Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Abandons Census Question, Orders Agencies To Provide Citizenship Info: "We Are Not Backing Down"; Trump Takes On Citizenship And Immigration Fights As He Braces For Mueller Testimony, Calls Special Counsel "Compromised"; Mayor Michael Hancock Discusses President's Immigration Raids And Policies; Biden Slams Trump As "Ill- informed" In Foreign Policy Speech; Ocasio-Cortez Claims Pelosi "Singling Out" Women Of Color; Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) is Interviewed About Ocasio-Cortez Claiming Pelosi "Singling Out" Women of Color; Sanders Want to Lead the Party He Once Called "Republican-Lite"; States of Emergency Declared in Some Areas as Louisiana Faces Record Flooding and Braces for Expected Hurricane. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 11, 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 HOST: Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Trump abandoning the fight over the census citizenship question but he's got a whole new plan and executive action to round a thousands of undocumented immigrants. So is this all to distract from something very specific? Plus, Joe Biden ripping into President Trump today calling Trump's approach to foreign policy dangerous. But could Biden's own past come back to defeat him? Plus, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez escalating her fight with Nancy Pelosi. The Democrat accusing the House Speaker of singling out women of color. Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT this evening the breaking news, President Trump says he has found a new way to find out whether people in this country are here legally or not. This after abandoning his push to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census.

So we did that but if you listen to the President, this is not a reversal, not a failure, not a reversal from a man who for weeks vowed to move forward with the question despite a defeat at the Supreme Court. No, the President says the Commerce Department is now going to go all out and do everything needed to collect everyone in this country's citizenship data.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I will be issuing an executive order to put this very plan into effect immediately. I am here by ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The President vowing to leave no stone unturned. But today, he didn't just throw that red meat to his base, there was a social media summit and new details of raids targeting undocumented immigrants. So why such a flurry of headlines on red meat issues? Well, it comes as Robert Mueller of the Mueller investigation is about to make American history, about to testify before the entire world, a testimony President Trump desperately wants to drown out and distract from what Mueller is going to say again and again and perhaps elaborate on in front of the whole world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL OF THE UNITED STATES: If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, he didn't say so and the President does not want people to hear that, not at all. So instead, he has thrown more at the wall today holding this so called social media summit, but the only guests were right wing extremists and conspiracy theorists, so why? Again, could it be this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He didn't say so and if all that wasn't enough, Trump threw another thing against the wall today. His administration saying it's going to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants, which you don't usually announce before you do it, if you really are serious about it.

Apparently, starting at Sunday, agents are going to go to 10 cities and arrest thousands of families that have had court orders to be removed. Why? Why announced that? Well, maybe because he wants you to look at that and not at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He did not say so. Is it coincidence that the President is pushing his red meat priorities and headline after headline after headline sound and fury just days before Mueller is set to testify and testify under oath that he could not clear the president of a crime? Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House.

And Kaitlan, the President just spoke in the Rose Garden announcing this executive about a citizenship question as if it was a big victory, but this is not, of course, at all what he said he wanted?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not. And the President has wanted that citizenship question on the census for quite a while now. And he made clear when he came out to the Rose Garden, he still thinks that's a question he has the right to ask on the census. And the President says he's not backing down but they are abandoning this effort that they've been trying not only for weeks but for months to add that question to the census, something that Bill Barr said he still felt that they had the authority to do but essentially they were worried about how long it was going to take.

What we're told behind the scenes is essentially they did not feel like there was an easy path forward that could guarantee them a win. And that's why you're seeing the President take this route. But Erin, what's interesting about this route that the President is taking where he said he's going to sign this executive order that would essentially instruct all of the federal agencies and departments to turn over their data, so they can figure out how many citizens and non citizens are in the country.

That's an idea that career officials at the Census Bureau had in January of 2018 when the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross first came to them wanting to put this question on the census. They came up with a few options in this memo and that was one of them and they said it was a better idea than trying to add the citizenship question to the census, not only because they weren't guaranteed that they would be victorious in that but also because it's much more accurate to take this route and it's much less expensive.

[19:05:21] So now you're seeing the President decide to take this, but it's certainly not something that even just in recent days the President had been telling his aides he wanted. And, of course, Bill Barr has been saying they had multiple pass forward that they could take here but clearly, Erin, none of them were good enough and that's why you see them taking a totally different method instead.

BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much. And now those raids that were announced before they were happening, the raid set to target 2,000 people with court-ordered removals in 10 major U.S. cities which you see on your screen, Denver among them.

Out front now, the Democratic mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock. And Mayor Hancock, I appreciate your time. So I guess just to take a step back here, why do you think President Trump is doing this now and announcing it? Basically giving everyone a heads up that he's going to come and raid them?

MICHAEL HANCOCK, MAYOR OF DENVER: Erin, it's a continuation of and very consistent behavior of the President. Every time his backs are against the wall about something he finds something to distract the media and the American public away from the issue. Now, we have Mueller about to go in and actually testify before Congress. And guess what, he pulls us out again.

He asked Congress to act and said, "If you don't act, we'll move forward with the raid." Congress acted, he's still moving forward with the raids. And so the reality is we cannot trust the President's word and once again he's using the lies and inhumane acts of pursuing and putting our immigrants in a deep state of fear to play political games toward his base but also to distract the media and the American public from what's happening in Washington.

BURNETT: So Mayor, obviously, it's unclear what exactly he will do this weekend. But are you going to actually help people hide? Are you going to take that full step to defy him? I mean how far are you willing to go, personally?

HANCOCK: We're doing a couple of things here in Denver, Erin. What we're doing is really working with all of our partners in the communities or the ACLU, the SEIU, our immigrant organizations, our immigrant law, our legal services programs. We also have a legal defense fund that we created here in Denver in partnership with the private sector philanthropic organizations and individuals to help provide information to our immigrants about their rights, how to protect themselves but also resources to help them deal with the issue of potentially being deported.

Let me say something as well that's very important, Erin. You're probably the first one to hear this. We have a pretty good authority, Erin, that ICE is actually making calls to cities that they're targeting and wanting to, of course, reach out to the human service departments and asking for assistance in the event that they rounded up children.

And if they're not trying to separate families or pursue families, then why on earth would they call the human services of targeted cities. This is an absolute inhumane and really quite frankly a disastrous policy being pursued by the President.

BURNETT: But that's proof to you that they're targeting families. Yes.

HANCOCK: Absolutely, targeting families or trying to separate families.

BURNETT: We understand. All right. Well, so, look obviously I know that that's the understanding and certainly it's interesting as you say that they're getting the phone calls about what to do with the children. But Trump administration of course is saying, "Oh, look the focus though here is criminals."

It's not families, it's criminals. People who have committed crimes. Putting aside families and I understand it's hard to do that because these things are all tied together. But do you really believe that it's right to protect people who have defied court orders to leave and who have additional criminal records that you would actually protect those individuals from deportation.

HANCOCK: First of all, I think it's very clear that there's not a mayor in America who will move to protect a criminal or someone who's breaking the law or makes our communities unsafe whether they are native or foreign born. So I think that's a very important point to make. These individuals are fleeing to our country, because they're fleeing very unsafe violent situations in their home country.

And the reality is that as a nation, we were built on providing opportunity for people outside of some of us who were brought here on slave ships and other means against our will. But the reality is that this is who America is and we have not stood up to the values and the culture in which built this nation and dealing with our immigrants.

The reality is that it shouldn't be about trying to protect people who are here because they're afraid to go back home. It should be about how do we foster the development of a policy that gives these immigrants and refugees the belief that we can help provide for them refuge and an opportunity to pursue the American dream in this country.

BURNETT: All right. Mayor Hancock, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much from Denver.

[19:10:00] And now let's go to Patrick Healy, Political Editor at The New York Times. So Patrick, what I want to start with a big picture here because you have this social media summit that was extremist. You have these immigration raids which obviously if you are really going to be raiding and targeting you wouldn't announce it. An executive order to collect citizenship data, all of this coming just days before Mueller's big testimony.

And we certainly don't know everything he's going to say but you know the bottom line he couldn't exonerate the President. Coincidence that all of this is happening now?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Not a coincidence at all. This is classic Trump political playbook. His two sort of big strategies that he saw is what won him the presidency in 2016 was targeting immigrants and sowing division.

He's doing it with immigrants now by ordering up these ICE raids which, yes, have been done in the past under previous administrations, but he is making it sound as if he, in his immigration team, are going into cities to be willing to take families out of these places and deport them and then also going hard at this citizenship census question.

And then on the sowing division front, just this extraordinary, extraordinary summit in which he brings in right-wing extremists you know fear mongers and people who basically make their careers out of making things up on the internet in order to sow disinformation and divide people and playing into the sort of this sense of grievance that he has done over and over again.

It is sort of a classic Trump playbook strategy and it's exactly right. It's coming right before a week that is - a week he has wanted to avoid, let's face it, for a year and a half having Robert Mueller got up in front of the entire world and say in detail what he found. BURNETT: Right. I mean as we know, when you heard Robert Mueller

say, if we could have exonerated him, we would have done so.

HEALY: Right.

BURNETT: It was obviously word-for-word what was in the report, but hearing it was a very different thing for the American public than a report that almost no one read and now this extensive testimony, obviously could be very different as well. But on the census, Patrick, is Trump actually giving up because the question is not going in or is it possible that he will achieve victory with this workaround, this whole direct, this executive order to the Commerce Department?

HEALY: It's a definite retreat. He was very, very clear that he wanted this question on the census and that he was willing to drive Wilbur Ross and the Commerce Department into coming up with rationale that Chief Justice Roberts, Republican appointee, said was contrived. This was something that was in the aim of the Republican Party and the President Trump bought into for the last year and a half and this is what he wanted, so this is definitely a retreat.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Patrick Healy, Political Editor at The New York Times. And next, Joe Biden today tried to take on President Trump.

HEALY: You bet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The world sees Trump for what he is; insincere, ill- informed and impulsive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But he left something really important out that is making him the target of a whole lot of people not named Donald Trump. Plus, Democrats taking on Trump's inner circle tonight voting to subpoena Jared Kushner and other key players. So is there any chance of cooperation in what next? And Bernie Sanders has had some choice words for the party that he said he now wants to leave. Can those comments come back to burn him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:02] BURNETT: New tonight, dangerously incompetent and incapable. Former Vice President Joe Biden claiming that is how the world sees President Trump, making the remarks during a blistering speech on foreign policy where he frequently talked about, no surprise, President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: The world sees Trump for what he is; insincere, ill-informed, and impulsive, and sometimes corrupt, dangerously incompetent and incapable, in my view, of world leadership and leadership at home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, former Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who is a supporter of Joe Biden and Scott Jennings who was Special Assistant to President George W. Bush. Mayor Nutter, Joe Biden spent the whole speech going after Trump. I mean it's almost as if we're done the primaries here except we're definitely not, because he has, of course, dropped in the polls. Is it a mistake to focus on Trump for him right now?

MICHAEL NUTTER, FORMER MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: Well, Joe Biden is running for President of the United States and I think was also taken the position of certainly not attacking fellow Democrats. The Republicans speak no ill of fellow Republican. I think Joe Biden is utilizing the same posture with regard to fellow Democratic candidates. I'm sure there'll be a lot of back-and-forth between the candidates.

But in general, he's running for president of the United States of America and there is one occupant of the White House right now and he wants to talk about foreign policy. If you're going to compare yourself on foreign policy you compare yourself to the person who's in office right now.

BURNETT: All right. So Scott, on that there were some comparisons. So Biden, I mean it was just again and again and again a blow on foreign policy. Biden did it on specific issues today though, Russia and Putin, Saudi Arabia and Mohammad Bin Salman, North Korea, Kim Jong-un. So here's what Biden said today. This is how he put this together. And then what Trump said on those issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Trump smirked along with Putin making a joke out of Russia's very real and very dangerous assault on our electoral institutions.

TRUMP: Don't meddle in the election please. Don't meddle in the election.

BIDEN: He refuses to condemn Saudi Arabia for the gruesome murder of a journalist.

TRUMP: The Crown Prince hates it more than I do and they have vehemently denied it.

BIDEN: He falls in love with a murderous dictator in North Korea.

TRUMP: He wrote me beautiful letters and they're great letters. We fell in love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Scott, was Biden effective today at going after the things Trump has done that have enraged even many Republicans? SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

Well, I think that a lot of Democrats want to hear what Biden was selling today of course in a speech. What you're not going to get is the retort and where Trump is going to go with this is very simple. If you want to talk about Russia, Joe Biden, let's talk about the fact that the Russians interfered in our election on your watch.

[19:20:10] If you want to talk about Russia, let's talk about what happened in Syria during the Obama administration. If you want to talk about Russia, let's talk about what happened in the Crimea in the Obama administration. So the problem for a candidacy like Biden's is for everything he attacks Trump on, there's a lot that the Obama-Biden people have to answer for and there aren't any good answers for that or Iran or China taking advantage of us or on a lot of other foreign policy issues.

So this is where Biden's candidacy, in my opinion, breaks down. He'll have to answer for as much as he's attacking Trump on.

BURNETT: So Mayor Nutter, on that point I want to ask you about something Biden didn't address, OK, his vote on the Iraq war and he's getting slammed for this by his 2020 rivals. Jay Inslee, obviously, running for president said today, "I think the vice president owes an explanation to the American people about why he made that horrendous mistake."

Matt Duss, Foreign Policy Advisor to Bernie Sanders after the speech Biden gave says, quote, did Biden really get through that entire speech without mentioning the Iraq war? Did that just happen? I mean that's pretty tough stuff coming from his own side, Mayor Nutter.

NUTTER: Yes. Well, having run for office a couple times, if you're perceived by others or if polls are indicating that you're the front- runner, I mean you are going to be attacked. I mean you should anticipate that. It's like a boxer in the ring, protect yourself at all times. I seem to remember that the vice president probably addressed Iraq the last time he ran for president of the United States of America.

But, Erin, there's only so much you can cover in one speech and do you want to step on your own major policy initiatives going for as opposed to talking about things from the past. I assume in the course of this campaign, Joe Biden will address the issue of Iraq and will have to address the issue of Iraq.

I mean your record is your record, the good parts and maybe the part you're not so excited about.

BURNETT: Scott, I mean, to that point and Mayor Nutter is being pragmatic about this right but this isn't going to go away. President Trump loved this issue of Iraq when it came to Hillary Clinton. In 2016 he kept bringing it up that she voted as the Senator to authorize the war like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton has made one bad foreign policy decision after another, beginning with the support for going to war in Iraq.

I would not have had our people in Iraq. Iraq was a disaster.

You shouldn't have been in Iraq, but you did vote for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It's not going to go away is it, Scott?

JENNINGS: No. And I would anticipate if I were the Biden team, this is going to come up in a debate. One of these candidates who wasn't around for that vote is going to come after Joe Biden. And what he cannot do is give a wishy-washy or confused or befuddled answer the way he did when Kamala Harris attacked him on busing.

Every time Iraq comes up in a presidential campaign, it sunk Hillary in '08, Trump hurt Hillary with it in the 16 General. Jeb Bush struggled with this on his brother's legacy in the Republican primary in '16. Candidates who were involved in that decision have not handled it well and it has really, really hurt their campaign.

So whatever Joe Biden does, he's got to be on message and unflapped that day because any source of variance in tone or befuddlement is really, I think, going to be worse than the busing attack was in the previous debate.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

NUTTER: Yes. But, Erin, let me just mention, Scott, I appreciate Scott's comments.

BURNETT: OK, very quickly.

NUTTER: But there are a lot of things that are not going to go away like the Trump Tower meeting, like his weird relationship with Putin, he's being played by Kim Jong-un and a variety of other national, international incidents that he is currently the president and has failed to deal with. So there are a lot of things that are not going away in this campaign.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez stepping up her attacks on Nancy Pelosi accusing her of signaling out women of color. Yes. This is a Democrat on Democrat complete war. Plus, breaking news, a dangerous situation unfolding along the Gulf Coast, hurricane warnings in effect this moment. Right now they are looking what's forecasted to be the first hurricane of the season with major flooding in New Orleans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:28:23] BURNETT: New tonight, disorder in the House. Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez standing by her claim. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is singling her and three freshmen colleagues out because they're women of color. It's the latest public spat between Pelosi and the women known as the squad. So is there any end in sight for this feud? Sunlen Serfaty is out front. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): With tensions escalating ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Maybe you didn't hear what I said. I said what I'm going to say on the subject.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY(voice-over): Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempting to defuse the fight with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PELOSI: How they're interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them, but I'm not going to be discussing it any further.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY(voice-over): But AOC is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's singling out four individuals and knowing the media environment that were operating in, knowing the amount of death threats that we get, knowing the amount of concentration of attention I think it's just worth asking why.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY(voice-over): The freshman congresswoman calling out the Speaker directly, telling The Washington Post, quote, when these comments first started I kind of thought that she was keeping the progressive flank at more of an arm's distance in order to protect more moderate members, which I understood. But the persistent singling out, it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color. A charge she stood by today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORTEZ: I think it's really just pointing out the pattern.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY(voice-over): Pelosi emphasizing today ...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:29:57] PELOSI: We respect the value of every member of our caucus. The diversity of it all is a wonderful thing. Diversity is our strength. Unity is our power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Setting off this latest dust up, the fallout over the border bill that passed two weeks ago. Pelosi calling out the so-called squad, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, the four progressive freshmen and only Democrats to vote against the bill.

PELOSI: Overwhelmingly, our caucus voted to protect the children. Our Blue Dogs and our moderates and all the rest voted to protect the children. They did not.

SERFATY: AOC shooting back.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Well, it's not true. It's pretty -- I mean, that's -- it's just wrong.

SERFATY: And Pelosi diminishing their power, telling "The New York Times", all these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world, but they didn't have any following. They are four people and that's how many votes they got.

AOC responding right back online, tweeting that public whatever is called public sentiment.

The feud had been simmering beneath the surface for months with Pelosi dressing down AOC's Green New Deal proposal.

PELOSI: What's in the -- in the green deal -- New Green Deal --

SERFATY: And minimizing her primary win in New York.

PELOSI: Those are districts that are solidly Democratic, this glass of water would win with a D next to its name.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: And as all this plays out, Speaker Pelosi that be telling her members to come to her directly with complaints rather than airing out their dirty laundry in public.

Now, a key progressive voice, Congressman Ro Khanna, he is an ally of AOC, someone who has defended her in the past. He told me today that it's time to move on, it's time to rally around the speaker. The subtext of that, Erin is that AOC needs to back off -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Sunlen, thank you.

And now, Democratic congresswoman from California and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Karen Bass.

Congresswoman, thanks for being with me. It's good to have you back on the show.

I mean, do you agree that Speaker Pelosi is singling out those -- that's the quote -- singling out Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and three of her colleagues because they are women of color? REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): No, I don't. And I certainly agree with Ro

Khanna. It is definitely time to move on.

You know, I have seen Speaker Pelosi take many members to task. And I don't think that there is anything that is specific about this situation.

BURNETT: I mean, it's just sort of incredible. I sort of did a double take, right. I mean, to come out and say that, to say that Nancy Pelosi is doing that because these are women of color, to a lot of people that sounds line like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is calling Nancy Pelosi a racist.

BASS: I don't think that that's --

BURNETT: That's what it sounds like?

BASS: I do not think that's what she was doing at all. I think there was a spat. I think that this spat is over. And I think that everybody is ready to move on.

You heard that from the speaker today. I believe that you would hear the same thing from Alexandria if you talked to her tomorrow. You know, we have so much going on right now.

BURNETT: Are you -- yes.

BASS: We had this incredible.

BURNETT: We -- we -- there are a lot of things we have a delay. I'll just finish my question and then finish your point.

BASS: OK.

BURNETT: But I just wonder, your reaction, you've known Nancy Pelosi for a long time. Are you disappointed to hear Congresswoman Ocasio- Cortez throw things like that out there, in an environment where race is a real issue? For someone to come out and say the speaker of the Democratic Party is calling out women because they are black and Hispanic and that's the only reason?

BASS: Well, like I said, I think that they had a spat. I think that spat is over. I think if you talk to either one of them tomorrow, you know, people have a spat, they say things.

But I think we have so many more important issues going on. Today, we had a hearing where we issued subpoenas over the separation of families at the border. And I think that is just so much more significant than a spat between members and the speaker.

BURNETT: So, on that front, you have expanded your obstruction of justice probe. You've authorized subpoenas to what I believe, what, a dozen people?

BASS: Yes. BURNETT: For President Trump's orbit. John Kelly is on that. Jared

Kushner is on that list.

BASS: Yes.

BURNETT: Cory Lewandowski, the campaign manager is also on that list. Have you heard anything from team Trump yet?

BASS: No, we haven't. But you know what, I was so troubled to find out that John Kelly, who you know he was chief of staff and he was head of homeland security. He leaves the job and now he is on the board of one of the for-profit businesses that are housing these children. And so, there is all of the concerns about the conditions that they're in, what is going on, the fact that the administration lies when they say that family separation has ended. It has not. If you are a grandmother, if you're an aunt, if you're an uncle, or a sibling, the kids are still taken away.

And a member -- a number of my colleagues went to Homestead in Florida where John Kelly is on the board.

[19:35:01] I mean, that is just such an incredible conflict of interest. To me, that just stinks of corruption, especially because I know that when he was Secretary Kerry, he was the one that originally floated on your network to Wolf Blitzer that, yes, maybe what we need to do is separate these families, and maybe that's the way to deter people from coming from Central America.

So, we are still not focused on addressing the root causes, which is why people leave Central America to begin with. But I do hope that the action that we took today -- I hope that we'll be able to get to the full truth of what is going on. And sadly, one of the areas that we need to figure out is who is profiting from all of this? And it's the shame that a former secretary is actually making money off of the misery of these families.

BURNETT: So, obviously, you are pursuing the subpoenas, also.

BASS: Yes.

BURNETT: You're also days away from Robert Mueller testifying before your committee, Congresswoman.

BASS: Yes.

BURNETT: Two to two and a half hours for your committee alone. But right now, we understand that only 22 out of 41 members of your committee are going to ask questions because of that time limit. Now, frankly, I hear that and think it's a possibility of too many voices.

But it appears from our understanding that you're going to get to question based on seniority.

Do you think it's fair, though, that nearly half of your committee will not get to ask questions? BASS: No, I wish that everybody would be able to ask questions. I

think it's pretty crazy that he is putting that limitation on it. You know, we don't have hearings where everybody is not allowed to ask a question.

So I am disappointed by that. I do understand, though, that the negotiations are continuing, and hopefully there will be some change in that. I also understand when we go into the closed hearings, that maybe some of the other members will be able to ask questions.

But I absolutely think it's unfair. I am disappointed that he is putting that limitation on it. You know, he also said that he was only going to get from the report. And I don't know how he is going to be able to do that when we ask him questions.

BURNETT: I guess from a purely logistical point of view, I completely hear you.

Thank you very much, Congresswoman Bass, as always.

BASS: You're very welcome.

BURNETT: And next, CNN uncovering critical comments from Bernie Sanders about the party he now wants to lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no question in my mind that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are out of touch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, a lot of people would agree with him.

Plus, breaking news, a dangerous storm intensifying in the Gulf of Mexico which could strike Louisiana, as the hurricane with punishing winds and immense rain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:17] BURNETT: Tonight, Republican lite. That's how current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders once described the Democratic Party. It's just one of many criticisms Sanders had for the party that, of course, he now wants to lead.

Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A big part of the Bernie Sanders brand, take on the powerful in all walks of life.

SANDERS: And tell the corporate elite that they will no longer continue to run this country.

NOBLES: That includes those who might be considered allies, specifically, the Democratic Party.

SANDERS: There is no question in my mind that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are out of touch with the needs of the vast majorities of working people in this country.

NOBLES: That was Sanders 27 years ago offering up tepid support for Bill Clinton, then the Democratic nominee for president. For the bulk of his career, Sanders has run and won elections as an independent. Early on, he even suggested that the Democratic Party was beyond fixing.

SANDERS: It has been my view for many, many years is that what we need in this country is what Jackson calls a rainbow coalition. But it has to be done outside of the Democratic Party.

NOBLES: In 1989, Sanders wrote in an essay for "Monthly Review" that, quote: Now I know that there are people, good and honorable people, people who are friends of mine, who believe that the Democratic Party can be turned around. I don't.

But while Sanders railed against the Democratic Party, it did not take long for him to begin to work with Democrats to lay the ground work for his progressive revolution, ultimately playing a central role in shifting the Democratic Party message to the left.

When he was elected to Congress in 1991, he caucused with Democrats and while still independent ran with the endorsement of the Vermont Democratic Party.

But that did not stop him from attacking Democrats when he felt they were veering off on issues he cared about. His latest 2012 during the Barack Obama's re-election campaign, Sanders made it clear he was an independent not a Democrat, and pushed Obama to take a more progressive approach to his politics.

SANDERS: I'm an independent, not a Democrat. I would have liked the president to be stronger in telling us how we are going to create the millions of jobs we desperately need.

NOBLES: Sanders became a force in the party in 2016 when he decided to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

SANDERS: Do not tell Secretary Clinton she is getting a little nervous.

NOBLES: Sanders lost the race but he then endorsed and went to campaign for Clinton. But even today, there is lingering resentment in some Democratic circles that he stayed in the raise too long and didn't do enough to help her -- a charge Sanders flatly rejects.

SANDERS: Oh, really? I didn't know that. I thought I ran all over the country into Nevada and everybody else working as hard as I humanly could.

NOBLES: Sanders 'campaign says they have since supported the campaigns of 169 Democrats running for Congress and has helped to raise close to $8 million. He has also pledged to run for president as a Democrat and promised to support the party's eventual nominee.

But he's still not afraid to attack what he views as the corporatist wing of the party and argue that while they once called him radical, now many are coming around to his way of thinking.

SANDERS: Well, guess what, virtually all of those ideas are being talked about by almost every candidate running for the Democratic nomination.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: And while there is no doubt that Bernie Sanders seems content to operate within the Democratic Party now, the one thing he often makes clear is that the party's policies are now closer to his way of thinking, not the other way around, that also happens to be the central argument of his candidacy, Erin, if Democratic primary voters want a true progressive as their nominee, that is what he has also been and that is what he always will be.

[19:45:05] BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you very much.

I want to go to Mark Preston, our senior political analyst.

You know, Mark, there are some who say, oh, this is going to hurt him because this is a Democratic primary. But I wonder if that's the truth, because, you know, what was it, our recent poll showed 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism. So, maybe they're happy, but Bernie Sanders criticized the party and the party is moving to Sanders not the other away around?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, if you go back to what happened in 2016, of course, Donald Trump was the big winner because he was elected. But if you look at other winners from 2016, you look at Bernie Sanders because a lot of his ideas have now been thrust into the mainstream of the Democratic Party. So, this isn't going to hurt him in a sense that this has always been saying, Erin.

If you look at those pictures, he looks like he does now and seems to be saying the same thing. His revolution was driven from the outside of the party. It was never driven from the inside of the party.

BURNETT: Yes, I mean I guess that's kind of sometimes when words from your past come back, they can hurt you. I think of perhaps Joe Biden, right, busing, things like that. In the case of Bernie Sanders, though, it may be the opposite, right?

PRESTON: Well, maybe the opposite and also where he will have trouble, though, is something Ryan pointed out distinctly in the piece is that the Hillary Clinton supporters are upset at him. And I can tell you, I continue to talk to a lot of them, a lot of the her former advisers, there is still anger towards Bernie Sanders. And you couple that with some of the concerns from the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, that's where his big problems are going to extend from.

BURNETT: And recent poll just came out moments ago from the "Wall Street Journal", right? They're saying Joe Biden support at 26 percent. They didn't have one before the debate, right? But obviously, overall, we're seeing him dropped.

But Elizabeth Warren came in a 19 percent, a very strong and close second. That's pretty significant.

PRESTON: Pretty significant. I got to tell you, ever since you did a town hall down in Jackson, Mississippi, a couple of months ago on CNN, really got to see how she has grown and has embraced the Democratic Party. She is very hands on. If you see her at a campaign stop, he tries to talk to everybody.

And that's working for -- couple that with the idea of being the policy president. That seems to be working for Elizabeth Warren now.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much , Mark Preston.

And next, the breaking news -- hurricane warnings issued for Louisiana. There is a storm on the way. New Orleans bracing for massive flooding.

And Jeanne Moos on a rare admission from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I'm actually a good speller, but everyone said the fingers aren't as good as the brain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:51:16] BURNETT: Breaking tonight, the National Hurricane Center issuing hurricane warnings for much of the Louisiana coast as Tropical Storm Barry strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico. The state is already facing record flooding.

Allison Chinchar is OUTFRONT.

And, Allison, when is the storm going to make landfall? And I understand this could be a massive disaster in terms of flooding.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, let's start with your first question. Landfall at this point is expected to be on Saturday in Louisiana. Here's the latest statistics. Right now, winds are about 40 miles per hour, but it's very slow movement, western on the 5 miles per hour.

That is key because as it slows down or as it just remains slow, it has a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of rain. That's why this storm is going to be so significant because of the amount of rain it is expected to drop.

We do expect the storm to intensify a little bit just before it makes landfall on Saturday. Part of that reason is because of how warm these ocean temperatures are right now. In fact, in a lot of these areas, these temperatures are on par of more of what they would be in mid August rather than early to mid July. That's fuel for this storm.

You'll see it starts to curve back towards the United States as we go into Friday, and then making land into the day on Saturday. Again, we mention, rainfall is going to be significant here. Widespread amounts of around 5 to 10 inches, but it's not out of the question for some locations to pickup over a foot of rain.

This is important, especially for a city like New Orleans. They have closed the floodgates. Typically when you have a city like New Orleans, it acts like a colander. The rain comes down, but it has the ability to come back out of the bottom in a few places. But now the floodgates are closed, all you have left is the pumps, now, New Orleans maintains and acts basically just as a bowl where it straps all of the water that is going to come down.

If that wasn't enough, you also have to worry about the storm surge. The pale pink colors, you're looking at 2 to 4 feet. This darker pink color, about 3 to 6 feet. This is a problem not only for the typical reasons you think of storm surge, Erin, but because of the Mississippi River. It is swollen in so many locations now that storm surge is going to bring a lot of locations back into moderate if not major flood stage on Saturday.

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

And next, the stable genius, the great looking stable genius is back. Jeanne has the story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:55] BURNETT: Tonight, nobody is better at admiring themselves than President Trump.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The stable genius has once again reared his head, only this time, President Trump added so great looking and smart, the true stable genius.

Previously, he neglected to praise his looks.

TRUMP: I'm a very stable genius.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A stable genius, which I guess is Einstein if he owned a comb I think.

MOOS: His latest revival of the phrase brought back all the stable jokes. Many noted a math mistake in the very same tweet. That's an improper fraction, stable genius.

Oh, my goodness. Time to bring out the presidential strength covfefe for narcissistic personality disorder. There were references to the president admiring his image in a mirror,

including this one inspired by an SNL skit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm good enough.

MOOS: The president also likes to thank himself. Our country is the envy of the world. Thank you, Mr. President.

He's an expert at patting himself on the back in the third person, no less.

TRUMP: And you're all going to say, thank you, Mr. President.

MOOS: This is the guy who is thankful for himself at Thanksgiving.

TRUMP: For having made a tremendous difference in this country. I've made a tremendous difference in the country.

MOOS (on camera): We're giving this a name. This is TNT, Trump narcissistic trolling.

(voice-over): He's trying to crack up his supporters while agitating his critics, like the fly that agitated him during his social media summit.

TRUMP: Woops, how did I fly get into the White House? I don't like it. I don't like flies.

MOOS: In a rare humble for him moment, the president said he's a good speller, but --

TRUMP: The fingers aren't as good as the brain.

MOOS: That stable genius brain that thanks itself.

TRUMP: Say thank you, Mr. Trump.

MOOS: Someone compared it to giving himself a medal and we know who would be on the medal because they sell it for 45 bucks at DonaldJTrump.com.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: I'm a very stable genius.

Thank you, Mr. President.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" with Anderson starts right now.

END