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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Ramps Up Mueller Attacks Hours Before Testimony; Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is Interviewed About Russia's Intent on Interfering with U.S. Elections. Aired on 7 -8p ET

Aired July 23, 2019 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:00]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: ... me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Robert Mueller's last minute request rejected by the House Judiciary Committee hours before his historic testimony. What did Mueller want? Plus, President Trump on the offense personally attacking the Special Counsel as we learn new details about what Trump's thinking tonight. And the President reportedly coming to the aid of an alleged Chinese spy. Why? Is it because of his ties to Mar-A-Lago? Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Mueller's last minute move. As we count down to Robert Mueller's testimony now just over 13 hours away. House Democrats are rejecting Mueller's last minute request to have his longtime aide sworn in to answer questions. Now, look, the move would have taken pressure off of Mueller, allowing him to punt questions, frankly, that he didn't want to answer to Aaron Zebley.

Now, Aaron is a man who oversaw the day to day Russia investigation for 22 months. According to a source with the House Judiciary Committee Zebley will be allowed to sit next to Mueller to advise him but not to answer questions. That is Mueller's job. And this last minute curveball request from Mueller is still under discussion at the Intelligence Committee, which will also question Mueller publicly for several hours tomorrow.

This drama comes as we're learning President Trump is irritated Mueller is getting the bullhorn tomorrow. The President today slamming the former special counsel publicly returning to his favorite line of attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This whole witch-hunt that's going on, shall I talk about it for a second?

CROWD: Yes.

TRUMP: The Russian, OK? First of all, it's very bad for our country. It goes on for years and years. No collusion, no obstruction. They interviewed 500 people. Listen to this, 2,500 subpoenas. They did everything. Their collusion, no collusion. They have no collusion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Let's just be clear on one really important thing. This was not a witch-hunt. Mueller's investigation has so far resulted in 199 criminal counts, 37 people and entities have been charged and almost all of them are Russian. Five people have been sentenced to prison.

Whatever you make of the findings about Trump, the Russia investigation was an investigation into an attack on America. It was no witch-hunt and to say anything otherwise is wrong. It's wrong for the commander in chief to call it that. Manu Raju is out front live on Capitol Hill. And Manu, what more are you learning tonight about how these two crucial committees are handling Mueller's unexpected last minute request for that top aide to be sworn in tomorrow?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, They're rejecting that request. At least, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee will allow the aide, Aaron Zebley, to sit alongside the Special Counsel, same with the House Judiciary Committee. He will be sitting there and Adam Schiff, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told us earlier that Zebley will be allowed to answer technical questions.

But he will not, in Schiff's view, overshadow Bob Mueller because after all it is Bob Mueller's day. But nevertheless, Republicans push back also on this request, underscoring the tensions ahead of tomorrow's very high stakes hearing. Now, moments ago, we had a chance to talk to the House Judiciary Committee Chairman about his expectations ahead of tomorrow and he believes what the Mueller needs to do is lay out what's in the report and undercut what the Attorney General and the President have been saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): My hope for tomorrow, it's what I've said before, Mueller investigation revealed a lot of conduct by the President, which the American people should be aware of. The President and the Attorney General have systematically lied to the American people about what was in that report. I know they've said no obstruction, no collusion, he was totally exonerated. All of those three statements are not true. It's important that the American people understand what was in that report and then we'll go from there.

RAJU: What's the risk tomorrow?

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: The question is where do they go from there, I asked the Chairman of the Committee whether or not he believes it could change the course of the house on impeachment. First, he said, "I don't know." I said, "Well, do you hope it changes the course on impeachment?" He says, "I'm not going to comment."

And as you know, Erin, privately the Judiciary Committee Chairman has advocated opening up an impeachment inquiry. The House Speaker continues to resist that and Democrats are still divided over that question. So a lot riding on tomorrow's hearing about how the House continues to pursue its investigation and whether they will open up any formal proceedings against the President and the aftermath of this high stakes hearing, Erin.

[19:05:03] BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much and I want to go now to one of the Congressman who will be questioning Mueller tomorrow, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney of the House Intelligence Committee. I appreciate your time, Congressman. So what is the key question you plan to ask Mueller tomorrow? You've got your few minutes. You've got your line of questioning, I'm sure, completely set out. What can you tell me?

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, I'm going to be listening as well. I think it's very important that Director Mueller come up here and tell us what he found in his own words and that he answer the questions that are put to him. I understand he wants to reiterate what's in the report and we're OK with that.

I think that's top of our list too. We want people to know what is in this report and we want them to hear it directly from Director Mueller. And there's a bunch of other questions, but I'm going to be listening, as well as just getting ready to talk.

BURNETT: So when it comes to his top aide, were you surprised by that request and it sounds like from what Manu was saying that your committee will allow him to answer technical questions and be sworn in, Aaron Zebley, I'm referring to?

MALONEY: I'm going to defer to the Chairman on that question. It's not for me to say, but I'm interested in hearing from Director Mueller. I think that's what the American people want. I think anything that gets in the way of that is not going to be helpful.

BURNETT: All right. So today, the Chairman of your Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff, also said this about Mueller's testimony and let me play it for you, Congressman Maloney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I don't know what the impact of the hearing will be. I'm, I think, very realistic in my expectations. People are pretty dug in on not just Trump and Russia, but they're just dug in on this President. If that appalling display of racism over the last two weeks wasn't enough to move people, is there anything that Bob Mueller can say that will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Is there anything Bob Mueller can say tomorrow that would change anything in your view, Congressman Maloney?

MALONEY: Well, respectfully, I'm not sure that's the point. I think the point is to have the findings of this very important investigation set out in a clear, concise ways for the American people and the truth. We want the truth and we want it from the person who is most qualified to tell us what the evidence says is the truth. That's Director Mueller.

He spent two years on this. We've got a tremendous national investment on this. He needs to come up here and answer the questions put to him and I think those questions will reveal that there was very serious, improper and unethical conduct by the President and his campaign. And there's a lot of concerns here about the security of our elections, about those issues going forward, about the counterintelligence issues who may have been compromised even if they didn't commit crimes.

Those are the kinds of things that we should be getting at if we're doing our jobs. And I mean it, I'm not going to prejudge what the Director says. But I want him to answer the questions fully. American public deserves to get the truth.

BURNETT: I have to say, though, I've read the report, you've read the report, I understand you can have him quote from the report and a lot of people would learn a lot because the vast majority of people haven't read the report. They have other things to do. But even having read the report, I have a lot of questions that are not clear in the report, that Bob Mueller would have a very strong opinion on, that would not require him to violate classified information or executive privilege.

Do you think he's going to answer any of them? Because I know you have those kinds of questions too and a lot of other people in the room with you will as well.

MALONEY: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think a lot of us will be very unsatisfied if all he thinks he's going to do is read from the report, excuse me, because there are very important questions like why didn't the President have to give in an in-person interview under oath. That's covered in the report, but there's real questions about why the Director let him get away with that?

BURNETT: Well, especially because he said in it 35 times they wrote, his lawyers wrote, I don't recall, I don't remember on every single pertinent answer.

MALONEY: Precisely, and Director Mueller himself talks about how those answers were insufficient and incomplete and inadequate. That's exactly the kind of thing we need to drill into, because we need to understand whether the President was let off the hook on that.

And there's a bunch of other things like that, that won't be strictly speaking only what's in the report, but they will elaborate or provide clarity for that, allow us to make judgments about it. That's what needs to happen in a congressional hearing and that's what the American public needs, by the way, to be able to understand what their president did when he was running for office and since he's been president.

BURNETT: You know, today, Congressman Maloney, the President was speaking and obviously he slammed Mueller. But he also, referencing the whole Mueller report and his decision to do things, I suppose, including fire Jim Comey, that he had the full right to do that. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have an Article Two where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He's not a king. He's a president. Is he right about Article Two?

MALONEY: No, he cannot commit crimes. He's not above the law. That's our whole constitutional system. If the President doesn't understand that, he doesn't understand America. And whether he thinks he can or not, that thank God the framers and the people who wrote the Constitution understood that even when you had a president who felt that way, we were going to institutions and a rule of law that was going to make sure that the democracy was going to win out.

[19:10:05] And in this moment, the critical issue is whether people are above the law or not. The president needs to be held accountable for his actions. Director Mueller needs to answer questions about the report. The American public needs to see it all. It shouldn't be withheld. It shouldn't be behind closed doors and they need to be given the truth so they can make the proper judgments and the number one judgment is whether this president who thinks himself above the law is fit to continue serving.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman Maloney. And we'll be curious to see how you come out on that tomorrow, because you don't yet formally support formal impeachment proceedings. Thank you for your time.

MALONEY: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Democrats have a message for Mueller, ignore the Justice Department's demand that he stick to his report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADLER: He does not have to comply with that letter. He doesn't work for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He's right, but will Mueller do it or not? Plus, as the President grows more irritated over Mueller's upcoming testimony, we are learning new details about the White House plan for tomorrow. And Trump's FBI Director warning, Russia is still attacking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through the foreign influence ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it fair to say that ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, is America fighting back?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:05] BURNETT: Looking at live pictures of Capitol Hill hours away from Robert Mueller's highly anticipated testimony before Congress and the world. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler giving this message to Mueller, ignore the DOJ letter that says you have to stick to what is in your 400 plus page report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADLER: He does not have to comply with that letter. He doesn't work for them and that letter asks things that are beyond the power of the agency to ask even if you still worked for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. He's testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the Mueller report, Carrie Cordero who also testified before the Judiciary Committee on the Mueller report and as a former counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for national security, and David Priess who briefed then FBI Director Mueller daily as a CIA Intelligence Officer. Thank you to all.

John, let me start with you. Unless Bob Mueller starts talking about classified information or grand jury information, is there anything team Trump can do if Mueller said, "You know what, I'm going to listen to Chairman Nadler. I'm a private citizen. I can say whatever I want to say and I do not have to listen to the DOJ, which says I have to just stay in the report."

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, he certainly has to stay away from grand jury testimony.

BURNETT: Right.

DEAN: That's not because of any department regulation. That's federal court and federal law, under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. That precludes him from talking about that. So there are some areas that even if he did want to go beyond it, he can't. As far as his statement with the report, I think it is how artful and thoughtful they are in their questioning.

BURNETT: Which is what this is all going to come down to. I mean, because Carrie, look, Mueller was a reluctant witness. We know that. He's only there because he was subpoenaed and he asked for this guidance from the Justice Department. Some people are saying, "Oh, they put it out there to put a gag on him." Well, he kind of wanted it. I mean, is there any chance that he does more than read from the report or is he going to answer some of these key questions?

CARRIE CORDERO, FORMER COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: I think he'll do more than read from the report. I don't think that every time he's asked a question, he's going to turn to a page in the report and read a passage from it. Although he might certainly refer to particular sections in the report. I think he'll answer the questions regarding what the facts are in the report and how the investigation was conducted.

What I don't think he'll answer is the question of whether or not if he, as an independent prosecutor, looked at the facts that are described, particularly in the obstruction part in volume two, is in his judgment would that have been a prosecutable case.

BURNETT: Right.

CORDERO: That is an important question. I think they'll ask it. I don't think that he'll answer that question.

BURNETT: Right. They have to ask it, in a sense, he can't answer it without going against this entire moral reason for not making a decision. But there are many things he can answer, which would perhaps be as damning although maybe within the parameters of the report, David. Because I guess on this, I know he didn't want to testify, but he owns this investigation. He spent two years of his life on it. It's called the Mueller report. He cares about it passionately. He complained to the Attorney General when the Attorney General summarized it. And Mueller felt his findings were somehow misrepresented.

So, I guess, David my question to you is wouldn't he, by that logic, try to do as much as he could to answer questions, to eliminate so many of the questions that are out there that don't require classified information to be honest about?

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, BRIEFED THEN FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER DAILY: The logic actually goes the other way. He did not put his name on the report, putting a stamp on it saying, "This is my report, the Mueller report." The letter that he wrote back to Attorney General Barr was because the findings of the report were being mischaracterized. It wasn't because Bob Mueller wasn't the central figure in this. So I don't think Mueller is going to go out there trying to make a case, trying to put out there more information in some kind of subtle way or even in an obvious way.

BURNETT: But to your point, I understand he doesn't want to make it about him, I get it. I mean, I'm just saying it is about him even though he doesn't like it, I mean, because it's called the Mueller reports, the number one best seller.

PRIESS: Yes, understood. BURNETT: But what I'm saying is if he cares about it, if it's

mischaracterized or misrepresented, doesn't he owe it to himself and to us, the American people to explain why to represent it correctly?

PRIESS: Absolutely. And what I expect will happen is that the Democrats on the committees will try to get him to say out loud the things in the report that are the most damning, so that there is video of Robert Mueller with his credibility and integrity saying these things. What I expect the Republicans on the committees to be doing is to be trying to challenge him and to mischaracterize the findings of the report.

And on those issues, I expect Bob Mueller to say, "No, that is not what the report says. I'll read it to you, if you can't read it, Mr. Congressman, because this is exactly what it says, stop mischaracterizing my report." He may not use those words, but I think the tone will be telling that he will want to make sure that the work that he represents from his whole office is actually presented with credibility and accurately to the American people.

[19:20:09] BURNETT: So, John, to that effect you've got Aaron Zebley sitting next to Bob Mueller tomorrow. This was his last minute request. He was the Deputy Special Counsel. He ran the day-to-day oversight of the Russia investigation. Now, we understand he won't be allowed to be sworn in by the Judiciary Committee, but the Intelligence Committee will allow him according to Chairman Schiff to answer technical questions.

Why do you think Mueller wants him there? Is it to elaborate and give more information or is it to sort of have a foil, a shield from questions that he would prefer to not to answer himself?

DEAN: It's hard to speculate on precisely what he's got in mind. He may feel more comfortable with somebody who was much more granular into building the report than he was. He was sort of a big picture guy and then probably made corrections. But he didn't work up the report in the same kind of detail that his chief - he did and can probably either whisper in his ear to refresh his recollection and I think if the committee is shrewd, notwithstanding the fact he's not there as a witness, Democrats could certainly ask him a question. There is no rule that prohibits that. So we'll see how that all plays out.

BURNETT: Carrie, you know him, Aaron Zebley that is, how close is he with Mueller?

CORDERO: So he has worked and been just a right hand to former Director Mueller for a number of years going back to when he was FBI Director. Aaron himself is a former FBI agent with extensive experience in complex worldwide global National Security investigations. So he is an extremely credible, knowledgeable and experienced person in his own right.

I think part of the reason perhaps, if I'm just going to speculate of why Director Mueller is having him with him is so that there is nothing that he has to take back. So oftentimes when senior government officials testify, if they don't know the answer to a detailed question, they might say, "Well, let me take that back for the record and we'll get back to you, Congressman."

BURNETT: Yes.

CORDERO: In this case, he doesn't want this to continue. He wants this hearing to be the end of it and so I suspect that then if there is a detailed question, Aaron Zebley can provide that to him in the moment.

BURNETT: So David, let me ask you here. President Trump has obviously repeatedly said the Mueller report does some things it doesn't do, like no collusion, no obstruction, and he's been very specific in some of the words he's used like this time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The Special Counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction, total exoneration, complete vindication.

I've been totally exonerated, no collusion, no obstruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: David, you don't need to go outside the report to just lay out the facts here. He says totally exonerated twice. The Mueller report says, quote, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him. All right. You don't need Bob Mueller to say that, but hearing him say that contrasted with the President.

PRIESS: Right.

BURNETT: The President's words are false. Could we have moments like that tomorrow? Is that as far as he'll go as to say, "OK, what the President said is not true."

PRIESS: That is a very legitimate question. That some members should ask which is your report has been characterized by the Attorney General or by the President or by other members as saying this, is that in fact what you found and in a case like total exoneration, there is no way that Robert Mueller is going to say, "Yes, I'll go along with that."

He's going to go back to that language in the report. Listen, most Americans still haven't read the report. We know that from polls. We're trying at Lawfare with the report a new serial podcast to bring the report alive, but having Bob Mueller say these words and say, "No, the President was not totally exonerated. Let me tell you exactly what we found."

That is the kind of thing that will reach people who simply haven't paid attention to all of the discussions we've been having about this on the air. They'll tune into this and they will see what Robert Mueller himself has to say. BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, all of you. Thank you.

And next, President Trump ramping up his attacks on Bob Mueller as we learn new details about the White House plan to rebut the historic testimony. Plus, the U.S. and the U.K. about to be led by two people who may be remarkably similar. At least they are according to President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're saying 'Britain Trump'. They call him Britain Trump and people are saying that's a good thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:28:36] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump slamming Mueller ahead of tomorrow's historic testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I saw Mueller's testifying tomorrow again. How many times? Two and a half years and actually it started practically from the time I came down on the escalator. They said, "You know, he's got good numbers. We better start looking at him right away. Maybe he's dealing with a foreign country." I say, "What are you talking about?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. This is not true. He didn't have any numbers at the time. Plus, we know the origins of the investigation as it relates to Trump and his campaign. Those began a year later with George Papadopoulos. But this comes as Trump himself has spent a lot of time on the phone asking aides and allies what's Mueller going to do. Abby Phillip is out front of the white house tonight. And Abby, what are you hearing about how the president is feeling and preparing for Mueller's testimony?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the President's annoyance about this whole thing has been palpable and that has really overshadowed any sense of anxiety that he might feel about what Mueller might actually say. What the President is most irritated about is this prospect that the Mueller investigation which has overshadowed his presidency for two and a half years is coming back and coming back with a vengeance as Mueller sits down before those committees in Congress tomorrow and testifies.

President Trump, as you said, has been talking to his aides and allies tonight talking to them about this testimony, complaining that he can't seem to shake it and then even offering advice about what kinds of questions he would like Republicans to ask.

[19:30:08] On Twitter, he suggested all kinds of questions about turning the tables on the investigators, asking about the origins of the investigation, about Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, those two former FBI officials who the president has been hammering for months. And so, you're seeing President Trump really showing the world that

this is something that even though he has tried to say he is going to tune it out, it's something that's occupying space in his brain.

As for the White House, how are they going to respond writ large? They will be taking their cues largely from President Trump. Some allies and the president's aides are expecting to be able to push back.

But, Erin, I think you can expect that a lot of what you'll hear from the White House is going to be some of the same things we've been hearing from them for months. They are expecting Mueller to repeat a lot of the same talking points. And so, they'll be armed with their own talking points as well.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Abby, thank you very much.

And now, David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst and former adviser to four U.S. presidents, and April Ryan, our political analyst and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

David, you're with me.

All right. Trump scheduled a rally for the night of the Mueller testimony, to drown him out, take over the oxygen. Fox News isn't going to cover Mueller because I'm on. OK.

But the Mueller testimony was moved by a week. Trump did not reschedule a rally. Tomorrow night, he's going to be behind closed doors with Republican donors. Not live on TV, drowning out Mueller.

Did he make a mistake?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: He's still have an opportunity to go out and talk after --

BURNETT: You mean he'll do his Twitter, yes.

GERGEN: He will do -- he'll probably do it on the way to an airplane or someplace. He is not letting this just go. I think he's --

BURNETT: He will call in if he has to, right?

GERGEN: Yes, I think so.

But, I -- listen, I think the strategy for the Democrats and what would serve the country best is to be very simple about it, to go back to the things that President Trump has been saying and Barr has been saying -- the attorney general has been saying, misinterpreting, spinning the report in favorable way toward the president. And what's important now is let's get back to reality and what actually happened and what the Mueller team found.

They can go and say, Mr. Mueller, the president says there has been no collusion, period. Did you find that? There was no collusion? That's not what he found. BURNETT: You said did not establish a conspiracy. Does that mean

there was no evidence of --

GERGEN: There wasn't sufficient evidence --

BURNETT: To prove, right, in a criminal court which is very different that there --

GERGEN: Did you find no obstruction? Clearly on that one he said, no, there was -- he found quite a lot of obstruction.

And at the end of the day, you know, what are we to make of all of in, is the president someone who has crossed lines? Or is the president someone -- can we trust him on the questions?

BURNETT: Yes.

GERGEN: One last thing. It's so important -- and Mueller, I think has absolutely every reason to come out and say, I testified -- I'm hearing what we said before, this was weeks ago. Since then on the Russian hacking, the country has done precious little we are not prepared. I think that's where he can go beyond the report because what's happened since the report is quite important, like big nothing.

BURNETT: Right, in terms of that front.

I mean, April, how is the president going to respond to Mueller?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the president is already responding to Mueller, like Abby said, the key word is irritated. That it come in many forms. You know, just knowing the president as we see him and we have known him the past couple of years as president, you know, we can expect that the president will make a Twitter rampage, you know, expressing feelings, irritation.

And also, you know, maybe leading the questioners, the Republican questioners in what he wants them to say. But what really is telling right now is that the president wants to move forward. He wants in over. And it's not happening.

And sources very close to high ranking officials are saying that some of in irritation stems from the fact that in keeps moving on after they basically tabled the impeachment issue that Al Green -- Congressman Al Green brought up last week.

BURNETT: Right.

RYAN: And also today -- the NAACP -- now, this was huge. The president was supposed to come to Detroit. The NAACP came one a resolution to push for articles of impeachment against this president.

So, this is something that won't die. He is irritated about it as he wants to move forward. He thought it would be over by now.

BURNETT: And so, David, he thought it would be over. But it isn't. So, he is trying to discredit Mueller. Here he is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know he is conflicted. There is a lot of conflicts he has, including the fact that his best friend is Comey. But he's got conflicts with me too. He's got big conflicts with me.

And 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)

[19:35:02] BURNETT: None of that is true by the way. It was that Mueller used to be a member of a golf club that was Trumps he didn't use his membership and cancelled. That's what he's talking about there.

GERGEN: It would make a good deal of difference if Democrats could simply take that and ask two or three tough questions to come out of that. You know, did you really want the FBI job. If they can gets on film, here is what the president has said, here is how Mueller corrects the record --

BURNETT: That would be very powerful.

GERGEN: -- that that's going to be more powerful.

BURNETT: And gets outside the report too.

I mean, you know, April, we are hearing that Democrats fear Republicans may try to interrupt and disrupt the hearing, right? That they're, you know, as you say, Trump is putting his questions out on Twitter. He's going to make comments.

The Judiciary Committee actually had someone played the role of Congressman Jim Jordan who is a key Trump ally during their mock hearing today.

Is Trump actually coordinating with these key Republicans?

RYAN: If he is not, his top officials are talking with them. That's something we know. If this president can go to his own people and -- or not just the president but some of his top tier staff and lawyers can go to people who have been interviewed by Mueller to say what did you say?

Believe me, people are trying to find out what's going to happen or what they will say and trying to influence on the Hill. And that -- you hit something, Erin. This week here in Detroit, Nancy Pelosi told me yesterday that she is concerned about abuse of this process by Republicans.

So, she is very concerned about this, as she is looking for the truth to come out.

GERGEN: Yes, a circus. It could turn into a circus. BURNETT: And we certainly hope it doesn't, which would be in no one's

interests.

GERGEN: Absolutely not.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. We'll see you, of course, tomorrow.

RYAN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And, April, I know you are talking about the 2020 Democrats about the Mueller drama at the NAACP conference.

RYAN: Yes.

BURNETT: And, of course, we look forward to hearing all the details of what they tell you. Thanks.

RYAN: Yes, thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the president's FBI director warning the Russians are still attacking America. So, what is Trump doing about it? Vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, is OUTFRONT.

Plus, the president reportedly trying to protect an alleged Chinese spy because he is a member of Mar-a-Lago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:06] BURNETT: New tonight, the Chinese billionaire and member of Mar-a-Lago accused of being a spy. According to a new report in "The Miami Herald", the businessman, Guo Wengui has reportedly avoided deportation because Trump found out he was a member of his exclusive Florida club, Mar-a-Lago.

OUTFRONT now, Sarah Blaskey, a reporter for "The Miami Herald", who's been breaking this news.

And, Sarah, I appreciate your time tonight.

OK. So, you know, obviously, pretty stunning headline here. A member of Mar-a-Lago, Chinese billionaire accused of being a spy. It appears his deportation has been halted.

What more are you learning with his connection to Mar-a-Lago and the president's involvement?

SARAH BLASKEY, REPORTER, MIAMI HERALD: So one of the things we should do is sort of tease out the timeline here. His deportation was halted more than a year ago after the president allegedly found out that he was a member of his south Florida club. Now, we just found out this past Friday from court filings in New York that a company that he partnered with in the past to do a bit of research, a U.S. based company, has accused him of trying to gather intel for the Chinese government. And so, that allegation is what's new. It's unclear if federal

authorities are acting on that information.

BURNETT: But when it comes here to the president's involvement from what you found, Sarah, from the timeline, it certainly appears that it's very possible that the Chinese government want him back, apparently a spy. So that is the reporting.

And the president -- the president gets involved because of Mar-a- Lago?

BLASKEY: Yes. And so there are sort of two competing narrative with Mr. Guo. One is that, you know, as his former business associates say, he could be a spy for the Chinese government. And they have presented that case.

The other side of this is that Mr. Guo has been an outspoken contradict of Chinese government and continues to be so on his Facebook page today and he is seeking asylum in the United States. And so, either way, he seems to have strategically placed himself at Mar-a-Lago.

We don't know how old his membership is, only he has been a member for several years. And that, yes, at one point when the Chinese government was asking for his return, that status did help him avoid deportation.

BURNETT: You know, look, it's pretty stunning to imagine the president of the United States getting involved with something for -- for anything like this, never mind for this sort of reason. But it comes as you've reported on security at the Mar-a-Lago. Under heavy scrutiny, right? You had the woman who snuck in who's now maybe a spy.

You have Cindy Yang, the Florida massage parlor owner, who has appeared there many times with the president many times, and with the president many times, accused of selling access to Trump and his family through Mar-a-Lago, all of this possibly tied back to China.

BLASKEY: That's right. It's certainly interesting timing for this news to come out.

Is it politically motivated as Mr. Guo has suggested? Maybe. I think we'll know more and obviously, we're going to continue following this story to try to find out what federal authorities do know about Mr. Guo if anything, or if he has been caught up in the investigation that you mentioned, the ongoing investigation into possible espionage at Mar-a-Lago.

BURNETT: Which, of course, seems to have some very serious security issues.

Thank you very much, Sarah. I appreciate your time.

And next, the president's FBI director says the Russians are attacking America. Is the president of the United States taking this threat seriously at all now?

Plus, president Trump see as kindred spirit in Britain's new tough- talking prime minister.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He is tough and he is smart. They say Britain Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:48:42] BURNETT: New tonight, the Russians are attacking America now. The election attacks are not over. And that is the warning from the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it fair to say --

WRAY: -- foreign influence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Senator, how big of a threat are the Russian attacks?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): I think the threat is huge. And we have Mr. Trump's own FBI director. His director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, we have head of the NSA, National Security Agency, and others, saying Russia will be back because they were effective in 2016.

And what is flabbergasting to me is that this president still makes jokes about it with Vladimir Putin when that G-20 meetings rather than holding him accountable. And the fact we have a series of bipartisan legislation we can't get to the floor of the Senate because the majority leader, Senator McConnell, won't allow us to bring it forward.

So, common sense things like if a foreign agent tries to interfere, there ought to be an obligation to tell the FBI, trying to make sure we paper backpack for any polling stations or trying to put in place rules of the road for social media.

[19:50:02] This should not be partisan. But, unfortunately, this president's unwillingness to grapple with it, we are not protected as we should be.

BURNETT: OK. So, to your point, I want to play what former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said at the end of his public statement about release of the report. It was perhaps most important line. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election. And that allegation deserves the attention of every American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: At least one American has not seemed to take the central allegations seriously. Here is who Trump has blamed for the Russian attacks on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: There could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.

It might be just a hacker, some guy with a 200 I.Q. that can't get up in the morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He also said, Senator, it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.

Does it matter what the president says if the director of the FBI is fighting the Russian attacks or not?

WARNER: It matters when the president dismisses and belittles this kind of attack because it sends a signal to a lot of Americans that maybe this is not something that's important.

At the end of the day, the Russians supported Trump in 2016, but the real goal is to divide us as a country. And when every one of the presidents appointees are trying to do their job and the president continues to belittle this, you know, it just doesn't make our country safe, and that's one of the reasons why I hope and pray that whatever Bob Mueller says tomorrow, that he reiterates the importance of this national security threat and hopefully we'll then break down some of the resistance allowing us to bring bipartisan legislation to try to put some rules in place.

BURNETT: So, you know, I want to read a section of the Mueller report to you. You're familiar with it.

The special counsel writes that Russian intelligence targeted, quote, voter registration software and electronic polling stations and then goes on to say, while the investigation identified evidence that the Russian targeted these individuals and entities, the office did not investigate further. Mueller says more than 24 states were targeted millions of Americans compromised.

Now, he says, look, we stopped investigating and handed it off but are you confident, Senator, in this? Is it possible the Russians now got enough information from all the hacking, to have the ability to acutally change election results in this country?

WARNER: I think that in 2018, Department of Homeland Security and others, we were much better than 2016. But what we don't have assurance is we don't have assurance that every state and every polling station has a paper ballot backup, God forbid, in case we were hacked into. We don't have appropriate, I believe, controls over three private companies that control over 90 percent of the voter files, because if you really want to mess with our election, you don't need to change voter results if you simply move 5,000 folks from one set of precincts to another, you will create chaos on Election Day.

BURNETT: You certainly will. And as we all know, as Russians themselves learned this week, the easiest path in is through contractors.

Thank you very much, Senator Warner.

WARNER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, Jeanne Moos on President Trump getting the British prime minister he always wanted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:34] BURNETT: Tonight, Britain elects a new prime minister and his style maybe as wild as Trump's. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He gestures like Donald Trump, his hair is compared to Donald Trump's, even Donald Trump likens him to Donald Trump.

TRUMP: There is a Britain Trump, they call him Britain Trump, and people are saying that's a good thing, that they like me over there.

MOOS: Boris Johnson definitely has the thumbs up down. Though he's more athletic than Trump, whether he's taking out a 10-year-old, playing rugby, or getting stuck on a zip line left dangling.

True, he's bad mouthed President Trump.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATE: Stupid ignorance unfit to hold the office of president. I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind.

MOOS: But all of that is apparently not on Trump's mind because he is saying.

TRUMP: He'll get it done. Boris is good.

MOOS: This satirical headline disagrees. Queen Elizabeth moving to Canada.

The cat that lives at 10 Downing Street was likewise portrayed as packing. No, I can't believe they chose him, either. Ivanka Trump once posed with Boris Johnson, inspiring comparisons to a

Trump impersonator. Now, she's congratulating him on becoming the next prime minister of the United Kingston. Oops.

Newt Gingrich describes Boris as Margaret Thatcher with wild hair. His hairiest moments are being highlighted. Burning question: Will Boris Johnson at last comb his hair for his meeting with the queen?

(on camera): Much as I hate to split hairs on the topic, the Donald and Boris hairstyles are actually opposites.

(voice-over): The "A.P." noted that with Trump, each strand is put in its proper place to give him a look he wants, while Boris favors the slept on look it's an accident in progress that's been happening for years.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: How long have you been cutting your own hair?

MOOS: As he prepared for the role of Britain's leader, reporters noted.

REPORTER: Got the hair under control.

MOOS: But even if he does comb his hair, split screens are multiplying like split ends.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: That last -- that last one was a little bizarre.

All right. Thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. You just have to go to CNN Go.

And we will see you tomorrow, of course. The Mueller testimony begins in front of the House Intelligence Committee in just 13 hours from now.

"AC360" begins right now.

END