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Trump Claims China Called To Resume Trade Talks; China's Foreign Ministry Says It's Unaware Of Calls; Rep. Chris Coons (D-DE) Discusses About The Value For The U.S. Under The Conditions In G7 Summit; Trump Repeats False Claim About Obama Forcing Russia Out Of G8; New Poll: Sanders, Warren & Biden In Three-Way Lead; Johnson & Johnson Ordered To Pay $572 Million in Landmark Trial on Opioid Crisis in Oklahoma; Trump Claims He Won't Make Money If His Golf Club Hosts G7. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 26, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We wish you only, only the best. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Stumbling on the world stage. President Trump with a series of confusing and misleading claims about China, climate change and a meeting with Kim Jong-un that never happened. Plus, Trump slams former President Obama while embracing Vladimir Putin.

Why can't he stop talking about Obama? And massive crowds and a strong performance in a brand new poll, is Elizabeth Warren on her way to becoming the Democratic frontrunner? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in for Erin Burnett tonight. And OUTFRONT tonight a parade of lies, President Trump and the White House forced to clarify, spin and backtrack on numerous statements made by the President today on the world stage at the G7 summit meeting. Let's start with China. The President claiming today that China called and wants a trade deal.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China called last night on top trade people and said, "Let's get back to the table, so we'll be getting back to the table."


SCIUTTO: In fact, the President later said there were, quote, many calls, numerous calls, high level calls. The only problem China's Foreign Minister's office says it is not aware of any calls and no one else from the Chinese government has come forward to say that they participated. So how did the President explain that discrepancy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the Chinese are saying that there weren't any particular (inaudible) ... TRUMP: The Chinese are not saying that. Excuse me, let me explain

something. The Vice Chairman of China, do you get higher than that other than President Xi? The Vice President, the Vice Chairman, it's like the Vice President, the Vice Chairman made the statement that he wants to make a deal, that he wants to see a comment minister, he wants it all to happen.


SCIUTTO: So it was a Foreign Ministry statement, not a phone call directly to the President or his aides, it was actually a statement of China's long standing position on the issue. So why is the President framing it as something new today in a call that wasn't a call, but just a general public statement?


TRUMP: ... instability, but that's --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But one of the things that it comes from is the back and forth and the changing of statements from yourself, so that --

TRUMP: Sorry, it's the way I negotiate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my question is, is that a strategy? Is it a strategy to call President Xi an enemy one day and then say that relations are very good the next day...

TRUMP: Yes. No, no, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and then it's gone back ...

TRUMP: It's the way I negotiate. It's done very well for me over the years and it's doing even better for the country.


SCIUTTO: Is it? Up next, the President's list of confusion today added the meeting of world leaders on climate change. The President was a no show. We already knew from U.S. officials that the President thought the sessions on climate change were poor use of his time and at the 2018 G7 last year, Trump missed a session on climate and left early. So the President's absence today, this weekend was not really surprising, but his reasoning was.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you make it to the climate session? Were there any conclusions that you took away from it?

TRUMP: I'm going to expect it's going to be our next session, so we haven't had it yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: In fact, it had already happened and that's why the reporter

was asking that question. Here's President Trump's empty chair at that meeting while the other leaders began to talk. So what was the excuse? According to the White House Press Secretary, quote, the President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Trump administration attended in his stead.

The problem here, both the leaders of Germany and India were at that climate change meeting as the photos showed very clearly. While the President's chair remained empty, there they are. And if all that spin on the hugely consequential issues of China trade and climate change has not already made you dizzy, there was more to come.


TRUMP: The First Lady has gotten to know Kim Jong-un and I think she would agree with me. He is a man with a country that has tremendous potential.


SCIUTTO: Perhaps you don't recall ever seeing the First Lady meet Kim Jong-un, that's because she has not met the North Korean leader. So how does the White House explain that discrepancy? Quote, President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim - and while the First Lady hasn't met him, the President feels like she's gotten to know him too.

OUTFRONT now, Abby Phillip is at the White House.

Abby, certainly a lot to clean up from the White House today. I know that is not new. This happens frequently but the succession of misstatements, misleading statements and in many cases just outright falsehoods today were truly remarkable.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. And a lot of headaches for the White House staff as they tried to clean up a lot of the President's comments in addition to all of the ones that you listed, the President repeatedly accused President Obama of being to blame for Russia's annexation of Crimea.

[10:05:10] And on the China issue at one point he called up his Treasury Secretary to try to clarify whether or not those calls with the Chinese ever took place. Mnuchin wouldn't do that but said that there were conversations happening in a very general and broad way.

The China issue really has raised some questions about whether the President was making those comments in an effort to maybe affect the market that had tanked on Friday over his trade war, perhaps giving them a little bit more confidence that the trade talks are headed in the right direction. But all of this, Jim, seems to show that the White House is unwilling to simply say that President Trump was wrong if he was wrong or that he misspoke if he misspoke. Instead, they've chosen to contort their statements to try to make the

President's comments or spin the President's comments in a way that's favorable to him. But on in many these cases, there are just simply facts that prove them to be untrue and that's become just as much a pattern as the President's misstatements and false statements on trips like this, G20 and other high profile global platforms. That's the pattern that has really emerged from all of this, Jim.

SCIUTTO: All of these folks at home with a very reasonable questions as to what is the truth, what did the President mean to say. Abby Phillip at the White House. Thanks very much.

OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic Senator Chris Coons. He sits on the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, we appreciate you taking the time tonight. As you know, this is the President's third G7 summit and clearly the U.S. remains at odds with its closest allies on virtually all of the country's major National Security issues. You look at China trade war, Russia and the G7, the Iran nuclear deal, climate change.

I want to ask you, is there any value to this summit for the U.S. or its allies under those conditions and those differences?

REP. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Well, Jim, what was clearly problematic for our closest allies was they're trying to figure out how to work together around Donald Trump's erratic style. And as a visual metaphor for the ways in which Donald Trump and the Trump administration are missing in action on the world stage, that image of the empty seat assigned to the United States at a gathering of world leaders to confront climate change and in particular the crisis of the fires in the Amazon is a tragically perfect metaphor.

I think President Macron did a significant positive service in trying to move forward, multilateral efforts to contain Iran's nuclear weapons program. There was a lot of pressure for us to make progress in the China trade war between the United States and China. But in meeting after meeting, President Trump said things that were either directly opposite of what he'd said just a few hours before or whereas you just detailed factually inaccurate or were directly in contradiction to the positions of our closest allies.

We cannot stand four more years of this. I can't think of a better argument for why Joe Biden is the best person to serve as our next president, than the decades of senior foreign policy leadership experience he would bring to that stage and the very rapid restoration of our position in the world that he would make possible.

SCIUTTO: As you know front and center at this summit, the trade war, the growing U.S. trade war with China, Trump has been engaged with a tit for tat with China over tariffs. We saw that play out on Friday. Today, he pivoted, he talked about a call which may or may not have happened. I want to play for you how he talked about China's President Xi in that context, have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I have great respect and I like him too. He's a tough guy,

but I have a lot of feeling for President Xi, very outstanding in so many ways.


SCIUTTO: I wonder given how forcefully he - and you might say with a little bit of anger impose those new things sanctions on Friday afternoon, now you hear those comments. Do you sense the President looking for a way out here having seen the market's reaction?

COONS: I would hope that the President is developing a strategy where he has an off-ramp for this escalating trade war with China. But the pattern you just described, a Friday Trump where he is excoriating the leader of China and a Monday Trump where he's talking about him in glowing terms is a pattern we've seen before with Kim Jong-un, for example, of North Korea where he was denouncing him in the harshest possible terms in the run up to what seemed to be a possible nuclear confrontation.

And then just a few weeks later professing his deep and undying personal love for him in ways that seemed completely inappropriate for a dictator of a country that has a terrible human rights record. President Trump has a pattern of going back and forth between berating and closely engaging with authoritarian leaders around the world that I think is quite troubling and suggests an uncertainty in terms of our pattern around the world.

[19:10:04] Jim, here in Delaware in the last couple of days I've met with and heard from retailers as well as manufacturers and farmers who are saying that this tariff war between the United States and China is causing real uncertainty, is raising their prices and they reminded me what I think many of us know, these tariffs are being paid not by China but by America's farmers, manufacturers and business owners.

SCIUTTO: Yes. The president lied about that again today claiming that the U.S. is gaining billions from these when the fact is Americans pay those tariffs, you got to call it out like it is. You talk about the back and forth, the pendulum swing between brutal comments about foreign countries and then friendly ones. You might be able to put Iran in that category today, because the President spoke positively about the possibility of meeting, perhaps with the Iranian President discussing with them.

And as you know there was an unexpected appearance at the G7 by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. Do you believe Macron was trying to set up a U.S.- Iran mini summit as it were at the G7 and do you think that there could be a positive outcome from such outreach?

COONS: I'm not sure exactly what President Macron's goals were but it was, I'm assuming, to advance a positive conversation about how do we move forward past this stalemate. President Trump when he was running as a candidate promised that he would tear up the JCPOA or the Iran nuclear deal and he's done just that and then imposed a tough new round of sanctions against Iran. The question is where do we go from here and it is, I think, a

positive even hopeful development if there is some path forward for negotiations between President Trump and the leadership of Iran. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It is a great source of instability and violence in the Middle East and a country with which we have great differences.

But I think it's important that we try to find a way to work with our closest allies to manage the threat of Iran, to contain Iran and tearing up that U.S. Iran nuclear deal was one of the greatest ways in which President Trump has separated us from our European allies. Taking this opening that President Macron's given him could help heal some of that distance.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Another issue where after three summits the President has not moved his allies closer to his position at all. Senator Coons, we appreciate you taking this time on this summer Monday.

COONS: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, President Trump repeats a misleading claim about why Russia was kicked out of the G8.


TRUMP: President Putin outsmarted President Obama. And they're not in for that reason.


SCIUTTO: Not actually true. Plus, the one time Democratic frontrunner is now in a dead with top two rivals in the race for president. Is Joe Biden's campaign in trouble now? And the landmark decision against Johnson & Johnson, the company known for its big products hit with a massive fine for its role in the opioid crisis.


[19:16:38] SCIUTTO: New tonight, Trump again defends Russia. President Trump calling for Russia to be readmitted to the G7 by claiming that President Obama is the sole reason that Russia was kicked out.


TRUMP: President Putin outsmarted President Obama. Wait a minute. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn't happy and they're not in for that reason. How does that work?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that misleading that Russia outsmarted President Obama ...

TRUMP: Well, he did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What other countries have said that the reason why Russia was kicked out was very clearly because they annexed Crimea. Why keep repeating what some people would see as a clear lie?

TRUMP: Well, it was annexed during president - I know you like President Obama, but it was annexed during President Obama's term. If it was annexed during my term I would say, "Sorry, folks. I made a mistake." President Obama was pure and simply outsmarted.


SCIUTTO: We should make clear that Russia was suspended from the G8 unanimously by the seven other countries for, as you heard mentioned there, it's illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine. OUTFRONT now, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan, Former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library, Tim Naftali and former Assistant Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama, Juliette Kayyem. Thanks to all of you for joining us.

April, if I could begin with you. We know, of course, the circumstances under which Russia was kicked out, annexed Crimea legally and is still in Crimea and since then, in fact, it's escalated by putting troops and forces in the eastern Ukraine. Why does the President repeat the focus on Obama here?

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Well, Jim, this President has an uncanny knack for blaming President

Obama. If it's raining, blame President Obama. If he doesn't get a hole in one at his golf course, blame President Obama.

The only thing that he has not blamed former President Obama for is the great economy that he inherited, that is now going sour. I will tell you this, Jim, the only thing that President Obama did that could cause a discourse with Obama and Putin that President Trump would probably really not want to talk about is the fact that President Obama, then President Obama, got in Vladimir Putin's face and said, "Knock it off." And even warned him with other sanctions or things of that nature when it came to dealings in our U.S. election system.

President Obama then told him to stop it. This president is welcoming him with open arms and trying to bring him back into the G7 to make a G8. So there is a disconnect. There is a problem, but there is a blame Obama philosophy for this president.

SCIUTTO: And you're right. He twice directly warned Putin about election interference. In fact, one time using a red phone communication device normally reserved for averting nuclear conflict.

RYAN: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Juliette, here's the President's rationale for inviting Russia back into the G7. Have a listen.


TRUMP: A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room. By the way, there were numerous people during the G7 that felt that way. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: The President makes a lot of many people are saying claims like this that have no foundation. Other than the outgoing Italian leader who also there was actually allegations of Russian interference in that election there. Other than that, was there any evidence of building support for Russia's readmission to G7?

[19:20:07] JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: None whatsoever. That's just sort of a flat out lie. It's that many people, a lot of people are saying none of the allies as part of the G7 agree with Donald Trump, at least not - especially if there's no conditions to Russia's re-entry.

You don't allow Russia to do something with a unanimous explosion and then say, "You could come back in," without ending that annexation, without making changes to how he's treating the western democracies in terms of the economy or any of the other things that Putin is doing. This is consistent with Donald Trump's attitudes with Russia for the last three years. We shouldn't be surprised by it.

It is equivalent to how he deals with Kim. Let them do what they want. Trump thinks in his mind, he looks agreeable by letting them do what they want and overall it just makes us look weak. I mean, I've never seen, I have to be honest with you, Jim, I've never seen us look weaker than on every issue from Russia to China to trade to the climate than we did in the last day and a half. I mean it's shocking and you just have to believe if there's a new president that they'll just do an apology tour amongst our allies.

SCIUTTO: Tim Naftali, you've covered a lot of President's - no question. To Juliette's point, here is a U.S. President, arguably the leader of the free world, most powerful member at the G7 who after three G7 summits has not moved any of America's closest allies on the issue of say Russia being readmitted to the G7. The China trade war, they've been pushing back on that. The Iran nuclear deal, they're sticking to that and on climate change no meeting of the minds. Is that a sign of weakness or strength?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think you've answered your own question. I mean, let's look at Russia for a minute. Let's look at the rationale for inviting Russia back. The reason Russia was invited in the first place was - it's the late 1990s. It was a soft Yeltsin. NATO had been expanded. The EU was not accepting Russia.

You wanted to give Russia something and you gave them this place at the table. But they had to earn the right to keep it. Russia has the 12th largest economy in the world, only the 12th. The G7 should be the largest economies in the world. I would say there's a better argument to have India and Brazil join than to have Russia.

So why do you bring Russia in? You bring Russia in because they're meddling in your elections? Let's not forget Russia meddled in France's election. Russia has meddled in other European elections. You bring them in ... SCIUTTO: Breaking the Brexit vote, the Italian election ...

NAFTALI: You bring them in because they meddled in your election. And let's talk about something else, Syria. You bring Russia in because Russia helped make Syria a mess? There is actually no strategic reason to bring Russia in. There's no economic reason to bring Russia in. It begs the question, why does Donald Trump have this obsession with Russia?


RYAN: That's right.

NAFTALI: My feeling about this is that it's all about buddies and it's about future economic opportunities. Buddies because he's much more comfortable with Turkey's leader, with Egypt's leader, with Russia's leader because they're leading authoritarians.

SCIUTTO: Leaders unencumbered by democratic institutions, yes.

NAFTALI: And there are future opportunities. He likes dealing with Russian oligarchs and who knows what he's thinking about five years from now.

SCIUTTO: April, I hear you nodding.

RYAN: Yes. You left out rocket man Kim Jong-un. This President just turned everything upside down. What we used to know four years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago was no more not just in the United States, but globally and that's the issue. What happens in the United States has rippled into the world economy, the social atmosphere, everything.

This President has more of an influence on what he does than people know. And to try to bring Russia, a country, a government that is trying to infiltrate something that's very sacred to us, our democracy, as they're trying to promote President Trump to have a second term, that might kind of tell you also why he likes Putin as well.

But for them to have this friendship, it's an unholy and unsacred alliance and the G7 if they know what's good for them, they will try to stave it off as much as they can with even the new leaders that may be coming in soon.

SCIUTTO: And Juliette, Republicans, granted a small number of Republicans, will publicly challenge the President on his stance with Russia, Joe Walsh did so today, but Lindsey Graham and others.

KAYYEM: That's true. I have to tell you, I absolutely loved this last 36 hours because it was the first time I had seen in a while where in real time, Trump's peers call his bluff.

[19:25:04] And you saw in that press conference, the Chinese are saying that they didn't actually reach out to you on the tariffs. The Germans are saying, you didn't have a sidebar with them. And this is what Senate Republicans should be doing, they're co-equal partners with Donald Trump. But I thought it was the first time I had seen in a while in which Donald Trump was running out of tricks like he's just kept throwing it out there.

And I think the more that people can do that, including Senate Republicans, the more you'll see the sort of charade sort of fall apart as we've seen in the last sort of unraveling of August.

SCIUTTO: Listen, folks, we know it's part of a longer conversation. Great to have you on tonight.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next this hour, drawing a crowd of 15,000 people as she climbs in a new poll. Is Elizabeth Warren rising to the top of the Democratic field. And a landmark decision, a judge hits a major drug manufacturer ordering it to pay half a billion dollars.


THAD BALKMAN, OKLAHOMA JUDGE: Johnson & Johnson motivated by greed and avarice is responsible for the opioid epidemic in our state.



[19:30:12] SCIUTTO: Tonight, a dead heat in the fight for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden now virtually tied, as you look at those numbers. That according to a new poll by Monmouth. Biden dropping in this poll some 13 points since June, while Warren and Sanders on the rise, as you can see there.

OUTFRONT now, Andrew Gillum. He's a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2018, as well as a CNN political commentator. And Jennifer Granholm, she's former governor of the state of Michigan and a CNN political commentator as well.

Governor Granholm, you are a supporter of the former vice president. You helped prepare him for the first debate. This is quite a precipitous drop for the former vice president. And I'm curious, are you and his campaign concerned?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me just clarify. I cannot actually endorse anybody, because I chair another group that is completely agnostic among Democrats. So -- but I am helping the team in the debate preparations.

And I would just say, you know, in looking at this poll, which, as you know, is a very small sample size and last week, there was the CNN poll, which went in an entirely different direction, the safest thing to do is to take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of polls. There have been 14 polls in August. This is the first time any of them have showed a tie. Every one of them has had Joe Biden ahead. And that Real Clear Politics average of all of those polls shows that

he is ahead by double digits, when you consider all of them, including this one.

SCIUTTO: It is a fair point. Of course, CNN's own poll as you note there shows him with a large lead. But I do want to ask you because there has been some reporting about lack, Governor Granholm, of enthusiasm among those who today are picking Vice President Biden as their nominee. And I'm curious, are you concerned about that as we get deeper into this race?

GRANHOLM: You know, there was a post that was written this morning by Nate Silver, who was sort of the godfather of all political analysis, including stats of polling. And he said that in his look at all of these August polls, that he finds that Joe Biden still does have a lot of enthusiasm. He leads among those voters who are most attentive.

I will say this, that Monmouth poll showed that he -- that Joe Biden has work to do certainly among young people and that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have work to do among people of color. I think this -- you know, there is no doubt that Elizabeth Warren is doing great and is on the rise and has a huge number of rallies with a ton of people. But I do think that you have to take this all into context and as we all say, all the time, a national poll, at this point in the game is really not very reliable.

SCIUTTO: Point taken. Mayor Gillum, let's look at other trends. And the governor is right, and you've got a fair amount of experience in politics.


SCIUTTO: Look at the trend line over time. But one consistent trend in all of these polls recently is the rise of Elizabeth Warren.


SCIUTTO: Built on, you know, I've got a plan for that, for everything. And people seem to respond to that. Does she have a formidable strategy here?

GILLUM: I'll tell you, I think of all the candidates, Elizabeth Warren has been sort of the slow and steady candidate. Out there early, didn't get a whole bunch of attention, had the mix-up with the Native American piece and really has recovered well from that.

And I think she's just been a slow and steady, you know, person here. Big rallies of late, but we all know Bernie Sanders has had large rallies from the very beginning. He's had a lot of groundswell of support.

For Vice President Biden, I wouldn't read too much into the size of his crowds, because largely, his voters are going to be older, but they're also extremely reliable voters. They are going to show up. They may not have to show up at a rally, but they will show up at the polls. I think what I would take from this recent poll is that this race is still open.

I know many people want to foreclose it and already determined that we've got a front-runner nominee, but I actually think a lot can change. The one place I wouldn't want to be right now is on top. Because for certain, I think things are going to shift. I ran in a race where I was never, ever in the lead in the primary and in the general, I was never, ever second.

So I have a curious -- a mercurial relationship with polling.

SCIUTTO: These are all good points, no question.

Sorry, you had a thought, Governor?

GRANHOLM: Yes, I just wanted to say, there's one thing that the Monmouth poll did do was help to solidify that there was only going to be ten people in the first debate, in this next debate, I should say, because nobody qualified, by virtue of this poll, to get into the debates.

And there was one other interesting fact about this Monmouth poll, which is that when you ask people whether they favor Medicare for all, you find out it's kind of like a Rorschach test.

[19:35:00] Nobody really knows what it means. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats favor Medicare for all, but then you find out that also, only 22 percent of them want to do the full enchilada, where you take away people's private health care. So, who knows what any of it means!

GILLUM: But to your point, governor, this space of Medicare for all has for a lot of people remained a bit undefined. I think what we can agree on as Democrats is that we believe that people should not go broke, because they have a medical illness. People should not be precluded to access to health care because they have a pre-existing condition.

When folks can't go to the doctor, they get worse, sick, then they can't go to work. And when they can't go to work, they can't earn a wage and when they can't earn a wage, they can't pay their bills. So, Democrats are well-attuned to this.

Obviously, the devil is in the details, but you have a party here on the Democratic side that is working to expand access and on the Republican side, they're working over time to retract access.


SCIUTTO: That's I think regardless of the difference within the party, the difference between the party is much more marked here.

Quick thought before we go, Governor.

GRANHOLM: I just said, preach it. That's what I --

SCIUTTO: OK, preach it, fair enough. GILLUM: Amen, amen.

SCIUTTO: That's a good way to end the conversation. Thanks to both of you.

OUTFRONT next this hour, a major decision in Oklahoma involving opioids and a drug company's role in that crisis. Half a billion dollars at stake here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Johnson & Johnson will finally be held accountable for thousands of deaths.


SCIUTTO: And the president brazenly selling the idea of the next G7 at a resort that he owns and would profit from.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will probably be in Miami, right next to the international airport. Great location.



[19:40:28] SCIUTTO: Tonight, a landmark decision in the opioid crisis, an Oklahoma judge ordering Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million for its role in the opioid epidemic. This is the first state trial attempting to hold a pharmaceutical company accountable. The state argued the company deceptively promoted the highly addictive painkillers. Johnson & Johnson, we should note, is planning to appeal the ruling.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT.

So, Sanjay, everyone was watching this, because you have a whole host of states and communities lining up behind Oklahoma. How monumental is this ruling?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very monumental. It's the first time something like this has happened, Jim, as you point out, that they found this drug company culpable for, you know, at least contributing to this opioid epidemic. And you do have some 2,000, possibly, other lawsuits at the city level, the county level and the state level.

So, it's a big deal. I mean, I think it's reminiscent, Jim, I think of big tobacco and how big a deal that was. It's going to have is that same sort of effect, I think, across the entire industry.

SCIUTTO: No question. And now, of course, Johnson & Johnson, as we mentioned, they plan to appeal the ruling. And as you note, the company released a statement saying the following. And we're quoting here.

Janssen did not cause the opioid crisis in Oklahoma. Neither the facts nor the law support this outcome. We recognize the opioid crisis is a tremendously complex public health issue and we have deep sympathy for everyone affected.

I mean, the question here is, there was, as you know better than me, a function for these drugs like OxyContin, for people suffering pain, cancer sufferers, et cetera. So, what is the -- what is the defense here from Johnson & Johnson, that's substantive, if any?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, what they basically have been saying, and I think many of the drug companies have been saying, even the ones that were settled was that, look, we were helping to produce a drug for its intended purpose, which was to relieve pain. And I think that that's a -- it's a fair argument. I think the concern, obviously, is that at the same time, were the dangers of this medication understated.

And they also say, look, it's not just us, basically. We're not the only ones to blame, is another argument. And I think that's a fair argument. I mean, look, Jim, 80 to 90 percent of some of these classes of drugs were consumed in the United States.

We're not only 5 percent of the world's population, yet we're taking 80 to 90 percent of the drugs. So the point of that, the point of me saying is that that the doctors here, I'm a doctor, obviously, I practice in the system, were culpable to some extent, as well -- buying into the messaging, as deceptive as it was.


GUPTA: And, Jim, let me just show you, as much as we talk about the settlements, let me show you the numbers in terms of what we're talking about, in terms of the number of lives that have been lost here between 1997 and -- 1999-2017. Jim, 702,000 overdose deaths of those 217,000 prescription opioids.

This is on par with the AIDS epidemic, Jim, in the United States. So that's also worth pointing out. There are lots stories, terrible tragic stories of families being torn apart by this.

SCIUTTO: Families, whole communities, generation, life expectancy shortened to some degree as a result of this.

GUPTA: That's right.

SCIUTTO: Always good to have you on the story, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Trump pushing to hold the next G7 summit at one of his own resorts that he would profit from.


TRUMP: In my opinion, I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money. I don't care about making money.


SCIUTTO: Do you believe that?

And Jeanne Moos on Donald Trump's high-profile hugs, kisses, and handshakes with world leaders.


[19:48:04] SCIUTTO: New tonight, pitchman Trump. The president going all out to push his own Doral resort in Florida as a possible location for next year's G7 Summit of world leaders.


TRUMP: Doral happens to be within Miami. The airport is right next door. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. We have many hundreds of acres so that in terms of parking, in terms of all of the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida. Each country can have their own villa or their own bungalow.


SCIUTTO: Does that sound like an advertisement to you? Well, it does raise a whole host of questions about both potential conflict of interest, but also the prospect of a sitting U.S. president profiting personally off an international summit that he would be hosting, as the president of the United States.

OUTFRONT now, "Washington Post" reporter, Jonathan O'Connell, and former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub.

Thanks to both of you.

Jonathan, you've reported extensively on President Trump and his properties. Two issues here, one, the Doral is struggling financially. Of course, it would be a boost to have a number of world leaders and their entourages staying there. But also the possibility, I think, I would imagine, the assumption that he would profit from such a trip?

JONATHAN O'CONNELL, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure, I mean, Doral is one of the most important properties in the president's entire portfolio. He bought it for about $150 million. He borrowed very heavily to acquire it. Spent a ton of money renovating it.

And in the last few years, since he's become president, it has fallen on fairly hard times. Revenue fell quite dramatically from 2015 to 2017. All sorts of major groups that used to book events there, corporations, associations, et cetera, are not doing business there the way they used to.

So, you know, obviously, this would be a major event if he actually gets the G7 to go there in terms of revenue and money for him.

[19:50:01] But also, even if he doesn't, just to have that platform and talk specifically about, you know, sort of extolling the virtues of the property, it's a platform that, you know, other hotel owners just don't have. And it's a -- it's just him taking his interest in his business to degree we have not seen.

SCIUTTO: Well, Walter, I hope this isn't a dumb question, but isn't it fairly straightforward here that the president owns the resort, he would be inviting world leaders and dozens of people who come with him, security details, advisors, et cetera to pay for rooms at that resort which would then go into the president's pocket? I mean, is that as simple as it seems in terms of a conflict of interest?

WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean, by any definition you care to use. This is a conflict of interest because he's going to benefit by the outcome of this. In fact, if he was any federal employee other than the president of the United States, it would be a crime for him to be involved in this activity.

He's exempt from the criminal conflict of interest law but that wasn't intended as a perk of high office and it was expected that he would act as though he were covered by it.

I think Jonathan is right that this marks something more brazen than we've seen in the past. It's a departure in the sense that this is an overt effort to profit from a specific contracting action of the federal government and it raises questions certainly under the foreign and domestic emolument clauses, a federal official is not supposed to have a contract with the United States.

SCIUTTO: You know, to that point as we look at that, President Trump insisted that it has nothing to do with making money. He said his team told him he should be where the G7 was held. Have a listen to the comments because I have a specific question about this.


TRUMP: In my opinion, I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money. I don't care about making money. If I went to places all over the country and they came back and they said, this is where I would like to be.

Now, we had military people doing it, we had Secret Service people doing, we had people that really understand what it's about. It's not about me. It's about getting the right location.


SCIUTTO: Why should the president's team be looking at a presidential property here, Walter? Should there -- I mean, there are supposed to be fire walls, are there not in federal procurement to prevent exactly this thing, right?

SHAUB: Absolutely. This is a procurement action plain and simple. It's also one that's not being run out of the White House. It simply can't be. The White House doesn't have a budget for this.

The State Department has submitted a budget request for funding for the 2020 G7 conference and it's the State Department that should be running this procurement. It's very troubling to hear him talk about sending his people to look at his property and others because it suggests a competitor for this contract, the president and the United States in this case has insider knowledge and perhaps involvement in the procurement action.

SCIUTTO: That -- I mean, it's a great point. Insider knowledge about the needs, et cetera and his team exploring this as a place to go.

Conflict of interest, Jonathan? Emolument clause? I know folks are home are probably saying what's the emoluments clause?


SCIUTTO: The key point is there is a constitutional prohibition, is there not, to profit off the office?

O'CONNELL: Well, think about how far we are from January 2017 when the president came into office and said I will be separate from my business and resign from my company, I'm focused on the government and doing the work for the American people.

Since then he's visited his golf properties every other weekend all the time. He promotes properties on television and now, he's trying to get the biggest meeting of foreign leaders to go to one of his properties. It's just really not what he told us he would be doing and there are a number of legal cases right now in the courts fighting over this, but they're taking a long time and people may not know more about the emoluments issue by the time the election comes around.

SCIUTTO: Well, the rules are simple. Without a word like emoluments, the rules are simple. You're not supposed to profit. You're not supposed to get involved in the decisions. The president did it on the world stage.

Thanks to both of you.

Coming up next, hugging it out with world leaders. Jeanne Moos is next.


[19:58:03] SCIUTTO: Tonight, when world leaders meet, awkward hand- holding ensues. Here is Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who needs a summit-ending communique when we can see leaders communicate with their hands?

TRUMP: He actually speaks very good English he just doesn't want to talk. MOOS: When all the Trump critics out there love to do what India's prime minister did but as usual.

TRUMP: Thank you.


MOOS: It was the Trump macron handshakes and hugs that had folks shaking their heads. And by the third shake during a single press conference --

MACRON: I will wait for the end of this press conference.

MOOS: -- even President Trump was trying to withdraw his hand.

It was reminiscent of the first white knuckle shake between these two years ago, which left President Trump flexing his fingers. He flexed his lips to deliver a double air kiss to German Chancellor Merkel.

But when Justin Trudeau air kissed Melania, that innocent moment became #Melanialovestrudeau. Can you blame her?

It was turned into a movie poster, this just in, a story of forbidden love on the world stage.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Always a pleasure to sit down with president Trump.

MOOS: Displaying his trademark colorful socks, one right-wing critic noted Trudeau assumes a submissive position, a child would know who is in control, an idea President Trump himself pooh-poohed. No, we actually had a good and productive meeting.

I know who Melania would like in control, countered someone else. President Trump momentarily lost control of his feet while descending

a staircase, Boris Johnson was there to grab on to and once they got to the bottom.

TRUMP: You know who this is?

MOOS: The new British prime minister leveled the playing field by stepping back up so president Trump wouldn't tower over him. And even Justin Trudeau finally resorted to manspreading.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


SCIUTTO: Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto.

"AC360" starts right now.