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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

First Lawsuit Filed To Block Trump's New Immigration Rule; Trump Defends Retweet On Baseless Epstein-Clinton Conspiracy Theory, Calls Writer "Big Trump Fan" With "Lot Of Followers". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 13, 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: They got to fix this. This is urgent problem. Jessica, thanks very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, California county is just filing a lawsuit to stop Trump's controversial new plan, targeting 10s of thousands of legal immigrants. The man behind the plan, Ken Cuccinelli, is my guest. Plus, Trump defends pushing a conspiracy theory involving the Clintons. Why is Trump still so obsessed with his former rival? And we'll take you inside Elizabeth Warren's massive ground game and the battle for the crucial state of Iowa, how do her competitors compare? Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. The first lawsuit against Trump's new immigration policy, a policy that will block hundreds of thousands to millions of legal immigrants. The lawsuit filed by two California counties, it is the first of what is expected to be number of court challenges to Trump's new rule.

A rule that will block people coming to America who are likely to receive services like Medicare or food stamps. One California official saying, quote, that policy is just a new front in the Trump administration's aggressive, foolish, misguided attacks on immigrant families. Trump today though defiant, saying the government should have stopped poor immigrants from entering the United States long ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States. So, what we've done is institute what took place many, many years ago. And I think it's long overdue. I am tired of seeing our taxpayers, paying for people to come into the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. One key fact here though in terms of taxpayers who's paying for what, according to the group New American Economy which is founded by the billionaire Michael Bloomberg, immigrants in the year 2017 earned $1.5 trillion in the United States and they paid $405 billion in taxes, so that's a lot. And tonight, Trump's team though is taking his point of view even further. Here's Trump's top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli, who will join me in just a moment rephrasing the poem on the Statue of Liberty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES OFFICE: ... tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: As I said, Ken Cuccinelli is going to be out front in just a moment. Some important facts though, one, people in the United States illegally do not qualify for benefits under current law, that's very important. If you are not here legally, you don't qualify for benefits. Number two, immigrants in the United States legally, who do qualify for benefits don't use very many of them.

Analysis by the Associated Press shows only 6.5% of those on Medicaid are not citizens and about 8% of those on food stamps are non citizens. Again, legal but non citizens. So people here illegally, no benefits. People here legally, a small minority of benefits. And overall, according to the ACLU, immigrants pay 18 times more in taxes than they use in welfare. That's a pretty stunning number.

And this is partly why the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the administration's new plan an affront to the greatest traditions of America, calling it hateful and bigoted and an assault on America's proud heritage. Pamela Brown is traveling with the president tonight and she is out front live in Berkeley Heights where he has returned from a day in Pennsylvania.

Pamela, any response yet from the White House on this new lawsuit out of California?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, no official response from the White House, Erin. But I can tell you in talking to White House officials, they're not surprised by this lawsuit coming just a day after that new immigration rule was announced by Ken Cuccinelli.

Officials point to other lawsuits against other changes that this administration has tried to make while President Trump has been in office. So the administration stands ready to fight this. This latest lawsuit, Erin, as you pointed out seeks to block this rule.

The argument that these counties are making is that they will have to incur more costs because they make the case that these immigrants will switch from federal benefits to county benefit so it's going to cost the counties more. Now, according to DHS, this could affect 382,000 immigrants. But immigration advocates say that it could affect far more and there's been some strong pushback today from Democrats.

You heard from Nancy Pelosi saying essentially that this is unAmerican, also a statement from the Santa Clara County council say the Trump administration's new rule is an unlawful, foolish attack on immigrant communities. Of course, Santa Clara is one of the counties bringing this lawsuit. But in the face of this pushback, in the face of this lawsuit, President Trump, the administration is firmly standing behind this rule change.

You just heard President Trump today saying that he is supportive of it and he is supportive of Ken Cuccinelli, who announced this, Erin.

[19:04:59] BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And out front now the Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli. And I appreciate you taking the time, Director. It's good to have you back.

So I just want to start with that Associated Press analysis that people who are in the United States legally, and that's who you're talking about and who this rule would affect, consume a very small minority of benefits. Most benefits 85 percent plus, 90 percent more go to citizens, 6.5 percent of those in Medicaid are non citizens and 8.8% of food assistance recipients. What do you say to California says this rule is arbitrary?

CUCCINELLI: Well, I can't say it's terribly surprising. I mean, this is a thousand-page rule. I'd be willing to bet and I'm not a betting man that they haven't read it front to back. Well, not everybody has to read it. If you're going to file a lawsuit, you need to know what you're filing a lawsuit on.

This rule is well within the boundaries of the law and the legal tradition. I mean Nancy Pelosi referred to America's proud heritage self sufficiency is a central part of America's proud heritage and we proudly stand behind that tradition and enforce the 1996 law passed on a wildly bipartisan basis and signed by Bill Clinton.

And in 1999, they started this process under the Clinton administration, but they never introduced a rule. They said they were going to and never did. And so we've been operating on fairly dormant guidance for a long time. This rule is well within the law. I'm very confident that we'll prevail in those lawsuits.

This has been very thoroughly vetted and it broke records, shattered records in the Department of Homeland Security for public comments, 266,000. And we went to great lengths to respond to those comments and made significant changes to the rules based on the public input.

BURNETT: OK. So let me let me give an example because I know with all of this and obviously you're a lawyer and sometimes it can become easy to become lost as one's reading through this, as you point out, it's a thousand pages. So I just wanted to give you an example of a situation so that you could respond to it and tell me what you think.

The HUD Secretary Ben Carson, who obviously is a noted neurosurgeon, now a member of the cabinet wrote in his book, "By the time I went into ninth grade, Mother had made such strides that she received nothing except food stamps. She couldn't have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy."

Now, obviously, that's someone you know. So he went from being on food stamps to becoming a neurosurgeon, presidential candidate, a member of the United States cabinet. So under your rules, an immigrant whose child could theoretically be a Ben Carson would not be allowed to come into the United States in the first place, why?

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, you're talking about people who were American citizens who are getting the benefit of welfare benefits, American citizens provide and people coming to this country have always been expected to be able to support themselves. That is overwhelmingly continued to be supported by the American people and that's what this rule does and that's all it does.

Is it true that some people who are not in a position in the future to support themselves will be screened out.

BURNETT: So someone who's an immigrant like Ben - I mean, you are acknowledging that someone who's an immigrant in that situation would not be able to become Ben Carson.

CUCCINELLI: No, Erin, I won't ever judge a case because we talk so much about the welfare benefits. But that's only one factor. The career Immigration Services Officers, we call them ISOs that will make these case by case decisions will consider all of the factors Congress told us to consider; age, health, financial status, assets, education, skills, family status as well. Those are all mandated by Congress.

BURNETT: Yes. You've always had to have had savings. Look, I understand the point that it's part of it. I'm just giving an example because I think it's helpful for people to understand that in that situation someone who was an immigrant legal would not work not be here if this rule as you have it is enforced.

I mean, you say this is about self sufficiency and you say that proudly. You heard me play you this morning, when you quoted the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty.

CUCCINELLI: Oh, I wasn't quoting it. I was answering a question.

BURNETT: Right. OK. I'm sorry, but you were giving your version of what you thought the poem should say, right?

CUCCINELLI: No. No, I was not.

BURNETT: You said give me your tired and your poor who can stand on --

CUCCINELLI: I was answering the question. I'm not rewriting poetry.

BURNETT: OK.

CUCCINELLI: I'm introducing poetry.

BURNETT: Well, what you said is, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge." I just played you saying it.

CUCCINELLI: Right, I listened. What's your question.

BURNETT: OK. OK. So I'm just making sure you're not disputing what you said. OK. So obviously the actual poem is quite different. I'm going to read it.

CUCCINELLI: Right. I was answering a question. I wasn't writing poetry, Erin. Don't change the facts.

BURNETT: I'm not changing the facts. I'm just saying --

CUCCINELLI: You're twisting this like everybody else in the left who's done all day today.

BURNETT: No, no, no, because I think it's important. You're saying that it's very important be able to stand on your own two feet.

CUCCINELLI: Yes, self sufficiency.

BURNETT: A lot of people may support you and respect you saying that. But the poem doesn't say that. The poem that's on the Statue of Liberty ...

CUCCINELLI: I didn't bring up the poem. I didn't bring up the poem. An NPR reporter did and now you have. I didn't bring it up. I'll answer your substantive intelligent questions, please ask one.

[19:10:05] BURNETT: So I'm going to give you a substantive - OK, however it came up, you said give me your tired and your poor, OK, who can stand on their own two feet and you will not become a public charge. That's what you say.

CUCCINELLI: Right.

BURNETT: I just played it. The poem reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of the teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-toss to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Wretched, poor, refuse, that's what the poem says America supposed to stand for, so what do you think America stands for?

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class. And it was introduced, it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written that says and I'll quote it, "Any person unable to take care of himself without becoming a public charge" would be inadmissible or in the terms that my agency deals with, they can't do what's called adjusting status, getting a green card, becoming legal permanent residents.

Same exact time, Erin. Same exact time. And the year it went on the Statue of Liberty, 1903, another federal law was passed expanding the elements of public charge by Congress. It's a essentially part of our heritage as Americans.

BURNETT: I mean when my family came here, they came here as crafters from Scotland. They had no education. They had nothing, but I am here because they were allowed in and I'm an anchor on CNN. So I'm just saying I wouldn't be here. CUCCINELLI: Right. My Italian grandfather sponsored his two cousins

to come here. This is a tradition that many of our families, yours and mine can point to.

BURNETT: Right.

CUCCINELLI: This is not an exclusionary and all --

BURNETT: No. No, but what I'm saying I would have been excluded. I don't know about you, but I would have been.

CUCCINELLI: Well, no, that's not - you're deciding on one point and our ISOs are going to take what's called the totality of the circumstances test which has been long been the test for public charge and this will be one factor. It will be a heavily negative factor, but they can have positive factors that offset that as well just as has happened throughout American history.

BURNETT: OK.

CUCCINELLI: And I should note also this doesn't apply to any of the humanitarian categories.

BURNETT: Not to asylum, yes.

CUCCINELLI: Not to asylum refugees.

BURNETT: That is true.

CUCCINELLI: Domestic violence, trafficking victims, none of them are covered by the public charge rule.

BURNETT: OK. So I want to play for you the video. You've heard it before. You've seen it, but I think you can shed some light on the situation as it is. The 11-year-old girl named Magdalena. Her father was rounded up during the immigration raids in Mississippi last week. Here's the sound bite that everyone in this country has now seen. Here she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIA: I need my dad. My dad is a criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So Magdalena, her mother got a hold of her father today about a week after that happened. Can you explain, Director, what the crime was that her father committed? Was it simply just being in the United States illegally or was there anything else?

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, entering - well, of course, I don't know who that is, and they arrested 680 people, so no is the short answer. But coming into this country illegally is a crime. So a bunch of the people and I don't know the numbers that ICE arrested, already had removal orders, had already been through the very long process of getting a removal order and they were disobeying them. The folks who were here illegally but did not have removal orders were

put in the removal process. And as I'm sure you know, Erin, about 300 of them were released that day on things on bond and so forth for humanitarian basis. For instance, parents who are the only parent in the area to go and pick up their own children.

BURNETT: So you're not familiar with her father, specifically.

CUCCINELLI: No.

BURNETT: But let me ask you about one thing here before we go, Director. She's the oldest of four children.

CUCCINELLI: And Erin, look, I'm a former Attorney General, there is no American citizen who gets arrested in this country with the kind of consideration we talk about and that ICE provided in that operation statewide in Mississippi last week.

BURNETT: One important thing though because she's 11, she's the oldest of four children, and all four of them were born in the United States. Their parents came from Guatemala. So if you're going to go ahead with your policy, I mean not even the policy you're talking about now, but the policy, you're going to say, "You're here. You're not supposed to be here. We're going to send you home." You then have four kids that aren't going to go because they are American.

So would you change the constitution, Director, so that children born to people that are in the United States illegally, undocumented immigrants are not U.S. citizens?

CUCCINELLI: So every family's going to decide when they have somebody who can't stay in this country where they're going to - whether they're going to separate their own family or whether they're going to stay together. That's a decision family by family.

[19:15:06] But I hold the adults accountable in that situation and they're the ones who are going to make those decisions.

BURNETT: But the American taxpayer, if they want their kids to stay and somehow going to responsible for those four children, whereas the parents who actually had jobs and were paying for them before. So if you put them in that position, we, taxpayers can be paying more.

CUCCINELLI: Well, Erin, we can go round and round about various scenarios and, of course, people do, but the reality is there are base laws in place that Congress put in place. We don't make these things up and that frankly for instance, the one we talked about earlier on the public charge rule were passed on a thoroughly bipartisan basis back in the days when immigration was not a partisan issue and unfortunately, it has become so.

And there are human elements to this and nobody denies that. But the reality is people charged with enforcing the law don't do get to make those decisions. Congress gets to make those decisions and they're capable of making those decisions. Frankly, we've asked them to make all sorts of changes to the system and they haven't made any, whether they agree with us or not.

And some of what the Trump administration has requested to be fixed are the same things President Obama was seeking to fix. Things with tracking loopholes and asylum loopholes.

BURNETT: Before we go, one quick final question. The $405 billion in taxes that Michael Bloomberg is saying immigrants paid in 2017. If you lost that money, it's a heck of a lot of money. I mean that's like almost as big as the Department of Defense budget, how are you going to replace it?

CUCCINELLI: Yes. You're talking to somebody who thinks $405 billion is a lot of money. America got a very resilient economy and really the question you ask is very binary. Everybody here or everybody not and you and I both know that's not happening in the near term. We're going to do the best we can to enforce the laws on the books over time and hopefully we'll make progress on this.

At the same time we'll hopefully get control of our own southern border. We're moving in that direction effectively, thanks to the President's dealings with Mexico and with Central America in ways that none of his predecessors of either party would do and we have to keep working in that direction.

BURNETT: Director Cuccinelli, I appreciate your time. As always, thank you, sir.

CUCCINELLI: Good to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, President Trump's excuse for pushing a conspiracy theory on Twitter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: That was a retweet, that wasn't from me, that was from him. But he's a man with a half a million followers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So he could blast it to his 10s of millions? Plus, violent clashes break out at Hong Kong's airport. Trump says China is now moving troops to the border. Should the United States be concerned of a crackdown? Plus, President Trump claims he's losing billions by being president. Does that come close to adding up?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This thing is costing me a fortune being president. It's probably costing me from $3 million to $5 billion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:21:34] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump defending a conspiracy theory that the Clintons were involved in Jeffrey Epstein's death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's a very highly respected, conservative pundit. He's a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn't for me, that was for him. But he's a man with a half a million followers, a lot of followers, and he's respected. I think it was fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, former Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus, Angela Rye and Scott Jennings who is a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush. So Angela, President Trump doubling down on this conspiracy theory, but she is retreating from someone whose Twitter bio begins with being an actor and a comedian and a commentator, defending it because that person has a lot of followers on Twitter. That's the standard.

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, and it probably is lower. I think the standard for having a lot of followers is a new thing. He's been retweeting nonsense. He's been re tweeting lies. He's been retweeting deceptive things to his followers since before he won the election, so it's definitely not.

Anything that we should be shocked by, I wish that at some point there was a standard shift for him that says that he's required as the leader of the free world to share factual information to followers to American citizens to the world, but that's beyond the pale because truth doesn't come out of his mouth either. So why would we expect for him to share real information online?

BURNETT: So Scott, he takes a tweet that's implying the Clintons involved in some sort of plot to kill Jeffrey Epstein. He takes it from this guy and then amplifies it to 63 million followers.

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, I don't like it. I'm not a conspiracy theory fan. I don't like it when the President does it. I don't like it when the left does it.

I woke up this weekend and shocked by his death. And, of course, it all seems really fishy. I mean, any average viewer of all these news would have to say, "What in the world is going on here?" But until you know the facts and until you know what happened, it's irresponsible. And it's irresponsible because this is a guy who had victims. There are victims in this criminal act here and these victims deserve justice. They deserve an investigation into how he died and they deserve all of this to be done without it being turned into a freaking circus.

And I don't want this turned into a circus, because I want the victims to get what they deserve and that's a full accounting and a full justice here. Now, there's a lot of conspiracy theories out there. People on the left are already blaming on Saturday on another network, the Attorney General the United States, and then you got people blaming the Clintons. Maybe we could just knock it off for the sake of the victims until we get to the bottom of what happened. BURNETT: Well, I think we all can agree on that, especially as the

facts do come out and we learn what really did happen and it's deeply unfortunate and I hope we still get answers of all of the information that Jeffrey Epstein had. Scott, however, what I want to get out here is it's not just out of the blue that he retweets this conspiracy theory as opposed to any other.

He likes conspiracy theories. But this one's about the Clintons and that's what he likes the most. He has gone on about the Clintons and here are just like - just so everyone understands, some examples, since he started in 2015 all the way to today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton is a total disaster.

She's married to a man who was the worst abuser of women in the history of politics.

The corruption of the clips knows no limits.

Hillary Clinton lied many times the FBI nothing happened to her.

CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.

[19:25:08] TRUMP: Oh, boy, they're going be reporting about you tonight.

Crooked Hillary, she is a crooked one.

Epstein had an island, that was not a good place as I understand. I was never there. So you have to ask, "Did Bill Clinton go to the island?" That's the question. If you find that out, you're going to know a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And he brings it back to Epstein, Scott. I mean what is the obsession with the Clintons? Why would he tweet something so absurd today?

JENNINGS: Well, a couple of things. Number one, some of the things he said about the Clintons were not conspiracy theories. I mean Bill Clinton did take advantage of women. I mean, it's well known that Hillary Clinton did do things with the FBI that got her in pretty serious trouble in 2016. These are not conspiracy theories.

Now, in the Epstein case, yes, this is a conspiracy theory. And, again, as I said earlier I think we need to get to the fact to this before we go off speculating.

BURNETT: Yes. I mean, what I'm getting at is I'm not trying to relitigate each of those, Scott, to your point. What I'm trying to say is he's obsessed, why?

JENNINGS: Oh, look, Republicans for years have been on the trail of the Clintons. I wrote about this in the Los Angeles Times a few months ago. One of the enduring reasons that Donald Trump's always going to be in favor with the republicans is because his willingness to bash and go after the Clintons.

Republicans think the Clintons have gotten away with all kinds of things over the years and all of a sudden this guy, Donald Trump, comes along and he's like a dog with a bone and he won't let it go.

BURNETT: He still thinks it works, Angela.

JENNINGS: So if you're a Republican and you feel like the media has been protecting the Clintons and Donald Trump comes along and tries to smash that, that's exactly what he's playing. This has been a phenomenon Republican Party for years.

RYE: You know what's fascinating about this to me is to hear him talk about the corruption of the Clintons and Bill Clinton being an abuser of women and it's just like, "Hi, pot, I'm kettle." It's like at some point you have to be - well, you have like for a leader to be responsible for their actions. But what's fascinating to me as well is in therapy, because I go to therapy, Erin, you learn about mirroring.

And you also know as kids, you learn that when you point a finger, there three fingers pointing back at you. I think the obsession is that he sees himself reflected in all of the corruption, the deception and the abusing of women that he accuses them of, all of that. There substantive allegations against him in each of those spaces and all of that or I won't say all of it, much of it, what we can uncover because they won't comply with subpoenas from Congress, so we'll see.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, Hong Kong bracing tonight for more violence. China beginning to amass troops at the border. How bad could this get? And President Trump claims he's losing as much as $5 billion by being president, but is he even worth a fraction of that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:49] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, President Trump warning of possible military intervention after violent protests, riot police clashing with protesters in Hong Kong's airport. After video like this played out on live television, President Trump tweeted: Our intelligence has informed us that the Chinese government is moving troops to the border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe.

Hong Kong's leader, meantime, warning the city is in the verge of being, quote, smashed into pieces.

Ivan Watson is OUTFRONT from Hong Kong.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overnight, confrontations in Hong Kong turning violent as thousands of pro democracy protesters flooded the country's busy international airport paralyzing it for a second day. As the growing tension played out on live television, police moved in carrying shields and wearing body armor pushing the crowd become. At times, it was hard to tell who sided with whom.

We were there as this group of protesters turned on a man they suspected of being a Chinese agent. Some tried to protect him as others kicked him. Medics eventually succeeded in taking the injured man away.

He has since been identified as a reporter for the Chinese state news outlet "Global Times". Other protesters blocked passengers from reaching planes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have (INAUDIBLE), I don't have weapon, I don't have here. As of today, (INAUDIBLE). Job finished, don't come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We understand.

WATSON: Forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and stranding thousands of passengers.

VINCENT KAN, HONG KONG PROTESTER: We cannot avoid this. It's somehow unavoidable because we fight for our final goal. That is our freedom.

WATSON: Hong Kong's leader, who is effectively appointed by the Chinese government, admits she is losing control.

CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE (through translator): Hong Kong society is not safe or stable. The rioters have pushed Hong Kong to the brink of no return.

WATSON: The protests here began peacefully two months ago as millions of pro democracy demonstrators took to the streets to omnibus a proposed extradition law with mainland China. But some hard liners who don't want this former British colony to be controlled by communist China have grown increasingly violent clashing week after week with police, at times leading to showdowns with tear gas and night sticks.

(on camera): The protesters were spoiling for a fight. And now, they've got one.

(voice-over): Tonight, the central government in mainland, China, is sending increasingly ominous warnings, showing off security forces close to Hong Kong. What's not clear is if China will use that force to quash the dissent or if protesters who seem motivated for a fight for their freedom will back down.

President Trump tweeted about intelligence reports that China is moving troops to the border. And he appealed for calm. But in is the worst political crisis this city has seen in decades.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATSON: Erin, it's 7:30 in the morning here now. And it's very surreal. Because just yards from where I'm standing eight hours ago, I saw a man nearly get lynched, that Chinese reporter when the mob was kicking him when he was on the ground and hitting him.

[19:35:09] Fortunately, he has escaped. He was one of two people injured. Two police officers injured as well.

The airport seems to be kind of working again. But this has just raised a big cloud of uncertainty over a city that was known -- had a reputation for being a model of stability and safety and efficiency.

BURNETT: Those images are incredible.

Ivan, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, the former U.S. ambassador to China under President Obama, Gary Locke.

And, Ambassador, I appreciate your time.

So, you know, you heard Ivan reporting. And obviously, the Chinese government is putting this video out of the tanks and the mass of tanks and troops along the border. How concerning is this?

GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well this is very, very disturbing news. The demonstrators need to somehow I think try to seek some calm. Obviously, they have very legitimate grievances with the government of Hong Kong with the proposed extradition treaty with the mainland. That has really caused all of this.

But the grievances actually go deeper than that. And certainly the Hong Kong government needs to find a way to step back, not just postpone or table this proposed extradition treaty but perhaps look at stepping down. Those members of the Hong Kong legislature need to intervene and try to bring a face-saving way for both sides, because the last thing Hong Kong wants, the last thing that Taiwan wants, the last thing that the mainland wants is to have intervention by the mainland forces crossing over the border.

BURNETT: I mean, here is the thing, obviously. You see where things will go from here. But, I mean, China is trying to put out they mean business. They're not afraid to put in troops and tanks. They're not afraid to put troops in.

I mean, you know, there are some saying if the troops go in there could be bloodshed. I mean, how bloody could it be if this gets to that point and China goes into Hong Kong?

LOCKE: If China were to go into Hong Kong, you would certainly see the demonstrators and the pro-democracy people almost becoming martyrs. And you will have bloodshed. You will have lives that will be lost because any will see this as a -- a invasion and they are going to fight to the death.

At the same time, we do not need another image or repeat of Tiananmen Square that would hurt the future autonomy of Hong Kong. So, there is so much at stake. So the demonstrators I think with legitimate grievances need to step back and think what is best for the long-term interests of their democracy movement.

The leader of Hong Kong has lost absolute control. She needs to rethink her role in this. And perhaps cooler minds among the Hong Kong legislature should be trying to seek a resolution of this and perhaps a change of government.

But for instance, the people of Taiwan are watching in carefully because the mainland would eventually like to reunify with Taiwan. They feel it's a province of China.

BURNETT: Yes.

LOCKE: Some people in Taiwan want independence. And they're going to be watching what the mainland does. Because if the mainland interferes, crosses over, tries to suppress the demonstrators, and there is bloodshed, they will never believe the promises of Beijing when Beijing says we'll be one country, tree systems.

One country, China, with mainland system, political system, a Hong Kong with its separate system and Taiwan with its separate system.

BURNETT: Yes.

LOCKE: So, if the mainland invades or suppresses and crosses the border and puts down the demonstration, basically takes over Hong Kong, the people of Taiwan will say we can never trust Beijing. We need our independence. We can never believe in reunification.

BURNETT: And, Ambassador, this is happening in the midst of a war. A trade war between the U.S. and China. And on this, you also were former commerce secretary. Today, President Trump blinked, he backed on some key proposed tariffs that would have struck Americans on things like phones from China. Does this embolden China to think it can win?

LOCKE: No, not at all. This is I think trying to -- the president trying to understand or trying to demonstrate some sensitivity. He does not want the cost of goods going up during the Christmas holidays, because those iPhones, Microsoft Xboxes would go up in prices. Certain clothing and shoes would go up in prices.

So, he is smartly saying that those things that are going to come in for the holiday season will not be subject to the tariff. They'll be tariffed right after the holiday season. The 10 percent tariff will take effect after the holiday purchasing season. Although some tariffs go into effect on September 1.

[19:40:01] Other type of sporting goods, some clothing, some shoes but not all.

BURNETT: All right. Ambassador and Secretary Locke, I very much appreciate your time.

Of course in calling off the tariffs because of price increases the president admitting what Peter Navarro said would not happen which is that prices would go up for Americans. OUTFRONT next, President Trump insists he is losing a fortune by being

president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's probably costing me from $3 billion to $5 billion for the privilege of being, and I couldn't care less.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The person who did the Forbes list is OUTFRONT.

Plus, Elizabeth Warren laying a ground for a showing in Iowa. It has been paying off. Whose expense is it coming at?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump says being president is costing him billions. Here is what he told people at a petrochemical plant today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This thing is costing me a fortune, being president.

It's probably going to cost me, including upside, downside, lawyers because every day, they sue me for something. It's probably costing me from $3 billion to $5 billion for the privilege of being -- and I couldn't care less. I don't care. You know, if you're wealth, it doesn't matter. I just want to do a great job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Jonathan Greenberg, former journalist at Forbes. He is the guy who helped build the Forbes 400 richest list.

So, let's start here. The president says it's probably costing me from $3 billion to $5 billion.

[19:45:02] Does that claim add up?

JONATHAN GREENBERG, FORMER FORBES REPORTER: No, it doesn't add up. I mean, Donald Trump has never been worth $3 billion to $5 billion.

BURNETT: OK. So, the bottom line is he doesn't have that much to begin with.

Then the second part is, it's -- I'm losing money, right? I'm losing money because I'm president. Does that add up?

GREENBERG: He's -- no, he is losing money and he is making money. He is losing money partly because people -- he is a very bad businessman. He brought the Doral Hotel, for example, and golf club. It's bigger than his next 10 clubs put together.

It loses money because he is a terrible manager and also people don't want to stay at his golf clubs. Some of -- he is losing money on luxury apartment buildings because the money launderers, the Russians and drug money cartel don't want to invest with him because he is high profile. He is making money in Mar-a-Lago, where doubled the entrance fees.

BURNETT: Trump International in Washington.

GREENBERG: Trump International in Washington because --

BURNETT: So, he is losing and even people -- you know, his name gets removed from builds. People don't want to say at the clubs because he is controversial. They don't want to deal with that with their friends. So, there is some negative but the positive you're saying overall way outweighs it?

GREENBERG: Oh, yes. It outweighs it, and also, he's lost legal fees that he's speaking about. I mean, legal fees -- they might be $5 million, they might be -- you know, for a case, for the -- for some of the cases he is talking about. He is talking about $5 billion. That's a thousand times that much.

And most of his legal fees are related criminal activities that he's been engaged in or suspected, you know, such as Trump University and things -- and his foundation where he took money from them. So, those are most of his legal fees

BURNETT: OK. So, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, told me he has started formal impeachment proceedings, OK? Jonathan, that he is investigating Trump's money and he is saying separate from Russia looking at claims about money.

What are the chances he finds something damning after all this time and all this investigation? Someone like you who has been covering Trump for years, what are the chances?

GREENBERG: The chances are very high. I mean, that's why Trump built a brick wall around his taxes around who he owes money to and around his debt.

His net worth I doubt it's even a billion dollars. Nobody knows how much he owes or to whom or what type of deals he struck in order to get that money. We know he was a failure as a businessman, he went bankrupt in 1990 and '91. He took a company public that went bankrupt, stiffed all his junk bond holders. And then --

(CROSSTALK)

GREENBERG: No one is going to lend him money in 2004, 2006, 2008, unless they have money coming in that they want to launder. And that's what you see in Panama City. That's what you see at the Trump SoHo International Hotel on Spring Street.

His biggest properties done in the past 20 years since his last bankruptcies, they are going to unravel some interesting things. And that's why he is fighting those subpoenas tooth and nail. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jonathan. I appreciate

your time. As I said, the one who compiled that original Forbes list, and certainly knows the numbers on it. Thanks.

GREENBERG: Thank you.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, President Trump taking notice of Elizabeth Warren's sudden new momentum, and Jeanne Moos on Trump's trip down memory lane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I love cranes. I love trucks of all types, even when I was a little boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:40] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump on the attack against Elizabeth Warren as she rises in the polls behind Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She is staging a comeback on Sleepy Joe. I don't know who is going to win, but we'll have to hit Pocahontas very hard again if she does win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Trump, of course, mocking Warren over her claim of Native American heritage. Mrs. Warren is banking on her ground game to win her caucus state of Iowa.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Iowa state fair.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elizabeth Warren is making a big summer splash in Iowa, but beyond the teeming crowds, her campaign is building something that's even more impressive to many Democrats here, a muscular ground organization with a person to person network growing by the day in backyards like this.

WARREN: It's great to be here at someone's home. I want to say a very special thank you to Drew and Kara. Where are you? There you are.

ZELENY: Drew and Kara Kelso have been following the 2020 campaign closely, but not this closely until one of Warren's young organizers reached out and ask if they would host the Massachusetts senator.

KARA KELSO, WARREN SUPPORTER: It was great to have her. The neighbors, everybody was excited she was here.

ZELENY (on camera): Do you plan to volunteer for her at all?

DREW KELSO, WARREN SUPPORTER: Yes, I think we would entertain the idea. I definitely support her enough to do that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Across town, Carrie DeVries is a dedicated volunteer in Warren's army. She hosts organizing vents here in her living room where she painted the campaign logo.

CARRIE DEVRIES, WARREN CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER: Once I found Warren's campaign, and I felt like, oh, here's a place I can feel like I'm making a difference.

ZELENY (on camera): How many hours a week do you think you spend trying to elect Elizabeth Warren?

DEVRIES: Me?

ZELENY: Yes.

DEVRIES: Probably more than most people. Probably 12 to 14 hours a week, just doing different things.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Warren campaign started building an Iowa operation before any of its rivals, with eight field offices now open and more to come. The campaign has held organizing events in all 99 counties.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there a chance you and your wife might be interested in helping us out?

ZELENY: Inside the Des Moines field office today, volunteers made calls and plans for future events.

Emily Parcell is a senior advisor for Warren. Twelve years ago this summer, she was political director for Barack Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Because we built the best grassroots on the ground here in Iowa. People power from the bottom up.

ZELENY: Whose winning Iowa campaign is the aspiration for this field of Democratic candidates.

EMILY PARCELL, WARREN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: In my experience during the Iowa caucus, you need to be here for a year. It's going to take time. The interesting thing about this campaign and I don't think it's unlike the Obama campaign. There is real focus on building a community of supporters.

ZELENY: And one thing that has changed so much from the summer of 2007 when Barack Obama had his rise here, the change in social media. Think about this, Erin, Facebook in its infancy, no Twitter, no other way to really link people. So, that is the open question here as these campaigns are organizing.

But Elizabeth Warren has been here first but Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden also investing much time here -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Jeff. Thank you.

And let's go to political editor for "The New York Times", Patrick Healy.

So, here we are in August. You have obviously until first --

PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, early February. Yes.

BURNETT: So, how important -- can anyone else make up this?

HEALY: It's really important. I mean, she has scooped up a lot of talent. She's opening as Jeff was saying, she's opened eight offices where Joe Biden for instance really, his people were just moving into their campaign headquarters last month in Des Moines.

Iowans know that. I mean, the Democratic universe of voters for the caucuses is relatively small and these influencers, people who can bring voters out to the polls, they start working, you know, sometimes a year ahead of time. So, she was really lining them up.

BURNETT: So, the most recent poll, she's up 12 points to second place at 19 percent, behind Biden who is the national front runner as well. Bernie Sanders from 16 to 9. Is this now a -- from you know, comes from him goes to her?

HEALY: Yes, Warren is hurting Sanders in Iowa. There's no question about it. She pulled some of his good talent from 2016. You know, Sanders was there very early, as well.

But what a lot of voters were telling us over the Iowa state fair weekend is that they love Bernie's ideas. They love his commitment. Some of them caucused for him in 2016, but they want something new.

[19:55:05] And Warren is where a lot of that energy is going to.

BURNETT: They like the packaging.

HEALY: Yes.

BURNETT: They like the packaging. Same ideas, new package.

HEALY: It's new.

BURNETT: Yes. Thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on Trump's true love.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, Trump taps into his inner child.

Here is Jeanne.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even a president, maybe especially a president, wishes he were doing something else sometimes.

TRUMP: I love cranes. I love trucks of all types. Even when I was little boy at 4 years old, my mother would say, you love trucks. I do.

MOOS: And that little boy voice inspired by the equipment at a Pennsylvania petrochemical plant, the president drove home the point.

TRUMP: Sometimes you know, you might become president but nothing changes. I still love trucks.

MOOS: Oh, we've seen his love for trucks from a fire truck to a missile defense vehicle to a big rig in front of the White House. The president does what he loves to do, blow his own horn.

And the moment went viral. Find you someone that loves you as much as Trump loves sitting in that truck. He was photo shopped into the kind of trucks he probably had when he was 4.

And impersonator portrayed him escaping from a press conference.

He goes on a joyride. Drives into the water and then wakes up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --

MOOS: Back at the presidential podium. The only time I've ever seen the real Trump actually drive was when Melania posted her husband at the wheel of her car with son Baron riding shotgun.

But at the petrochemical plant, there were bigger temptations.

TRUMP: When I look at the largest crane in the world, that's very cool. Do you think I'll get to operate it? I don't know. We'll put the media on it and I'll give them a little ride, right?

MOOS: At least the media got no ride on the crane that disappeared into the clouds. The president could only gaze at it and pretend to use a joy stick to joyfully stick it to the press.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.