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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Judge: Justice Department Can't Swap Legal Team In Census Case; Federal Judge Rejects Trump Admin's Move To Replace Legal Team On The Census Citizenship Question Case; McConnell Likens Himself To Obama As Descendant Of Slave Owners; Trump Defends Acosta Amid Calls To Resign Over Epstein Case. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 9, 2019 - 19:00 ET
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Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next breaking news, team Trump suffering a major setback tonight in its effort to add that crucial citizenship question to the 2020 census. A federal judge just ruling tonight. Plus, Trump praising his labor secretary as calls mount for him to resign over a plea deal with accused child molester and rapist, Jeffrey Epstein. Why is the President standing by his man? And Senator Mitch McConnell acknowledging he's the descendant of slave owners. And why is he comparing himself to President Obama in that regard? Let's go out front.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with a breaking news this hour. A major setback tonight for the Trump administration's efforts to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census. Now, a federal judge has just ruled moments ago that the Justice Department can't swap out its legal team. This was one of the big ways, the crucial ways that President Trump was trying to get a question about whether you're a citizen or not in the census.
The Supreme Court, of course, blocked it. So why is President Trump so adamant that this question on citizenship be included? Partisan politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You need it for many reasons. Not the number needed for Congress. You need it for Congress, the districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Fundamentally, it's hard to imagine anyone who's going to answer that question honestly if they're not a citizen. So anyway Evan Perez is out front live in Washington. Evan, what more are you learning about this ruling and why it is so important tonight? EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big
importance of this, Erin, is the fact that the judge is simply very frustrated and expressing his frustration at the Justice Department. Part of the problem for the department, for the administration is that they cannot keep their story straight and so the judge is calling them out on it.
He's simply saying, "Look, you've provided no reason. You haven't provided an adequate reason. Certainly, no reason as to why you need to change legal teams." And we all know why they're doing this, it's because the legal team that was handling this had been put in a place that essentially made them lose their credibility with the courts. And so that's one reason why as a result of a tweet by the president, right, changing the legal course of the administration.
So that's the reason why they decided they needed to change their legal team and so this judge in New York, remember, there are two other judges who are handling other parts of this case. This judge is simply saying, "You need to come forward. You need to tell me exactly what happened here."
These lawyers, by the way, that have been removed, Erin, could very well become witnesses as part of this thing and so the judge is simply saying, "Look, you guys are saying that you need to do this quickly, so I'm giving you the chance to do this and I'm not going to let you just switch legal teams when you're saying that you need to do this by a certain date."
BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much. I want to go to Kaitlan now at the White House. Kaitlan, look, the President staked a lot on this, politically. He's made a big deal of it. And, obviously, this is a blow to him tonight.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is not what they wanted to hear. They've already faced a lot of difficulty with this and this really underscores just how much trouble they're having adding this question to the census. A lot of it started when they essentially dropped their effort to try to add this question and then suddenly reverse course and now trying to change legal teams which we should note was essentially unheard of and they are now facing another setback even with this.
Now, you'll recall the, excuse me, the Attorney General told The New York Times yesterday he could understand why this original set of lawyers didn't want to continue as they were working on in this next phase, but now essentially being told by the judge that their reason for changing the legal team just isn't good enough.
Another thing Bill Barr said yesterday is that he and the President are going to move forward and announce their next move on this in the next day or two. Here it is already the next day and now, Erin, they're going to be facing a another setback trying to figure out even which legal team is making their arguments for them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. Out front now, Gloria Borgia, Chief political Analyst, Harry Sandick, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Network.
So Harry, obviously, a blow to the President's team tonight. What do you think the significance of this decision is?
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I think the significance is that what Judge Furman seems to be saying is if the government wants to bring in new lawyers and let the old lawyers out, they're going to have to convince them of two things. They're going to have to convince him first that there's a reason for it.
And as he said in this order, the government essentially offered no reason for why the old lawyers are leaving the case. Secondly, they're going to have to convince them that there won't be delay. The government throughout this case has said if this isn't all resolved by June 30th, essentially the world will blow up, we won't be able to have a census.
[19:05:13] And now it turns out that may not be true and delay is often caused when new lawyers come into the case. So he didn't say the new lawyers can come in, they can, but they have to still leave the old lawyers in the case. He also said the old lawyers have to be available should there be a sanctions hearing, because as I said a moment ago, the government has said all along this has to be done by June 30th and that dictated the way in which the case was handled by Judge Furman. If that wasn't true, Judge Furman wants to find out why that misrepresentation was made.
BURNETT: So April, I mean, the thing about this is that it's very politically significant for the President, the citizenship question. It sings to a lot of people, it's polarizing and many others hate it. The President has been digging in on it hard. He's threatened an executive order. Does he see this as worth it for him politically to keep fighting, whether he wins or loses?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Oh, he sees it as worth it, Erin. It's so worth it that Barr, the Attorney General, is frustrated over what he considers conservative judges but they're trying to move forward as Kaitlan Collins just said. And from sources inside the White House, they're saying that the next move by the President to keep this going as an executive order and many in the White House and those close to the President already know it may not fly and won't fly, but they're going to try it. They're going to throw spaghetti noodles, wet spaghetti noodles at the wall to see what sticks.
BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, is that because the President thinks that this is a big political win for him?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Look, he thinks this is a big political issue for him. The question is right now how far is he willing to take it. He already had a Supreme Court decision where the Chief Justice called the administration's reasoning contrived as to why they wanted to add this citizenship question. Now, you have a judge saying you have given me absolutely no reason as
Harry was saying about why you want to change your lawyers. There are clearly ethical problems here which is that how can you have lawyers who argued the June 30th was the deadline come hell or high water now go back to a court and say, "Never mind." And that would be very difficult for them to do.
BORGER: And what Furman is saying to the Justice Department is get your act together and their problem is that it's very difficult for them to get their act together when they had already decided to throw in the towel on this and then the president tweeted and they had to go back to square one and come up with another legal strategy.
BURNETT: So Harry, does the Trump administration have a chance or as Gloria is laying out the timeline here, has the President completely messed up the whole thing through whatever it is being blundering or an aptitude or whatever it might be.
SANDICK: I think they're in a very difficult spot. The Supreme Court has said the proffered reason for adding the citizenship question was pre textual, but left the door open that if they could come up with an honestly held valid reason, they could still prevail in the case. But the way in which this has been handled in the week or two, since the Supreme Court spoke suggests that there's just such level of chaos within the Department of Justice that there may be no way for the valid reason to be offered.
You played the clip of President Trump saying that this was about redistricting. The Department of Justice and the Solicitor General's Office specifically told court, this was not about redistricting. So who can you believe and what is the truth? And Judge Furman is saying, "Everyone, standby until we figure this out. No one can leave this case until we figure it out."
BURNETT: Well, and of course there's a problem when you have a legal case going forward and then the President comes in and contradicts the argument, so we know he's done that before in other cases, other situations. April, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday talked about this push to add a citizenship question to the census and I wanted to play what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is about keeping - make America white again. They want to make sure that people, certain people, are counted. It's really disgraceful and it's not what our founders had in mind. And it's not what we can decide who we are as the people. Who are we? What is America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: April, is that what this is about? I mean, what is the President's real motivation on adding this question? He says it's, "Oh, I want to know, honestly, so we're not giving more representation to districts, that people who aren't citizens are being counted in, that's his argument.
[19:10:06] RYAN: You can put it in any context you want. You can cover it up, you can bury it, but it's all about what Nancy Pelosi said. It's about the browning of America. This president wants to get on record document who's here particularly the illegals.
And we already are seeing an undercount in the U.S. census when it comes to illegals. They hide in the shadows, they call them staying in the shadows when they don't count the numbers in their homes or what have you. This President wants the count for a reason. What is that reason? To deport illegals. The people who he feels should not be here and they happen to be brown people from beyond the southern border.
So Nancy Pelosi is right. This goes back to his campaign promise about immigration. This is all about the browning of America.
BORGER: And this is ...
BURNETT: I mean, Gloria, so - go ahead, Gloria.
BORGER: This is a political policy in search of a legal rationale and they haven't been able to come up with the rationale. They know as April is saying where they want to go politically on this where the President wants to go politically on this. But legally they haven't been able to make their case, not to the Supreme Court, not to Judge Furman and the Justice Department as a result as Harry was saying is left in kind of chaos, trying to figure out how to say to the President, "OK, we've got the legal reasoning behind your political decision." And they clearly haven't done it yet.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. And next, Senator Mitch McConnell trying to deflect attention that he's the descendant of slave owners by pointing out that President Obama is. Plus, the President standing by his labor secretary who was behind the controversial plea deal with an accused molester.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can tell you that for two and a half years he's been just an excellent Secretary of Labor. He's done a fantastic job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But will that support last? And a war of words, President Trump getting called out for stepping up his attacks on a British ambassador. Former British ambassador response out front.
[19:16:05] BURNETT: Tonight, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell comparing himself to President Obama. McConnell responding to an NBC News report that his great, great grandfather's owned at least 14 slaves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): You know I find myself once again in the
same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations and we both are the descendants of slave owners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: In 2007, multiple media outlets reported Obama's ancestors on his mother's side where slave owners and Obama did oppose reparations as recently as 2016. Out front now, Scott Jennings, former Senior Advisor to Senator Mitch McConnell and Keith Boykin who served as an aide in the Clinton White House.
So, Keith, what's your reaction to McConnell comparing himself as a fellow descendant of slave owners which, of course, was widely reported about the former President as well as Mitch McConnell?
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I think Mitch McConnell's statements are offensive, inaccurate and hypocritical. It's offensive to mock a serious discussion about reparations and accommodating what took place for African-Americans with a joke about President Obama. It's an accurate because it misrepresents President Obama's feeling behind his opinion.
He believed that it would be politically difficult to accomplish. He also believed that it might be a little difficult in terms of policy matter to administer. And President Obama still supported the concept of helping African-Americans, but he felt that maybe the best way to do it was to take a universal approach instead of a specific approach.
Whereas Mitch McConnell just says, "Let's not do anything to help black people at all." And I think that's a totally different approach. And finally, let me just say this, I think that it's also hypocritical, because just last month, Mitch McConnell was saying that Barack Obama was reparation somehow for slavery. The idea that one black president would be responsible for erasing 400 years segregation and slavery and racial discrimination and systemic racism was an outrageous statement then and this just compounds that.
BURNETT: So Scott, was he trying to be funny or make light of it or was he trying to make the point that it's impossible to pay reparations because even the first black president would be paying them or receiving them or what?
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, he wasn't trying to make a joke. He was trying to point out that there has been long standing bipartisan and frankly biracial opposition to the idea of paying reparations in this country. Keith and I have something in common, we both worked for politicians that oppose reparations.
I, of course, as you noted, work for Mitch McConnell and so did Keith's boss, Bill Clinton, who long opposed reparations. Also luminaries from the civil rights movement like Bayard Rustin opposed reparations. So it's not as though this is a Republican view. This is a wide spread, widely held view across both parties and across many people in white and black America. Mitch McConnell was not making a joke. He was punting this hot
garbage of a storage into the sun, which is exactly where he deserves to go.
BOYKIN: Hot garbage of story?
JENNINGS: This was a gotcha story it was ridiculous to be brought up.
BOYKIN: The hot garbage of a story?
JENNINGS: And the logic behind the story, the logic behind the story if applied to other issues would tie Democrats up and Gordian knots and I don't think it's a road they want to go down.
BOYKIN: Three hundred and 50 years of slavery, 50 years ...
BURNETT: Hot garbage of a story, Keith?
BOYKIN: -- 350 years of slavery and 50 years of segregation is not hot garbage of a story. This is America's original sin and we still have not wrestled with this. We still have not come to terms with it. The fact that we elected one black president is not enough and then Scott siding a black person here or a black person there.
That does not justify erasing the whole conversation or shutting down the conversation that's still going on today. We still see even among African-American unemployment rates. The African American unemployment rate has been and continues to be double the rate for white people. It's been that way for some 50 years as long as they've been keeping records. And if you look at the average black person who has a college ...
[19:20:00] BURNETT: Of course, Trump would point out, it is at a record low. You're saying it's a lot farther to go, but ...
BOYKIN: Exactly and the average black college graduate still makes less money than the average white high school dropout. There's so many racial disparities that persist today. It's not a conversation that's still - it's talking about something that happened just 150 years ago. There is a persistent legacy of this and that's what we're talking about.
One final thing, if we're really going to talk about a way to resolve this and the complexity of it, one of the things we need to do is we need to have some sort of way to find what happened to the history of African-Americans, people like myself and others who lost our history because of American slavery. Our families were ripped apart or parents were ripped from children and mothers and husbands and wives all separated.
BOYKIN: All of that needs to be resolved and part of what we can do is to start to restore that history.
BURNETT: All right. And obviously whether reparations is a part of doing that or not is what the question is. I mean, let me ask you, Scott, this is not the first time that your former boss, McConnell, has invoked Obama. He clearly does it specifically because he thinks it makes the point when he's talking about reparations and the issue of this country's African-American history. Here is in June.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: We've tried to deal with our original sound of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African-American president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Scott, do you think he makes a mistake though in saying, "OK. Well, now we've had an African-American president, so everything's fine." That kind of feeling of it just can be that simple and that easy is deeply offensive to many people as Keith points out and also not reflective of overall country.
JENNINGS: It's not that simple because that's not what he said. What Mitch McConnell was saying was that we have made great steps in trying to repair race relations in this country which I agree with Keith are still terrible. Race relations in this country and economic disparities faced by African-Americans are still not acceptable.
But the idea that transferring by one economists account, $6 trillion to $14 trillion of wealth from one race to another, that that's going to make race relations better in this country, I think is a fantastical idea and it's exactly why Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, civil rights leaders, Mitch McConnell, and maybe 70 plus percent of Americans know that reparations is not a good idea. It's not going to happen and it is not the right way to bring the races together.
BOYKIN: And that's in this characterization of what the discussion is about and part of what the proposal is in Congress right now is to study the issue, to figure out what is the best way to move forward, what's the best way to determine what how to administer, what reparations would look like and those are questions that need to be studied.
But Mitch McConnell was shutting down the conversation and we still have these disparities and what is the solution for Mitch McConnell to deal with that?
BURNETT: I just want to ask, Keith, does he have a point when he raises President Obama and he points out that he is of both African- American and white descent? On the white side there may have been slaveholders. I mean doesn't he raise a point there?
BOYKIN: President Obama's father was African. He wasn't a descended African-American slaves.
BURNETT: Well, that's right. So that is a separate point, but I mean I'm saying if he's also the descendant of white slave holders, is he then a payer of reparations even though his skin looks black? Is that the point Mitch McConnell is making? It's virtually impossible to figure out who pays and who receives, that's the point he's making.
BOYKIN: Well, the point that I think is true is that there is complexity in the issue of reparations. Nobody is denying that and the issue is how do we deal with it, we still have disparities. Black people are still treated differently from white people in the society. So do we say, "Oh, it's too difficult to fix it. We're not going to bother to do anything about it."
What President Obama's solution was instead of focusing on a race- specific approach, let's have a general approach where we deal with jobs. We deal with healthcare. We deal with educational inequalities by providing all of these things to everyone. Mitch McConnell's approach is exactly the opposite. Let's do nothing. Let's take government out of it. That's exactly the opposite of what President Obama was talking about.
BURNETT: Scott, I'll give you the final word. Does Keith have a point that Mitch McConnell is using this not to have a substantive conversation about the issue but to kiss it off?
JENNINGS: No, he doesn't because he's saying Mitch McConnell's approach is to do nothing. Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party's approach is to have economic prosperity for everyone in this country. And as you pointed out, Erin, unemployment rate for African-Americans is lower right now than it has ever been and it's getting better.
We have more job openings in this country than people looking for work. African-Americans are benefiting on the Republic policy and that's the way we'll make this country better for everybody.
BOYKIN: You still does not resolve the issue, the black unemployment rate has double the white unemployment rate has been so as long as we've been recording this data. That's unacceptable to continue that.
BURNETT: OK. All right. We will leave it there. Thank you. And next, Democrats targeting some of the biggest names in Mueller's report with possible new subpoenas tonight. So what more are they trying to learn? Congressman Jerry Nadler who is behind the move, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee is out front. Plus, a British ambassador's leaked messages criticizing Trump diplomatic leaked formal cables sparking a full blown diplomatic crisis and the President calling him stupid.
[19:28:58] BURNETT: New tonight, Trump standing by his man. The President embracing his Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta despite mounting calls for Acosta's resignation, all because of a deal that Acosta struck with accused child who molester Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you have full confidence in Secretary Acosta right now and in the future?
TRUMP: I can tell you that for two and a half years he has been just an excellent Secretary of Labor. He has done a fantastic job. But you are talking about a long time ago and again it a decision made, I think, not by him but by a lot of people, so we're going to look at it very carefully. We will be looking at that very carefully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The President is looking at the coverage very carefully as well. People close to the President tell CNN the next few days are crucial for Acosta. His future likely depends on the news coverage that he gets. Now, as for Acosta, he's defiant, tweeting in part, "The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific and I'm pleased that New York prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence."
[19:29:58] New evidence. But when Acosta hammered out the plea deal which resulted in Epstein serving just 13 months in a county jail and leaving for 12 hours day to go to his office, authorities had evidence of him sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls, dozens of underage girls.
What more did Acosta need?
Acosta also allegedly met up with Epstein's lawyers and assured his legal team the prosecutors would not contact any of the victims. A federal judge ruled this year this was against the law. Acosta's handling of the case has more than a dozen of the 2020 candidates calling for him to go, some Republican attention are not sticking out their necks for Acosta either.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you think Secretary Acosta should resign on this Epstein matter, the plea deal he arranged with him?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA) : I don't know enough about it to say anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump, though, is standing by Acosta for now as he desperately tries to keep this disgusting and horrific story from getting closer to himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK, anybody else?
REPORTER: Do you still think Jeffrey Epstein is a terrific guy?
TRUMP: Well, I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. I mean, people knew him. He was a fixture in Palm Beach.
I had a fallout with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan. I was not -- yes, a long time ago. I'd say maybe 15 years.
I was not a fan of his. That I can tell you. I was not a fan of his.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Not a fan. Well, I mean, not true if you believe what Trump himself said. He told "New York Magazine" in 2002, I've known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He's a lot of fun to be. It's even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side.
Let's be clear here when we talk about Acosta and what we're talking about Epstein, we're not talking about women, we're talking about girls.
OUTFRONT now, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler.
A lot to ask you about tonight, Chairman. But let me just start with the president now saying, you know, I wasn't a fan and like the guy, right? But obviously, before he said a complete opposite.
What do you make, Chairman, of the president's total about face on Epstein? Does he have any concern about this investigation?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Well, I think the president does have concern about the investigation. And obviously what Barr did was horrific and he ought to resign and the president ought to fire him promptly. But the president has a tolerance for crooks and -- as long as they're loyal him.
BURNETT: As I see you searching for the word. I don't know the word to describe you talk about Epstein himself obviously alleged a molester and rapist and the Acosta who did the teal with him. You called on the DOJ -- sorry go ahead.
NADLER: I was going to say Acosta perverted justice to give a very sweet deal to an accused multiple child molester and has no business in government.
BURNETT: Why do you think Acosta agreed to this deal? Right, just to be clear so viewers understand. Epstein was facing a lob life sentence in prison, and he gets this deal where he serves just over a year and gets to go to his office every day 12 hours a day. That's the deal Acosta made.
Why would he do that?
NADLER: I don't know. All I know and see it show as moral perversion on the part of Acosta himself and total unfitness to hold any office in the United States.
BURNETT: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is a member of the Democratic leadership, Chairman, says he is open to a house probe of Epstein plea deal. He says it's reasonable this is something the Judiciary Committee or Oversight Committee could look into. And, obviously, you have called on the DOJ to look into this more. Will you open an investigation, Chairman? NADLER: We will have to consider very carefully opening an
investigation. We have a lot of things we're investigating now. And among other things, the president's misconduct, the torture of children at the border, this will be added on the list of things we have to investigate.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about another story tonight. And these are subpoenas that your committee announced you're going to do for a dozen current and former Trump aides. Part of the investigations into both the administration's immigration policies which you just referenced, and possible obstruction of justice by the president, we understand the list includes Michael Flynn, John Kelly, Jared Kushner, Corey Lewandowski and Jeff Sessions. So far, they've refused to cooperate, told others to refuse to comply with other subpoenas.
Do you think it's any different for this group of subpoenas?
NADLER: Well, remember, first of all, we issued two -- we're issuing two sets of subpoenas. The first for people involved with the administration's torture of children and family separation on the torture of children at the border. We sent letters and made inquiries for months and gotten no proper responses.
And we cannot have -- and of course, the president contradicts witnesses and his own inspector general and says things are fine. Things are not fine. We are torturing children, running horrible family separation things.
[19:35:02] This has got to stop. So, yes, we have got to get the bottom of this. We issued a number of subpoenas because our letters and our inquiries are getting nowhere.
Secondly, we issued a number of subpoenas for witnesses in the -- to the abuse of power and obstruction of justice by the president. But, remember, what we're dealing with here. The Mueller investigation showed -- or resulted in the indictment of 37 people for subverting the honesty of our election. If showed ten instances of obstruction of justice by the president and showed repeatedly time after time, the president telling other people to lie to investigators and to the public to cover up his own actions.
So, we have -- and we have an attorney general who is leading a cover- up who lied about -- misrepresented the -- the contents of the Mueller investigation, who said along with the president that it showed no collusion, no obstruction, which it did not show. So it's important that the American people hear from Mueller as to -- and from other witnesses as to -- as to what the truth is.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about that, because obviously that's your committee, next Wednesday, Bob Mueller will be there. The Attorney General Bill Barr, right, who previously said he has no problem with Mueller testifying is singing a different tune now. Here is Bill Barr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was disappointed to see him because I don't think that serves any purpose dragging Bob Mueller up if he in fact is going to stick to the report. It seems to me the only reason for doing that is to create some kind of public spectacle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, he says the only you're doing it is a public spectacle. Your response, Chairman?
NADLER: No, we are doing it because the American people have to hear from Mueller as to what he found, as to the malfeasance by the president as to the cover-up by the attorney general. Of course, the Attorney General Bob Barr does not want Bob Mueller to testify because he by Mueller's own words -- he, Barr, misrepresented the contents of the report to the American people.
The American people should hear from Mueller what was in the report, should hear from Mueller about the evidence of the 10 obstructions of justice by the president, of the repeated instructions by the president to people to lie to them, the American people, and to investigating bodies. And, of course, Barr doesn't want that. Of course, he doesn't want to be contradicted in his lies and misrepresentations.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Chairman Nadler. Good to talk to you tonight.
NADLER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Trump leveling a new attack against the British ambassador who called his administration inept, Trump calling him stupid and pompous. Why?
Plus, a rising star in the Democratic Party now taking on the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the ballot box.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY MCGRATH (D), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I wrote a letter to my senator, telling him I wanted to fly fighter jets in combat. He never wrote back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:41:44] BURNETT: Tonight, disrespectful and wrong. That's what the British foreign minister is calling President Trump tonight, as this escalates. The British standing firm against Trump, because the president has now lashed out in a tweet rampage at the British ambassador to the United States. And this was a rampage. It was personal. It's vitriolic.
Trump tweeting, quote: The wacky ambassador that the U.K. foisted on the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy. I don't know the ambassador, but have been told he is a pompous fool.
I mean, OK. Trump steaming after Ambassador Kim Darroch's private diplomatic cables called Trump insecure and the administration inept in those cables at which, you know, formal diplomatic cables leaked.
OUTFRONT now, Sir Ivor Roberts who served as the British ambassador to the then-Yugoslavia, Ireland and Italy.
I appreciate your time, Sir Ivor.
I mean, will President Trump calling Darroch pompous and stupid make the U.K. even consider removing Ambassador Darroch?
IVOR ROBERTS, FORMER U.K. AMBASSADOR TO ITALY, IRELAND AND YUGOSLAVIA: Well, I certainly hope not. I found it a bit strange that the president should describe someone whom he claims not to know in such derogatory terms. I've known Kim Darroch for 40 years. I can assure you, he is one of the least pompous diplomats. And I've met a few pompous diplomats in my time. He is the least.
He's the most relaxed, the warmest. He's a great guy. He's certainly not stupid. He could have hardly held down the position of national security adviser had he been anything other than very smart.
BURNETT: I mean, clearly, President Trump, this is getting at him. And as the days go by, he is getting angrier and angrier and he's getting more and more personal.
Look, these cables that Ambassador Darroch sent talking about the Trump administration and about Trump himself when he calmed him insecure. This is supposed to be secure, right? Somebody leaked this information. Who do you think could possibly be responsible for that?
ROBERTS: I think it was probably some malevolent and mischievous character in London who is strongly in favor of Brexit or Britain leaving the European Union. And who sees in Sir Kim, who was ambassador to the European Union, someone who is basic instincts are in favor of Europe, and probably not an enthusiast for the Brexit policy.
But this is a way of undermining him and making sure that the impartiality of the British services is put into question.
BURNETT: I mean, you know, you've been in a similar position, Sir Ivor, in your past. You had comments leaked. You know, you made headlines. You described then President George W. Bush as, and I quote you, al Qaeda's best recruiting sergeant. You said that expecting that to be off the record in terms of your name and, of course, it got the out there.
So, what advice do you have for the Ambassador Darroch? Sure, the U.K. is standing behind him right now. The president of the United States is calling him a stupid, pompous, fool, literally.
ROBERTS: Well, I think -- I think I would probably say that he should just stay put and keep a low profile for a while. [19:45:10] President Trump, I think is probably best described as
being of mercurial temperament and perhaps these things will go away. I find it rather odd that I don't know what President Trump thinks his ambassador in London there for. But I imagine the ambassador sends back disobliging remarks about the British political system and the British political establishment as it struggles to painfully through the Brexit target.
So I don't see why he shall be surprised that frank talking about one ambassador to his own administration -- that's what the ambassador is paid for. If the ambassador said all was sweetness and light in the White House and that nobody ever left because they were enjoying themselves so much, he'd be regarded as a raving idiot in London.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Sir Ivor, thank you very much. Then he perhaps he truly would be a stupid fool. All right. Thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, Democrats tapping a former fighter pilot to take down Mitch McConnell. The Senate majority leader is taking notice tonight.
Plus, Jeanne Moos remembers the man changing political campaigns one chart at a time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSS PEROT, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kind of depressing but it's not complicated. I'm embarrassed to show this chart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:50:27] BURNETT: Tonight, a new 2020 fight is underway. Democrats are trying to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Today, they got their candidate.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
MCGRATH: I was 13 years old and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The opening to Democrat Amy McGrath's Senate campaign.
MCGRATH: And I wrote a letter to my senator, telling him I wanted to fly fighter jets in combat, to fight for my country. He never wrote back.
LAH: He is Mitch McConnell whose job McGrath wants.
MCGRATH: Folks like Senator McConnell who have been around for 34 years are not the answer and I think many Kentuckians are seeing that and that was a lot of appeal of Donald Trump, being an outsider. So, I think that's what I'm trying to say. I'm an outsider, too.
LAH: The outsider narrative drove her first run for office.
MCGRAH: We need to stand off and be a part of this.
LAH: This was rural Kentucky last year, standing room only for McGrath's 2018 House race.
MCGRATH: I'm doing the best I can. I'm going to work my butt off.
LAH: McGrath won the Democratic primary against a well-known elected official, by engaging Kentucky's rural voters.
MCGRATH: How many of you is first time going to something like this, how many?
LAH: McGrath launched onto the national stage with this viral ad highlighting her biography.
MCGRAH: I'm Amy McGrath and I love our country.
LAH: A marine fighter by lit during 9/11 who said she felt compelled after Trump's election to serve again. She challenged Republican incumbent Andy Barr in a district President Trump won by 16 points.
McGrath outraised Barr by $3 million but still lost by three points. The odds are tougher now in a Senate run.
TRUMP: I am thrilled to be here in the great state of Kentucky.
LAH: Trump carried Kentucky by 30 points. McConnell cruised to victory in his last election, winning by 15 points.
MCGRATH: I think the wall is stupid.
LAH: McConnell is already on offense. His campaign tweeted: Welcome to the race, Amy, paired with an ad painting McGrath as an anti-Trump liberal.
McGrath, a mom of three and married to a Republican, says she's a moderate who does not support more liberal positions like Medicare- for-All. And she tries to court Trump supporters in her bid for the Senate.
MCGRATH: I understand why the voters in Kentucky voted for Donald Trump. They are tired of the swamp. They are tired of the dysfunction. Frankly, voters in Kentucky really don't like both political parties. They think that's part of the problem.
LAH: The question is will that argument work in Kentucky especially against someone like Mitch McConnell? But I can tell you, Erin, having covered that congressional race, the people that support her, support her passionately. They believe that she's not to be underestimated. The question here is whether there are enough of them -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung, thank you.
And next, Jeanne Moos remembers a man who shook up presidential politics, Ross Perot.
[19:57:49] BURNETT: Tonight, we remember Ross Perot, the Texas billionaire who ran for president twice. Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ross Perot was a political gadfly who flew high, as high as 19 percent of the popular vote in one of two presidential races.
PEROT: I don't have any spin doctors. I don't have speech writers, probably shows.
MOOS: He definitely showed it by staying into politics but explained to Barbara Walters why he got into it.
PEROT: Nobody could have a better life, wonderful life, wonderful children. Now, I just get up every morning to have somebody who doesn't know a thing about me tear my head off, and I'm putting up with that to the American people.
MOOS: Born in Texas, a graduate of the Naval Academy, married over six decades, made a fortune as a pioneer in computer services, the Bill Gates of the '60s, as his son put it. His one-time campaign manager compared him to the most aggressive type of rooster.
ED ROLLINS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He was a tough rooster, let me tell you. He was as tough as anybody I've ever met.
MOOS: But he was also a humanitarian, crusading for POWs in Vietnam. Special Forces that helped take down Osama bin Laden gave Perot bin Laden's walking stick. He seemed to stick it to Al Gore when they debated NAFTA.
AL GORE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I'm listening. I haven't heard the answer but go ahead.
PEROT: That's because you haven't quit talking.
GORE: Well, I'm listening. How do you stop it without NAFTA?
PEROT: Are you going to listen?
MOOS: Fodder for Dana Carvey's impersonation.
DANA CARVEY, COMEDIAN: Larry, will you listen to me? Please? Larry, stay focused. I'm here. Listen.
MOOS (on camera): One of the things Ross Perot was known for, he was more into showing charts an than eye doctor.
PEROT: It's kind of depressing, but it's not complicated. I'm embarrassed to show you this chart. Oops, like the guy that went into the hospital thought he had a sore arm found out he had gangrene.
MOOS: Perot found out he had leukemia five months ago, but he sure knew how to shrug off mortality.
PEROT: I was Texas born and Texas bred, and when I die, I'll be Texas dead.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: A life well-lived.
And thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.