Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
DOJ Sends Letter To Mueller, Says His Testimony "Must Remain Within The Boundaries" Of His Report; Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) Discusses The Message Going To Mueller; DOJ Sends Letter To Mueller, Says His Testimony "Must Remain Within The Boundaries" Of His Report. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 22, 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: May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump braces for Mueller's moment. The President ripping into the former Special Counsel ahead of his historic testimony. Why is the president worried? Plus, we take you inside the preparations for Mueller's hearing. Democrats and the former Special Counsel gearing up for the highly anticipated reckoning, how? And the fight for 2020, they once felt the burn but now some of Bernie Sanders' biggest supporters are going with Elizabeth Warren. Let's go out front.
And good evening. OUTFRONT tonight, we have breaking news, the Justice Department now weighing in on Robert Mueller's highly anticipated hearing. So we have just gotten this letter from the Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer. And he writes that Bob Mueller in his testimony, quote, must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.
While they're doing this to do everything possible to try to make sure that Mueller doesn't say anything in this hearing, because the reality is that the President is worried and we don't know why, but he is bracing for Mueller's testimony. Just four days ago, he said he wasn't even going to bother watching, but today you can literally watch that evolve within two seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I'm not going to be watching. Probably, maybe I'll see a little bit of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Maybe a little bit of it, maybe all of it. Look, there's no doubt the President is going to be watching Mueller and there's no doubt the President knows Mueller's testimony Wednesday could redefine his presidency. I mean Mueller is coming out and he's got a prepared statement he's going to give at the beginning. He didn't show it to the Department of Justice and now they're putting this letter out saying, "You better stay in your lane, buddy."
Look, the President is worried and this is why he has spent the day attacking Mueller and his credibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I know he's conflicted. There's a lot of conflicts that he's got, including the fact that his best friend is Comey. But he's got conflicts with me too. He's got big conflicts with me. As you know, he wanted the job of the FBI director. He didn't get it and we had a business relationship where I said no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. That is just riddled with untruths. There was no business relationship where Trump said no. There was just Mueller canceling his golf membership at a Trump club in 2011, because he didn't use the club. Oh, and Mueller never sought the FBI director job under Trump and as for being best friends with Comey, Comey testified about his relationship with Mueller under oath saying, quote, I admire the heck out of the man, but I don't know his phone number. I've never been to his house, I don't know his children's names.
That would not be best friends. Look, the President knows the world will be watching, that is the fact and he is hoping that his words will drown out Bob Mueller's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had no collusion, no obstruction. We had no nothing. We had a total no collusion finding. It said no collusion. There was no obstruction, no collusion, no obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, you can't say it so many times without reminding you of the fact that Mueller did not clear Trump of obstruction and he is likely to say again and again and again, pretty much this when he testifies.
(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: They did not say so. Abby Phillip is out front at the White House. And Abby, look, you now have the Department of Justice coming out and saying to Bob Miller, "You better stay in your lane and stay to the contents of the report," which Mueller has always said he would do because of executive privilege and the President, of course, is going on about this today. This certainly sounds like there is concern. ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the President
certainly seems to be annoyed by the prospect that he has to go through this all over again, but that letter from the justice department also seems to be a warning to Robert Mueller that they do not want any surprises in this hearing, in part, because they know that that would prompt the President's fury about this whole situation which has been ongoing for months and months.
And frankly, Erin, it has not waned even after the Mueller report has been released. President Trump claims he is not going to watch it or maybe not going to watch very much of it, but this White House has many, many televisions. Almost all of which are trained to the President's favorite channel and he'll be traveling on Wednesday as well and on Air Force One. It is rare that those TVs are not on.
So I think we can expect him to be paying fairly close attention, but at the same time his aides, one of his outside lawyers, Jay Sekulow, has said he doesn't expect there to be a war room effort. And this is not exactly how the White House has gone about a lot of these key moments. They have not organized a communications team to really rebut word for word things that are happening on live television.
[19:05:00] They usually wait for President Trump to do that himself and I think that's what we expect this Wednesday when President Trump is going to be monitoring this hearing. The White House is going to take their cues from him. At the same time, aides seem to expect that this is going to be for the Democrats, an important made for TV moment where they can get elements of the Mueller investigation on the Mueller report on television for the world to see how much of an impact that will have remains to be seen but it's something that they're certainly prepared for.
President Trump on the other hand seems to be repeating a lot of these talking points he's been talking about for months. Reiterating how upset he is frankly that this is investigation hasn't gone away and it's certainly will be making a big come back this Wednesday, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Abby, thank you very much. And I want to go now to Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley. He's a Member of the House Intelligence Committee. He's going to be questioning Bob Mueller on Wednesday. So I want to give you a chance right away, Congressman, to respond to this breaking news. The letter that we have just received from the Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer.
It is to Bob Mueller and it states, quote, any testimony must remain in the boundaries of your public report goes on to say because there's executive privilege, it could affect many things, including discussions about investigative steps or decisions made during your investigation. What do you think about this message going to Mueller? Is this a threat or is this fair and square?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Well, this isn't the first witness they've attempted to intimidate. It's just the one who has the most credibility and had the most powerful position of any witness they've dealt with so far. And let me just say, this President should be thanking Mr. Mueller for how he handle this investigation. Because in the final analysis, the Special Counsel bent over backwards to be fair to this president.
He followed DOJ regulations and didn't indict him. But even beyond that, he refused to take a stance in the report about obstruction because he said, since he won't go on trial he has no opportunity to defend himself. He didn't indict his son because he said his son was ignorant of the law. He didn't force the President to come in and answer questions. He didn't force the President to answer all of the written questions and the worst thing he said about all of that was the President wasn't completely straightforward in his answers. He got a break from this Special Counsel.
BURNETT: So now we have this letter and, obviously, your committee, let's be clear there's two volumes in the Mueller report, one on Russian interference and links to the Trump campaign, the other on obstruction. So the judiciary focuses on obstruction. You obviously are going to be focusing on the Russia portion and possible collusion coordination. What's your top question for Mr. Mueller?
QUIGLEY: I thought I knew that until last Friday when the Southern District of New York released all of those documents about Michael Cohen's case. And I guess the question that should be in the top of many people's minds, why is Michael Cohen the only one in jail for the election crimes he committed? Why is Michael Cohen the only one in jail for lying to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow. He clearly had helped there.
And the President of the United States lied repeatedly to the American public about that deal. A deal in which you would have profited immensely. So I'm curious if the Special Counsel's curiosity got to him about this, he could clarify. And above all of that, what happened to the finance aspects of this investigation. The money laundering issues and even more the counterintelligence investigations.
BURNETT: So do you think he could answer those questions? I mean are you getting at were those some of the ones that were handed off, is that your question?
QUIGLEY: No, first of all, that was part of the mandate. Why was there a decision at all to hand those off in the first place. Second of all, what happened to the people who were investigating? What happened to the information that they glean from this investigation? Is it his understanding that the FBI has all this now? And what did they learn so far? And what would he say as to the risks to our country, if the President or many of his associates were compromised by the Russians?
BURNETT: So your committee, I know, has been spending a lot of time preparing. You held a mock hearing to get ready for the real one. You're going to go behind closed doors tomorrow for a final round of deliberations and preparations to make sure you're on the same page. Look, you all opted not to have an expert interrogator, in a sense, to do all of the questioning. You each are going to have your time. Is everyone going to cooperate, stay in their lane, build the questions on top of each other? Are you sure that this is going to work? QUIGLEY: First of all, I can only speak for the Intelligence
Committee and all I can say is preparations is - these are serious members who are on the Democratic side, treating this as the most important hearing that they've had so far in their lives.
[19:10:02] I believe that they'll do so in a respectful manner. What's key here is that we listen to each other and this isn't about grandstanding. No one is watching this to watch me or anyone else on the committee. They're listening and watching this hearing to get answers in the most important investigation of our lifetime, I think we'll do a good job.
BURNETT: President Trump repeated his old line today about Bob Mueller and his findings. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had no collusion, no obstruction. We had no nothing. We had a total no collusion finding. The Democrats were devastated by it. They went crazy. They've gone off the deep end. They're not doing anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Obviously, on obstruction, he's wrong. Mueller said he couldn't exonerate him. There's a lot of questions there. But in your area on collusion or conspiracy, which is the actual crime Mueller investigated, Mueller did make a conclusion and he wrote, of course, as you know, Congressman, but let me read for everyone.
In sum, the investigation to stop multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government. Those links included Russian offers of assistance to the Campaign. In some instances, the Campaign was receptive to the offer, while in other instances the Campaign officials shied away. Ultimately, the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government.
Do you expect Mueller to add to that?
QUIGLEY: Oh, I'd like to ask him a more in depth questions about that, because the fact of the matter is, there was communications directly. The President's son, Donald Jr. with WikiLeaks. Mr. Manafort was the campaign chairman met with a Russian tied to Russian intelligence to give them polling information, which the Russians were using to attack this country's democratic process using social media.
I could go on for a long time and the question is, how is that not coordinating? Clearly, he list many in instances in which there was coordination. And again, I think this is an area in which the Special Counsel gave the Trump campaign and this President of the United States every break. I believe there was conspiracy. If the President has these catchphrase that he keeps using that you've played now a few times, I suppose we should have one, too.
After Wednesday's hearing, most Americans should have their own device come to the conclusion that the Trump campaign was filled with liars, profiteers, con men and those willing to sell out the American democratic process to personally gain. At least three of them are in jail right now for that offense. So if that's as effective a tactic as the President has then we'll continue to use that, but I'll let the American public make up their own mind after Wednesday.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Quigley, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, sir.
QUIGLEY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, how is Robert Mueller spending these final hours before his testimony? We're going to speak to one person who has been there in the room as he prepares for testimony. Plus, CNN learning that Democrats are now holding mock hearings, so what questions are they asking? Are they testing with the fake Bob Muellers? And President Trump insisting he could end America's longest war right now, but ...
[19:17:03] BURNETT: Breaking tonight, the Department of Justice weighing in on Mueller's highly anticipated testimony before Congress. The Associate Deputy Attorney General writing to Mueller tonight in this page and a half single space letter that the testimony, quote, must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.
The letter saying, Mueller asked the DOJ for guidance on privilege or other legal bars applicable to potential testimony. Jessica Schneider is out front. And Jessica, look, this letter to Miller comes as you are learning that he has a prepared statement that he's going to be giving that he is not sharing with the Justice Department or the Attorney General.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER: That's right, Erin. So despite this page and a half where the DOJ is really laying out what Robert Mueller can and can't say. We do know that the attorney general nor any other official at the Justice Department, none of them will get a glimpse at the first words that Robert Mueller will say as part of these back to back blockbuster hearings on Wednesday. They will not get to see his opening statement.
Of course, despite the fact that Bill Barr was the one who framed the narrative when Mueller's report came out in April, it will be the Special Counsel himself choosing the words that Americans will hear in just two days. Nevertheless, we do expect those words to stay within the bounds of the report. Mueller's spokesman tells me that Justice Department officials will not see Mueller's opening statement prior to its delivery.
And it's really something that Robert Mueller has been working diligently on. I'm told that Mueller has been prepping with members of his team. It's a small group from the Special Counsel's office that he's worked closely with for the past two years. They've been meeting in an office at WilmerHale. That's Mueller's former law firm here in Washington, D.C.
And when I asked Mueller spokesman how the former Special Counsel has been preparing for and how he will answer that sure to be asked questions from Democrats being, of course, the question, "If Donald Trump weren't President, would he be charged with obstruction of justice?"
The spokesman, of course, wouldn't go into the content of what Mueller will say. Didn't give any preview of what Mueller's response might be to a question that Democrats will likely ask again and again. But only reiterated that Mueller will, in fact, stick to the contents of his 448 page report and that's exactly what we're seeing Aaron, in this letter to the Department of Justice.
We're seeing that Robert Mueller is being told to stay within the report itself. And then also saying that he should not be talking about the conduct of any uncharged third parties pointing possibly to the President and any comments Mueller might make about the President. So some very strict parameters set out by the DOJ, but we do know that the DOJ will not be able to weigh in at least on his opening statement, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jessica. And I want to go now to CNN Senior National Security Analyst Lisa Monaco who among many things was Mueller's chief of staff at the FBI and our Senior Political Analyst David Gergen who served as an advisor to Four American Presidents. So, Lisa, OK, obviously now you've got the DOJ coming with this page and a half single spaced letter saying, "Watch it."
[19:20:03] And Mueller is not going to let Bill Barr see his prepared statement. Now, we all remember when Mueller gave his original report to Barr, the 448 pages, Barr took it upon himself to summarize it. A summary which Mueller took issue with, from our understanding. What does it say to you that Mueller is choosing to keep his prepared remarks so close to the vest?
LISA MONACO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Erin, I would be cautious about reading too much into that and I say that for the following reason. Mueller is appearing as a private citizen. He is, of course, no longer employed by the Department of Justice. He resigned back at the end of May. It is not surprising to me that he has not shared his opening statement with the department. I would also say there should be no secret about what's going to be in that statement or in the rest of his testimony, he made very clear and now he also has additional direction from the department that he has to stay within the bounds of that report.
I don't think you needed that direction from the department because he was very clear that that was he is and continues to be his intention.
BURNETT: He certainly was. David, what is at stake for Bob Mueller?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER ADVISER TO FOUR PRESIDENTS: Well, I think there's a huge amount at stake if he were to say something that goes beyond the bounds of his report. That could be very explosive. It could change the direction of our politics. They could change his reputation. I do agree that Bob Mueller made a pledge to the country and in public earlier on and said he wouldn't say anything beyond the report in future conversations or testimony.
And I think he'll stick to that promise, but I think that what we can see is there's a lack of trust on Mueller's part and the DOJ how they might edit it. And there's a lack of trust on department of DOJ, Department of Justice and Mueller at this point. There are some sparks that are flying pretty early. But so far, I think the notion we should not read too much into Mueller not showing his hand.
BURNETT: So Lisa, as you point out, Mueller said that when he was leaving he didn't even want to give the press conference but, of course, there was then the whole issue between him and Barr. He gave Barr the report. Barr summarized it. That summary in some ways, Mueller felt misrepresented the report. There was that whole back and forth and the series of phone calls.
Perhaps we will learn more about that in the testimony. But when it comes to the report's conclusions, as you point out, Mueller was very clear at the end of May. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUELLER: I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. The report is my testimony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, Lisa, he's making it clear. He doesn't want to do this. He's doing it because he was subpoenaed. He's respecting that and in the past, and no doubt you've been a part of helping him prepare for testimony in front of Congress, when he did not want to answer questions, he simply didn't. He didn't get boxed in and twisted. He didn't, times like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUELLER: I hesitate to speculate.
I'm reluctant to speculate.
So I'd hesitate to do that.
Unfortunately, Congressman, I don't think it's appropriate to speculate.
And I really hesitate to comment on other issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Lisa, is he literally going to read from the report? Is that how he stays within the bounds or will he provide some color as to why he wrote a sentence, for example, "If I could exonerate him, I would have, but I didn't." Will he give some color? MONACO: So I'm smiling, Erin, because as you played that clip I was
having flashbacks to the literally dozens of hearings that I helped prepare him for when I served as his chief of staff. And so the clips that you played are very reminiscent of how he approached this. He not only will be hesitant to speculate, I do not think he will speculate.
I'm quite confident that he will not speculate. He will not stray beyond the bounds of the report. He has been purposeful about that. That is his role. That's what he sees as his role as a prosecutor in this matter. And we have to remember, Erin, this is highly unusual to have in effect a prosecutor speaking in public about his investigation and about what is, in essence, a series of decolonization decisions.
So I do not think you're going to see him go beyond the bounds of the report and people really should be managing their expectations about getting anything beyond the report as to whether or not he will literally read from the report. I think you should expect him to stay very, very close to the text of that report.
BURNETT: So David, Jerry Nadler says there's now substantial evidence Trump is guilty of an impeachable offense. He, of course, is the one who would share any potential impeachment hearings. He said in part this weekend, the report presents very substantial evidence the president is guilty of high crimes or misdemeanors and we have to let Mueller present these facts to the American people. Will Mueller reading portions of the report allowed move the needle on impeachment?
[19:24:52] GERGEN: The Mueller report, when it came out, surprisingly did not really change Donald Trump standing with the American public. I mean, his approval rating they went down 1%, I think. So it's not at all clear that three months later, when the public has sort of moved on, they probably doesn't remember a lot of the details of everything.
It's not at all clear that unless there's something new and it comes out that it will change very much. The Democrats will maybe using this all, so it's an opportunity for them to make the case publicly while he's sitting there, that this could be a bridge to potential impeachment hearings.
Let me just say one other thing, Erin, where I do think he has some latitude and that is on the question of whether the United States government and the country itself are taking seriously and urgently enough the question of Russian hacking on our elections they attempt. So that's an area where I think as a private citizen, he could sound the alarm in an effective way.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate it.
BURNETT: Yes, go ahead, Lisa.
GERGEN: Thank you. MONACO: Well, I was just going to say just to echo on that, I mean,
we know what Mueller thinks about that and we saw him say as he closed out his press conference on May 29, what the American people should be very focused on is the central allegations and the indictments that the Special Counsel's Office put forward, and that is that there have been multiple systematic attempts to interfere in our election. And he said the American people should be focused on that. And we know what he thinks on that score.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, Republicans working on their game plan to refute Mueller's testimony. Their strategy to protect the President. And Iran claims it's executing spies who were working with Americans. Are they telling the truth?
[19:30:30] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: New tonight, Democrats in the House Judiciary holding a mock hearing tomorrow afternoon, complete with the person playing the role of Bob Mueller and the goal is to organize questioning as a team, because it's a big team. You got 40- plus people.
OUTFRONT now, Robert Litt, former general counsel for the director of national intelligence under President Obama, Harry Sandick, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst.
So, Robert, let me start with you. There are so many things here. But, you know, the president says the report concludes no collusion, no obstruction. It didn't conclude that on obstruction.
But on collusion, the report does not use that word. It uses the word conspiracy and Mueller does say concluded no conspiracy could be established in a criminally defined sense. You've known Bob Mueller for a very long time, is there anything more to learn from his decision of when to use the word coordinate or conspire instead of collude?
ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, I think that is something within the constraints of the Department of Justice letter that Bob Mueller would be able to explain that his job as a prosecutor was to determine whether criminal conduct occurred and particularly in the context of campaign finance violations, that requires a fairly high standard. But saying there was not sufficient proof for criminal conspiracy is not the same as no collusion.
And in fact, his report is full of evidence of instances where the Trump Organization had contact with the Russians, was willing to work with them. It's just that he didn't find sufficient evidence to meet the threshold for criminal conspiracy.
BURNETT: Sharing polling data over an extended period of time would be collusion by a lay person's --
LITT: And taking the meeting at the Trump Tower. BURNETT: A meeting at Trump Tower, which was specifically Russian
government promising you dirt, whether or not it was delivered, that becomes beside the point.
Harry, we know from the report that Don Jr. refused to speak to Mueller, right? He did not do so, Mueller did not push it. You want to know whether anyone took the Fifth or refused to cooperate.
HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yes, I think it would be interesting to know particularly to the extent that these are people who are close to the president or his advisers, Congress is there deciding whether to have impeachment hearings for the public, that's deciding who to vote for in the next election, did, in fact, the administration cooperate fully? Did people close to the president decide, in a totally valid way, to exercise their constitutional rights, not criticizing the exercise of rights, but people should have an opportunity to know.
I don't know whether he will provide that information or whether he will say it's too much in the weeds of my investigation and not in the report, I won't talk about it.
BURNETT: So, Gloria, Mueller wrote that if he could exonerate the president he would when it comes to obstruction. But obviously, he did not exonerate him. So, we are left with the logic and reasoning 101 question of how the absence of incense is not guilt. Will Mueller be able to explain that?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Will he be able to explain it? Probably, but not to the committee. I think he is just not going to go beyond what we saw in the report.
I mean, the obvious question that everybody wants the answer to is, if he were not president, would you have indicted him? That is the big question. And he's not going to go there. And he's not going to go beyond his report.
You saw what the Justice Department sent out tonight at his request as the letter states. So, I think he's looking for more and more reasons to say, you know, I really can't answer those questions. I'm not going to answer those hypothetical questions.
And so, the Congress has to be very careful about what they ask if they're going to illicit any responses beyond what's in the report.
BURNETT: So, Robert, you have a list of questions, 20 questions, in fact, that you hope will be asked, some of which you know would not be able to be answered within the framework of the report, but many of which would. What else is imperative?
LITT: Well, I think the most important thing for Wednesday's hearing is for the Congress to give Bob Mueller a chance to explain what he found to the American people. The vast majority of Americans have not read Bob Mueller's 450-page report. I think what is important for them to take him through what he found with respect to Russian efforts to influence the election on President Trump's behalf, the contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, the president's efforts to interfere with the investigation and the differences between the criminal standards and the ordinary understanding of what the facts are.
And I think if they take him through that and explain that, it would be a tremendous public service.
[19:35:1] BURNETT: So, Harry, you know, so when you look at another question that you have is why Mueller didn't pres harder to interview Trump? And I have to say, when you read Trump's written answers to Mueller, it's a fair question.
I mean, because -- you know, I don't know, I was reading it. Trump -- it's a joke. He said 35 times he didn't recall or didn't remember, right? It was not look, a lawyer wrote it, but it was not serious. There is no way he didn't remember a single thing being asked. But that's what he wrote and I guess that's what lawyers would advise someone to say.
But, you know, and he didn't answer Comey obstruction. So, do you think Mueller will answer as to why he accepted that?
SANDICK: I don't know if he will, but it's really an important question in order to assess the investigation. We know that Bill Clinton testified to the grand jury during the Whitewater investigation about Monica Lewinski and other subjects. And it made logical sense to seek Trump's interview.
It would have perhaps slowed down the investigation the great deal. And some have suggested that's the reason the administration has suggested that Mueller would have lost in court. They cited some case law that came after Clinton's testimony. I was never terribly persuaded by that. But, you know, it's a horse race I suppose and maybe the judge sees it their way.
BURENTT: I mean, Gloria, I think that is, as you know, 35 times I don't recall, I don't remember other than I remember winning xxx primaries on this day, right? There were things he remember. Just nothing pertinent to the questions being asked. Not only is that kind of crazy on the face of it, it is also crazy because this is a guy who said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONAL TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No hesitation, one of the great memories of all times.
They said, how do you do that? You write speeches? I said, no, I have a great memory.
I mean, I have a good memory like a great memory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Gloria, Mueller, do you think he believes that Trump was clearly dodging his questions with the lawyer like I don't recall, I don't remember?
BORGER: Well, he's a lawyer. He saw those written answers that you have been talking about. And, of course, that's what it was. I mean, you don't think Donald Trump wrote those answers, do you? His attorneys wrote those answers.
BURNETT: I thought he inserted the list of remember all the primaries he won in a given day.
BORGER: But in the Mueller report, and I was just looking back on this, you know, he did say, you know, they weighed the cost of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation which would result in the delay of their report against what they would get from Donald Trump that would be a benefit to their investigation.
So the question you have to raise here, of course, is even if Donald Trump were not telling them the truth, as his want, what would they have been able to do with that information?
BORGER: Since they weren't going to be allowed to indict him under any circumstance since he's the president. I'm sure this is going to come up at the hearing on Wednesday whether he's going to go beyond the report, I doubt it.
BURNETT: It's going to be very interesting to see. Maybe that's part of the reason that he didn't for example it indict Manafort on what happened at the Trump Tower meeting, right? Because if Trump recalled and the answer was I was told about it that would make him guilty, as well. Not Mueller wanted to go.
SANDICK: Yes, I think that's right.
LITT: Can I make one point?
LITT: One important thing, important thing to remember about Bob Mueller is he is a marine. He is used to following orders. Bob Mueller is not going to answer questions that go beyond the four corner of this report.
There are lots of things people want to know. They are not going to learn them from Bob Mueller on Wednesday.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
And next, President Trump says he can wipe a country off the face of the earth, but he won't. Why?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, Bernie Sanders now seeing some of his supporters flock to Elizabeth Warren. What's going on?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He tried it in 2016 and he never made it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:42:35] BURNETT: New tonight, Iran says it plans to execute some of its own citizens, up to 17 of them, who they say are working for the United States. Tehran claims they have detained 17 Iranians. They say they've all been working with the Americans and the CIA. President Trump denies the reports, commenting on the matter today, as the United States and Iran continue to accuse each other of lying about tanker seizures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If they want to make a deal, it's frankly -- it's getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran, because they behave very badly. They're saying bad things. And I'll tell you, it can go either way very easily, very easily. And I'm OK either way it goes.
(ED VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And I'm OK either way it goes.
OUTFRONT tonight, the fight for 2020, Democratic presidential candidate, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio.
Congressman, how concerned are you about that when the president says I'm fine with it whichever way it goes?
REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm very concerned. I mean, here is a guy who dodged Vietnam, never served, and now, he is being very reckless with our foreign policy. To say that so whimsically, you know, like he doesn't care. I mean, that's who we are dealing with here with this president.
And this all gets back to, Erin, we had a deal with Iran. We had a deal. Was it a perfect deal? No. But it was a deal with them that stabilized the region, which is what we try to do with countries like that that we don't always agree with.
We try to find some stability so that we can focus on our domestic issues, our domestic economy, income inequality, health care, all of these things we talk about every single day that we need to fix here in the United States. It becomes harder to fix when we have all this controversy and chaos abroad, much of it self-inflicted because of the president.
BURNETT: You know, he also today as he talked about Iran also talked about Afghanistan and said he could wipe it off the map. Here he is, Congressman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. I just don't want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. It would be gone -- it would be over in literally ten days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's your reaction to that?
RYAN: You know, you think back through history. You think of the great presidents.
[19:45:00] They were strong, but they didn't have to have a bluster, you know? It doesn't behoove the most powerful country in the world to go around saying, oh, yes, we can beat you up. I mean, that's what he looks like. He is like the bully on the school yard trying to threaten people.
And, look, these are complicated matters. We do need to reduce the amount of troops we have around the world. We do need to figure out how to reduce our defense budget, but, you don't -- you know, just deal with the problem. Stop the bluster. Put the Twitter account down, stop tweeting and act like a mature adult that's a president.
I mean, you think about Kennedy. You think about Roosevelt. You think about Reagan. You think about our presidents at their best. They were strong, but they had class.
And they didn't -- you didn't need to say a lot when you're strong. You don't need to say a lot when you're strong. Clearly, he is an insecure guy. And he's got our foreign policy in shambles right now.
BURNETT: So, I want to ask you. Obviously, you know, you have said you support proceeding with impeachment proceedings and hearings. You've got Mueller testifying this week. Obviously, the whole world is going to be watching.
You have the letter from the Department of Justice saying you better stay within the confines of the report which Mueller had already made clear he was going to do.
Do you think this is going to move any of your colleagues on to the side of, OK, now impeachment proceedings? Or is this the one big final hoorah?
RYAN: Hard to tell. I mean, it's all going to depend on what he says. If he does stay in the confines of the report, which I'm assuming he will, it may not move the needle.
But it is important to hear what he has to say, for him to say I could not indict president Trump, if that was an auto worker in Ohio or a steel worker in Gary, Indiana, that person would have been indicted. And for Mueller to say something like that I think may move some people. But we'll see.
And, you know, it's just going to be very difficult. Every member of Congress as you know has their own ways of evaluating these kinds of situations. So, we'll just have to wait and see.
BURNETT: Congressman, I know you are going ahead with debate prep and doing some of it in Florida. You have a week until the debate. You posted a video of your son coming to visit you at the airport. There he is, the little guy.
I think on a human level they think of you or any of your competitors, it has to be hard, a personal toll. That moment I know meant a lot to you.
How has it been so far, just the grueling nature of the campaign?
RYAN: You know, it's both exhilarating and exhausting. And the hardest part is being away from my wife and kids. I mean, I'm already away as a congressman three days a week. It is more than that. And that wears on you.
But at the same time, I try to keep in perspective the people and the country that are really suffering. I mean, whether it's opiate addictions, whether it's, you know, kids in bad schools, whether it's people who are losing their job like the ones I represent outside of a General Motors plant where we lost 4,000 jobs in the last couple years. Those people have to move away from their families, move hours away some from Ohio to Texas.
I keep them in mind because they inspire me as to why I'm really do this and it really helps me focus, as well. I mean, obviously, you know, it's tough to be away from your kids. If you love your kids, which everybody does, it becomes really, really hard.
But staying focused on why are we doing this and thinking about what kind of world I want to leave those kids. So, when I really miss them, I think to myself, I'm out here in the battle, trying to make it better for them. They're growing up with the climate change and they're growing into a world of inequality. They're growing up into a world that's changing so dramatically.
So putting agenda around Tim Ryan for America and timryanforAmerica.com, if people want to see what that agenda is for the future, that's what keeps me going. It's -- I'm doing it for them, quite frankly and clearly.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I thank you for your time, Congressman.
RYAN: Yes, thanks, Erin. Thanks for showing that again. I miss my guy already.
BURNETT: And next, Elizabeth Warren stealing some Bernie or bust voters. What's her draw?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always wanted her to be president. And I want to be totally behind her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:52:38] BURNETT: New tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren says a financial crash is coming but she's got a plan for it, and she seems to have a plan to win over Bernie Sanders supporters, too.
M.J. Lee is OUTFRONT.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Bernie is terrific.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Elizabeth is a friend of mine.
M.J. LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two long-time colleagues battling it out for the 2020 progressive mantle. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are set to face-off center stage at CNN's presidential debate next week. The primetime showdown coming as Warren has risen in the polls, catching up to Sanders.
The two candidates making a similar pitch on some of the major issues in the race.
WARREN: I'm not in Washington to work for billionaires.
SANDERS: One of the great problems facing American society today is that we have a billionaire class.
LEE: Voters in the early states taking notice of the senators and their similar appeal.
KILEY YATES, SUPPORTED CLINTON IN 2018 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: I think they have a fair number of similar policy positions, absolutely.
LEE: Some Democrats that supported Sanders in the 2016 primaries say this time they are leaning towards Warren.
VICKIE JANFMA, SUPPORTED SANDERS IN 2016 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: Hoping she would run back in 2016, and I feel that her ideas and her plans, I always wanted her to be president and I want to be totally behind her.
LEE: Others say they are ready for a fresh face.
SIMONE GARBER, SUPPORTED SANDERS IN 2016 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: They are very similar in the things that they stand for, but I definitely like Senator Warren better. She tried it in 2016 and he never made it.
LEE: But as Warren and Sanders fight for the progressive base, polls show they are also drawing support from distinct groups.
Sanders with strong support among working class, less educated voters. WARREN: We've got to protect our democracy.
LEE: Warren attracting college-educated voters and particularly appealing to women, and the biggest difference for Sanders a crowded Democratic field of more than 20 candidates.
This 2016 Sanders supporter says he's still a fan but he's considering his other options.
BEN MULLIN, SUPPORTED SANDERS IN 2016 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: I'm leaning towards senator Sanders or maybe Senators Harris or Warren. There are more options. You know, there are some people that say we need more fresh face in the Democratic field.
LEE: Both Warren and Sanders downplaying their upcoming matchup on the debate stage.
WARREN: I am delighted. Bernie and I have been friends for a long, long time.
[19:55:01] REPORTER: What can you expect from the debate with you and Warren sharing the same stage?
LEE: Now, just today, Elizabeth Warren warned about a financial crisis could be coming and, of course, put out a new plan saying she could prevent it. Now over the past couple of months, it's been really interesting, Erin, seeing how much Warren has pivoted to the message of the economy just last week as you recall, she put out a plan on Wall Street and private equity. Clearly, this is one of the ways she's trying to distinguish herself including from Bernie Sanders.
BURNETT: All right. M.J., thank you very much.
And next, Jeanne on the wedding crasher in chief at it again.
BURNETT: Tonight, one newlywed couple had the guest of their dreams attend their wedding at his club.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine you're having a Make America Great theme wedding.
Complete with a gun, shooting pretend $50 bills with Trump's face on them and recordings of the president.
TRUMP: I am with you. MOOS: And then, suddenly, he is with you. Hugging the pride and
posing with the bride and groom. For P.J. Mongelli and Nicole Marie.
P.J. MONGELLI, GROOM: It was monumental.
MOOS: They got engaged at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. So why not marry there.
NICOLE MONGELLI, BRIDE: We're huge Trump supporters. We didn't have to think twice about having it anywhere else.
MOOS: Trump's own daughter Ivanka was married there. "The New York Times" reported guests received a pair of white flip-flops with a note "Ivanka and Jared. What a pair."
(on camera): Forget here comes the bride, here comes the president.
(voice-over): He's dropped in on weddings repeatedly at Bedminster, and also at Mar-a-Lago, when he was there with Japan's prime minister.
TRUMP: Come on, Shinzo, let's go over and say hello.
MOOS: Trump is the Maroon Five of presidents. Stunning brides and grooms, Trump has been called the wedding crasher in chief.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Let's make a memory.
MOOS: Maybe not as piffy as Vince Vaughn in the movie.
TRUMP: It's an honor to be with you, and you really are a special, beautiful couple. And I hope everybody right now is going to get back to dancing.
MOOS: But at least the president didn't shove cake in his mouth. Instead, Trump kissed the bride, praised the groom.
TRUMP: Handsome -- look at his shoulders. Nobody is going to mess with him, right?
MOOS: The couple said they repeatedly sent the president invitations, instead of just saying "I do", they can brag he did come.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And thank you so much for joining us.
Anderson starts now.