confronted with every mistake, every inconsistency, every flip-flop? I mean because you can laugh and chuckle and say, "Oh, my gosh, 50-year record. You got to study your own record." Well, of course, he has to study his own record who remembers everything they do in 50 years.
BURNETT: Is he ready for it?
ROCHESTER: I guess the question I would have is for us as the voters and for the media and others, how are we going to judge this candidate, I mean, he has already acknowledged things that he would do different and I think that shows a difference in the president that we currently have in the White House. He's the kind of person, Joe Biden, that I know that will talk and listen and then make changes and decisions.
And I think that's something that we don't have right now and I've known him for 35 years. I know his heart. I know his works. People have seen the record of accomplishments and I think what is so special about this moment is that he really felt compelled to step forward and put his name forward as a candidate. And all he's asking the American people is to, number one, let him be OUTFRONT and share what his vision is and number two then they can take their chance to vote for this man.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time very much, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester. Of course, she is welcome OUTFRONT at any time as well.
ROCHESTER: Thank you so much, Erin.
[19:20:05] BURNETT: Joan Walsh, Karen Dunn and Mark Preston, OK, I couldn't resist, still with me. Karen, OK, she obviously I think is making it very clear they have spent a lot of time thinking about the crime bill and the responses that he's going to have there. But you say he has the most to lose and the most to gain.
DUNN: Yes. I think clearly he has the most to gain and the most to lose. If he does well tomorrow night, there are going to be a lot of Democrats, a lot of donors who breathe a huge sigh of relief and think, "OK, we got it. This is it."
BURNETT: Is ready for this, yes.
DUNN: And he's looking for a chance to go after the President not to interact with the people around him. He also has the most to lose. If he has a bad night, then it's really anybody's game as among sort of the mid to top tier candidates. I also think tomorrow night's debate will make tonight's debate relevant because Biden has a good night and Warren is where she is, then Biden and Warren are going to be the people to watch.
BURNETT: That's interesting, the layout matters.
BURNETT: Joan, what do you think about that though that he has the most to gain because I think what Karen's acknowledging here is there's a lot of people who've been looking at Biden and saying, "OK, his poll numbers haven't been - Elizabeth Warren is surging, where is Joe Biden?"
WALSH: He's an unusual frontrunner, because he does have something to prove. A lot of times we say, we said it in the earlier segment, the frontrunner can afford to play it safe to some degree. They don't want to lose. They want to maintain their stature. He is somebody who really has to prove that he deserves to be the frontrunner with everything that's been coming out about his record.
You asked about flip-flops. You can completely depict a flip-flop as an evolution, as an adjusting to the time. He goes back and forth between saying he's changed and wanting to say he hasn't changed.
BURNETT: And defending, that's the problem --
WALSH: And defending. He has not chosen a lane on the crime bill. That New York Times story today was rather devastating when you hear him saying S.O.B.s and thugs. Remember, the Hillary Clinton, one of the many reasons she's not president was the single use of the term super predator. There are a lot of people who are wanting him to say something more conciliatory about his role.
BURNETT: And last night, I'm sorry, and last, age will be center stage tomorrow. I mean literally you got Joe Biden.
PRESTON: Right, generation.
BURNETT: You got Bernie Sanders next to him. I mean I'm talking about at literal age right now and then Pete Buttigieg next to Biden, so the guy who's double his age and still younger than Biden. But figuratively, it is very important and this is something that - look, donors are watching, voters are watching, it has been put out on the table. He said it's fair and people have been going after him for it like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It turns out people of all generations are ready to see a new generation rise in American leadership.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is time for new American generation of dreamers.
JULIAN CASTRO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going be offering a different vision for the future of this country. One that is set in the future about what we can become as a country and not stuck in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. That's all pointing at, well, Sanders and Biden. But they're all going there.
PRESTON: They're all going there. And let's go back to some that Karen said that Elizabeth Warren has the perfect place because she's going to be onstage tonight and she's not going to deal with Bernie Sanders or she's not going to have to deal with Joe if she so chooses to engage with a Joe Biden by invoking his name that is her choice.
Now, tomorrow it'll be interesting to see what happens with Joe Biden because Joe Biden could have a great night if he doesn't get attacked, because where he could slip up is if he gets angry and frustrated and then he goes on the attack. The thing that Joe Biden has got going for him though is that he's done these debates. He's done a lot of them.
BURNETT: Yes, he's been there.
PRESTON: He has been there and if anybody goes after Joe Biden to what Karen said too is that the establishment is not very happy when Democrats are going after each other and Joan said it as well. And if you go back to Kirsten Gillibrand and before you send me a text or tell me I'm wrong in this, I'm just telling you strategically what happened, Kirsten Gillibrand came under a lot of criticism for attacking Bill Clinton and saying that he should have stepped down during the Monica Lewinsky affair.
BURNETT: Monica Lewinsky, yes.
PRESTON: But, yet, she also took Hillary Clinton's seat and was very close to her. And also she was criticized for her efforts to get Al Franken out of office. A lot of people in the establishment were upset about that.
BURNETT: Have not moved - past that...
PRESTON: Right. So if you see that in the debate, people got to be careful --
WALSH: She needs a big night. She needs a break out --
BURNETT: She needs a very big night. All right. Thank you all. And next the heart-wrenching photo that sparking new calls to deal with the immigration crisis and tonight we have the story behind this horrible end. Plus, President Trump reacting to Bob Mueller, agreeing to testify before Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Mueller thing never stops. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:28:33] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump blaming Democrats for the drowning deaths of a migrant father and his nearly two-year-old daughter in the Rio Grande. The two shown in this horrible picture taken Monday, toddlers arms still draped around her father's neck. When asked how the photograph made him feel, here was President Trump's response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hate it and I know it could stop immediately if the Democrats changed the law. They have to change the laws and then that father who probably was this wonderful guy with his daughter things like that wouldn't happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ed Lavandera has the story behind the photograph.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): The tiny arm of 23- month-old, Angie Valeria, still clings to her father Oscar Alberto Martinez. As the pair afloat lifeless on the shore of the Rio Grande, their long and desperate journey towards a better life cut short at America's edge.
The child's mother Taniya witnessed it all from the Mexican side of the river. She told a local reporter her husband and daughter initially made it across the river. Oscar sent their child on the opposite shore and began swimming back for his wife but the toddler jumped in after him. He clung to her as they were swept away in a current. Eventually drowning together in his t-shirt.
Back in their home country of El Salvador, Valeria's grandmother weeps for her family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSA RAMIREZ, MOTHER OF MIGRANT WHO DIED ON THE BORDER(through interpreter): They lived here with me in the same house, so they wanted to have their own house and that was what motivated them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA (voice-over): The family of three spent some two months in Mexico, eventually joining thousands of other migrants crowding near the U.S. border. They were waiting to ask for asylum from American officials but on Sunday, they risked their life lives for a faster way into the country.
The push of poverty and the pull of promise have led millions to take such chances.
Customs and Border Protection often release footage of migrants and young children making the dangerous river crossing into the United States. According to U.S. Border Patrol, 283 migrants died on the southwest border with Mexico last year, 283 dead.
It's a number some pay easily forget until an image like this reveals what a humanitarian crisis on the border really looks like.
LAVANDERA: And, Erin, this isn't an uncommon occurrence. Critics of the Trump administration who say that this policy of the Trump administration forcing migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico and essentially waiting their turn as they limit the number of people who can come through these legal ports of entry, these critics have been saying for months this is forcing people out into more remote areas to make more dangerous treacherous situations and we have seen that here now play out in a deadly way -- Erin.
BURNETT: Ed, thank you very much.
And look, the photograph of that father and his daughter has heightened emotion for anyone who saw it, including the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee who became emotional talking about their deaths.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23- month-old daughter Valeria, I realize tragedies occur all over this country, all over the world. I don't want to see another picture like that on the U.S. border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Chairman Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
Chairman, look, I appreciate your time. You know, and your raw emotion we saw today. What went through your mind when you first saw that picture?
JOHNSON: Hello, Erin. What was going through my mind -- I've got two daughters. I have four grandkids all under four years old. I think that's what goes through every American's mind.
And Republicans hate it. Democrats hate it. The men and women of DHS dealing with this crisis hate it. The president hates it. And I'm hoping from this tragedy -- I hope it will catalyze -- be a catalyst for action so we can fix or horribly broken immigration system. I'm not here to assess blame I'm here to try and solve the problem.
I don't think there's been a committee in Congress devoting more time and effort to understanding the complexity of what's happening at our border in Central America. So -- and we have to work together in a non-partisan way and start addressing this problem, continue improvement, start fixing it.
BURNETT: Well, look, I have to say, that is one everyone should applaud, I mean, this sort of pointing the finger, it's Democrats, it's Republicans, it's at the least counterproductive. At the most I think offensive to Americans.
But I want to understand, Senator, what your- -- you know, your bill would do. Oscar's mother -- Oscar, of course, is the father in the picture. His mother said that her son's goal, his wife, their daughter was to get to Dallas. They wanted to go to Dallas, Texas, to work and have a better financial situation.
We understand that such claims to come to the United States for economic betterment are pretty much rejected when it comes to asylum, which is the way they were coming in.
So would you change that? Or even under the bill you're talking about, would the situation still have happened?
JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I'm not talking about any bill right now. We're still laying out the reality of the rm. The fact of the matter is that's not a valid asylum climb. As sympathetic as it is people wanting to come to this country for the economic promise I understand that but it has to be a legal process.
If you are concerned about people being exploited -- that was the subject of our hearing was the human trafficking and the exploitation of these migrants, by the evil human traffickers, if you are concerned about that kind of exploitation, you ought to be concerned about people coming into this country illegally, exploited by unscrupulous employers.
We had a group arrested in Wisconsin that was -- they were trafficking legal immigrants taking away passports, threatening them. So, we have turned to an illegal. Allow people to climb asylum or refugee status in their home countries so they don't have to take the journey.
JOHNSON: So, let me finish with this. We have to understand it. Our broken immigration system is sustaining this wicked business model of human smuggling and human trafficking.
[19:35:03] That's what we need to address.
BURNETT: Yes. Look, I hear you but I'm just trying to understand. I mean, in the horrible situation that this picture brought to light, right, a young family they're not going to make the asylum bar, right? But they feel so desperate that this was worth a shot.
It doesn't sound like that would change.
JOHNSON: Well, again, this year alone in just eight months this fiscal year 411,000 unaccompanied children by people come in illegally as a family unit and crossed illegally and have been apprehended, 411,000. The pace is quickening. If May's pace continues, in the next four months, another 400,000 will enter. And by the way, 93 percent are entering between the ports of entry because that is the easiest path in.
So I understand in story and these people got impatient. And it ended in tragedy. But 93 percent of people aren't necessarily waiting. They just realize if they come in illegally, they get a free pass in border patrol is a mere speed bump into the longtime residency. That's a huge incentive for more people to come and more tragedies will occur.
BURNETT: So what -- what are you going to do? I mean the asylum system and some people are showing up you got to wait 14 months not enough people to stay. Some of them have to sleep on the street. One can understand how they might feel desperation.
People who want to not even try to come in through the asylum system, there aren't enough judges. There aren't enough beds. I mean, what specifically is going to be done to change this?
JOHNSON: So there are many things we can do. Again, allow people to claim asylum and refugee status in their home country so they don't have to take the dangerous journey. That's part of many people's bills.
From my standpoint, I've introduce add guest worker visa program that's governed by the states. The president -- Jared Kushner is working on a revision of our visa system. BURNETT: Yes.
JOHNSON: I think we need more legal immigrants, legal immigrants. We don't have enough workers in the country to grow our economy the way we need to but it has to be a legal system.
So, again, what I'm going to be doing is holding meetings with our Democrat colleagues.
JOHNSON: Hopefully, we can get initiate operations safe return. The goal of that is to rapidly and more accurately determine those people who don't have a valid asylum claim and safely return them to the home country as deterrent so that more people don't take the dangerous journey. I think that's compassion.
BURNETT: Can I ask you a question, though, that's really important? Because I understand your point about claiming it in your home country. But that's a lot easier to enforce, shall we say right, when your home is country is across an ocean.
But when your home country has a land path to the United States and you're worried about being killed or murdered in your home country, which you may be in Syria or somewhere else, which is a hell of a lot harder to get here. But in Guatemala, you're going to come.
How would provide them in their home country stop them from coming if they think that's a difference between life and death?
JOHNSON: Again, because if they have a credible fear and they really are being persecuted and they actually qualify for asylum, they'll be granted asylum. And again --
BURNETT: But the ample wait times are, what, six months to a year. So you expect them to wait there for that long.
JOHNSON: You know, Erin there was a poll taken in Guatemala that a third of Guatemalans intended to migrant to the United States.
We couldn't some simulate 6 million and Guatemala doesn't want to lose the population. We do bear great responsibility. It's our insatiable demands for drugs, given rise to the drug cartels, destroyed those public institutions, but we also have to crush the drug cartels so we can actually provide development dollars to create opportunity in the Central American countries as well.
This is an incredibly complex problem.
JOHNSON: Those are long term solutions. The short-term solution, the short goal ought to be to reduce the flow, make sure that human traffickers realize we're not going to allow them to exploit our laws and exploit those migrants. We have to stop -- reduce this flow because we can't accept all of them and people are going to take the risks and see more tragedies like we saw in that photo.
BURNETT: All right. Chairman Johnson, I appreciate your time thank you very much for the conversation.
JOHNSON: Have a good night.
BURNETT: And next, President Trump slamming his own Federal Reserve chairman. Again and again and again. Why?
Plus, Jeanne on why President Trump is trumpeting a piece of technology that you probably stopped hearing about maybe a decade ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My wife watched. I said, you have to see this. It's great invention. It's called TiVo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[9:42:52] BURNETT: Tonight, it never ends. That's the president's reaction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's decision to testify to two House committees next month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Mueller thing never stops. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing. How many times do we have to hear it?
It never ends. It just keeps going on and on. I've been going through this for two years, two and a half years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But some Democrats say Mueller's testimony could be the thing that increasing calls for impeachment.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck who sits on the House Intel Committee, one of the committees that will be questioning Mueller.
So, Congressman Heck, I appreciate your time as always.
So, you know, Lindsey Graham is telling CNN that the Mueller hearings could blow up in Democrat faces. Ultimately, it's not going to change anybody's mind. What do you say to Senator Graham?
REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): I say it's an audacious assertion to make three weeks ahead of the hearing and before he heard a single word that Mueller gives in testimony. Look, we're just going to all have to wait and see what he says before we reach hard and fast conclusions.
BURNETT: So, I want to play what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez said. She is also not waiting until that time. Here is what she said to our Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The pressure to impeach grows every single day. And I think that having testimony -- public testimony from Robert Mueller will add credence to the case. And I think is only adds to the pressure once his statements are made public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you agree? Do you think that Mueller's appearance will increase calls for impeachment?
HECK: I think it certainly holds the potential to do that. I mean, as I've said to you before, Erin, the Mueller report, even unredacted, is like having the sheet music to a song, never actually having heard it sung. And when Director Mueller, who's only made on public appearance in two years, actually comes forward and gives public testimony, we will be hearing the song the first time.
And so, again, depending what it is he says and how he answers the question, there is no question that it has the potential to increase the demand or change minds or put people over the edge to call for impeachment or impeachment inquiry which seems to be the more popular proposal in current time.
[19:45:04] BURNETT: So, you know what, to this point I'm curious. He has said, look, it's a 448-page report. He has been clear when he gave the press conference which he said verbally the very words in the report, it did feel different to people. So perhaps you're going further than that process. But I understand that point.
But he did say directly, the report is my testimony, when talking about the testimony to Congress. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.
So when you say it's a song we haven't heard, maybe it's a song people chose not to read. But do you really think we get anything new?
HECK: Well, again, it remains to be seen. Look, Director Mueller said he wouldn't appear before Congress now he is going to. He said he want do anything but read from the report. We'll see if that's the case.
But as you indicated, I think there is power in him actually saying the words out loud, a human voice not just words, ink on a piece of paper. Additionally, remember, that the intelligence committee is going to have the opportunity to meet with some of the high ranking deputies to actually ask questions about the counterintelligence part of this, the volume one portion of the Mueller report.
So I think that there is a distinct possibility that something will come of this that matters. But, again, we won't know until July 17th.
BURNETT: So, how much time are you spending working on the questions? Are you doing questioning yourselves? Are you going to bring in an expert prosecutor? Have you decided?
HECK: I think it's both. I heard Chairman Schiff say on television last night that the members have opportunity to ask questions. Although I don't know that's been completely finalized.
I know how I'm going to prepare. I thoroughly red the report and especially volume one because it deals with the counterintelligence matters which members of the Intel Committee are more interested in. I annotated it.
I'm going back and I'm going to prioritize the kinds of things I want to ask. But if you were to ask me next, for example, Congressman Heck, what are those things, I would say -- I would be asking him is it true he didn't investigator research whatsoever any potential financial conflicts of interest that the president may have had that would help explain the inexplicable coziness with the Russians?
I would ask him from his standpoint, are there continuing gaps in our national security system that make us vulnerable to this continuing interference Russia? And if he thinks they are, what are they and what should we do about them?
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Denny Heck, thanks as always. I appreciate it.
HECK: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And next, President Trump stepping up his attacks on people I appointed. Has the president ever treated his staff this way before?
Plus, Jeanne on the piece of technology, ancient, that Trump can't stop talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's called TiVo. TiVo. TiVo.
I think it's actually better than television.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:51:22] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump escalating his feud with the chairman of the Federal Reserve board, Jerome Powell.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: Here is a guy nobody heard of him before and now, I made him, and he wants to show how tough he is, OK? Let him show how tough he is. He's not doing a good job.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, David Gergen, who's advised four U.S. presidents.
Look, David, the Fed is a crucial, sacrosanct institution in the United States and the world economy, right?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.
BURNETT: A president is very rarely if ever spoken like this about a Fed chairman. Powell has fought back and said, it is our independence from political pressure that makes the Fed work.
But what do you make of this, the president taking him on like this, I made you?
GERGEN: The Federal Reserve chairman is the second or third most powerful person in Washington and one of the most powerful in the world. It's his appointment you have to stand up for your own appointees.
The essence of it though is for most of our history, you know, all to the beginning of the 20th century, Congress controlled the money supply, right? And private banks did that. What it led to is 100 years of boom and bust.
BURNETT: Hyper inflation.
GERGEN: It would go way up and then you've had terrible depressions.
GERGEN: The Congress move during that early part of the 20th century to set up the Federal Reserve as an independent body, to keep it out of politics. That was the whole point.
So when a president starts putting short term pressure on in order to get growth up a little bit, in order to win in Washington, that become -- you're trespassing a territory you ought to stay out of.
GERGEN: I remember with Bill Clinton so strongly not Oval Office, Clinton like most presidents would get angry and go out and take a shot at them and Bob Rubin, who had run Goldman Sachs, and the most important economic advisor continually went to him and said, don't do that. Don't go public. It will only challenge their manhood and raise the interest rates.
BURNETT: Right, they will go against you. They are supposed to go for price, stability and full employment, not politics.
BURNETT: But this isn't the only time we seen the president do this to his own people. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would say, if I had one do-over it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.
I like General Mattis. I think I know more about it than he does. I think he's sort of a Democrat if you want to know the truth.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The FBI director says that's what should happen.
TRUMP: The FBI director is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's Christopher Wray.
By the way, all of those are Trump's appointees.
GERGEN: Yes, that's not even including the former secretary of state he called dumb as a rock.
BURNETT: Right, Rex Tillerson.
GERGEN: Yes, Rex Tillerson. So, it's a long list. I've never seen that. I don't think everybody has ever seen that before.
It leaves both the person and the organization uncertain who will be running things six months from now and uncertain with which direction policy will take. And as you know better than almost everyone else, that makes a big difference in the international economy. Other nations are trying to figure out which way are you going to go because we have such impact in the world.
BURNETT: We do. We are the most powerful economy in the world.
BURNETT: And that is to protect.
BURNETT: Yes, still. Thank you very much.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Jeanne Moos on the president toting technology which is now 20 years old.
BURNETT: Here is Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump sounds like a broken record when he talks about playing things back. TRUMP: My wife watched. You have to see this. It's great invention.
It's called TiVo, OK? I don't want to be advertising but, you know, it's like better than television because television, you can play it back. I played it back.
MOOS: Twitter played back the president's words.
TRUMP: It's called TiVo.
MOOS: Trump marvels at old technology. This would be a good plug for TiVo in 1999, which is when the digital recording device was introduced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: TiVo lets you create your own TV network to let you watch what you want when you want to.
MOOS: Trump has touted TiVo repeatedly.
TRUMP: I think it's actually better than television because television is practically useless without TiVo, right?
MOOS: As far back as 2015.
TRUMP: So, we replay it. You know, we have things like TiVo. It's great today.
MOOS: 2015 was the same year TiVo tweeted TiVo cuts ties with Donald Trump, #dumpTrump.
A different company owns the brand and told CNN: We do not stand by the past remarks. We are not about politics.
(on camera): But to be honest, we don't have the remotest idea of exactly which system the president uses to watch TV.
(voice-over): Does Trump have a state-of-the-art Super TiVo or just regular old DirecTV? , asked "The Verge" after examining an image of the remote spotted at the White House during a "60 Minutes" interview.
President Trump has a low-tech image with his sharpies, his computer- free desk, his phone technique.
MOOS: Yet, he insists --
TRUMP: Yes, I know more about technology than anybody.
Nobody knows more about technology than me.
I'm a professional at technology.
MOOS: 1999 technology maybe he'll use it to play this story back.
TRUMP: One of the great inventions in history is called TiVo. TiVo.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
TRUMP: TiVo, TiVo.
MOOS: New York.
BURNETT: It was the last shot that made it.
Thanks for watching.
"ANDERSON" starts now.