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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
The Dow Closed Early And Deep In The Red; Defense Secretary James Mattis Now Leaving His Post Much Sooner Than Expected After President Trump Became Angry Over His Resignation Letter; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is Interviewed About Trump's Racist Tweets and Her Policy Stances. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired July 16, 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: ... representatives voting in favor of condemning the President, 187 opposed, four of those in favor were Republicans including one Independent. Our special coverage will continue right now with Erin Burnett OUTFRONT.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, condemning President Trump. Tensions erupt on the house floor, lawmakers just voting on a resolution to denounce. The President's racist attacks on minority congresswomen. Plus, Kellyanne Conway going after a reporter at the White House questioning his ethnicity, why? And we sit down with Senator Kamala Harris why she says President Trump's offensive comments hit too close to home. Let's go out front.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, denouncing Donald Trump. Live pictures out of Washington, the House just voting on a resolution condemning President Trump's racist rant about four minority congresswoman. The resolution, quote, strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments saying members of Congress who are immigrants or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.
This vote comes after history was made on the floor today, the Speaker of the House saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The word racist, Republicans tried to strike Pelosi's words from the record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Can I ask the words be taken down? I make a point of order that the gentlewoman's words are unparliamentary and is rightly be taken down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Strike from the record. It would have been the first time that would have happened to a speaker in 35 years. And Republicans failed, Pelosi prevailed and now everything is on the line. Obviously, Democrats voted uniformly to condemn President Trump. Republicans though, only four had the courage to stand up to the President, Justin Amash also doing so as an independent. Four, four Republicans said what the President did was not OK. The rest stood by him.
Trump turning this vote into a litmus test of loyalty to him. His tweet, quote, those tweets were not racist. I don't have a racist bone in my body. The so-called vote to be taken as a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show weakness and fall into their trap.
Well, tonight's vote shows that only four Republican lawmakers had the guts to call Trump's tweets racist which they are. It's a matter of fact. Manu Raju is out front live on Capitol Hill. And Manu, most Republicans are siding with the President even though, of course, privately we know many know and acknowledged that his tweets were racist.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Four Republicans just now voted for that resolution, that's it. Out of the entire House Republican Conference, including one independent who just left the Republican Party, Justin Amash. So only five broke from party lines essentially to support this moving forward.
Now, I had a chance to go over the past day or two to really talk to a number of House Republicans across the spectrum, House Republicans, Senate Republicans, increasingly some may not feel comfortable with the President's words, but they are making it very clear they do not want to go far that would - too far in criticizing this President. Very few will come out and said that they actually thought these were racist comments instead somebody say that they wished he focused on something else like talking about their or agenda.
Mitch McConnell today said he wished that the President would lower the temperature. But he said, "I wish to all sides would lower the temperature not wanting to get crosswise with this President." I asked the majority leader directly today whether or not he would view an attack as racist, one was leveled against his wife who is an immigrant and a naturalized citizen. He would not say that those attacks would be racist and he talked about the notion of the positive benefits of legal immigration like his wife Elaine Chao who is in the President's cabinet. The process that she undertook.
Now, increasingly only seeing a handful of Republicans break ranks with the President because they know they're on the wrong side of this President. He will remember this as a loyalty test to him and that's why you're seeing also House Republicans line up with this president, taking aim at the Democrats saying that it's their fault that have led to the situation that we're in right now. But at the moment we saw on the floor all day today, Erin, a very contentious floor fight including one that led to senior Congressional Black Caucus members to essentially vacate their job of presiding over the House floor because of their concerns about the way this all played out, Erin.
BURNETT: Manu, thank you very much. No doubt the President will remember how everyone voted, the question is will anyone else. He told Americans that they should go back to the country they were from. Americans who, of course, were black and brown.
Out front tonight, a co-sponsor of the house resolution condemning president Trump's racist comments, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Congressman, I appreciate your time. So the vote on your resolution just happened. You have the four Republicans who had spoken out before, plus Justin Amash is an independent voting with you. The rest all standing by the President. Did you expect more Republicans to vote in support of your resolution?
[19:05:09] REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): I do. I do, Erin. I really don't understand why my colleagues, my Republican colleagues refused to stand up to this president. I know many Republicans who have the integrity and the courage to stand up to him. I represent a district in Florida where half of the people in my district were born in a different country. Many of them Republicans who have told me that they admire the courage that I've taken on this stance because those attacks are not just personal to me but they're personal attacks against people in my community. So I would love to see much more courage from the Republican colleagues here in the House of Representatives.
BURNETT: So Congresswoman, the two top Republicans in Congress, the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the house Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both defended President Trump today. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The President is not a racist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were the President's tweets that said go back racist? Yes or no?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, he had no problem saying that. Do you think that they genuinely believed, Mr. McCarthy and Mr. McConnell, that the President's comments were not racist, that he is not a racist?
POWELL: They will do anything. They will say anything to protect this president. We have seen time and time again not only the Senate majority leader, but also the minority leader here in the house protect this president. I don't think that there's any doubt that the comments were racist. It attacks women of color like myself, many of them that he was referring to are actually born in the United States.
I was actually born in Ecuador. I came here when I was 14 and those comments - we hear those comments when we come to our country. They are definitely racist comments. So there's no doubt in my mind and most of America would agree with me. BURNETT: So you mentioned that you were born in Ecuador. You came to
the United States as a teenager. The President of course today tweeting about his tweet telling the congresswomen to go home to where they originally are from. He says those tweets were not racist. I don't have a racist bone in my body. What's your response?
POWELL: Erin, he doesn't tell the truth. This president has been attacking immigrants, criminalizing immigrants since he was campaigning for office. It has been his main goal to criminalize people of color, people like myself, people that live in my community. I don't believe what he's saying, but here's what I find so ironic which I want to mention is that he's telling immigrants to go back to their countries.
He talks about being strong and defending Venezuelans. Though he is deporting Venezuelans and asking them to go back to their country. So there's a lot of irony and hypocrisy to this administration, but a lot of racism as well.
BURNETT: The Congressman Al Green says, well he has just introduced actually impeachment resolution against President Trump and specifically, Congresswoman, for his racist remarks, separate from obstruction or anything else related to the Mueller report, specifically here because of the racist remarks. Obviously, you've been on record supporting impeachment on obstruction, Russia-related issues.
Does this muddy the water? You've come out with a strong statement here to condemn him. Is trying to impeach him based on this actually something that hurts your cause?
POWELL: I'm not sure about that. I haven't really thought about it in that way, but what I can tell you is that I think that it's very important for us to start an inquiry to conduct an investigation. We have not been able to question fact witnesses which is why I think an inquiry is necessary. We will be hearing from Mueller next week and I look forward to questioning Special Counsel Mueller. But I think it's important for us to start with the investigations and bringing in fact witnesses.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congresswoman. I appreciate your time.
POWELL: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And out front next, Kellyanne Conway taking a page from her boss' playbook, lashing out at reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: What's your ethnicity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said go home, why is that relevant?
CONWAY: Because I'm asking a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, Senator Kamala Harris just sitting down with our Kyung Lah exclusively. Slamming the President, accusing him of taking the presidency to a new low. The entire interview is coming out just a couple moments right here out front. And a new poll showing Senator Elizabeth Warren building on her momentum virtually in a tie with Bernie Sanders in a must-win state that helped propel his campaign four years ago.
[19:13:04] BURNETT: Breaking news, the House approving a resolution to condemn President's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen, including him telling them to, quote, go back where they came from. The entire Democratic Caucus was joined by four Republicans and Independent.
That Independent, of course, Justin Amash. This as top Republican leaders rushed to President's defense insisting he and the attacks aren't racist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were the President's tweets that said go back racist? Yes or no?
MCCONNELL: The President is not a racist. The President is not a racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Out front now, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, Keith Boykin who was a White House aide for President Clinton and Rob Astorino, a member of President's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council.
All right. April, you've covered the President and now you've got Congressman McCarthy, Senator McConnell, the President himself tweeting those tweets are not racist. "I don't have a racist bone in my body." Do you agree?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: No, I don't agree, Erin. What constitutes racist to Senator McConnell, bottom line, if we look at all of this that's happening right now in Congress, these resolutions are not going to do anything to the President. They're just in perpetuity. They have no teeth but they're fighting so feverishly. Why are they doing it?
One, because they're trying to galvanize those who believe the President is racist that support the President who will vote for the President. They're rallying their base and they want to show Democrats if they are fighting against - well, they want to show their base that they're fighting the Democrats against this. Is the president of racist? His actions are racist. His words are racist. His words are hurtful.
What happens if this president goes to a rally and these people start saying send them back and they start naming places to send them back, where did it start from? It started with the President of the United States. And what will Mitch McConnell say then?
[19:14:57] BURNETT: Rob, here's the thing, he doesn't say go back to where you're originally from to someone who looks like you or even someone who looks like me. He says it too for black and brown people.
ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: He was saying it to four people, four politicians who have thrown barbs at him who have been vile.
BURNETT: He's never said it to a white person. But he's never said it to a white person.
RYAN: It's true.
ASTORINO: But that means that they're completely immune from anything because of their skin color and that's really what the Democrats are trying to say.
RYAN: There are people who happen to be black and brown.
ASTORINO: Well, April, I think let's go back to what you said, you got to turn that to the other side as well. You're he's doing it for the Republican base. You don't think today's resolution was done to spark the left, of course it was. It was to throw red meat to the left, to give them what they want.
RYAN: No, it wasn't.
ASTORINO: Of course, it was.
RYAN: We have never had a President in U.S. to have to have a resolution placed to say that what he said was racist.
ASTORINO: And we've gone down a very bad rat hole right now.
RYAN: We've never had that before.
ASTORINO: So tell me --
BURNETT: Excuse me, what did you just say?
ASTORINO: Wait a minute. Well, one second, so Omar said the completely anti-semitic things that she said, what happened? What did the Democrats do? They couldn't even name her in that resolution. They balked for a week and then just said everything is bad.
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Listen, Rob, you're not seriously going to stand here ...
(CROSSTALK) BOYKIN: ... you're not seriously going to sit here and pretend like
the problem is not the President of the United States of America. Forget what any other freshman member of Congress is doing. We have a person who is the head of our executive branch of government, the President of United States engaging in repeated incessant racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic attacks on people who are different from him.
ASTORINO: No, people he disagrees with.
BOYKIN: And this is unbecoming of the presidency of the United States.
ASTORINO: This is different.
BOYKIN: It's one thing for a freshman Member of Congress or you or I to say something, but the president has a moral responsibility to lead ...
ASTORINO: Joe Biden.
BOYKIN: ... to bring our country together. There is no other person has a duty and he was failed to do so.
BURNETT: OK. Go ahead, Rob.
ASTORINO: Joe Biden, is he racist?
RYAN: This had nothing to do with Joe Biden. This is about President Trump.
BOYKIN: He's not the President of the United States.
RYAN: Stop bringing Obama and Biden into everything.
ASTORINO: Answer the question. Is Nancy Pelosi racist?
BOYKIN: You need to stop this distraction ...
ASTORINO: No, no, no, because it goes one way with the left and this is the point.
RYAN: Let's go back to President Donald John Trump at what he did.
BURNETT: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Let Rob ...
BOYKIN: No, Joe Biden did not spend
BOYKIN: ... Barack Obama's birth certificate.
ASTORINO: Kamala Harris brought this up, not me.
BOYKIN: Joe Biden ...
BOYKIN: So it only goes one way and this is the race card that is played by the left all the time.
RYAN: Stop deflecting and deal with President Trump. Stop deflecting and deal ...
BURNETT: OK. OK. Let Rob finish his point. Rob, can I just ask you, you never ...
ASTORINO: You disagree on politics in any way, shape or form with the left.
BOYKIN: It's not about politics.
BURNETT: OK. But here's the point. Here's the very simple point, Rob, you would never tweeted what he tweeted.
ASTORINO: I would not have, no.
BURNETT: OK. Because you would say it's a racist thing to tell a black or a brown person to go back to a country they came from when they're born in the United States.
BOYKIN: It's not racist to tell somebody to go back to their country, go back to serve other countries?
ASTORINO: Let me finish my - he's going after four politicians who have been the face of the Democratic Party now.
BURNETT: Then do it on merit. Do it merit. Do it ...
ASTORINO: OK, he can't. That's the point.
BOYKIN: ... tell them to go back to their country when they're Americans in the first place.
ASTORINO: That's the point. BURNETT: OK, go ahead.
ASTORINO: You can't do it on merit anymore because that's all the left does now is play the game.
BOYKIN: This is not about the left or the right.
ASTORINO: Yes, it is. They're attacking their own, Pelosi?
BOYKIN: No. No. Rob, Rob, stop it. Just stop, stop, stop the nonsense.
ASTORINO: Seriously, Keith.
BOYKIN: You're better than this. We had a civil conversation in the green room.
ASTORINO: No, and we always will.
BOYKIN: You come here on national television, maybe you're trying to (inaudible) it to Donald Trump.
ASTORINO: Not at all.
BOYKIN: This is not who you are.
ASTORINO: I've had to deal with this in my career, by the way.
BOYKIN: No, Rob. No, Rob.
ASTORINO: I've had to deal with this.
BOYKIN: You know this, Rob.
BURNETT: OK, let Rob respond and then I want to play Kellyanne.
BOYKIN: You know this guy, he started in the '70s, he was sued by the Nixon administration for racial discrimination. He spent years lying about the Central Park 5. His own casino workers accused him racism in the '80s. He spent five and a half years lying about Barack Obama's birth certificate. He's starting campaign ...
BURNETT: Let that one is impossible to get around. OK. OK. Let Rob go. Let Rob go.
ASTORINO: ... and Muslim, you can't tell me you don't know this guy is a racist.
ASTORINO: Where we're at right now in this country is you cannot disagree with the left, because once you do - yes, yes, it is, that's all it's about and the left has been eating ...
RYAN: Can I ask Rob? I want to ask him ...
BURNETT: Hold on, let Rob just finish. April, I promise you're next but let Rob just finish.
ASTORINO: April, the left has been eating itself alive now on all this identity politics.
BOYKIN: ... subject.
ASTORINO: Pelosi is a racist now and then she comes out to change the subject and says if you wear a make America great hat, it's because you want to make America white again. And if you want to know why people are really pissed on the right or just average citizens who voted for Trump because they couldn't stand ...
BOYKIN: Because the yes are racist. They are racist.
ASTORINO: Yes. No, because we're being called racist.
BOYKIN: You're more worried about being called racist than actually being racist and that's a problem.
ASTORINO: We're not. That's the point.
BOYKIN: Because anybody who supports Donald Trump is a racist because you're in complicit ...
ASTORINO: So you just said it. So you just called me racist.
BOYKIN: You're complicit with his racism.
ASTORINO: But no, but you just called me racist.
BOYKIN: You are too a racist if you support Donald Trump.
ASTORINO: OK, so you just made my point. I know, Keith.
BOYKIN: And I hate to say. I know you. I like you, but I'm sorry, Rob.
ASTORINO: And I like you too, but you just made my point.
BOYKIN: You continue to defend Donald Trump. You are a racist too for defending him.
ASTORINO: See, you've made my point, 62 million Americans are racist, that's the baseline right now.
BURNETT: So Rob ...
ASTORINO: Go ahead, April, sorry.
[19:20:02] RYAN: OK, I want to - Rob, I get you and there's passion around this issue. You have to appreciate that, Rob, because there are communities that look like me who are still at the bottom of the barrel. This is beyond politics now. This is humanity.
And today I had to take a deep breath. I took a big gasp actually when I went on Twitter and I saw this cartoon from Ed Hall's syndicated cartoon and what it was, was a Ku Klux Klan hat on top of the White House and it's a sad day when you have people looking at that as it's true. It's not saying that this is something we've conjured up.
There are people who are continued - there's a continued effort to degrade them and these four congressional leaders were degraded just because of the color of their skin and their gender. Now, I'm going to ask you a serious question and I want you to answer this Rob. Do you believe that if you had a chance to be in my shoes or those four congressional leaders, would you see it my way?
ASTORINO: I can't answer that.
RYAN: Would you see that this is a racist ...
ASTORINO: I think it was insulting, I'll give you this.
ASTORINO: I think it was insulting what he wrote, but I don't think it was racist and the point of the fact is from my perspective and so many other Americans is the minute, the minute you fire back, the minute you answer back or attack on policy, you get branded a racist. That's where we're at in this country and ...
BURNETT: Rob, my question on this though is that in this case, I understand your point of perhaps you don't want to vote on one resolution because then there's a whole slew of them to come.
ASTORINO: Oh, it's going to be nonstop now.
BURNETT: But I will say this, the tweet was racist. You can argue he is not a racist for saying it.
ASTORINO: But you can say that, it doesn't mean it's true.
BURNETT: Many people will disagree with you.
ASTORINO: There's a lot of people who don't think that. They thought that was far for the course and not necessarily racist.
BURNETT: Then, I would invite someone to say - when you say that to a white person, because he hasn't, Rob. ASTORINO: OK.
BURNETT: Because he hasn't.
ASTORINO: But let's say he does, is it racist or is it insulting?
BOYKIN: Just because a lot of people say something doesn't mean it's true. A lot of people thought it wasn't racist to have slavery and segregation in our country.
ASTORINO: Just because Democrats say it. Of course, it was.
BOYKIN: But people defended that and you, Rob, know better that you have seen the history of this president. I understand you have a personal relationship with him, but this is indisputable. You can't tell somebody to go back to their own country and claim that's not racist.
ASTORINO: I think it was insulting.
BURNETT: And so can I just because this is where I want to play Kellyanne Conway, because he tried to do something absurd, which was try to say, "Oh, everyone's ethnicity matters." And first of all, when ethnicity matters, you end up with things like Yugoslavia. I mean in all seriousness, it's a ridiculous and absurd thing and people should understand.
ASTORINO: But we're not going right now in this country, it's balkanized. This country is completely balkanized.
BOYKIN: And who's responsible for that?
BURNETT: OK. But let me play Kellyanne Conway.
BURNETT: Let me play what she tried to do to this question, after the President says to the black and brown people go back to the country you came from when they're from here. Then Kellyanne says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: What's your ethnicity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said go home, why is that relevant?
CONWAY: They're not, because I'm asking question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kellyanne, my own ethnicity is not relevant to the question I'm asking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That is scary.
ASTORINO: OK, she's having a conversation ...
BURNETT: Why does anybody ...
RYAN: But she's personal.
BURNETT: ... but she's trying to make a point to a white guy that your ethnicity matters, OK, that's crazy.
ASTORINO: So is that going to be the topic of the next three days?
RYAN: It's personal. It's a personal attack.
RYAN: It's a personal attack, Rob.
BOYKIN: How Republicans and people in the rights spend so much time talking about we should not balkanized, we don't see color, but in every opportunity, they find a way to bring color or race or ethnicity or self-centered issue to divide the country.
ASTORINO: No, the left does that.
BOYKIN: I didn't like George W. Bush but he went to a mosque after 9/11. A lot of Republicans didn't like Obama but he did tried to bring the country together after the financial crisis. This guy has spent no time trying to bring our country together. He's been running a campaign attacking Obama and Clinton and Democrats and everybody else. He has no presidential quality. He's divisive to the core and racist as well and that's not the way the ...
ASTORINO: But he's an occupant and he's been considered an occupant of the White House and an illegitimate president since about 3:00 am on election night, because I left the hotel and there were already massive demonstrations in Peacham on what, we'll figure it out. It's been that way since ...
BOYKIN: Republican are going to impeach Hillary Clinton even before she got elected.
ASTORINO: ... oh, no.
BOYKIN: They were saying that in October of 2008.
ASTORINO: Come on. Come on.
BOYKIN: Don't be hypocrite. Just don't be hypocrite.
ASTORINO: I'm not.
BURNETT: It's just one of the things that makes America great.
ASTORINO: The hypocrite here is the Democratic Party that couldn't even condemn Omar for her direct remarks which are anti-semitic.
BURNETT: You have a point.
BOYKIN: And did you condemn the anti-semitic attacks that - when Donald Trump was tweeting anti-semitic tweets?
RYAN: OK, but what about the other three? What about the other three?
BURNETT: OK. Hold on. Hold on.
BOYKIN: Did you condemn that, Rob?
ASTORINO: I've condemned things on the ...
BURNETT: Here's the thing, can we just take a step back because it's fine for people to define themselves however they choose to define themselves, but it is unAmerican to define somebody else by their ethnicity or where they come from.
RYAN: That's right.
BURNETT: Most people do not even know, that is the whole point in this country. We're all such a mix of things. You can sure take pride in your past if you want, that's your prerogative, 132nd this, 164 this. One whatever that.
ASTORINO: One 1,064th of something.
[19:25:03] BURNETT: Right. Right, but now they want to know people's ethnicity. It's just disturbing.
ASTORINO: Right. Look, I think she was just (inaudible) over there.
RYAN: Erin. Erin.
BOYKIN: I think it's disgusting.
BURNETT: Go ahead, April.
RYAN: Erin, I'm going to say this. I'm a black woman who identifies with those congressional leaders because all you have to do is change the names and scenarios. It could have been me. He's already called me a loser and nasty, what next? So this is the beginning, this is the wrapping up of the 2020 presidential campaign for this president.
This is the beginning and I'm telling you if this is the beginning, we've got a long way to go and it's going to be even worse. And I remember when he started with Obama and we saw how that spiraled and went into Moore (ph) and it's gone into Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Maxine Waters, Frederica Wilson, even the Royal Meghan Merkel, April Ryan, Yamiche Alcindor, Abby Phillip, where else will it go, tell me?
BURNETT: Thank you all very much. And next an OUTFRONT exclusive, we sat down with Senator Kamala Harris why she says the country can't survive another four years with Trump. She tries to make her case next. Plus, new fundraising numbers out tonight. One group of 2020 contenders in a league of their own. Who are they?
[19:30:12] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, of an exclusive interview with Kamala Harris. Harris sat town moments ago with our Kyung Lah.
And Kyung asked her about President Trump's comments about four congresswomen.
Here's their conversation.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator, thank you for sitting down with me at this very, very busy time.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course. Of course.
LAH: I want to start with you are the daughter of immigrants.
LAH: A sitting member of Congress, a woman of color.
LAH: How do you view President Trump's tweets?
HARRIS: I think it's un-American. Un-American. It is unbecoming of the president of the United States. I think it -- it defiles the office of the president of the United States.
It is irresponsible. It is hateful. It is hurtful. And he has taken the presidency to a new low.
LAH: It's personal for you as well. You just shared a story here in Davenport, Iowa, about being told to go back where you came from. Can you share this?
HARRIS: Of course, but it's not one time. I -- who've -- many of us have been told that. And I purposely asked at the event to for people to raise hands. And many hands went up.
It is -- it is -- for the president of the United States -- you know, it's one thing to hear it in a schoolyard or on the street. It's another thing to hear that from the president of the United States. And this is yet another example of the fact that the current occupant of the White House does not understand the responsibility that comes with that office.
The president of the United States has a very powerful, powerful voice, and tool which is that microphone. And it should be used in a way that reflects the strength of the office, the strength of the office should be to lift people up and not beat them down.
But this president I guess thinks that he becomes stronger by those who he pushes down. Well, that's not reflective of who we are as a nation. It's not reflective of the values we have as Americans. It's not reflective of our history, much less our vision for our future.
LAH: Do you take this personally as a daughter of an immigrant? You have written about how --
HARRIS: I take it personally as a member of the United States Senate.
LAH: If we could turn to what the four members of Congress urged for people who are listening to not get distracted.
LAH: How do you not get distracted? How do you not fall into his trap where he controls the narrative with a tweet like this?
HARRIS: I've said it many times. This president purposely, I believe, distracts and attempts to distract by flame-throwing, because the reality of it is that he has done nothing to help working families in America.
He passed a tax bill benefitting the top 10 percent and the biggest corporations in the country. He has conducted trade policy by tweet in the way that farmers are looking at bankruptcy and autoworkers are looking at the potential for their jobs to be gone by the end of the year.
The American consumer is paying $1.4 billion more a minute in everything from shampoo to washing machines because of his so-called trade policy, which I call the Trump trade tax. And he has not done anything to build up the infrastructure of our country. And all that comes with that in terms of improving and elevating the condition of working families.
And so what does he do? He wants to distract by starting a whole -- lighting fires around the issue of race and ethnicity. It's disgusting.
LAH: Is this a turn? There is so much rage about this. Is this a turn for you?
HARRIS: There is so much that is disgusting about this. I think it's a turn for this president. Could it get any worse? Apparently yes. It just did. How low can he go?
LAH: Can he get lower?
HARRIS: I don't know, but he needs to go back where he came from and leave that office. And so, that's why I'm running with the intention of making sure there will not be four more years.
I don't think that we can survive having a president of the United States who uses whatever voice he has in the way that is about dividing and fueling hate in our country. The American people will not tolerate that. I know that. I know who we really are as a country. The American people will not tolerate this kind of hate from their president.
[19:35:04] LAH: I want to turn to the issue of health care.
LAH: At the beginning of the year, in January, you talked about you were fine with getting rid of it all. And then you indicated that there was a place for private health insurance, and then the debate where you raised your hand understanding that you say you misheard the question. So, let's --
HARRIS: There is a lot that you are building into the question --
HARRIS: -- that's not accurate.
LAH: Well, there is --
HARRIS: I would like to just get to the point, but there is that a lot that you're building into the question that's inaccurate.
LAH: The impression that people are left with is they're not quite sure. So, let's clear it up.
HARRIS: OK, good.
LAH: From where you are --
LAH: -- tell me your position on what Medicare-for-All means --
LAH: -- under a President Harris.
HARRIS: Sure. Medicare-for-All means that everyone will have access to health care and costs will not be a barrier.
As it relates to private insurance, there will still be supplemental insurance, but, yes, getting -- transitioning into Medicare-for-All will at some point reduce the requirement for insurance, because everyone will have access to health care. Under Medicare-for-All, and my vision of Medicare-for-All, people will have coverage -- what they don't now in terms of vision care, dental care, hearing aids.
I'm here with a bunch of seniors in Iowa. And hearing aids are extremely expensive and not covered by Medicare right now.
Medicare-for-All means that you recognize that right now in America, 91 percent of our doctors are in Medicare. So, you're in the going to have to lose your doctor. It's very unlikely.
LAH: So, who (ph) --
HARRIS: It means recognizing that over a period of many years, the insurance companies have been jacking up the cost of health care in terms of premiums, deductibles and co-pays. So that, right now, someone who has insurance coverage will still be out of pocket $5,000 because that's their deductible, which for most Americans is unaffordable.
LAH: The role of private insurance, are you limiting that to something like cosmetic insurance? Or what is the exact role of private insurance?
HARRIS: To cover what is not otherwise covered.
LAH: So, that includes what?
HARRIS: Very little because almost everything will be covered. Almost everything will be covered.
And here is the important piece -- we've got Medicare-for-All right now. And you know what that is? It's the emergency room.
And it is extremely expensive for the American taxpayer. And also it's a system that basically means that people have access to health care when they're in crisis. A smart system will not require people to be in crisis before they have access to health care
LAH: So then how does this plan differ from what Senator Sanders is proposing?
HARRIS: I think that they're very similar. I don't think they are -- I mean, I don't -- I'm supporting his bill. So, to the extent that he's talking about his bill. I don't know what else he's talking about.
LAH: You said --
HARRIS: I mean, I'm not in support of middle class families paying more taxes for it.
LAH: And that's what I was hoping to talk to you about.
LAH: You just said that. That you were not in favor of a middle class tax hike.
HARRIS: Yes, correct.
LAH: How do you propose to pay for your version of Medicare-for-All if it resembles what Senator Sanders is proposing?
HARRIS: Well, part of it is going to have to be about Wall Street paying more. It's going to have to be about looking at how we -- and what we tax in terms of financial services. That's part of it.
But the other part of it is to understand that this is about an investment which will reap a great return on the investment. We can't only look at this issue in terms of cost without thinking about benefit. The benefit to the American public will be that people will have access to health care that right now they cannot afford. And we are all paying a price for that.
LAH: Well, Senator Sanders says that is impossible to achieve without a middle class tax hike.
HARRIS: I'm not prepared to engage in middle tax hikes. The rules have been written against the middle class and working families for far too long, and it is not necessary that they'd be taxed even more to achieve what is achievable, by recognizing that that they don't have to pay more to receive a benefit they deserve which is access to health care.
LAH: But in many studies, study after study shows it would cost approximately $30 trillion over a decade to pay for this. So, taxing Wall Street will reap $30 trillion in order to cover this?
HARRIS: What we are doing right now is unaffordable to so many American families. And the idea that we are going to go down -- and this level of analysis that suggests that status quo is OK is completely unacceptable.
BURNETT: And we're going to have much more of Kyung's exclusive interview with Senator Kamala Harris after this quick break, including whether she thinks Joe Biden would still make a great running mate.
[19:40:00] Plus, we got new fundraising numbers out tonight. We can actually see some serious, serious changes happening in the field. One group of contenders now head and shoulders above the rest. We'll tell you who.
BURNETT: Breaking news. We're back with more of Kyung's exclusive interview with Kamala Harris. Kyung asked if Harris still believes Joe Biden would make a good running mate after Harris tore into Biden on a debate stage over busing.
Harris also said Biden is wrong that Medicare-for-All does not mean getting rid of Obamacare.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAH: What vice president -- what former Vice President Joe Biden would suggest is that you're not necessarily being clear with the American people. And just this past week, he was asked about ending private insurance as we know it. And when he asked about the others, the former vice president responded, so far not.
Because 150 million Americans are covered by private insurance, are you sugge -- what happens to those 150 million Americans under President Harris?
HARRIS: Well, it's the same as the millions of Americans every day that transition into Medicare as seniors. It's seamless, without any difference to their coverage in terms of access to health care.
[19:45:05] It has to happen over a period of time. There's no question we would have to go from the current system into a Medicare- for-All system and transition into it.
But the idea that there would be any substantial difference in terms of the health care that people received is just not accurate.
LAH: So people who have private insurance would eventually have to give that up under your plan?
HARRIS: They would eventually be covered under Medicare-for-All and they would still see their doctor. And that's what they want.
LAH: How long would this transition take do you envision?
HARRIS: I think the transition is going to have to take -- I mean, the bill is four years. I think it's going to have to take more than that, to be honest with you.
LAH: And all this done without a middle class tax hike.
HARRIS: Without a middle class tax hike -- yes.
LAH: Thirty trillion over 10 years.
HARRIS: There are ways to pay for it, also understanding the investment that we are going to be making in a way that is going to reap great benefits in terms of other costs.
LAH: The investment where?
HARRIS: In American health, and what we are otherwise paying as a cost for people not having access to health care and the burdens that places on systems across the board when people don't have access to health care.
LAH: And when you -- when people question that there is no formula for this, that you are going to find money in magical ways is not realistic thinking, how do you respond to that?
HARRIS: The status quo is not enough. So, we have to be open to challenging status quo so that everyone has access to health care and price is not the burden (ph) -- is not the barrier.
We have to agree that what's happening right now is not affordable to many, many working families. It's just not affordable. One in five people can't afford their prescription medication.
We're looking at a situation where one in four diabetes patients can't afford their insulin. We're looking at a situation where seniors are coming out of pocket as much as $4,000 a year to pay for their arthritis medication because it's not -- otherwise -- they can't afford it.
We have to move to a system where price is not the barrier to access to health care.
LAH: Joe Biden says that this is what you are suggesting, an elimination of Obamacare. Is that accurate?
HARRIS: It's absolutely not. Listen, I -- I will put my record up against anybody as having been a fighter for the maintenance and the sustainability of Obamacare. As attorney general -- I mean, I'm sure on the debate stage, I'm the only one who went to court to fight to keep in place all of the benefits of Obamacare.
But like President Obama himself has said, he used the analogy of it being like a starter home. It was a profound public health policy and shift. It was incredible. The courage that he had with so many others to actually get it done, and the wherewithal to get it done was profound.
And so, now, it's about taking it --
LAH: But Obamacare isn't Medicare --
HARRIS: -- but now it's about taking it to the next step.
LAH: So it is moving on from Obamacare?
HARRIS: And making improvements on it. And President Obama himself said that already improvements to be made.
LAH: Your policy that you released today, the drug policy.
HARRIS: Uh-huh, uh-huh.
LAH: What I found quite intriguing about it is that in proposal after proposal, from your gun policy to the drug policy, you've said that you will lean on executive action if Congress fails to act. You're a sitting member of Congress.
LAH: What does this say about your belief in the authority of Congress?
HARRIS: But Congress has the authority. The question is, is there the will? The question is, is there the courage?
I -- what I have witnessed is that on so many of the biggest and most fundamental issues in the two years that I've been there, Congress is just not acting. And, you know -- and so where it fails to act and where there is a longstanding and deep need for action by the American people, then where the authority exists (ph) -- exists in the executive branch to use executive power and take executive action, I'm prepared to do it.
I believe in just getting stuff done. And for some of the issues like affordability of prescription drugs, I would -- to suggest to you that Congress and frankly this administration have been in the pocket of the big pharmaceutical companies to the point that the American people pay more for the same drugs than people in Canada and in the U.K. pay.
Why is that?
[19:50:00] Why is it that the American government would let our own people pay more for the drugs that they need to relieve their pain or extend quality of their life?
LAH: And last question very quickly.
You said last May that you thought Joe Biden would make a, quote, great running mate. Do you still believe he would make a great running mate?
HARRIS: I think that we have to get past the primary and then we can start talking about running mates, and I'm happy to talk to you about it at that time.
LAH: Thank you, Senator.
HARRIS: Thank you. Thank you very much.
LAH: Thank you for your time.
HARRIS: Thank you.
BURNETT: And now good news for Kamala Harris tonight. New fundraising numbers show she's one of five Democratic candidates clearly out of the pack.
So, Harris, along with Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders are in a league of their own. Seventy-five percent of all the money raised in the second quarter of the campaign went to them.
David Gergen is OUTFRONT.
David, you know, she's articulate. She speaks well. You see her there speaking to Kyung.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. BURNETT: That has resulted in a lot of money coming in.
When you go through the numbers and look at Kamala Harris, you look at the others in that league of their own, what surprised you?
GERGEN: Well, what surprised me most was Elizabeth Warren continues to move up and she's competitive. But it's also interesting that those big five are solidifying their lead in the overall Democratic race. The same five are at the top of the new CNN poll out of New Hampshire, same five people are running ahead of everybody else.
So, there is a top tier, a small middle tier with Booker, Beto O'Rourke and Klobuchar, and Beto O'Rourke is a big surprise because he's crumbled in this thing, and then there's everybody else. .
BURNETT: So, right now, you've got 12 candidates and $2.5 million on hand.
BURNETT: Seventeen candidates are pulling at 1 percent or less in that poll you referenced in New Hampshire.
BURNETT: So should people start getting out of the race now or are they going to hang in to the CNN debate? I mean, are we going to start to see people coming out?
GERGEN: Yes, I think we will, probably before the end of the year, some will wait and see if lightning can strike. Something can still happen and they will -- they have to decide, do I want to spend that money down or keep some in the bank account for a future race? That's one consideration.
But the other consideration is when you're down at that level, at that third tier, where do you find the people who want to hold fundraisers for you?
GERGEN: It's hard to do now. It's increasingly hard to do.
BURNETT: I would imagine, right, people, you know, even funders, right, they want --
BURNETT: -- someone.
Now, I mentioned the New Hampshire poll which you mentioned.
BURNETT: Joe Biden is at 24 percent. Warren and Bernie Sanders are tied at 19 percent.
BURNETT: Obviously, they are the neighboring -- you know, the neighbors to that state.
BURNETT: But that puts them within the margin of error with Biden. So, what I'm curious about is how you play this. Warren and Sanders clearly are splitting the vote.
BURNETT: Is this a sign -- a bad sign for Biden big picture?
GERGEN: No --
BURNETT: Or is this a good sign that the most of the numbers are against somebody who you can divide and win.
GERGEN: As long as he can divide and conquer. And as long as those two, Warren and Sanders are pitted against each other and they're running neck and neck against each other, he's ahead, he wins. He wins Iowa. He does better in New Hampshire and so forth.
But if one of them starts to fade and Sanders is showing signs of this, if those people then go to Warren, he's going to be -- it's going to be very much more competitive for Joe Biden. Or it can happen the alternative way, if Warren fades, and Sanders picks up, he's become a competitor.
But one thing Joe Biden doesn't want really is to go mano-a-mano. He likes the five.
BURNETT: He likes the five and mano-a-mano can be Trump, or at least he can have it big.
GERGEN: Yes, exactly. You're right.
BURNETT: But Kamala Harris, obviously, one would assume, we don't know what stage he'll be on, whether it was with Joe Biden --
GERGEN: Oh, that's right.
BURNETT: But that was a calculate assault.
GERGEN: I totally agree.
BURNETT: She delivered on that and --
GERGEN: Right, and she delivered on one other thing. She delivers on command presence, that works for her well.
BURNETT: Yes, it certainly did and obviously, you know, able to have a conversation. Thank you very much, David.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Biden says he's ready to battle Trump and he's not talking about the ballot box.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Said come on, Donald, come on man. How many pushups do you want to do here, pal, you know? Jokingly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:57:53] BURNETT: Tonight, Joe Biden challenges Trump to a pushup contest.
Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you see tweets like this, you know somebody said something. Joe Biden is pushing President Trump's buttons with a pushup challenge.
Biden was asked what he would do on the debate stage if Trump made fun of his age or mental status.
BIDEN: I said come on, Donald, how many pushups do you want to do here, pal, jokingly.
MOOS: Biden immediately got flak, maybe he'll suggestion that we dig up fitness guru Jack Lalanne to referee the whole ordeal.
(on camera): But you know who isn't a pushover when it comes to pushups?
(voice-over): When Michelle Obama took on "Ellen", both started strong but by number 18, Ellen was out of gas and Michelle kept going on and on until --
ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: Twenty.
MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: I just stopped.
DEGENERES: All right.
MOOS: Michelle's husband once did pushups every time a Harlem Globetrotter got a basket, President Obama dropped down and did two.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out geeking out. Total of five pushups performed at a congressional committee room to clear her head.
And Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did a self-parody taunting Canada's opposition in the Invictus Games.
Don't ever expect to see President Trump taking this position.
Biden challenged the president --
BIDEN: You know, come on, run with me, man.
MOOS: Biden is always running at parades, reporters can barely keep up.
When a Trump supporter echoed the president's nickname --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sleepy Joe.
MOOS: Biden challenged him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sleepy Joe!
BIDEN: Come run with me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not running.
MOOS: These two will mostly be running their mouths but if they ever do have a pushup contest, please put it to organ music.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: I don't want to know the end of that contest would be.
Thanks so much for joining us.
Anderson starts now.