Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Says Trade War With China Will Be "Fairly Short"; Radioactive Iodine Detected in Norway After Failed Missile Test That Caused Major Explosion in Russia; Trump Attacking Two Democrat Lawmakers As He Defends Israel For Banning Them From The Country; Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) Is Interviewed About His Take On Banning Congresswomen Tlaib And Omar To Enter Israel; Trump Says Fired Campaign Manager Lewandowski Is A "Fantastic Guy" And "Would Be A Great Senator" For NH; Fmr. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Ends 2020 Campaign; Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Is Interviewed About Candidates Getting Out Of 2020 Campaign. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 15, 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: ... Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, President Trump defends pressuring Israel to ban to setting members of Congress an unprecedented snub. Why is Israel doing Trump's dirty work? Plus, President Trump about to speak in New Hampshire. Will he ruffle Republican feathers by supporting his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for Senate who just rode with them on Air Force One moments ago? And days after Russia's mysterious nuclear explosion, radioactive material has been discovered more than 1,000 miles away. How dangerous is this? Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, President Trump admitting he told Israel not to let two U.S. Congresswoman into the country. This despite White House's denials all day that he didn't. We're talking about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

Two congresswomen who have been critical of the President and who he has slammed. So, again, White House says he didn't get involved but here he is telling you, he did.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu about the Congresswomen coming?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to comment about who I spoke to, but I think my social media statement pretty well speaks for itself but I did speak to people over there, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. He did speak to people over there, yes. OK. Well, at least he admits it. And as for the social media statement, it did make it pretty clear on Twitter, quote, it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Representative Omar and Representative Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel and all Jewish people.

So he says that and he makes some calls to some people over there. It's clear. Let's just be clear about this too though, it is unprecedented for the President to intervene to try to ban sitting elected representatives from visiting another country. And tonight Israel is now trying to spin this whole mess, to try to make it look like it's above board.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu putting out a statement on his Facebook page saying today's ban was because, quote, Israel's law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel. But that quite simply is not why Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar were banned. I mean here's the facts, just last month, the Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer to United States said, "The two women were allowed into Israel."

Here's his quote, "Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America." They were allowed in. And as for boycotting Israel, maybe we could say, OK, maybe you didn't know about that. Well, he did. Omar and Tlaib's views on that republic long before Ambassador Dermer said they could come into the country. Here is Congresswoman-elect Omar in February.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I've now only supported and called for boycott of Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And here's Congresswoman-elect Tlaib in December of 2018. She said, "I personally support the BDS, that's the boycott, movement. OK. They support the boycott, they say, to support Palestinian human rights.

But the thing that matters here is that they supported it all the way back in 2018, publicly. So just to be painfully clear, the Israeli ambassador said they were welcome for this visit in July of 2019 well after they knew all of that. So this excuse that they were banned because of calls to boycott Israel as a blatant lie.

So what did change in the past month when Israel said, "OK, you can come"? Well, one thing that we started hearing also in July of 2019 is Trump's racist attacks against the two Congresswomen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: These are people that hate our country. Hey, John (ph), they hate our country. They hate it, I think, with a passion. These are people that, in my opinion, hate our country. And all I'm saying that if they're not happy here, they can leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And of all the great ironies tonight there's this. Do you remember the tweet, I mean, the tweet where Trump told Tlaib and Omar to go back to where they came from? Well, here's the irony, Congressman Tlaib, of course, is born an American citizen.

But on this visit to Israel she was going to visit her ancestral home and her grandmother who lives in the West Bank. So Trump called some people, took to Twitter and stopped her from doing what he told her to do. Pretty ironic on that front.

Kaitlan Collins is out front traveling with the President in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Kaitlan, Trump obviously got really upset about this.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he seems quite pleased with Israel's decision that they've made today. But Erin, the timeline here is pretty clear. Israel made this decision after the President urged them publicly on his Twitter account as you just show to do so.

And even after last month, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer said that yes, these two Democratic congresswomen were going to be welcomed to Israel. And now we're seeing Bibi Netanyahu changed his mind issuing that statement.

[19:05:03] And, of course, we know that he and the President have a long history together and they've had a very warm relationship since they both been in office. And this is something that politically could help both of them because you're seeing the President frame these women as his foil coming up on the 2020 election. And, of course, Netanyahu is facing an election of his own in just three weeks.

Now, the President would not say whether or not he spoke with Netanyahu directly about this, but he did concede he spoke with Israeli officials even though the White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham insisted earlier in the day that Israel could do what it wanted and that those reports that the President was weighing in and trying to influence the decision here were inaccurate.

Now, what all of this really reveals is that this President who is known for disrupting the status quo throughout his administration, this might be the most significant way that he's done so yet by telling a country overseas and ally overseas that not only should two U.S. citizens not be allowed to come visit, but two Members of Congress should not be able to come visit.

Now, that's going to set some kind of precedence and that's what experts say they've been worried about because, of course, members of Congress travel all over the world. And to see the President using this to punish his political rivals back here at home is something that critics say they are increasingly worried about the President and his influence on this move today.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan Collins. I want to go out front now to Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider. He recently returned from a congressional delegation trip to Israel and you know a lot about what is happening here right now.

Sir, look, I just want to start with this, at the heart of this for people who may not follow the specific details of a boycott movement. You have been critical of some comments these Congresswomen have made about Israel, the support that they have for the BDS movement, which is essentially boycotting Israel. You have called that movement, anti-semitic. You've introduced a resolution opposing it.

So I'm just making it clear, you don't agree with them. You don't agree with any of their point of view on this, but you think they should be still let into Israel, right?

REP. BRAD SCHNEIDER (D-IL): Absolutely. I've been critical of their attacks on the U.S.-Israel relationship, their support for the Boycott, divestment and Sanctions movement. I have called that movement anti-semitic for two basic reasons.

First is its absolute denial of the Jewish aspiration for a state in Israel and its refusal to support a two-state solution that will ultimately bring peace for Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS movement is anathema to that peace process. And that's why just last month you saw 398 Members of Congress, 209 Democrats and 189 Republicans vote in support of condemning BDS and our support for Israel.

Israel's always been bipartisan, but that doesn't change the fact that two Members of Congress going to Israel. A month ago we heard from the Ambassador of Israel to the United States a promise that they would be allowed to visit Israel. And today, the government reversed and went back on that promise and said they can't come. I think this was an unforced error, unnecessary and will do more damage than any chances of protecting Israel's reputation.

BURNETT: All right. I mean I guess from a very basic point of view if you don't go to a place to learn anything about it, you're not going to change your mind. But can I just ask you about Trump's role in this. I mean the White House today tried to say he didn't have anything to do with it but then he said that he did. Obviously, he made his point of view very clear and then he said he did call some people and talk to some people over there.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

BURNETT: And Ambassador Dermer, of course, is the one - he knows everything. He knows everyone. He's incredibly close to Prime Minister Netanyahu as well as to people here. Have you spoken to him today about this and Trump's role?

SCHNEIDER: Not today. I spoke to Ambassador Dermer yesterday. I expressed my concern about the pending decision. I told him that I thought it was the wrong decision that it would do more harm than good for sure and that I felt that the Israeli government should live up to the promise made last month that these two representatives would be allowed to visit Israel.

BURNETT: So do Trump emboldened them?

SCHNEIDER: I think Trump not just emboldened him. I think he pressured the government. He pressured Prime Minister Netanyahu. Trump put himself, interjected himself into this process, nothing is changed, as you said in the lead in, the positions of these two representatives was clear long before our Ambassador Dermer made the promise last month.

I don't think they were going to go to try to have their mind changed. I don't think they were going to make an effort to see the multi- facets of Israel and Palestinian conflict as we did last week. By the way, I just came home, as you mentioned, from a trip with more than 70 Members of Congress where we not only visited Israel but we went to Ramallah.

The Democrats had a meeting with Prime Minister Abbas. I was disappointed that Abbas refused to meet with the Republicans this week. But we had a chance to see the different aspects, the multiple perspectives, the challenges Israel faces in a very difficult region but also the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and it's unfortunate that --

BURNETT: So what --

SCHNEIDER: Go ahead.

[19:10:03] BURNETT: So you're saying that people who support the movement that you see as anti-semitic should still be allowed to go even though as you point out they had put the location of where they were going as Palestine? I mean, look, they have a very clear political point of view on this.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

BURNETT: But just to be clear, when the President says in his tweet they hate Jews, OK, that's what he said, I'm just looking for the exact wording here so I could read it. But you saw the tweet.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, and I talked to the President and he said --

BURNETT: "They hate Israel and all Jewish people." Do you think that that's true?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I've had conversations with Tlaib and what I've said to her is she and I are going to always have a different narrative. I'm not going to change her mind, but I am confident that the work we did - I mean, I spent several months working with my colleagues trying to build support for House Resolution 246.

We had 398 members vote in support of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship in support of Israel security. And that the ultimate outcome down the road will be a negotiated agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And 398 members of Congress, bipartisan, condemning BDS as antagonistic and unhelpful to moving that process forward.

Representative Tlaib and Omar have a different perspective. I'm not going to change their mind, but it doesn't change the fact that the overwhelming majority of the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress both sides support Israel and Israel's security. BURNETT: Yes. I hear you. I'm just trying to get a direct answer,

regardless of the appropriateness of the President saying what he's saying, OK, it's inappropriate. But is there any merit in what he's saying? I mean you know her, she knows you, is what he's saying total BS or not?

SCHNEIDER: I think what he's saying is BS. What are you saying - I'm not going to get into name calling, I'm not going to try to put myself in the heart or minds of my colleagues, but what I do know is that the United States Congress supports Israel's security, has for the entire 71 years of Israel's existence has invested in that security that we benefit mutual beneficial outcomes of the relationship between the United States and Israel and we will continue to pursue that.

And the actions of this president, what he did today, what he's been doing for a while, by creating a wedge between Democrats and Republicans, that doesn't help Israel's security. It actually diminishes it and we need to make sure we preserve that bipartisan support in the Congress.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time very much. I want our viewers to know Republicans did speak out also against this decision, including influential Senator Marco Rubio, foreign relations and others. Thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Erin. It's great to be here.

BURNETT: All right. Next, President Trump throwing his support behind his former Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski saying, "Go for it. Go for Senate." But a lot of Republicans are standing up. Plus, one 2020 candidate is now out while another making it clear he is all in. And President Trump says his trade war with China could be fairly short, but that is not what China sees. How bad could this get for Americans?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:47] BURNETT: All right. Those are live pictures out of Manchester, New Hampshire. President Trump is about to speak at a campaign rally there. He is holding it, obviously. Key swing state. A state that he lost but by less than 3,000 votes.

Trump landing in Manchester moments ago and joining him on Air Force One and at the rally is Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager. Just hours after Trump encouraged Corey to run against the Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Yes. I think Corey is a fantastic guy. And, I don't think he's made that decision yet. I will say this, if he ran, he would be a great Senator. If he ran and won, he'd be a great senator. He would be great for New Hampshire. He'd be great for the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: All this in the same day that the House Judiciary Committee

subpoenaed Lewandowski as part of its impeachment inquiry over what the President, according to the Mueller report, told him to do which he refused to do. Out front now Paul Begala who was a Counselor to President Bill Clinton and National Youth Coalition Chair for Donald Trump in 2016, Bob Burns. Thanks very much to both of you.

So Paul, let me just start here with the - we just saw Corey Lewandowski not only that the President say he make a great senator, not only did you see him on the tarmac, he was on Air Force One. It could not be more clear what the President is trying to say. What's your reaction Corey Lewandowski would make an incredible senator for New Hampshire and the country, fantastic guy?

PAUL BEGALA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Yes. I think what the President's trying to say is please, Corey, don't tell the Congress the same thing you told Robert Mueller, which is the President according to Mueller asked Corey to obstruct justice and to try to get Mr. Mueller out as the investigator.

BURNETT: Right. That is what the Mueller report explicitly said, I mean, Corey wouldn't do it.

BEGALA: And I'm sure President doesn't like Corey to say that on TV. He fired Corey Lewandowski, if he's such a great guy for New Hampshire to hire why did Trump fired him? But, look, if he runs he's going to have a very rough road to hoe. The Democrats are relying it - interesting that he talk to some of the New Hampshire Democrats today.

And Bob, I'm curious as to what you think about this. They're going to say they're not going to just attack him for Trump, they're going to attack him for, excuse me for talking while you're interrupting Mr. Burns, but when they attack him, it won't be for Trump, it'd be for swamp lobbyists Lewandowski, it's the way they're going to run against him and I think that's going to have a lot more power.

BURNETT: So, Bob, is this perhaps all just coded? Trump is now greasing the wheels with Corey or in polite company here.

BOB BURNS, NATIONAL YOUTH COALITION CHAIR, TRUMP 2016 CAMPAIGN: He was briefly a lobbyist and I mean honestly he and Mr. Trump, and President Trump have had a great relationship ever since he was removed from where he was at. I mean the firing or the removing of Corey Lewandowski was very amicable.

BURNETT: But this is over the top. The Air Force One, I'm sure you meant - you don't think it has anything to do with the impeachment inquiry going on and that Corey Lewandowski is listed as one of the key obstruction of justice elements in the Mueller report?

BURNS: No, absolutely not. I mean, Corey has always had his eye on office, in higher office and I think he sees an opportunity with President Trump being in there, in the backing of it. And then quite frankly, every Republican in New Hampshire will have a windfall of having somebody like Corey on the ticket. It's going to bring a lot of attention and a lot of money into our

state and Corey is a great guy. I mean he's really a personable working class kind of guy, blue collar guy, from just south of Massachusetts which I and everybody in New Hampshire loves. But actually half of people in New Hampshire, their family members, including my father came from Massachusetts.

[19:20:06] He's a blue collar working class guy and he really he really talks to the people here and he really excites the Trump base. I mean the Democrats are terrified of Corey Lewandowski.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about this because when you say excites the Trump base, I just want to point out former Republican Senator from New Hampshire Judd Gregg said of Lewandowski today, quote, he's a thug. He's part of Trump's cadre of thugs. If he were to run and become the nominee, it would be an outrage.

And just to remind people of perhaps what Judd Gregg may have been in part referring to here is Corey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: This is 12 years ago, this audiotape, and it does not reflect or bring to mind the Donald Trump that I've spent 18 months with traveling. We're electing a leader to the free world, we're not electing a Sunday school teacher.

ZAC PETKANAS, ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.

LEWANDOWSKI: Wah, wah.

PETKANAS: I read about a - did you say, "Wah, wah," to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome being taken from her mother?

LEWANDOWSKI: What I said is you can pick anything you want out -

Petkanas: How dare you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNS: Do you know what I find interesting is how Democrats are now holding up Judd Gregg on a pedestal when they wouldn't allow him to take the job that Barack Obama had offered him earlier because he was so evil to be a cabinet member for the Obama administration.

But this is Judd Gregg. This is the establishment just doing what they do. And honestly Corey Lewandowski is no different than a candidate like Jeanne Shaheen. I mean she was a political hack for quite frankly a failed presidential - not a failed presidential candidate. Jimmy Carter did become president, but he served one term and is considered one of the worst presidents that we've had in recent history and she went on to become governor and United States Senator. This is totally ridiculous. BURNETT: OK. What I'm curious about though is when you say Judd

Gregg, you refer to him as a Republican establishment. But there have been a few people coming out recently and standing up to Trump and saying the Republican Party has to change.

Obviously, we all know Anthony Scaramucci. But here is Senator McCollister from Nebraska, John McCollister, Republican State Senator from Nebraska. Here's what he said, Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCOLLISTER (R-NE): The Republican Party of today is hardly anything like I knew when I was growing up. It's unconscionable. They don't become more involved in some of the Republican activities and call out President Trump when he makes so many hateful comments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Does that gain steam here, Paul, or is what we're seeing with Corey proof that no, blind loyal to the President matters and the President is putting him on Air Force One and going to back him and they're going to see that as the model?

BEGALA: Well, it certainly works at blind loyalty to Mr. Trump which again is a one-way street. Blind loyalty to a guy who fired you is a pretty high bar but it works with that base. But the problem is the primary as Mr. Burns knows well is on September 8th, that's only about less than 60 days, 58 days before the election.

So if Corey wins, I think he'd be very formed up. He might well win the primary. He'll have to reunite that party. This Judd Gregg character that he's trashing used to be the governor, used to be a senator. So a lot of Republicans like Judd Gregg in that state and they'll have to stitch that party back together.

Meanwhile Senator Shaheen, a former governor, a former senator, who has never been a lobbyist or a shadow lobbyist in Washington is going to keep hammering on that theme, lobbyist Lewandowski, not Trump Lewandowski.

BURNETT: We'll see. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it. And OUTFRONT next, President Trump's solution to stopping mass shootings, build more mental institutions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions. We can't let these people be on the streets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responds. Plus, you know the famous campaign catchphrase, "It's the economy, stupid." But could Trump defy the odds like he has again and again and prove that even a recession can't hurt him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:28:06] BURNETT: New tonight, a Democrat is out. The Democratic field narrowing, John Hickenlooper, the former Governor of Colorado dropping out this afternoon. But the field remains 23 federal, Beto O'Rourke for one despite some calls to drop out is defiant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I owe my family, my community, my country my very best and that is taking this fight directly to Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out front now, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York. And Governor Cuomo, I appreciate your time. Look, you know a lot of people in this field and you know Governor Hickenlooper well and many of the others. As I said, still 23 running in the primary that could be a whole another slew of two debate nights. I mean is it time for people to start getting out.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Well, Erin, people will make their individual choices. I know Governor Hickenlooper. He's a good man. And my guess is each person is going to assess their own options. It is a big field, you're right, and not everybody can win, obviously.

So I think you'll start to see individual candidates who have options making other decisions. Some people are term-limited, some people are running because it's good exposure and it's for the future, et cetera. So it's candidate by candidate and everybody will make their own decision.

BURNETT: I want to turn now, if I may, Governor, to your new proposal today. So in the wake of the multiple mass shootings, you're proposing a law that would allow New York to prosecute mass casualty hate crimes as domestic terrorism. What explicitly would this allow you to do now, Governor, I'm sorry, you to do that you can't do now?

CUOMO: Yes. I think we are at a point of transition, Erin. We have our terrorism law that was written right after 9/11 and the national phenomenon on terrorism has been that it's about a foreign entity or a foreign entity that radicalizes an American citizen.

[19:30:05] We are seeing a different type of terrorism now. We are seeing domestic terrorism defined as hate crime motivated terrorism by Americans, Americans who may be radicalized but not by a foreign entity. They are radicalized by hate.

What we saw in El Paso was a mass murder hate crime.

BURNETT: Yes.

CUOMO: And I'm saying that should be considered terrorism. When you have a terrorist attack, a mass murder based on a person's race, religion, creed, et cetera, that is truly domestic terrorism. Even if you don't have a foreign entity involved, and it should receive the same penalty.

BURNETT: So this comes as CNN has reported that the Trump administration rebuffed efforts by DHS for more than a year to make combating domestic terror threats including those from white supremacist a greater priority. And in that document, when it finally did out, they did not use the words white supremacy.

Governor, here is what Trump said after the shootings in prepared remarks from prompter. Obviously, the shootings I'm referring to are in Dayton and El Paso.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Governor, Joe Biden says we have a problem with the rising tide of white supremacy and we have a president who encourages and emboldens it. He, you know, referred to him as sleepy in the prompter, insulted the way he read it.

Do you believe President Trump condemns white supremacy?

CUOMO: Look, I think the president says one thing on Monday. He says something else on Tuesday, right? For the president to get up and say hate has no place in America is just wholly hypocritical, right? He is divider in chief, for him to say we condemn white supremacy.

After Charlottesville, he said there are good people on both sides of the discussion, it's purely hypocritical. I mean, he just -- he changes what he says.

And there is no doubt that from his mouth and from his administration, they have fomented hate. They talk about an invasion of immigrants.

We're shocked that people go out and buy an assault weapon and there is an El Paso shooting after we have people saying we're being invaded by the border? So, of course, he is fomenting this.

He does it for political reasons, I believe. I believe he appeals to his base. I believe it works for him politically.

I believe this is the old strategy of divide and conquer. It's how he ran for president. I want to build a wall.

That's not a unifying message. That's not a positive message. He has never had a positive message for this nation.

It's always been negative. It's always been divisive. And what he said in that clip, what he had to say or the speechwriters wrote after Dayton and El Paso is wholly inconsistent with everything else he has said and more importantly what he has done, and continues to do, and his administration. I mean, we just had them saying basically take down the Statue of

Liberty, right?

BURNETT: Well, I want to ask you about that in just a moment. I do want to just play for you something the president said moments ago, Governor, about gun laws. And, you know, he made it clear, he thinks it's the person that pulls the trigger, mental health is his main focus.

Here is what he said that he would do specifically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I think we have to start building institutions again, because if you look at the '60s and '70s, so many of the institutions were closed. And the people were just allowed to go onto the streets. And that was a terrible thing for our country. A lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions. We can't let the people be on the streets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What do you say, should you be building more mental health hospitals?

CUOMO: Yes, I don't think the president knows what he is talking about, with all due respect. What does building mental health institutions versus community-based residences which we do have, first the whole concept of restitutionalization is exactly opposite of everything we are trying to do, right? There was horrific condition in institutions. We now build community-based residences.

But put his knowledge on mental health aside. How does that stop a mentally ill person from getting a gun? That is the issue. And that if you want to do that, then you have to have a background check to make sure the person is not mentally ill.

And that's why you need universal background checks so you can see if the person is mentally ill.

[19:35:05] We have it in this state. Six years ago, we passed the best gun laws in the nation after the Sandy Hook massacre which was in Connecticut, the school shooting. And we set up a mental health database.

Erin, 139,000 people could have bought a gun in New York but cannot now not now buy is because they are in a mental health database. So, what the president should be saying is by his own theory I want background checks. I want mental health background checks. And if you are seriously mentally ill and you are on that mental health list, you should not be allowed to buy a gun.

But to do that we have to do background checks. That would be the logical extension of what he is saying. BURNETT: I want to turn now to immigration. You mentioned the Statue

of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is right here in New York state when I asked the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, about the poem on it, which as you know he had said, should be rewritten to include only people who can stand on their own two feet. He had something to say to me about it.

Let me just remind people, again, what it reads and what I asked him about was, give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I asked him if he thinks that is what America stands for or not. Here is he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What's your response?

CUOMO: I think he must have a direct connection with Emma Lazarus who rewrote the poem just for him. That's not what the poem says. The poem says what the poem says.

I don't know if the Cuccinelli family came here rich. The Cuomo family didn't come here rich. Most families didn't come here rich because if you were rich, you stayed wherever you were, right. You didn't venture forth to a new land where you didn't speak the language and you didn't know anyone because you were doing very well where you were.

The immigrants by definition were looking for opportunity because they didn't have it where they were. There was no caveat that said Europeans only need apply. Poor -- the word poor is on the poem.

I think what it says is, they don't accept the founding premise of this nation. They don't.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Cuomo, thank you very much for your time tonight. I appreciate it, sir.

CUOMO: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, President Trump defending his trade war with China.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Do those two things actually go together?

Plus, an alarming discovery. Nuclear material discovered more than 1,000 miles from that deadly nuclear explosion in Russia. What is Putin covering up?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:53] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump defying what the markets know to be true, which is that the trade war with China has hurt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you worried a prolonged trade war with China will pitch the economy into a recession?

TRUMP: No, I think the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get. We are taking in massive amounts of money. Billions and billions of dollars, Steve, as you know. I think the longer is goes, the stronger we get. I have a feeling it's going fairly short.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Mark Zandi is chief economist for Moody's Analytics. Nia-Malika Henderson is CNN senior political reporter.

Needless to say, obviously, it is hurting the United States and they're not -- there is no bags of cash and stuff as he said at other times coming in.

OK, Mark, Trump said he thinks it's going to go fairly short. But obviously, China is now runs countermeasures against the latest round of tariffs which he blinked on part but still going into effect in September. How dangerous could this get?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Dangerous. You know, it's doing significant damage to the U.S. and global economies. I mean, some economies -- big economies are already in recession of the because of this trade war. Germany, the British, the Italian economies, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, the entire global economy is really having a difficult time digesting this trade war. If it continues on for much longer, it will drive the U.S. economy into recession as well.

So, there's a -- you know, the president needs to figure out a way to come to some kind of arrangement with President Xi pretty quickly or he's got a problem. We all have a problem.

BURNETT: Exactly. And to your point, once you have so many places in recession, that's the way the world is, it is impossible to avoid recession even if you try to fix the China thing really fast hypothetically, right?

ZANDI: Yes, exactly. I mean, we are in a globalized economy. We rely heavily on the rest of the world. I mean, our exports to the rest of the world, they're now declining. And that goes to the soft global economy and strong dollar.

You mix that with weak business investment, businesses are so nervous about what's going on, they're sitting on their hands. Business investment has flat lined. And so, the economy is really starting to weaken here.

It's going to start asking the consumer side of the economy which has been the bright spot soon because job growth is now slowing. And if job growth slows further unemployment will start to rise and the consumer will know about the trade war.

BURNETT: So, look, it's a dark and grim scenario and it should be scary for people. But, Nia, when Trump was asked about the economy late today, here is how he sees it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The fact that I won lifted our economy greatly. And if I didn't win, it would go down. And frankly, if for some reason that happened in the 2020 election, you'll see this economy go down the tubes. I will tell that you right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. So, Nia, obviously, it's all about him. But does he think that this is the -- the voters will buy that that if he loses it goes down the tubes?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, he certainly has framed himself as, you know, America's great savior on any number of issues. Not surprising that he is framing his role in the economy in the same way.

[19:45:06] You look at how voters feel about him on any number of issues. He -- he doesn't do so well. Like on immigration crisis (ph).

But on the economy he does well among voters, 53 percent of voters who approve of how he's doing on the economy. Overall approval rate something is like 44 percent. So, this is where I think his strength lies. It's always a strength of an incumbent president to be a incumbent, right? You just have a higher chance of getting re-elected being sitting president.

BURNETT: So, is he worried here? Is he worried --

(CROSSTALK)

HENDERSON: Oh, I think there is worry. I think there is worry. And that's why you hear him sort of beating up on the Fed, beating up on Jerome Powell, sort of trying to bully them into maybe cutting rates again.

So, I am certain he is worried. He is worried about where the economy goes. He watches the stock market. Remember, and he sort of ties his success to the stock market, right,

and the higher it goes, he takes credit for it. We, of course, saw some bit of a selloff this week and rebounded. But sure, I think any incumbent president would be worried about something like this and a softening economy.

BURNETT: Well, certainly would. And if as Mark laying it out, once you start see exports going down, I mean, someone has got to buy things and things have to go up somewhere overall or you got a recession. I mean, it's the basics math of it.

Thank you both very much.

And OUTFRONT next, new concerns about what Russia is building. Nuclear material from a deadly explosion has now been found more than 1,000 miles away from a deadly nuclear accident.

Plus, Jeanne Moos on why Elizabeth Warren is on the run again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:26] BURNETT: New tonight, radioactive iodine found in Norway just one week after Russia's apparent failed nuclear missile test. It left at least five scientists dead and a test of a missile that Putin says could hit anywhere on earth, a totally new missile.

The fallout now terrifying. Norwegian officials say the radioactive iodine has been found at a station about 1,100 miles away from the initial explosion site.

OUTFRONT now, retired CIA retired chief of Russian operations, Steve Hall.

Steve, I'm glad to have you back and certainly you have a read on this that people need to hear. Unfortunately, we're talking about something like this. I mean, how worried are you now that we're seeing this -- the nuclear fallout now north of a thousand miles away?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure. I mean, I'm very concerned. And if I were Russia's neighbors like Norway, Sweden and other places nearby, I'd be worried as well. It's really striking to me the similarities if you go back to the Chernobyl catastrophe that happened a number of years ago, the similarities are really breath- taking.

You know, you had the Russians denying essentially and then saying, don't worry, we've got everything under control. You have injured and people who are killed being treated by doctors who then themselves become infected or affected by the radiation so much so that their scrubs are very radioactive and have to be treated differently. People being flown back to Moscow, and all of this we see with Russia and Putin continuing to deny it.

And that's the worst part of it, is that the lack of transparency. Russia has an absolutely horrific track record on nuclear things. Just about being up front about what's happening. BURNETT: And so, you're saying simply we don't know the magnitude of

what really happened, what the mistake was, what the explosion was, how many people were killed, that that isn't even known?

HALL: Right, no, we don't know. And what's even worse is it comes at a partly bad time because we have a president of the United States in Donald Trump who believes what Vladimir Putin tells him over what his intelligence services, who, by the way, are telling him what's going on in this particular nuclear situation. So, that's a bad thing.

And then you've also got a president who really doesn't believe or understand the science of things. For example, climate change, he doesn't listen to scientists about that. He's not going to listen to scientists about -- he believes cancer is being caused by wind turbines.

So, when he asks the nuclear question, how bad is this, who is he going to ask, Kellyanne Conway? I mean, if he asks Kellyanne or if he asks Vladimir Putin, he's going to get the big thumbs up. Don't worry, everything is fine. So, that is a great concern as well.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Steve, as always. Pretty sobering, especially when you point out we don't even know. We don't know how many people are injured, where they're being cared for, we don't know anything about it. What we do know is there is evidence this radiation spread at least 1,100 miles away.

Thank you.

HALL: Yes, serious stuff, sure.

BURNETT: And next, Jeanne Moos on Elizabeth Warren's mad dash that has left her competition in the dust.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:42] BURNETT: There are 23 Democrats running for president, but none of them are running like Elizabeth Warren.

Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Faster than a speeding bullet, faster than a camera can follow.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello!

MOOS: Elizabeth Warren isn't just running for president. She's dashing. Her latest dash across a New Hampshire field has gone viral, inspiring comparisons to the Energizer Bunny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still going.

MOOS: And the Prancerciser lady.

Remember her vaguely horse-like exercise routine?

Elizabeth Warren sprints spawn memes. Me running for the bathroom when the movie is over. Me showing up two hours late to the family cookout that I'm going to leave in ten minutes.

(on camera): Me, running to the edit room to get this piece done on time.

We've seen Warren run before.

WARREN: Sorry, I'm running for a train.

REPORTER: I got -- you're the only presidential -- you're the fastest presidential nominee.

MOOS: She moved faster than his mouth could, barreling into New York's Penn Station.

We've seen her zip around Boston's gay pride parade. But running at parades is almost a requirement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think?

MOOS: For candidates age 70 and up worried about being called --

TRUMP: Sleepy Joe.

MOOS: Or the dreaded --

TRUMP: He's a low energy individual.

MOOS: Why a president who has only been spotted running a few paces maybe once or twice, as Democratic candidate Andrew Yang put it.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Gosh, what could that guy beat me at -- being a sloth?

MOOS: Can't call Warren a sloth. Someone tweeted, just wait until she climbs the stairs three at a time on Air Force One.

A leisurely climber, President Trump, has dissed President Obama for hopping and bobbing all the way down the steps. So inelegant and unpresidential.

A conservative meme maker tried to dash Warren's energetic image. But even when she's tumbling, she's still an Energizer bunny on a roll.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep going. And going. And going.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks so much to all of you for joining us. Don't forget you can always watch the show anywhere. You just have to go to CNN Go. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.

END