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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Top Dem: "This Is An Impeachment Investigation"; Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) Is Interviewed About Chairman Nadler's Impeachment Proceedings; Trump Claims He Will "Easily" Win Re-election In 2020; Slams New For Poll Showing Him Trailing Biden, Sanders; Top Dems Signal They'll Be More Aggressive at CNN Debate; Trump Downplays New NK Missile Tests. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 26, 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]

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: ... will. He'll be there but he doesn't want to lose his lead.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And to all of our viewers, next Tuesday and Wednesday night, the CNN Democratic presidential debates, 8:00 pm Eastern. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a huge move for Democrats. The Chairman of the Judiciary Committee announcing he's essentially launched an impeachment inquiry. Plus, President Trump predicting an easy win in 2020, but is the White House actually a whole lot more worried than they're letting on? And Democrats gearing up for CNN's debate, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris now reviewing new details about their strategy. Let's go out front.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a huge move on impeachment. Today, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler going before cameras to tell the American public that he is launching an impeachment inquiry by another name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just saying there's no difference between what you're doing now in an impeachment inquiry, correct?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): In effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: In effect. Nadler believes that this lawsuit which he just filed today is his path to getting secret never-before-seen grand jury records from the Mueller investigation. Secret evidence which includes interviews with trump's inner circle, evidence that the Trump administration has thus far refused to hand over and evidence that Nadler believes holds the key to proving president Trump must be impeached.

Now, so tonight with this move, with this lawsuit to get that grand jury information, Nadler is giving the impression that things are moving on impeachment and they are. Tonight, 101 Members of Congress are calling for formal impeachment inquiry. Six jumping onboard since Robert Mueller's testimony in front of Congress this week.

Now, the most obvious way to get the secret grand jury testimony is to launch formal impeachment proceedings. But Nadler is filing this lawsuit to get the secret information, to do it this way, sort of an end-around. Because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is simply not yet onboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We won't proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day, sooner. And everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, right now the majority of Democrats are still behind Pelosi. But make no mistake, as you watch tonight this is changing and Nadler's lawsuit is a new chapter on the road to impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I would say we are in an impeachment investigation.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This is an impeachment investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And the person at the center of this impeachment investigation is defiant tonight saying he's not afraid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These people are clowns. The Democrats are clowns. They're being laughed at all over the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Manu Raju is out front live on Capitol Hill. So Manu, look, this lawsuit is a very significant development. Why does Chairman Nadler think - what does he think he's going to get in this grand jury information, right? I mean they're counting on something being there.

RAJU: Yes. They're trying to build a case against the President and very significantly citing they need this information to determine whether or not to move forward with an impeachment. The articles of impeachment that his committee would take up. Now, this debate has been brewing internally for weeks. The House Judiciary Committee Democrats have tried to push forward on the issue of going forward an impeachment inquiry.

Jerry Nadler himself has directly appealed to the Speaker over several weeks, has made the case that they need to move forward. She has resisted time and again. But significantly, Erin, I'm told that she did in fact sign off on that language that is in the lawsuit saying articles of impeachment are under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. She gave the green light to that.

Also, she's been giving the green light to her members that they need to support an impeachment inquiry. She's saying, "Go right ahead." Similarly, also today when I asked her she's simply trying to run out the clock by saying, "Why don't we fight this in the court?" She said she is not trying to run out the clock and she's changed for messaging a bit instead of saying, "This is going to be a fruitless endeavor in the House because Republicans in the Senate will ultimately kill any impeachment move and not convict the President and remove him from office."

She's not saying that anymore saying instead, "Let's see what we get in court and then this will make a decision." She said today when I asked her about it, this will not be, quote, endless. So this move today very significant, you can hear the posture and the language changing from the leadership whether they actually pull the trigger still an open question but the major development in the direction that a lot of Democrats have been pushing to impeach this president, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu. And I want to go now out front to the Democratic Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. One of six Democrats who have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry post Robert Mueller's testimony. I appreciate having you on again, Congresswoman. Is Chairman Nadler's lawsuit ...

[19:05:06] REP. LISA BLUNT ROCHESTER (D-DE): Thank you so much, Erin.

BURNETT: ... effectively the start of impeachment proceedings?

ROCHESTER: Well, I don't serve on the Judiciary Committee but I can tell you, first of all, to just put some context around me making this decision.

BURNETT: Yes.

ROCHESTER: It was a very difficult one and it's one I didn't take lightly. I represent a whole state. I'm one of seven members who represent a whole state. A very diverse state from our farmers to our small business to indivisible and it was, for me, something that had to be very deliberate and there had to be a tipping point, and this week for me was a tipping point. There were things that --

BURNETT: So what exactly about it was the tipping point?

ROCHESTER: Yes. First of all, anyone who had an opportunity to read the 448-page report saw that there were already the actual examples, 10 of obstruction of justice and I thought it was also pretty strong for Director Mueller to talk about the president not being exonerated. But one of the other things that was a tipping point was when Val Demings or the Congresswoman from Florida asked the question about the President being truthful and to hear the Director say that he was not at all times truthful was important. And then another tipping point for me was the fact that we have seen

so much stonewalling, so many people not provide either information testimony or even come before the committee. And so to me impeachment and the proceedings are one of the ways for us to add a firmer legal ground and to put more pressure.

And lastly, I'm going to tell you one of the biggest tipping points for me was to see Director Mueller, this man who has served our country admirably worked for Democrats and Republicans and to see the pain on his face when he expressed a fear that this might become the new normal. It can't become the new normal. That was the tipping point for me, this is not normal.

BURNETT: So I know, look, you agonized over and there's a few of the points that you just made there is the tipping point happened in that hearing, the look on his face, the moment yes and we had Congresswoman Demings on that night when he said that the President of the United States was untruthful in some of those written responses. That was a stunning moment.

But the President today said, "Oh, I watched Mueller too." And here was his takeaway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All they want to do is impede. They want to investigate. They want to go fishing and I watched Bob Mueller and they have nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Nothing.

ROCHESTER: So if I could respond, I think, first of all there are things that we are doing as Democrats and Republicans. I'm on the Energy and Commerce Committee. And so we are working on the issues that affect people. We passed 25 bills out of committee just last week on a bipartisan basis for health care, climate change, robo calls.

But at the same time, we have a responsibility. We took an oath that nobody is above the law and we have within the Constitution the responsibility to follow this investigation where it leads and so there are clearly things that are evidence and part of the impeachment process is actually to get at the at the real evidence that's there.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that, because that real evidence that's there obviously that the belief of the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is that the grand jury testimony is crucial to that. You need those interviews. You need everything else.

One way to get that as a formal impeachment proceeding that you could go ahead and get that. The White House has obviously refused to hand it over. They're fighting it in court. Another, Chairman Nadler believes, as this lawsuit that he's filed to get it. But as to what's happening right now is this impeachment or not? Let me just play again the exchange he had with our Manu Raju, Congresswoman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Just saying there's no difference between what you're doing now in an impeachment inquiry, correct?

NADLER: In effect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: In effect. Is that good enough for you?

ROCHESTER: Again, I don't sit on that committee. I have faith and confidence in the Speaker. I have faith and confidence in the members of that committee in addition to the five others who are actually in the midst of investing nations from everything to receiving his tax returns. For me, I just need --

BURNETT: Right. I'm just saying Chairman Nadler is the one who would formally launch the proceedings if they were to occur for the House, right?

ROCHESTER: Correct.

BURNETT: So he's saying in effect and obviously House Speaker says she's not there yet. So I guess what I'm getting at is are you frustrated right now or are you clean sailing?

ROCHESTER: I don't even think it's an issue of that. I think it's an issue of the Speaker has a job to do. She cares about this country. She doesn't want to see us divided any more than we already are and so she has to do her work. She has said to us as members that she respects us and the positions that we have to take.

[19:09:59] For me I've shared with others, I was a kid that grew up in the '60s when Russia was a scary threat to us, when we had air raid drills. And so to see a campaign and an administration not look at the attack that was made on our country and it was an attack, it might not have been nuclear, but it was a real attack and it has affected us.

And to me we have to hold him accountable, no one is above the law.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congresswoman.

ROCHESTER: And if we love this country, we got to fight for this country.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, congresswoman. As always, I appreciate your time.

ROCHESTER: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, president Trump slamming the 2020 candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Sleepy is OK.

Elizabeth Warren, formerly known as Pocahontas.

Bernie looks like he's fading.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But there is one candidate he is not going after, why? Plus, Joe Biden preparing for a pile on at CNN's debate. How's he planning to fight back? And president Trump coming to North Korea's defense saying, "It's OK to test the missile."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They are short-range missiles and many people have those missiles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:14:57] BURNETT: President Trump predicting an easy victory in 2020 and he says he'll have the Democrats to thank for four more years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think it's a disgrace what the Democrats are doing. It's so sad to see how they are impeding all of the good things that we're doing. That's why we're easily going to hold the presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Trump's words though, his bluster coming as his top political advisors have been warning him of a lot of threats from the Democrats. Sources tell CNN tonight that the head of the RNC warned Trump that Senator Kamala Harris is a threat in Michigan where, of course, the President won by the slimmest of margins, two-tenths of 1 percent. Trump's campaign manager pointed out that Senator Elizabeth Warren is on the rise and a senior campaign adviser is telling Trump the Joe Biden remains a big threat, certainly if he is the 2020 opponent.

Trump, of course, upset about all of this and slamming a Fox News poll which shows him losing to Biden by 10 points nationwide. The President's tweet, quote, Fox News is at it again, so different from what they used to be during the 2016 primaries and before proud warriors. There can be no way with the greatest economy in U.S. history that I can be losing to the sleepy one.

And Biden not the only potential rival Trump bashed in his latest interview, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Sleepy Joe is OK. But he's fading. I think he's fading fast.

The only good thing about Mueller is it made Joe Biden look like a dynamo.

You have Elizabeth Warren formerly known as Pocahontas, and I'm sure that will come out because that's a tough thing for her to withstand, I believe, because her whole life was a fake.

And you have Harris and Bernie looks like he's fading. To me, Bernie looks like he missed his time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. The running commentary. Abby Phillip is out front. Abby, so here's the question, the President is coming out and saying, "Oh, whatever, sleepy Joe and formerly known as Pocahontas and all this business." But the poll from Fox News that he is disparaging. Is team Trump more worried than the President is letting on?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the President's team has been warning him about Joe Biden for months and even after that first debate that threat is clearly still there given that this briefing held just yesterday feature Joe Biden. President Trump also seems to be focused on Biden critiquing his stamina. But what is also interesting about all of this is the rising threat of other candidates who some of whom they had dismissed like Elizabeth Warren as President Trump mentioned his continued critique of her for her Native American, this debate over her Native American heritage.

And Kamala Harris who the president noted when she launched her campaign but had kind of fallen off of his radar. So there's clearly a rising threat of multiple candidates in this field and unlike the President, the President's team, his campaign aides are clear-eyed about how challenging this reelection bid will be for him. They are trying to prepare him for a long slog through a lot of the states that he won very narrowly the last time around.

And one key thing to pay attention to here today especially is with these new GDP numbers, mixed numbers, President Trump is really focused on the economy and he is worried about it. Worried that a potential slowdown could harm his 2020 prospects. So there is anxiety all around and I think this is a clear sign that the President's campaign is trying to refocus his attention not just on Biden but on a widening field where several other candidates are rising, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Abby, thank you. And out front now, a member of President Trump's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council, Rob Astorino, and National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, Joan Walsh. So Rob, look, you're on the Advisory Council. The president says he's going to win this whole thing easily, but he obviously is getting these warnings from some advisors and the Fox News poll which obviously disturbed him and upset him because it's his poll, down 10 points in a head-to-head matchup with Joe Biden, six to Bernie Sanders. Well outside the margin of error in both cases. So time to worry?

ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: No. And there's not anxiety in the Trump campaign. They're doing what they're supposed to do sixteen months out and that is plot the strategy in every case and they know there are going to be battleground states that kind of come down to getting out the vote.

This is going to be a base vote on both sides, unquestionably. And the Trump team is amassing a massive fortune right now in small dollars as well, donors, as well as the big stuff. So they're going to be ready. They're going to have everything that they need and you know what the economy is doing well and people gave the economy very high marks and that's ultimately what it's going to come down to as well as who the Democrats put up, and right now it's scary.

BURNETT: So, OK, but Joan they warned him Kamala Harris could be a threat in Michigan, right?

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Right.

BURNETT: Which I would think would translate to if this is really going to be a base election, whoever the Democrat is, right? But yet when you look at these national polls it could be a landslide on the popular vote and the President could still win.

WALSH: Right, absolutely. A lot of people are afraid of that. I mean, I think the interesting thing about singling out Harris in that way shows that they think she has the capacity to bring back the black vote which in Michigan and Wisconsin dipped significantly for Hillary Clinton.

[19:20:08] So I would assume, I'm not privy to their numbers. I think he's also afraid of Kamala Harris. He doesn't have a nickname for her yet. He just kind of passes over her when you saw the way that she handled Joe Biden at the debate, a lot of Democrats got very excited about the capacity that she might have to rattle Donald Trump in much the same way.

BURNETT: So we heard him there with the sleepy Joe and formerly known as Pocahontas and Bernie is done. OK, he then continued because he did, Rob, he continued. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Sleepy Joe is not looking too good. Pocahontas is gaining a little bit, because we probably used the Pocahontas a little bit too early. They have a new one who knocked the hell out of Biden during a debate. Harris hit him with a pretty easy question on busing and then you have a young guy, Buttigieg, they're saying how to say his name, Buttigieg. He's a beauty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. OK. So that was obviously at a rally, but here's what I hear in that. Let me just say what I don't hear. I don't hear a slam on Harris. It was actually kind of a compliment. Harris - well, it was an easy question but it was a dig on Biden.

WALSH: Right. BURNETT: Right? So why isn't he talking about Harris? Remember he

said, "I would say the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris." He complimented her back in January when she got in and now nothing.

ASTORINO: Well, she's got her own problems. First of all she's doing extraordinarily poor in South Carolina against Biden with black voters and she needs black voters to come to her side and they're not right now.

WALSH: She's rising and she's doing better than she was and it's still very, very early. This is still name recognition to Vice President Biden in South Carolina. I covered it a lot. It can go away.

ASTORINO: Yes. No, it certainly can and I think the CNN debates next week for a Republican perspective it's going to be like watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It's going to be so fun because it's going to be - they're going to be destroying each other and it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

The problem with the Democrats is when their policies like raise your hand if you want to give illegal immigrants free health care and everyone raises their hands. The policies are going to really haunt them, come next year. And if the economy is doing well, people who might put up with Trump's antics if they don't like him, but the Democrats, their policies are going to destroy them.

WALSH: Their policies are very, very popular with their base and depending on how they talk about them, popularity can spread and it is a base election. So they are doing what they need to do to excite ...

BURNETT: Why do you think he's reticence though in giving Kamala Harris a nickname or anything like that?

ASTORINO: Oh, he will. You don't think he's going to?

BURNETT: I do think he will. I mean he doesn't do anything by mistake. He didn't forget about her. He mentions her. She's on his mind, but he's not willing to go there yet and that says something about him.

ASTORINO: Look, he doesn't have one for most of the candidates because at this point there's no need to. If she starts to rise to the point where she's going to be in the top three, then I'm sure he's going to swing hard.

BURNETT: He only has two nicknames right now.

ASTORINO: And when she goes at him ...

BURNETT: Sleepy Joe and Pocahontas.

WALSH: And Pocahontas.

ASTORINO: Buttigieg.

BURNETT: Oh, right.

WALSH: Bernie was crazy but now Bernie doesn't matter so today he's not crazy anymore.

BURNETT: Right.

ASTORINO: Yes.

BURNETT: So Rob you mentioned the economy, OK, 2.9 percent were the numbers from last year. For the second quarter of this year, we're down, 2.1.

ASTORINO: No. Well, 2.1 is still healthy and far better than what it was two to three years ago.

BURNETT: He cries all of the time that we was going to do much better. In fact he promised it.

WALSH: Four percent.

BURNETT: Rob, I picked one time of many, I just picked one here.

ASTORINO: Yes.

BURNETT: Because we'd be light on time, but you say 2.1 is great. Here's what he said.

ASTORINO: I didn't say great, I said still healthy.

BURNETT: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're at 3.3 percent GDP. I see no reason why we don't go to 4 or 5 and even 6 percent. And I don't want to go beyond that because then I'll be criticized if we don't hit it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ASTORINO: Do we hear seven? Do we hear eight?

BURNETT: OK, that's ridiculous. That's ridiculous.

ASTORINO: No. But you know what, the economy is doing well. Consumer confidence is at almost an all-time high across the board. In all sectors things are doing very, very well. People are working ...

WALSH: Slowing down.

ASTORINO: ... it's not slowing down.

BURNETT: But if it stays the way it is now, Joan, and fine I've been calling out the President for saying it would do much better to do it.

WALSH: Right. BURNETT: OK, that's a fact. But Rob's right, 2.1 percent in United

States' economy is a healthy number.

WALSH: It's good enough.

ASTORINO: It's still good.

BURNETT: If it stays there, is that all he needs?

WALSH: No, I don't think it's all that he needs. He should have a much higher approval rating with this kind of economy. Obviously, his own bad behavior is hurting him and taking away from what the economy could be doing for a normal incumbent.

ASTORINO: And his poll numbers are starting to rise. He's been taking hits like nobody else ever has been able to and he's wiggling weebling but he's not wobbling. He's back up and you know what he's at 45, 46, 47, 48, you can keep ...

WALSH: I don't know about 48.

ASTORINO: ... yes, he is. You can hit him as hard as you want and he still resilient.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much and we'll see what happens with those Fox News polls.

WALSH: We'll see.

BURNETT: I mean, losing by 10 percent is huge, but again those national polls ...

ASTORINO: Yes, meaningless right now.

[19:24:58] BURNETT: ... what matters is the states. All right. OUTFRONT next, Joe Biden claims he's not going to be so nice at the CNN debate next week. So will he actually attack? Plus, President Trump says it's OK if North Korea fires off a new missile. No problem, it's just a short little missile, but not Iran. Why the double standard?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:29:45] BURNETT: Tonight, countdown to the elimination rounds. Democratic candidates are preparing for must-win debates and they really are must win. The next round is going to have a whole lot fewer people on stage. Kamala Harris saying she was raised to be polite but, and this comes after rival Joe Biden said he's not going to be as polite this round.

[19:30:00]

So what does that mean?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you mean when you said you're not going to be as polite in the next debate?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, we will see next week. Biden and Harris will be on center stage right next to each other. The second night of debates here on CNN.

OUTFRONT now, Keith Boykin, Democratic strategist, and former governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell.

Thanks very much to both of you.

So, Governor, Joe Biden, I mean, that was the pause. And, of course, he wanted to be coy there. But does he need to come out swinging? He was genteel and, of course, last time at times that came off as maybe not being, you know, fully ready for the scrum.

Is this going to be totally different this time?

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, I think so. I wrote a column for "The Hill" being published Monday that says, let it rip, Joe. By that I mean, not necessarily go after Kamala Harris or anybody else who attacks him in a negative sense, but be very aggressive and affirmative and be proud of your record, be a happy warrior.

It's like Joe Biden was playing not to lose in the first debate, like he was playing to prevent defense in football. We all know the prevent defense only prevents you from winning. So, he's got to get out there and be more aggressive, be proud of his record and shoot back but be strong.

BURNETT: So, Keith, you know, when he said talking about Kamala Harris and her Medicare for All not requiring a tax increase on the middle class. He goes what is this a fantasy? But is that what we're going to see, right, just him, just come out and slamming?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He is going after Kamala Harris on the Medicare-for-All. She's going to go after her on her record as a prosecutor. He's going to go after Cory Booker because of his record as mayor of Newark and the stop and frisk policies in that city. He is going after anybody attacking him.

And I also suspected Tulsi Gabbard will probably go after Kamala Harris as well. I think her campaign knows she has a target on her back as well.

It's going to be a free for all. Because this is the last debate before you get the chance to get the message out there when the summer comes, summer ends, and won't have another opportunity.

BURNETT: Right, because Kamala Harris said in that back and forth that's been going on the past few days, calling her out for being a cheer leader, squad for Bashar al Assad. Governor, you know, Biden keeps implying, right, that he's going to be

tougher. So, I just wanted to play a little bit about what happened at the last debate that he was criticized for and what he said this week that shows how clearly he knows that's not going to be OK if it happens again. Here we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My time is up. I'm sorry.

I was probably overly polite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, that happened obviously my time is up, and, you know, kind of raising his hand, and it was tentative or it came off that way, Governor.

Can he change his ways and be more aggressive? Because, obviously, to your point, it's a lot riskier to be more aggressive.

RENDELL: Sure. But I think it's a risk he's got to take. No one can stay in the lead for 14, 15 months and worry about making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable, no matter what. But you hope the mistakes are ones that can be managed.

Look, I disagree with Keith about one thing. I don't think Democrats can go after each other viciously. Remember, it was Kamala Harris who said in the first debate, America doesn't want to see a food fight. She said that and took a big plate of mashed potatoes with gravy and dumped it on the vice president's head.

So, I think Democratic voters --

BURNETT: Or she took a steak knife and filleted him. I mean, it was done with great precision.

RENDELL: Well, I think Democratic voters demonstrated by the soaring rise of Joe Biden in the polls in the last week, if they don't want to see Democrats attacking each other. They want them attacking one person.

BOYKIN: How do you conclude that when Joe Biden has been attacking people the past week? That the public -- that means the public doesn't want people to attack. Clearly, with the party needs is a nominee.

RENDELL: Not in a big stage.

BOYKIN: But what the party needs is a nominee who can take a punch. Donald Trump is not going to sit around and play polite. He's going to be fighting hard. If you can't fight back when Donald Trump comes at you, you're not going to win that.

BURNETT: Well, unlike Kamala Harris, he wouldn't come out and say he was raised to be polite and we wouldn't have any shame about that. I mean, Governor, let me just say, though, you know it's going to be 20 candidates over two nights, right? Same format as last time. We did get moments like these.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Joe Biden was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?

BIDEN: No.

HARRIS: Do you agree?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Obviously, Eric Swalwell dropped out, Governor. But the point I'm making here is that there are 20 --

RENDELL: It didn't work for Eric Swalwell.

BURNETT: Right, OK, OK, but he's not -- he is just the first of many, right? The next debate is going to have half as many people who are competing this time, maybe not even. All right.

So it seems to me this is a moment where if you are not in the top group, you got to throw the Hail Mary. You can't afford to just try to put the best idea out there.

[19:35:03] RENDELL: Well, but the Hail Mary ought to be thrown against Donald Trump. If I was one of the 1 percenters or 2 percenters, I'd say in answer to the question Donald Trump is fraud on the economy. Here why boom, boom, boom. If I get on that debate stage --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: But does that really get you a breakout moment? I perceive the breakout has to be you and another person. And that person has to be on the stage.

RENDELL: Breakout moment does not have to be attacking a Democrat. It has to be attacking Donald Trump in a persuasive and hard and tough aggressive way.

BOYKIN: I disagree. It doesn't have to be either one. The breakout moment is something that separates --

RENDELL: And how come Joe Biden is back to 33-15 lead?

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL: Harris is in fourth place.

BOYKIN: A breakout moment is something that -- RENDELL: Kamala Harris is in fourth place.

BOYKIN: A breakout separates you from someone else. I said from the beginning. I don't think.

RENDELL: I don't think Kamala Harris has a breakout, but she is in fourth place.

BOYKIN: Governor, I don't think the race is staying static. There is up and down fluctuations from now until the end of the campaign season.

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL: Right but I'm saying how did the breakout moment work for Harris.

BOYKIN: Well, it's not over yet. I came from the NAACP convention in Detroit. And she was well-received, along with Bernie and Biden. I think they're all still in the top tier, along with Elizabeth Warren. The other candidates are struggling to catch up with that. I don't think Kamala Harris is in a bad position at all.

I'd rather be in the second or third position honestly than the first position because in the top position, you get all the heat and criticism.

BURNETT: It's a challenge match for tennis players --

RENDELL: But in the Fox poll, though -- in the Fox poll, Kamala Harris did not get nearly the bump everyone thought she would. In fact, she is in fourth place way behind Joe Biden.

BOYKIN: But she already got about -- you have to look at the poll averages not one poll, too.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we will see.

RENDELL: Well, the Fox was the most recent.

BURNETT: Twenty candidates will take the stage on two critical nights next week.

RENDELL: And we all love Fox.

BURNETT: The next Democratic debate right here on CNN, live from Detroit, Tuesday and Wednesday. I don't need to tell you it's must see TV. Whatever they do it's do you are do or die for a lot of them. So, you're going to see some exciting moments.

And next, North Korea fires off new missiles. So, why does President Trump say, hey, it's totally fine, Kim?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are short range missiles, and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim. And we'll see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Short range missiles, right?

Plus, breaking news a major ruling from the Supreme Court over the battle to fund President Trump's wall.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:04] BURNETT: Breaking news, Trump says it's OK for North Korea to test missiles. Here he is in the Oval Office moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A short range missile. And my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim. And we'll see what happens. But they are short range missiles. And many people have those missiles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So it's OK. It's OK for Kim to launch missiles. A missile that the United States military by the way says it's is a new type of missile for North Korea.

Trump's defense of North Korea's bridge recognize comes as Kim also unveiled a new submarine can launch numbering weapons. And "The Wall Street Journal" reports that North Korea may have produced 12 nuclear weapon, 12, since Trump's first meeting with Kim in 2018.

But Trump seems to be fine with it all. And frankly it's not only impossible to justify this. It's also that Trump is a hypocrite when it comes to rogue regimes and missiles. He says a nuclear-armed Korea can test short range missiles, but not non-nuclear Iran.

Remember this tweet, Trump saying, quote, Iran has formally put on notice for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the made with them he doesn't want them testing any ballistic missiles.

So, why the double standard? Look to comments like these after the multiple meetings with Kim since 2018.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's got a great personality. He is a -- a funny guy. He is a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. He loves his people.

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

A lot of progress has been made. A lot of friendships have been made. And this has been in particular a great friendship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, Kim is funny. He's smart. He writes love letters. So, he gets to launch missiles and get 12 more nukes.

OUTFRONT now, former Army commanding general for Europe and the Seventh Army, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, I don't want to make light. But, I mean, there is -- in a sense it's shocking it's okay if North Korea launches missiles as long as they are short range missiles, he's saying.

Your reaction?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's disjointed policy, Erin. Let me first define a short range missile. This KN-23, the missile that Mr. Trump is talking about has a range of 200 kilometers and 420 kilometers. Let's put that in miles. That's about 120 miles to about 260 miles.

You could shoot a missile from Washington, D.C. to New York and hit it with precision with this kind of short range missile. It's not incongruous.

And here's the other thing that's interesting. You know, most of the American forces on the Korean peninsula are within that range of that short range missile.

BURNETT: Right.

HERTLING: Twenty-eight thousand U.S. troops, all of our airbuses are within the range, as well as 35 miles away from the -- the North Korean border is the city of Seoul with the population of 10 million.

BURNETT: What explains this to you? I mean, you know?

HERTLING: I have no explanation. And to say that Mr. Kim is a great guy and he's funny guy, I bet all the people he murdered and put in prison camps think he is hilarious. It's not what I would consider.

And I would tell that you the commanders on the Korean peninsula are concerned about this. Yes, there is a difference between long range ballistic missiles but the short range ballistic missiles which can be moved around the battlefield on telelaunchers are extremely dangerous for any commander and any group of forces.

BURNETT: So, what explains the double standard to you? Is it just that the president doesn't have a relationship with the supreme leader of Iran but he does with Kim, so it's OK if Kim does this or he gets 12 more nuke as "The Journal" reported he has since Trump started getting love letters but not whatever Iran does?

HERTLING: I can't account for it, but what I would suggest is if Mr. Kim approached the president with the same deal that Iran made in 2015 that Trump would jump at it. And yet, he tore up the same deal that was limiting nuclear weapons in Iran that was an attempt to go further in terms -- with coordination with that country.

[19:45:04] So, like I said, it's disjointed. It's one set of conditions for one country, another for another, which are both threatening the area, the region that they live in.

BURNETT: All right. General Hertling, thank you so much.

HERTLING: You're welcome.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, Supreme Court just ruling whether President Trump can use billions of dollars from the Pentagon budget to build the wall.

And Jeanne Moos on how 2020 is turning into a battle of the ages.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I am a young vibrant man.

BIDEN: If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, a big win for President Trump. The Supreme Court today handing a major verdict to Trump, clearing the way for him to use $2.5 billion to build his wall. And it means immigration will remain at the center of the 2020 race for Democrats too.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happens here along the U.S. southern border cast as long shadow over the 2020 presidential election. And Democrats are pushing their own immigration vision in the age of Trump.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president thinks that he can turn people against immigrants in order to distract them from the things that are making it so hard to get ahead in this country right now.

[19:50:07] LAVANDERA: The constant theme from most Democrats is they are the opposite of President Trump, vowing to end what they see as Trump using immigrants to stoke the fears of Americans.

BIDEN: We can enforce our immigration laws and uphold our humanitarian obligations and the value of this nation.

LAVANDERA: The two Texans in the Democratic field cast themselves as some of the strongest voices on this issue. In April, Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary, under President Obama was the first to unveil a detailed immigration plan. While immigration is also a constant theme of former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's captain stops.

Both as well as others in the Democratic field call for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country, citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S.'s children known as Dreamers and funding for before border wall construction, close private for immigration detention centers and reform the immigration court system.

Castro and O'Rourke have clashed over a section of the law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally. Castro wants to repeal the law making illegal entry a simple civil violation.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are using section 1325 of that act which criminalizes coming across the border to incarcerate the parents and separate them. Some of us in this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some like Congressman O'Rourke have not.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope to introduce legislation that would ensure that we don't criminalize those who are seeking asylum and refuge in this country.

CASTRO: I'm not talking about -- I'm not talking about the ones that are seeking asylum.

O'ROURKE: If you're fleeing -- if you're fleeing desperation --

LAVANDERA: The detention of families over the last year has shaped the rhetoric of most Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is like most of the candidates calling for families not to be detained while their immigration cases are being processed.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No great nation tears families apart. No great nation locks up children. We need, we must at the borders respect the dignity of every human being who comes here.

LAVANDERA: The Trump administration's hard line approach on reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country has inspired some candidates to call for the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need this ICE, though. That's the other thing I should say. This ICE as its form now should be abolished.

LAVANDERA: Most candidates aren't going that far, instead, calling for ICE to be informed and duties to be passed off to other agencies.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's not just ICE. It is very clear that the immigration system itself, you've heard some of it and there is a lot more we haven't discussed today is completely broken. It's absolutely broken.

LAVANDERA: Democrats are facing accusations from President Trump of pushing for open borders and being weak on security. It's a question that will follow these candidates.

HARRIS: And it is part of what this president is trying to do to really misinform the American people, to say that Democrats don't care about border security. We have to enforce our laws and keep our borders safe.

LAVANDERA: The shadow of the border is casting a deep divide on the presidential campaign trail.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on the two 70-somethings going at it over who is too old?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:47] BURNETT: Tonight, a fight for the ages. The president warning, quote, sleepy Joe is fading fast, but Biden begs to differ.

Here is Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time Donald Trump looked in a mirror and saw a truly younger man was when Jimmy Fallon played his mirror image. But when the 72-year-old president was asked how old is too old to be president.

TRUMP: I just feel like a young man. I'm so young. I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don't know about him. I don't know.

MOOS: Those comments left 76-year-old Joe Biden momentarily speechless when he was asked about them on "The View."

BIDEN: If he looks young and vibrant compared to me, I should probably go home.

MOOS (on camera): Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most vibrant 70-something candidate of them all?

(voice-over): The battle of the elders spilled onto twitter in side by side comparison and challenges. Show me Trump doing this, I'll wait.

The president's description of himself as a young vibrant man inspired blow back, a vibrant imagination and so young, practically infantile. I'm the youngest person in the history of people.

As for President Trump's nickname for Biden.

TRUMP: So, I sort of refer to him as Sleepy Joe.

MOOS: Joe said that's the opposite of what he usually hears.

BIDEN: At the other end, hyper Joe.

MOOS: These two are hyperactive even before Biden officially announced.

BIDEN: You know, I wish we're in high school, I could take him behind the gym.

TRUMP: He said I'd like to take him behind the gym. I dream of that.

MOOS: Fighting like two grumpy old men.

Maybe these two should take a page from Ronald Reagan vowing not to make age an issue.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Even young Mondale cracked up.

The issue of age never gets old.

TRUMP: I am a young, vibrant man.

MOOS: A young vibrant ham, there, someone fixed it.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: You need tremendous stamina.

MOOS: New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us. Have a good weekend. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time. You just have to go to CNN Go.

Anderson starts now.

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