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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Greenland Says It's Not For Sale After Trump Inquires About Buying The Danish Territory; Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) Is Interviewed About Trump's Inquiry To Buy Greenland As Crazy Uncle Or Smart Idea; Trump Calls Rep. Tlaib's Cancelled Trip To Israel To Visit Grandmother In West Bank "A Complete Setup"; NYT: Obama Told Biden Earlier This Year "You Don't Have To Do This, Joe, You Really Don't"; Will Warren's Conservative Roots Hurt Her With Liberal Voters?; Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) is Interviewed on Gun Violence Prevention Bills. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 16, 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: ... your special report. WOODSTOCK AT 50, it airs tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern only here on CNN. Good work, Bill. Thanks for doing this. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump's Green New Deal. The President suggest buying Greenland and it's not just to feed his ego, there's a heck of a lot of money there. Plus, breaking news, President Trump unleashing a blistering attack this moment against Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib calling it a quote complete setup after she rejected Israel's new offer to visit her grandmother in the West Bank. And Obama's reported message to Biden before he decided to run, "You don't have to do this, Joe." So just how involved is the former president in his VP's campaign? Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, not for sale to Trump. Greenland turning Trump down without even hearing what he'd offer. This after Trump even had the White House Counsel look into buying the massive island which is loaded with oil and precious metals.
This is according to sources who tell CNN the White House Counsel's office was looking into the possibility. Why? Well, one reason is Trump. He wants a page in the history books.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump could be remembered as one of the greatest presidents in American history.
Trump is the greatest president ever and there will never be one like him.
Now, here's what I do, I've asked whether or not you think I will someday be on Mount Rushmore.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And Trump thinks that a real estate deal that puts the
United States in charge of the world's largest island could be the creme de la creme, Trump being the Louisiana Purchase which he is still raving about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: More than 200 years ago, this very city was at the center of America's negotiations during the legendary Louisiana Purchase. Not only did we gain New Orleans, we double the size of the United States. We secured parts and ports and we made our nation the greatest farm country on God's earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So when it comes to Greenland, there were plenty of people quick to call Trump a joke to say, "This is how he spends executive time?" I mean some of the headlines, look at them, "American speak out on Trump's desire to buy Greenland. It's a complete disaster." "'He's gone mad': Greenland tells Donald Trump it's not for sale."
But on merit there is something here. First of all, Trump is not the only President who has wanted to purchase Greenland, Truman tried and failed. And Greenland is crucial to American National Security as I speak. The United States has a major base there.
Trump's rival China has tried to buy a base there. Greenland has oil, gold and copper. One of the world's largest reserves of the rare metals that you cannot make this phone without. And no one really knows the full extent of what's under the melting ice.
Greenland says that there's no price tag, but it could be worth $3 trillion by some estimates on its oil reserves alone. And let's be clear, this is money Trump does not have. He's already running the national debt up to a record $22 trillion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea of buying anything when the President has plunged our Treasury into unbelievably deep deficits and debt is just one more piece of evidence that he's going off in the direction of crazy uncle rather than actually securing our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is out front live in Washington tonight. And Pamela, some were too quick to dismiss. But the fact is from your reporting, Trump is really talking to people about this.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He is, Erin. And Trump often casually throws out ideas to aides and asks for their opinions. But in this case, he did asked his White House Counsel to look into the legal framework for buying the island that's not for sale, which shows you, Erin, that he was relatively serious about it. Now, as you pointed out, he's not the only president who has tried to
purchase the island. Harry Truman offered a hundred million in gold back in the 1940s. Greenland could be an attractive purchase, because it's home to a U.S. military base, so it could be strategic for National Security purposes and the natural resources as you pointed out.
But the island's government released a strongly worded statement following the news of these discussions saying Greenland is not for sale. Now, if you look back at U.S. history, there was the U.S. purchase of Alaska and the Louisiana Purchase.
So even though the President is facing criticism and skeptics, the U.S. has bought other territory before. I've spoken to aides not surprising the President would want to inquire about this, given his interest in real estate and negotiations. But, Erin, these discussions about buying Greenland adds another interesting dimension to the President's visit to Denmark in just a couple of weeks.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela Brown. And out front now Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee. So what do you think, crazy uncle or smart idea?
[19:04:58] REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I think its Trump's folly, Erin. Greenland is not one giant golf course. It belongs to the sovereign territory of Denmark and is autonomous. And it is also a distraction, I think, maybe a deliberate one, from the complete failure of Donald Trump's foreign policy.
Whether it's dissing allies and embracing dictators and adversaries, whether it's the failure on the Iran nuclear agreement by ripping it up even though it's working, walking away from the Paris Climate Accord, on and on, the list goes on. And I think he doesn't want us to notice the collapse of his foreign policy.
BURNETT: So the spokeswoman for the RNC just tweeted in part, "It's almost a question of why wouldn't the U.S. want it. Naysayers ask, 'Why?' Doers and builders ask, 'Why not?'" And as I pointed out, there's a lot there. I mean, this is something from my background in business journalism, we've been talking about for a long, long time.
Greenland is loaded with the stuff that the United States and China both want and are fighting over, could this possibly be smart?
Mm Well, I mean, Canada is loaded with a lot of stuff we like too. We don't go around the world looking to purchase sovereign territory. And meanwhile, we've got our hands full with challenges and problems. And to suddenly inject the discussion of Greenland seems, as I said, a deliberate distraction from the many failures of this foreign policy of Trump.
BURNETT: So you just heard at the top of the program, we found some times when Trump has talked about what he wants his legacy to be. He says, "Trump -"
CONNOLLY: I couldn't help laugh.
BURNETT: "Trump is the greatest president ever and there will never be one like him."
CONNOLLY: That part is true.
BURNETT: "Donald Trump will be remembered as one of the greatest presidents in American history. I'd asked whether or not you think I'll someday be on Mount Rushmore." And this is all Trump talking about Trump. Why do you think he wants Greenland?
CONNOLLY: I think, well, first of all, I think he has sort of a roving mind that has trouble focusing on anything for any one length of time. But I think he is interested in some kind of legacy and I think the legacy he's got right now is one that's going to be a very ignoble one and maybe he could be in the history books is he purchase the world's largest island.
But again, I think it's more distraction, maybe, than a legacy, trying to make sure that we don't pay attention to the collapse of so many of his initiatives in terms of foreign policy; North Korea, Venezuela, Russia and the trade war now with China which is damaging our economy.
BURNETT: So we have heard, obviously, that the Intelligence Community is saying that Iran is ready to do some sort of a test missile, but they're saying to put a satellite in the air. Obviously, there's been a zero tolerance policy for Iran in stark contrast to that with North Korea where the President has repeatedly said, "Go ahead, Kim. Test your short range missiles, who cares?" Even though it's in violation of the U.N.
What do you think happens when Iran does that next week? Are you worried?
CONNOLLY: Well, I'm always worried because of the hostile rhetoric of the Trump administration and the provocative act of walking away from our own nuclear agreement with Iran that was working. I think pushing Iran is a very dangerous game. We want to contain Iran when it engages in bad behavior, especially in the Middle East, but I think we have to be careful.
This is a strong power in the region. It is not like Iraq. And getting involved in anything kinetic militarily could be extremely dangerous.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about something else. The President said, here he is, Congressman, talking to a supporter whom he thought was a protester at his rally last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That guy's got a serious weight problem. Go home, start exercising. Get him out of here, please. He got a bigger problem than I do. He got a bigger problem than all of us. Now, he goes home and his mom says, "What the hell have you just done?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, of course, this is far from the first time, Congressman, that Trump has mocked of someone and certainly for their weight on that list. During a dispute with Jerry Nadler over traffic plan that would impact one of his projects, Trump told New York Magazine that Jerry Nadler is doing me a favor and he's also, of course, said it about Rosie O'Donnell and even Kim Kardashian. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I were running the View I'd fire Rosie. I mean, I'd look at right in that fat ugly face of hers. I'd say, "Rosie, you're fired."
Let's pretend it's not Kim. Does she have a good body? No.
Did you have a good body? No,
HOWARD STERN, HOST, THE HOWARD STERN SHOW: Of course.
TRUMP: Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: This time he did it to a supporter. Now, he didn't know it was a supporter. At first he thought it was mocking protester and officials made a point to tell CNN that even though he called the person afterwards he did not apologize.
[19:10:06] It was first reported that he apologized, they wanted to clarify that he did not apologize. Why do you think he does this, Congressman?
CONNOLLY: I think he's a demagogue and I think he plays to the worst instincts of his audiences at these rallies. Listening to that video and audio of what he did to that gentleman who mistakenly he thought was a protester. In fact he was one of his own supporters was disgusting and it is nothing but the act of a demagogue.
And it's frightening that he would single somebody out for their personal attributes, the physical attributes. I just think it's so debases the Office of the President of the United States. And frankly, as I said, frightening that he would single an individual out and say he had to get out of there and in front of hundreds, thousands of people at the rally, disparage him because of his looks and his physical appearance. That's disgusting.
BURNETT: Well, he cares deeply about looks and physical appearance and physical attributes. It's his primary first judge of people. Thank you very much, Congressman.
CONNOLLY: My pleasure, Erin.
BURNETT: And next breaking news, President Trump just responding to Congressman Tlaib's decision not to take Israel up on its new offer to visit her grandmother in the West Bank. So he's now calling it all a setup, why? Plus, former President Obama reportedly frustrated with Biden's campaign. What is Obama concerned about? And we took a look at Elizabeth Warren's past and found this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were registered as a Republican until 1995.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Oh, and she was. Her views back then may surprise you.
[19:15:33] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump attacking Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib after she said, "Thanks, but no thanks," to Israel's OK to enter the country so she could visit her elderly grandmother in the West Bank.
Trump tweeting, quote, "Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother. She doesn't have to see her now."
Tlaib made the plea for humanitarian exception after she and Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar were barred from entering Israel due to their support of a boycott against Israel. And in the letter to the interior minister of the country, Tlaib wrote after she got rejected, "I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who was in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."
So based on that letter Israel said, "OK, you can come on in." But then Tlaib had a change of heart and said, "I'm not going to go after all." Tweeting, quote, silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in, fighting against racism, oppression, and injustice.
So here is where we go, Israel's Interior Minister responds, "Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother." Trump jumps onboard and here we are, Keith Boykin, who was a White House aide for President Bill Clinton and former Republican Congressman from Utah Mia Love.
Mia, what do you say, the President now jumping in here calling out that she said she wanted to go visit her grandmother because it would be the last time she would see her but then, of course, having to say the only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother, she doesn't have to see her now. FORMER REP. MIA LOVE (R-UT): Well, obviously, he should stay out of
it and those tweets, once again, do not help the situation. I am a little confused because as a Member of Congress, going as a delegation, we always had Republicans go and democrats go. We actually would meet on one day together to talk about the alliance between Israel and the United States, talk about the foreign aid and how that actually helps the United States.
It's one of the most, I would say, informative but also it binds the United States in Israel and binds that alliance. So I'm a little confused about what Representative Tlaib wants. At first, on the floor of the House saying that the boycott was reminiscent of a boycott to Nazi Germany.
LOVE: And then she goes on to completely support the boycott. And Israel says, "You can't come in." They actually have a law that they passed in 2017 where the Knesset says that you're not allowed to come in if you're going to boycott Israel. Then she pleads to them saying, "This may be the last time I see my grandmother."
And then all of a sudden she's like, "No, I don't want to go in under those conditions." So it's a little confusing to me. I think she should go. I think she should get at least both sides of the story so that she has well-rounded information so that she can decide what she's going to do. This is about ...
BURNETT: I mean, if the President says, Keith, this is about a setup, OK, that she used the grandmother excuse, is what she's saying. "My grandmother is in her 90s." She lays it on thick and then when they say come in, she goes, "Oh, actually, I don't really need to see her."
KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: She changed her mind. She said that. She had a change of heart. The government of Israel had a change of heart. The Government of Israel a month ago said that she was welcome to come in and then Trump decided to go ...
BURNETT: Even with her support of the boycott (inaudible) ...
BOYKIN: Even with the support of the boycott. So forget the policy, the law they supposedly passed, and then Trump decided to go off on Twitter, the first time in my life, probably in the history of our country when the American President is using the power of the bully pulpit to tell a foreign government not to allow an American citizen to come into another country that's outrageous in and of itself.
And because of that Israel - Bibi Netanyahu changes his tune and decides to block her from coming. He have a change of heart. That's the confusion that people are concerned about. So I understand why she would not want to go under the circumstances.
[19:20:00] You think about somebody like John McCain who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. John McCain refused to get out of war, out of the prison when they when they offered to release him unless his other prisoners could also be released.
BOYKIN: I think what Rashida Tlaib is doing something like that. She's saying, "Why should I? Why should you make an exception just for me when there's so many people who are still suffering?"
BURNETT: So there's obviously a lot you can argue over whose behavior was inappropriate, but there's a lot of inappropriate behavior going around here. Netanyahu bowing to Trump. Trump getting involved to begin with, perhaps Tlaib depending on how you see it and setting it up.
But at the heart of this, Keith, is this issue. President Trump has tweeted Congresswoman Tlaib has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people. He said she hates all Jewish people. She was going to Israel before this humanitarian thing she asked for with a group known as Miftah, OK.
I think our viewers should know about what Miftah is so that you have a fair chance to respond. It published an article that accused Jewish people of using the blood of Christians during the Passover holiday. In another article, the group called a Palestinian fighter involved in a bus hijacking that killed 38 Israelis and 13 children a hero, a national hero.
It published an article from Neo-Nazi group which claimed Jews have a 3,000 year history of nation wrecking. That's anti-semitic.
BOYKIN: Yes. I'm not familiar with Miftah. It's first time I've actually heard about the organization, but I can tell you that I don't agree with any of those statements. I think those are all problematic statements and they are possibly anti-semitic as well based on what I've heard.
But I will say this, clearly Representative Tlaib and Representative Omar have stated in the past that they are not anti-semitic and Donald Trump is clearly trying to conflate opposition to Bibi Netanyahu's government to opposition to Israel and opposition to Jews as well and that's not the case. Part of what we have to understand here is that every government is subject to criticism, including our own.
BOYKIN: You shouldn't be able to criticize a government without being attacked for criticizing all of the people within that government. When people attack the United States or attack Donald Trump they're not saying that people in our country are all bad and I don't think that she is saying that either when she is critical of the policy of treating Palestinians poorly in the West Bank and Gaza.
BURNETT: So, Mia, where's the line though? I mean, because she has said one state, it has to be one state, OK?
BURNETT: Now, if there's one state then there is - Jews are not that state, OK? So what I'm saying is ...
LOVE: Look, she's clearly not on the side of the Israeli people. Yes, she has a right to disagree with the government, but they also have a right to keep her out also. You can't have both. You can't sit there and say, "I'm going to support a group that boycotts you. I'm going to go against everything that you stand for and by the way you let me in when I want to get in."
I mean really it's kind of she's being a little bit of a baby here, be an adult. You either want to go to Israel or you don't want to go to Israel. Hang on a second, let me finish. You either want to go to Israel or you don't want to go to Israel. You either want to stand with BDS or you don't want to stand with BDS.
You just have to make a choice here. They have a right to do it. I think that they were gracious in letting her in, again. This president is a separate issue. He should stay out of it. His tweets don't help. It's not good for anybody.
But Representative Tlaib should decide what she wants to do, whether she wants to work with the Israeli people or whether she wants to stay away and completely stand with the boycott divestment sanctions.
BURNETT: I'll give you the final word here. She needs to go out?
BOYKIN: Yes. I mean she has the right to express her opinion, which is what you said, Mia, and I agree with you. So let her express her opinion. Israel has the right to enact and follow its own laws as well. But they decided earlier that she had the right to come in. They changed their mind because of Donald Trump.
So you can't say that Trump should stay out of it. That's irrelevant to the discussion. The only reason we're having this conversation, Mia, is because Donald Trump decided to intervene in the affairs of a foreign government. That is inappropriate, that is wrong and that's the reason --
LOVE: You're giving the President a whole lot of power here. I mean that ...
BOYKIN: Israel said a month ago that they were going to let her in.
LOVE: Benjamin Netanyahu is the big boy.
BOYKIN: Israel a month ago said they were going to let both of these two Members of Congress, United States citizens into the country and it wasn't until Donald Trump decided to tweet about it and probably they changed their mind.
LOVE: And then Representative Tlaib continue to double down on BDS and continue to make statements against Israel.
BOYKIN: People have freedom of speech.
LOVE: So then they've decided, "Hey, we're not going to do that." That's perfectly fine. It is where it is. BOYKIN: Anytime people have freedom of speech in democracy, Mia, you
LOVE: Representative Tlaib should be OK with them saying, "You cannot go to Israel." And she should leave it at that.
BURNETT: All right.
LOVE: And be OK with not seeing her grandmother if that's the case.
BOYKIN: And Donald Trump should be free to stay out of the country's business as well.
BURNETT: And we will leave it at that.
LOVE: I agree with that.
BURNETT: Thank you, both.
LOVE: I agree with that.
BURNETT: Thank you, both, as always. Good to see you, Congresswoman, and good to see you, Keith.
Next, President Obama surprisingly candid comments to Joe Biden about 2020. "You don't have to do it." So what was Obama really telling him? Plus, the President's former Campaign Manager, Corey Lewandowski, now saying he will testify before Congress in impeachment hearings.
[19:25:04] What does he know? The Democrats think will bolster their case against the President on obstruction of justice.
[19:29:07] BURNETT: Tonight, "You don't have to do this, Joe, you really don't." That's what former President Obama told Joe Biden earlier this year as Biden decided whether to run. This is according to a new report tonight in The New York Times. The paper also saying Obama has met with Biden and his team several times about the campaign as recently as last month and has offered staffers the pointed reminder that quote, win or lose, they needed to make sure Mr. Biden did not embarrass himself or 'damaged his legacy' during the campaign.
Out front now, CNN Political Analyst April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN Presidential Historian Doug Brinkley, also history professor at Rice University.
Doug, what do you make of this time story? I mean, you have President Obama involved but obviously not publicly endorsing and what it sounds like he's saying is far from an overwhelming endorsement.
[19:30:02] DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, in 2016, Joe Biden wanted to run. He thought he was going to run. Beau Biden died in May 2015, and he just couldn't get around it. And it stuck with Biden that he should have perhaps run, because he
feels he could have picked up Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. So, I think when Obama is telling you don't have to do it, don't run because you feel bad, and there's nothing wrong about retiring and stepping back and you've had incredible years, 36 in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president, but alas Joe Biden decided to run. And Obama has been giving him coaching advice on the side, mainly go after the youth vote.
And start being part of the modern digital age where you are working on the social media more.
BURNETT: OK. OK. But that gets at the heart of this, right? Because, April, the article continues to say that to the point that Doug is making, that Obama's expressed concern about Biden's age, his team's age.
Quote: He has communicated his frustration that Mr. Biden's closest advisers are old and out of touch with the political climate, urging him to include younger aides including three Democrats with direct knowledge of the discussion. Ouch, April.
RYAN: Well, what's the term, keep it young and fresh. So, President Obama, former President Obama understands that young people were very active in his attempts to win the Oval Office. And I'll never forget the night that Barack Obama became -- was elected president in November of 2008.
I remember being at the White House and all of the young people from Georgetown, Howard, Yale, all of the schools in the -- in the Washington, D.C. area, converging on the White House thinking they did something so great, elected the first black president. And young people want -- they don't care about age. They care about the message. Think about Joe Biden and how he looks right now.
If he has young people like the last debate when he gave out that text message number, that didn't bode well for him. He needs young people to make him look vibrant. And I hate to say it but it's the truth. Look at Bernie Sanders, first running for president, young people --
BURNETT: Right. You can be the old person and have the young people like you. Although Bernie Sanders has been falling in the polls relative to Elizabeth Warren also in the 70s but has a very, very youthful demeanor.
Doug, you know, the youth issue matters. The latest Fox poll which is the latest national poll we have. Biden is 40 percent of support among voters over 45, only 20 percent for voters under 45.
So, that could be a big problem.
BRINKLEY: That's his weak spot right now. And he's there -- I think Obama was giving helpful advice, up that game. How do you do did it is the question.
But certainly, you know, doing long speeches isn't going to do it. Maybe you tape your YouTube 30 second bytes that you stream out there every day, try to add humor to the campaign, talk about college debt a little bit more.
He has the secret weapon, Joe Biden -- Jill Biden. She's done more for community colleges and understanding their importance to America. Get her on the campaign trail and visit those community colleges and Biden needs to visit more campuses.
BURNETT: April, I want to ask you one more thing. In this new Fox poll, Biden's support among black voters is strong. He's at 37 percent, plenty of undecided. And maybe some say it's not as high as it should be. But high are than everybody else.
Cory Booker at only 6 percent, OK? Someone said he could be the heir to Barack Obama with his youthful image.
Here he is at Black Church PAC presidential candidate forum today in Atlanta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about what we do right now. It's not about what they do. This is about us taking responsibility in this moral moment to bring forward the force, because they have tried to subvert African-American voting power before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: April, what is it? Why is he at six and Biden at 37?
RYAN: Well, some may say there is a black people problem for Cory Booker and as well as Kamala Harris. Joe Biden has the black vote so far.
You know, there is something sweet about Cory Booker. He is the guy who will go into a burning building and save people. He will shovel your snow and he will also get up there and play Spartacus in these hearings.
But there seems right now to be a disconnect in the black community. They like him but do they want him as president. But here's the thing that I think that Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are banking on. They're banking on Iowa. Iowa is very progressive.
And then that last debate, that CNN debate in Detroit we heard from Iowans they were saying Cory Booker, remember that?
[19:35:01] So, they are trying to bank on Iowa. Now, when if comes to South Carolina and Iowa, these two, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, are looking back at what happened with Barack Obama. South Carolina was pivotal. It was that situation with Bill Clinton and Jesse Jackson. But Iowa is the one that put Barack Obama over the top. They are hoping for the same magic some kind of way.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both. And next, a new poll showing Elizabeth Warren moving up. But will her
past comments from when she was a Republican that we have found tonight matter?
And the House Judiciary Committee preparing to vote on gun control measures. They are coming back. Will Republicans vote yes? A member of the powerful committee is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: New tonight, Elizabeth Warren passing Joe Biden as the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. The bookmaker Ladbrokes which allows betting on political races now has Warren as the favorite. And this comes as she steadily rising in the voter polls, jumping 16 points from March to second place in the latest poll from Fox News. His support, of course, comes from the left.
But CNN tonight has found speeches and papers that show Warren used to believe some of the same things as Donald Trump on some key issues.
MJ Lee is OUTFRONT.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the power to make big, structural change in this country.
[19:40:03] And that's what I'm in this for. Big change.
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): As a U.S. senator and 2020 presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren is calling for big systemic changes to the country. But there is one change from her past that she doesn't often talk about, her own political evolution.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were registered as a Republican until 1995.
WARREN: I was.
LEE: While exhaustively studying bankruptcy as a law professor in the 1980s and '90s, Warren repeatedly wrote and spoke about government overreach. Her outlook was unquestionably conservative.
According to copies of speeches obtained by CNN's KFILE, Warren appeared at conferences hosted by conservative groups like the Federalist Society. In one speech, she argued in favor of the federal bankruptcy system, saying it wept kept losses contained to the private sector.
In a paper published in the 1980 Notre Dame Law Review first reported by "Politico", Warren argued that utility companies were overregulated writing eliminating regulatory lag will end the need for frequent rate hearings. And will thus reduce the administrative costs of regulation.
A 1993 "Philadelphia Inquirer" profile on Warren quipped that she sounded like an entrepreneur. She warned against government red tape saying, regulations have stretched and grown beyond all imagination. And regulations are a tax as real as reaching into your pocket and taking 33 percent for the IRS.
WARREN: I believe in markets. And I believe in the value that we get out of markets. But it's got to be markets with rules. You know, market without rules is theft.
LEE: Twenty-six years after complaining that regulations are a tax, Warren now argues that the financial markets need rules to prevent corporations from steamrolling consumers and small business. So, what explains the gradual but striking policy shift?
WARREN: I didn't think much about politics.
LEE: At a CNN town hall in April, Warren addressed her swing to the left away from her conservative roots.
WARREN: In late mid-1990s, I've been working over and over on what's happening to America's working families, to America's middle class. This is my life's work.
LEE: Warren described how her research into bankruptcy abuses spark the beginning of her political transformation.
WARREN: I looked around the middle of that fight and I realized all the money was on one side and all the hurting was on the other. And that's when I jumped in politically.
LEE: Warren began advocating for the middle class.
WARREN: America families who need your help.
LEE: Ultimately spearheading the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for what she now calls economic patriotism.
WARREN: These giant multinational corporations they're not patriotic. They don't have any loyalty to this country, to these workers. They have loyalty to exactly one thing. And that is the profitability of the bottom line. That's it.
LEE: And today, the one time Republican is leading the progressive charge as a Democratic contender for the White House.
WARREN: I'm tired of billionaire free loaders. I want everybody to pay a fair share to keep this government going.
LEE: Now fast forwarding to 2009, Erin, as you mentioned, Warren has been rising in the polls, lately. She clearly has political momentum, I just want to point out she is about to confront an issue tough for her in the past, and that is the issue of her family ancestry. You saw she put out proposals today aimed at helping the Native American community attending the Native American conference on Monday.
So, we'll see what kinds of questions she gets next week. BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Of course, the great
irony, right, she was a Republican, Trump was a Democrat and now here we are.
OUTFRONT, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, presidential adviser to four presidents.
So, you know, people who have been through the sort of dramatic transformations. But, David, the big question is when you see her surge in the polls, and it is her -- you know, tax, tax, you know, the wealthy and the billionaires and the companies line that worked for many. Could her conservative roots hurt her?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think so, because it's a political odyssey that others have made. Her political hero in life she said publicly is Teddy Roosevelt. And Teddy Roosevelt started in a Republican family, very much for free markets but then he understood that the trusts were really threatening. And he went -- he went after them in his presidency. That's what he was known for.
In our own time, you know, take our contributor, Max Boot, who was a strong conservative, but has written a very interesting book about why I left the right, and it's about his odyssey away from conservativism.
Just a few years ago, back in the '80s, we had had what we call the neoconservatives, Bill Kristol's father, Irving Kristol, and like Ben Wattenberg and Nathan Glazer and, who are they?
[19:45:01] They were liberals who went conservative, particularly conservative on international policy. Their phrase was they got mugged by reality.
And I think to some degree that's happened with Elizabeth.
BURNETT: So, it happens.
GERGEN: Yes, it does happen, and generally, their voters are supportive.
BURNETT: OK. So, in her base. But I guess the other big question I have for you, is that, you know, there are people out there who say, well, if Elizabeth Warren is the nominee, she is so far left the people in the middle at best won't vote, right?
BURNETT: And maybe some people hold noses for Trump.
GERGEN: I agree. I agree, that is a bigger danger, yes.
BURNETT: So, when people like that see -- right, but then let's say those people say what she just said. Does that help her at all possibly with moderates? You say, OK, maybe she is not so far left.
GERGEN: Well, we'll have to wait and see. You know, I had this experience, Erin. She asked me over for coffee a couple of times we had fairly long talks. I came out of the one-on-one conversations, I came out feeling she is more pragmatic than I thought. She seems more sensible is not as drawn over to the far left.
I mean, within the business community there is no question especially the financial community in New York as you know she is toxic. She is also toxic with the small business people. I think that's one of her biggest problems is how does she overcome the sense she is too far left.
BURNETT: All right. And that's going to be the big question. But interesting all this stuff as M.J. and our team have uncovered. Thanks so much, David.
GERGEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the president's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, says he will testify for Congress in the impeachment proceedings against the president. So, what does he know?
Plus, Democrats planning to vote on new gun control measures, including a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines. Can Republicans vote yes?
[19:50:36] BURNETT: Breaking news, a Missouri state trooper and sheriff's deputy hospitalized after being shot. The governor is calling it an ambush. Officials say the officer were talking to a man in a home. Suddenly, he opened fire. The suspect is now in custody.
This comes on the heels of the attack and stand off in Philadelphia and as the judiciary committee is returning to come back early to vote on measures to produce gun violence, one of the members of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, is with me.
It's good to have you back, ma'am. I appreciate your time.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Thank you for having me.
BURNETT: You know, people called for Congress to go back early and you guys are going back a few days. The measures you're looking at include a ban on high capacity ammunition magazines, red flag legislation. Have you heard from any Republicans on your committee, Congresswoman Dean, that say they're going to vote yes?
DEAN: I have not been in contact with Republicans on the committee at this point, and I'm very happy to hear the president say over and over again background checks. What he could do is simply call upon Mitch McConnell to come on back now and pass HR-8 and HR-1112 which we the House passed in February of this year. Universal background checks and closing of the Charleston loophole, but I'm very pleased.
I was eager among the members of our judiciary committee, the Democratic members to come back early to continue to do more work to pass more bills. So, we're going to be in September 4th marking up three bills.
BURNETT: So let me ask you because you mentioned the background checks and, you know what? He has repeatedly talked about background checks, especially after the horrible massacres in El Paso and Dayton. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need intelligence background checks. We have tremendous support for really common sense, sensible, important background checks. I think we can do meaningful -- very meaningful background checks. Background checks. Background checks. Background checks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Those were just six, Congresswoman Dean, of the 18 times Trump used the term as he was questioned by reporters but that slowed down yesterday. He mentioned it only once before his campaign rally. Here is how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I support strong meaningful background checks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you think that he is as committed as he sounded when he was saying it all the time. He's saying the right words, but he's not saying it consistently the way he's talking about other things like mental health.
DEAN: It's very hard to tell the genuine nature of the president's belief on this issue. I believe he should have called upon Mitch McConnell immediately to have taken up the bills we sent.
This is a question of common humanity. Think of what happened here in Philadelphia just two days ago. A man with an assault-style weapon shot more than 100 rounds into a community wounding six police officers holding up hostage civilians upstairs in that house two other police officers also trapped in that house for hours. It is a miracle that no one died and I credit the Philadelphia police and all the first responders for extraordinary heroic work keeping everybody safe.
How can this president not recognize what 90 percent of Americans recognize? Background checks work every gun transfer should be subject to a background check.
BURNETT: And before we go, quickly, Corey Lewandowski going to go before your committee and says he's happy to do it and as part of the impeachment proceedings as Jerry Nadler described them to me, are you glad about that, surprised?
DEAN: Pleased that he'll becoming forward. He needs to come forward and tell an important story. If you remember in July of 2017, when President Trump recognized, realized and it was reported he was now under investigation for possible obstruction of justice by the special counsel, that was July 14th, he called upon Corey Lewandowski twice that week to please come in. He was not a staffer. Come on in and be sure to tell Sessions to not look into further obstruction of justice, to limit the special counsel's report.
[19:55:03] We need to hear about those obstructive behaviors by the president of the United States.
BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Dean, thanks very much. I appreciate your time.
DEAN: Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: And next, it turns out that Alexa is not the only one listening to your conversations.
BURNETT: Tonight, Alexa is listening to you and so are a lot of other humans, as Poppy Harlow found out in our latest special report, "The Age of Amazon".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who at Amazon hears what I tell Alexa when I'm talking to her?
TONI REID, VP ALEXA EXPERIENCE & ECHO DEVICES, AMAZON: A small group of annotators who do some ground truthing. They take very small subsets, its dealings from customer data, to help train the models that go back into improving speech technology.
ANTHONIO PETTIT, FORMER AMAZON EMPLOYEE: There are people on the other end.
HARLOW (voice-over): Anthonio Pettit is one of them. During his seven-month contract at Amazon, Petit analyzed Alexa commands gone wrong in order to improve the technology. He now works in artificial intelligence at Microsoft.
PETTIT: Amazon is listening to what you tell Alexa, not in any type of nefarious way, to my knowledge. I believe that everything that they do is based on quality assurance. But people should know that. I think that that is something that's definitely not advertised.
HARLOW (on camera): What do you say to those folks that think oh my gosh, someone is listening to me?
REID: I think it's important for customers to understand that we're not listening to them. It's a very, very small percentage that is carved off for insuring that the models do what they are supposed to do.
BURNETT: Don't miss Poppy Harlow's special report, "The Age of Amazon" tonight at 9:00.
"AC360" starts now.