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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Setback For Trump: Lawsuit Against President Revived By Federal Appeals Court After Earlier Decision To Dismiss It; Biden Says "I Could Have Done Better" In Debate; Democrats Frustrated After O'Rourke Says at Debate: "Hell Yes, We're Going to Take Your AR-15, Your AK- 47"; Ocasio-Cortez Condemns Ad That Aired During Democratic Debate; Bahamas Bracing for Another Storm Just Days After Dorian, 2,000 People Still in Shelters, 1,300 People Missing. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 13, 2019 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:00]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right. Jennifer, thanks so much. I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump's major setback. A federal appeals court breathing new life into a lawsuit about the President profiting off the presidency. So what's the administration's response? And then, Joe Biden pushing back after what his campaign is calling a cheap shot and a low blow at last night's debate. Will Biden's response silence his critics? Plus Beto O'Rourke says he's coming for Americans assault style rifles. Did he just help Republicans? Let's go out.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a major setback for President Trump. Three judges ruling that a case about Trump cashing out in the Oval Office can go ahead. A case that could have significant implications for impeachment. The lawsuit argues that businesses in Washington, D.C. are being hurt by foreign governments choosing to stay at Trump's properties over other places.

And the judges issued a powerful statement, quote, the President's establishments offer government patrons something that Plaintiffs cannot: the opportunity, by enriching the President, to obtain favorable governmental treatment from the President and the Executive branch. There it is in black and white, spending time at Trump properties enriches Trump personally and allows people to try to get favorable treatment from the President of the United States.

And today Trump's son lied about the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you guys benefiting financially from the President holding office?

DONALD TRUMP JR., DONALD TRUMP'S SON: It's ridiculous. I mean, first of all, he's not involved at all with such things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, that answer is ridiculous. The facts, just take the Trump International Hotel. Trump is benefiting financially from being president. And yes, Trump is involved, he's getting money right now as I read this to you from Trump's properties.

Financial disclosures show that Trump personally took in $40 million from his Washington, D.C. hotel alone last year. And the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen dug through the financial disclosures that we actually have from Trump and the results were damning. Because what they found is that Trump removed his name as the owner of more than 500 assets once he became president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE TANGLIS, SENIOR RESEARCHER, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Trump can point to his 2017 disclosure and say, "I'm no longer listed as an owner." And he'd be right on paper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: But not in fact. The assets Trump transfer to other entities can all be traced back to one person, Donald J. Trump. And so tonight, taxpayer funded stays at hotels Trump owns and gets money from are now at the center of two investigations, including what political reports was the Air Force staying at that Scotland resort, not just that one time. It's now up to 40 times. It doesn't look good.

It may violate the constitution, but when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an appearance at a conservative group's function today held shockingly at Trump's hotel. He made light of the crucial clauses in the United States Constitution, which is designed to stop a president of the United States from personally using the office for money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I look around. This is such a beautiful hotel. The guy who owns it must be going to be successful somewhere along the way. That was for The Washington Post in case they're in the back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is out front live outside the White House. Kaitlan, any response from the White House about today's ruling from that three-judge panel?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No official response yet, but you see the President's family fending off those criticisms, you hear from Republicans who were also defending visits to the President's properties. And Erin, what's important to keep in mind here is that when President Trump was running for office, he promised not to mix his financial interest with his official business as President. And, of course, it's now become pretty typical for the President to

tout his properties, to brag about them, defend people who go and stay there, and even recently say that he was considering one of his own properties as a business it for the G7 summit. A summit that world leaders from all over come to attend and that the United States is hosting next year.

Of course, that's also raised questions about how it's become pretty normal for not only House Republican or not only Republicans, House and Senate allies to the President, officials from foreign governments to visit the President's properties here in Washington. But so far they have continuously defended it as these cases has been ping ponging back and forth in the courts.

So, of course, what is the outcome, but so far, you've only seen officials and even it become normal for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to dismiss events like this that previously they would have raised questions about.

BURNETT: Yes, at the very least. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. And now Noah Bookbinder, Executive Director of CREW, which represents plaintiffs in the case regarding Trump, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and Jonathan O'Connell, a Reporter with The Washington Post who has been covering the Trump Organization and Trump's role in the money extensively.

So Noah, let me start with this lawsuit. You were behind it originally. What's your reaction to tonight's big move by this judge panel?

[19:05:05]

NOAH BOOKBINDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CREW: Well, look, we're certainly very gratified to now have a panel of appellate judges, validate that this lawsuit was - is on track. It's an appropriate lawsuit.

And when we brought this case on the President's literally first day in the Oval Office, it was because we wanted to stop him from violating the Constitution, from creating a situation where on a daily basis he was going to be taking money and putting us in a situation where we didn't know if he was acting in the interest of the American people or in the interest of his own bottom line and those who gave him money. And we have seen that play out day in and day out since that time.

BURNETT: Well, and I mean to the point of what Mike Pompeo just did today, ordinarily you would never have something like that at a property related to the President and now that's the only place you have.

April, I mean, look, this case is important for the impeachment inquiry which is proceeding on Capitol Hill. They're looking at this very issue to see if Trump is corrupt and has violated the Constitution. Is he really worried about this? APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS:

Erin, not only is the President worried about this, this goes back to something in the black church where they say favor isn't fair. What Donald Trump is doing in his favor is illegal. The House Oversight.

I mean, so many committees on The Hill are looking at this. I mean we've heard about the President wanting to put the G7 at his own property, taxpayer money will be funding this president. He's making it rain for himself. Foreign governments are making it rain for the President, even his own attorney general, a $30,000 party at Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.

This is all about getting favor from the President of the United States or a perceived 'I'm close to you, do something for me'.

BURNETT: Yes.

RYAN: This is against the law, against the Constitution. This President is concerned, but he's still going to have his ego and continue to do what he wants to do.

BURNETT: I mean, Jonathan, April raises that party and the President - he says he's not making money and not benefiting. Of course, it's false. When you talk about the Trump Hotel in Washington, which you have done so much work on. Look, Attorney General William Barr having his Christmas party there. There today is Mike Pompeo. Every night in the bar is anybody who wants anything from the President and the President is making money.

JONATHAN O'CONNELL, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. Mike Pence was down there last night to make a speech. I mean we certainly are a long way from where the President and his family said that they would keep the government and the business completely separate while President Trump is in the White House.

And it really has become much more brazen in the last few months, not only the proposal to put the G7 at Doral, but Mike Pence flying across Ireland to go to the Doonbeg property that President Trump has and the Air Force, of course, making stops at Turnberry in Scotland.

So I think one thing we're learning about these emoluments cases, these lawsuits is that this very little used clause in the Constitution has not to this point been effective at all in preventing the President from doing sort of whatever he wants.

BURNETT: I mean it's pretty incredible Noah, because there's also people who are doing things they think the President wants them to do that will make him happy even if he doesn't necessarily know about them. We don't know what he knows about the Air Force or not, but we do now know that the U.S. government has been altering plans, travel plans for government employees to stay at Trump properties, 40 days by Air Force crews at Trump Scotland resort is the new reporting, up to 40 stays. Is this just the tip of the iceberg now that we're going to start to hear more and more things like this?

BOOKBINDER: It's absolutely just the tip of the iceberg and we recently did a study where we found that in the past two and a half years, there have been 2,300, more than 2,300 instances of conflicts of interest between the President's business, his presidency and those who are trying to influence it. I mean it is literally multiple times a day that either members of Congress, members of the executive branch, political allies of the President, industries that are trying to influence him are bringing business to his properties.

And those are only the ones that we know about, because they've been publicly reported. There are undoubtedly more foreign governments, domestic governments and the list goes on and so ...

BURNETT: Well, now you have more and more people looking at this. I mean, Jonathan, when you say it's gotten more brazen in the past few months, why do you think that is that there's just been this sudden change? I mean, certainly we are hearing more about it. You've been doing your reporting, obviously, extensively for quite some time. But why more brazen recently, do you think?

O'CONNELL: I don't think there's been any consequences to the President's actions or the businesses actions. I mean no Republicans in Congress have raised any concerns about it, for the most part. The lawsuits haven't gone anywhere near sort of touching him or stopping him. Republican voters don't appear, at this point, to really be concerned about it.

So it doesn't appear to be any portion of our democracy right now that's able to sort of rein him in and so he's becoming much more comfortable.

[19:10:04]

And six months or so ago we had White House aides telling the President we really don't think we should have Cabinet Members giving official speeches at your properties or making an official appearance to your properties. Now, here we are and Secretary Pompeo is praising his property and sort of joking about it on stage. Who knows where we'll be in six months from now.

BURNETT: I mean it is pretty incredible when you lay it out that way. April, the President has tried to downplay this to saying, "Oh, well, the amount of money I'm making from a night from Saudi Arabia, pales in comparison to what I'm losing on all of this. Here's how he put it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Somebody said, "Oh, he might have rented a room to a man from Saudi Arabia for $500." What about the 5 billion that I lose? It's probably going to cause me including upside, downside, lawyers, because every day they sue me for something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's going to be the line of argument that he's got, April. RYAN: Woe is me. He's talking figures that the average person can

only dream of at night. The bottom line is this president does not care. He's trying to say he's transparent in this by saying this is what's happening. But the bottom line is he's doing this and rubbing your nose in it.

And he doesn't have any repercussions for the Republicans in Congress. Mitch McConnell is not saying a word about this and he was the main person who was on Barack Obama's back at every step and now this. This president is profiting. He's getting money from the American taxpayer and he feels that he can do anything that he wants and that's the biggest thing. He feels he can do it because no one is checking him at all.

BURNETT: All right. We'll see what happens because obviously now this is a panel of judges, so this isn't Congress, you can't try to make a political argument.

RYAN: We'll see.

BURNETT: You now have the courts involved and I thank you all very much. Good to have you all, as always.

And next, a surprising admission from Joe Biden about his performance at last night's debate. What he's telling supporters right now behind closed doors in Houston? Plus, new concerns from Democrats that this response may have been a huge gift to republicans for 2020.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47 ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And outrage, after an ad featuring Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez bursting into flames made it on air during last night's debate. How did that happen?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:16:47]

BURNETT: Tonight, Joe Biden hits Joe Biden. The former vice president telling a group of donors today about his debate performance and I quote him, I think I could have done better. I will do better, God willing. That coming as his campaign is calling Julian Castro's attack on the former vice president a quote cheap shot and low blow during a discussion about health care. Castro attacked Biden's memory, let me play the exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your plan would not.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They do not have to buy in. They do not have to buy in.

CASTRO: You just said that. You just said that two minutes ago.

BIDEN: No.

CASTRO: You just said two minutes ago that they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: They do not have to buy in if they can't afford it.

CASTRO: You said they would have to buy in.

BIDEN: Your grandmother would have to buy in if she qualified for Medicaid, she's automatically be in for it.

CASTRO: Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The former VP is now shrugging off the criticism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: I don't view it as anything. I think he's got his facts wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) your medical records to dress concerns like ...

BIDEN: Yes. I don't have - what the hell, concerns? Man, you want to wrestle?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Arlette Saenz is out front. Arlette, so look, it was the moment, OK, last night. What does the Biden campaign make of this attack by Julian Castro?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Erin, Joe Biden's campaign is arguing that this is all going to backfire against Julian Castro. They're pointing to other moments, previous debates or moments in the campaign cycle where candidates have gone after Joe Biden and not necessarily benefited from it, pointing specifically the two examples, Eric Swalwell and Kirsten Gillibrand who went after Biden in debates and they are not in the Democratic primary race any longer.

And as you mentioned, the campaign is painting this as a low blow and a cheap shots. The candidate himself is trying not to engage in it, simply saying that he thought that Castro was wrong. But as you mentioned, Biden is also acknowledging that he has some room for improvement when it comes to the debating. He didn't exactly say which areas, but that he does know that he needs to do better going forward.

Now, Castro was not the only one to raise concerns about Biden. You also heard Cory Booker who waited till he was off the debate stage and in an interview with CNN said that there are some concerns from people that Biden won't be able to cross the finish line without fumbling. Booker tried to walk that back a little bit this morning on our air.

But what's interesting here is that you now have three Democratic primary contenders openly questioning concern and expressing concerns about Biden's memory or stamina. Biden himself has said that people should think about his age when they're evaluating him for president, even going as far to say, "If you have a problem with my age and what you're seeing, then don't vote for me."

But the question right now is how much attacks like this are going to impact Biden's standing in this Democratic race as he still continues to be the frontrunner, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Arlette, thank you very much covering the Biden campaign. And out front now, Jonathan Martin, Political Correspondent for The New York Times and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who supports Joe Biden.

So Governor, Biden says, "Look, I had a better night last night than I had before." But then he comes down and says, "I think I could have done better." Do you agree?

[19:20:00]

FORMER GOVERNOR ED RENDELL (D-PA): Well, Erin, this is the height of idiocy. If you're a baseball player, you hit three home runs in your first three at bats, but in the ninth inning, you strike out. You say to the people who compliment you for hitting the three home runs, "I could have done better. I'm sorry I struck out in the ninth inning."

BURNETT: Is that the accurate analogy that you're trying to make, that he was hitting home runs and before he wasn't?

RENDELL: Absolutely. Chris Cillizza of CNN said that, in fact, Biden was the winner of the debate. Dan Balz, who is a best political analyst for 40 years said Biden won the debate, outright won the debate. So I think Joe Biden did just fine.

And if he said he wants to do better, we politicians always want to do better. We always - if we get 61 percent of the vote, we think we should be getting 64 percent of the vote. And let me say one other thing about your report, you didn't report that Julian Castro was the one who had the faulty memory.

The tape showed that Joe Biden had remembered it correctly and Julian Castro had either the faulty memory or he was lying up there.

BURNETT: So you gave a very weighty sigh there, Jonathan. Go ahead.

JONATHAN MARTIN, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Governor is an impassioned advocate for Vice President Biden. Look, I think his comments today are comic classic. Biden, not unlike an athlete who sort of talks in those kind of cliches about doing better ... RENDELL: Absolutely.

MARTIN: ... and trying to sort of prove one for the team. But look, the challenge that Vice President Biden has is that he is the front runner and he is going to face more scrutiny because of that. And every time he's up there on a debate stage, he's going to get incoming from some of his rivals.

And I think last night, he handled it better than he had in the first two debates. But his challenges, he's got a bunch more of these debates. The field is probably getting smaller than it is getting bigger. So he's going to face even more scrutiny, because there's going to be more time for him on the stage.

BURNETT: Right.

MARTIN: And Erin, the question is can he sustain this campaign four to five more times going into Iowa when it was ...

BURNETT: And that sort of - OK, no, I'm just saying because that's the question here that as you both know Julian Castro raised in a way that was widely castigated last night. However, others are raising it, right, Tim Ryan raised it and now you have Senator Cory Booker.

Arlette mentioned what he had to say in his interview with me and Danna Bash last night. But let me just play the operative part about what the senator said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a lot of people who are concerned about Joe Biden's ability to carry the ball all the way across the line without fumbling. And I think that Castro has some really legitimate concerns about can he be someone in a long, grueling campaign that can get the ball over the line and he has every right to call that out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And Governor, these are the sorts of comments that several of the candidates are now openly saying.

RENDELL: Because Joe Biden is ahead in the polls. If Joe Biden was running fourth, nobody would mention his age and nobody would mention whether he can get through it.

Look, the bottom line is - Jonathan is right, the frontrunner is always attacked. But Joe Biden did better handling those attacks in the third debate than he did in the second or the first, number one. And number two, the two other serious contenders; Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, are not exactly millennials.

Senator Warren is 70 and Senator Sanders is older than Senator Biden. So what the heck are we talking about?

BURNETT: Well, there is - go ahead, Jonathan. RENDELL: What the heck are we talking about?

MARTIN: Well, we're talking about somebody who, to be fair, Governor, at times does not appear to be as rhetorically capable as he has been in years past. Biden has always had sort of gaffe problem.

RENDELL: Wait a second, Jonathan.

MARTIN: But it does - yes.

RENDELL: Right. When he was 38 he had a gaffe problem and the American people know that and they've accepted it.

BURNETT: Right. But Jonathan, you're not referring to gaffes, are you?

RENDELL: When he was 38. In 1988, he had a gaffe problem.

MARTIN: Right. Yes.

RENDELL: And people know it and his gaffe problem - everyone has a gaffe problem.

MARTIN: Here's the question - yes.

RENDELL: How old is the nice reporter for MSNBC, is it Gerald Hack (ph) who said he was in the wrong state and then tweeted out, "I guess I'm going to make a hundred of these slipups before the campaign is over."

Everybody makes gaffes. Biden is the frontrunner, so he's more noticeable.

BURNETT: Go ahead, Jonathan.

MARTIN: Yes. I was going to say I think the reason why a lot of these candidates like Cory Booker are staying in the race are going to give it a shot through Iowa is because they're bet is that at some point Biden is not seen as the safe pick anymore, but he becomes seen as the riskier pick and that's what Booker is getting at in that sound bite that you played, trying to sow doubts about Biden's capacity to go through the primary and the general election process.

[19:25:00]

And that's why you cut the this sprawling field with a lot of moderates who are kind of hanging out sort of living off the land here the best they can and waiting for the moment when Biden fades. Now, the Governor is going to say, "Biden is not going to fade." And the fact is that it's past Labor Day now and he's still hanging in there.

But again the question is, Erin, will the accumulation of these missteps ultimately hurt him before Iowa.

BURNETT: And that, I think, we can all agree. That is what other people on that stage are betting on and hoping will happen, Governor, whether you say it will or won't fair, but that's the way.

RENDELL: But hang in there ...

BURNETT: Yes.

RENDELL: ... Jonathan himself said he's getting better at handling these attacks. Look, Joe Biden said on Colbert, when Colbert asked him, "Senator, can you answer any question in 60 seconds?" Joe smiled, broke into a smile and said, "No." The debate forum isn't a forum for Joe Biden.

But you hear him give a speech like he did after El Paso and he mesmerizes the crowd and he can stand on his feet for an hour and give a passionate emotional speech that inspires people. There's nothing wrong with Joe Biden any more than there is anything wrong with the 45-year-olds that are running.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. And next, Democrats growing frustrated with Beto O'Rourke speaking of those about 45-year- olds. Did he give Trump and the Republican a new line of attack? And breaking news, another storm gaining strength and heading straight for the Bahamas and the area leveled by Hurricane Dorian.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:22]

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, Democrats on Capitol Hill are frustrated with Beto O'Rourke. Senators who have been working to find gun control measures that can get through the Senate that Democrats and Republicans can support. One Democratic aide telling CNN they are worried that O'Rourke played straight into the NRA's hands with this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Alice Stewart, former Ted Cruz communications director, and Keith Boykin, former Clinton White House aide.

Alice, hell yes is what he said, I'm taking away assault weapons. Where was the applause louder in the room of Democrats or among Republicans who support the NRA's position?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, from a policy and campaign standpoint, let's just say the Republicans can say he gave a gift to Republicans who have said all along that the ultimate goal of Democrats is to confiscate guns.

Let's start off by saying, Erin, Congressman O'Rourke received well- deserved praise for the leadership and the compassion he showed in the wake of the terrible shootings in El Paso. Hats off to him for that. But he's understandably emotional and that led to extreme comments on confiscation of guns.

And as even Democrats have said today, it undermines current bipartisan efforts to go about sensible gun violence control, and also is counterproductive to the progress that has been made.

So, in my view, I understand why he is extremely emotional. But efforts are underway. They have been talking for weeks, the president and Republicans and Democrats. We are making progress. This unfortunately gives Republicans a pause.

BURNETT: Well, it does, Keith, give them -- it has given some -- Mike Pence, for example, seizing upon it. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You had leading candidates for the highest office in the land talking about taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens. Well, the American people deserve to know, this president, this vice president, and these House Republicans will always stand for the Second Amendment, right to keep and bear arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Keith, did O'Rourke just help Republicans? Did he give them an ad -- you know, that quick ad clip, right, hell yes?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't know, because I think Republicans are going to do that anyway. They're going to attack Democrats for -- they have been saying this as far back as when I was in the White House when Bill Clinton was the president. He was going to take away guns. They said when Barack Obama was president. He was going to take their guns. Neither one of them did it that by the way.

And now, because Beto O'Rourke who was a former congressman who is polling at less than 5 percent I believe in the polls in the Democratic primary race makes a comment at a debate, and that that means that they're not going to take seriously the issue of gun reform on Capitol Hill? That means they were never serious about it in the first place. They are looking for an excuse and they're looking for somebody to vilify.

Look, since Trump has taken office, we have had dozens of mass shootings, 22 people in El Paso, 59 people get shot and killed in Las Vegas. And time and time again, the Republicans have refused to do something about it. If they haven't done anything after people get shot up in a school in Sandy Hook, if they haven't done anything after people getting shot up in synagogues and churches and theaters, what makes you think they're going to do something now that Donald Trump is president and McConnell is the Senate majority leader? They have no interest in doing something about gun control.

BURNETT: Alice, you know, today, this escalated. The Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain tweeted in response to Beto O'Rourke, and it was: My AR is ready for you. O'Rourke called it a death threat. He reported it to the FBI. Afterwards, Cain said he thought the tweets would, quote, work out for both of their bases.

What do you make of that? Is that true? Is that acceptable?

STEWART: I make of it as -- no, it's unacceptable and it's idiotic and it's very irresponsible. We cannot take one extreme comment on gun control and respond to it with something that is extremely dangerous in my view.

And, look, let me respond to what Keith was saying. Look, Congress has been on recess for several weeks. Talks have still been going on.

The president mentioned, yesterday, look, we are making progress. There is behind the scenes work being done. And I expect to see some signs of progress in the next week or two weeks. He has made it quite clear. He is open to discussing things such as red flag laws, which would prohibit the sale of guns to people that are deemed a threat.

[19:35:05]

But the most important thing is protect the due process protections that are in place. And we need to take into account the mental health component of this and those that are refused the purchase of gun because of mental health reasons, they get the help they need.

So, there's a lot of factors going in and we are making progress and I expect to see that soon.

BOYKIN: I just feel like this conversation has been going on for decades. And I'm tired of having the conversation. I applaud Beto O'Rourke for at least having the courage to come up with a bold idea, regardless of whether you agree with it or not, somebody needs to initiate a serious conversation about what we're going to do.

If you think about the fact that there are six people who died from vaping in flavored vaping deaths and the Trump administration is ready to ban those, 40,000 people have died from guns since Trump came into office and the administration has done nothing about it. Not a thing.

When we passed the assault weapons ban in 1994, after it expired, the number of shootings that deaths from mass murders increase from 4.8 to 23.8 per year after the assault weapons ban expired. Clearly, it makes a difference. Don't tell me it doesn't make a difference.

Seventy percent of the American people in some polls support this. Let's do something.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Is there a hypocrisy in the vaping, in the point that he makes about vaping? I mean, you can say, fine, you shouldn't have either one. But is there hypocrisy in that point?

STEWART: Absolutely not. There's no constitutional right to vaping. There is a Second Amendment right to the bear arms. And that is something that is critical that this president and administration vow to protect.

BOYKIN: But, what kind of arms though?

(CROSSTALK)

STEWART: -- working and taking steps to curtail gun violence.

BURNETT: I have to leave it there.

(CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: But, Alice, the question is what kind of arms? We banned other types of weapons. We ban machine guns. Why can't we ban assault weapons?

BURNETT: All right. I will leave it there. That is a big question you will both hopefully be back to address.

And next, a disturbing ad featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aired during last night's debate. It featured her face being consumed by flames. Who's bind it and how did it get on the air?

And breaking news, the Bahamas hours away from getting hit by another dangerous storm.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:59]

BURNETT: Tonight, ad outrage. Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressing outrage over an ad that ran during last night's debate. Here is the key part of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: This is the face of socialism and ignorance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, there you have it. Ocasio-Cortez today slamming that ad tweeting in part, Republicans are running TV ad setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren't racist.

CNN chief media correspondent and "RELIABLE SOURCES" anchor Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.

Look, it's disturbing to see that. Who is behind that ad?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: A Republican super PAC that is trying to call attention to what they say are the dangers of socialism, and once again lifting up Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, like she is the biggest person in the Democratic Party, and not a freshman lawmaker with relatively limited power. This is the same playbook that Fox News uses every single day, trying

to demonize the Democratic women of color who are part of this new Congress. And we're seeing that in ads and we're seeing that in news coverage and from right wing media every day.

This ad especially ugly however, just when you think ads can't get worse. You see the ads maker come in and take it another step further. And, look, I'm sure they'll say it's mutually assured destruction, Democrats will come out with a worse ad next time. But to see a Democratic lawmaker's face burning up --

BURNETT: Yes.

STELTER: -- and being compared Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, absolutely inappropriate.

BURNETT: It certainly felt that way. I mean, how did it make air? I mean, as you're pointing out, this aired during the debate.

STELTER: During the Democratic debate in a couple key markets, including Washington and New York. I think they wanted media attention. The super PAC wanted attention in order to gain the kind of coverage. And that's why it's smart that we're not showing the full ad to give them attention.

BURNETT: Right.

STELTER: But this out, Erin, in local markets. What these super PACs do is they buy ad time relatively cheaply in just a few cities in order to get attention.

BURENTT: So, there's no person sort of overseeing it or anyone --

STELTER: Well, the local stations still do. These stations owned by ABC have commented. I've been asking all day, what is your statement? How did this ad get passed your approval process?

Ads are rejected all the time for being too insensitive, too inappropriate, for all sorts of reasons, ads rejected. But this ad did get through. I think there might be some regret today at ABC, though they are not admitting that if so.

BURNETT: Oh, well. All right. Thank you very much, Brian Stelter.

STELTER: Sure.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, new warnings this hour for the Bahamas. Another dangerous storm heading straight for area devastated by Hurricane Dorian, as 1,300 people are missing.

And a desperate plea to the president, as the administration considers a move which would put the crown jewel of America's park system in play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what I'm saying: do not -- do not do this to us. We need to keep this place intact as much as we can.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:48]

BURNETT: Breaking news, the Bahamas bracing for another storm gaining strength tonight. Tropical storm warnings in place in the same exact islands obliterated by Hurricane Dorian last week. Search teams looking still for more than 1,300 people.

Jennifer Gray is OUTFRONT.

Jennifer, how strong could this storm get by the time it hits the Bahamas?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it could strengthen to a tropical storm by tomorrow, and it looks like that's the status it will be once it crosses Grand Bahama and Abaco. I think the worst part about this is it could be just stall the relief efforts for day or so while the storm passes.

Now, this is going to be nowhere near the strength of Dorian. This is now a tropical depression with 30 miles per hour winds, but it could strengthen to a tropical storm. Now, northwest movement at about eight miles per hour, this is moving. And that's the good part where Dorian just sat.

So, Abaco and Grand Bahama seeing a few showers off and on. This could strengthen like we said to a tropical storm, 40 miles per hour winds by tomorrow afternoon. So, that's about at best what those island will see, and then this is going to take a sharp curve to the east. It looks like the coast of the U.S. is totally in the clear, as far as the cone goes.

This could become a category one storm offshore. But like we said, that's going to stay well offshore, 75 miles per hour winds there. And then just out head to sea. I think this is the best case considering what is at stake here.

That's why we have tropical storm warnings in place for a lot of Bahamas. We have tropical storm watches in place for the East Coast of Florida. I think Florida will see a few passing showers. Also rip current risks as we go throughout the week.

But all the rain accumulation, look at this. This all going to stay offshore. We could see an inch, maybe two inches in some locations across Florida. And a lot times, they get more than that on a typical day.

So, the track shifting east this afternoon was definitely excellent news for Florida and the southeast coast, Erin. For the Bahamas, they're going to just have to brace for the storm. I know a lot of people don't have roofs on homes, things like that. If they're in that situation, definitely seek shelter, until the storm passes. And it should be passed by tomorrow afternoon.

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

And I want to go live to the Bahamas where Dianne Gallagher is OUTFRONT in Nassau.

[19:50:00]

So, Dianne, what is the feeling there tonight as yet another approaches?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Erin, I think it's concerning and it's two-pronged, right? There is concern about the physical, because while this isn't going to be a Hurricane Dorian or anything close to it, these homes that are on Abaco and the Grand Bahama, they can't withstand much. So, there is worry and concern about any kind of wind or any sort of heavy rain and what is left of those homes can withstand.

There are still people living in them. I spoke with USAID today. They are staying there through the storm along with search and rescue teams just in case there becomes any sort of flooding situation there. They have been trying to prep the Bahamian people who stayed in their damaged homes with tarps and other sort of fix-it kits just so they can get prepared.

Now, the government of the Bahamas has asked people to go to shelters. Here in the Nassau area, there are 2,000 people in shelters from those islands that were hardest hit. And for them, it's the emotional aspect of this. Just hearing winds like this, seeing a warning coming across about a tropical storm, more weather so soon after, their homes were completely decimated. It's that re-triggering, that re- traumatizing of people who have already been through so much and really don't know what the future is going to bring to them.

Just it seems like the cruelty of Mother Nature there that they are having to just kind of go through the motions in this right now, Erin. But the good news for people here is that it's not going to be anything like Dorian. The bad news is, of course, the uncertainty.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Dianne Gallagher live in Nassau tonight.

And next, why the president's pushed to do business in one of the most pristine places in America could affect us all. You have to see these pictures.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:56:00]

BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump one step closer towards offshore drilling. The Interior Department releasing a report allowing development on the entire coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which comes in the heels of Democrats voting to halt the plan. Bill Weir reports on how this political volley is playing out, where

it really matters in Alaska.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the hottest Alaska summer on record, amid countless signs of a climate in crisis, a camera phone captured a Republican fundraiser on Kenai Peninsula, not far from the Swan Lake Fire, burning over three months.

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): The president of the United States cares about Alaska.

WEIR: The Donald Trump on speaker, that is Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, holding the phone and swathing at hornets.

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker nods and smiles as the president promises them to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge up north and build a road through protected habitat in the south.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): Cove Road.

SULLIVAN: King Cove Road, yes, sir.

WEIR: And then Governor Mike Dunleavy enters the picture. He has been bonding with Trump during Air Force refueling stops.

GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY (R-AK): He's doing everything he can to work with us, on our mining concerns, timber concerns.

WEIR: Often bringing a wish list of rules and regulations he wants overturned in the interest of creating new industry.

TRUMP: He is a great guy. He is doing something with your logging and all of your other things. We are working on that together. That's moving along.

WEIR: When the president mentioned logging, they knew exactly what he meant.

Republicans want to put new roads into the old growth of the Tongass National Forest, the crown jewel of the national forest system.

GORDON CHEW, BUILDER AND LUMBERJACK: You know, we're very much against that. And I would say, first, that there is nobody in this town that a mile or road here or there would benefit more than me.

WEIR: Gordon Chew runs a father/son timber operation.

(on camera): So, you built this yourself, the whole house?

CHEW: Yes.

WEIR (voice-over): And while he believes old growth spruce and cedar can be carefully harvested one tree at a time, he is terrified to a move to the clear cutting days of old when ancient ecosystems were turned into paper.

CHEW: We are not going to be grinding up trees for paper anymore. That's not on my watch.

When you build a road, you don't know what's going to come down the road. And the reason that you would build $1 million a mile road is to extract resources big time.

WEIR: Former Mayor Art Bloom tells me the Roadless Rule is a result of decades of negotiation to protect a place that soaks up more carbon dioxide than anywhere else in America.

ART BLOOM, FORMER MAYOR, TENAKEE SPRINGS, ALASKA: You could never have this again, you know, once you cut it. It's going to come back as an even aged stand that needs to be managed.

WEIR (on camera): Then it's a plantation out of forest?

BLOOM: Then it's a plantation that won't support the wildlife that this supports.

WEIR: This just in to CNN. Bears do poop in the woods. And the bears in these woods poop salmon, the most incredible fertilizer, the kind of fertilizer that grows cathedrals like this and these days also a multibillion-dollar fishing and tourism industry.

So, in Alaska, if you're going to talk about cutting down 500-year-old industries, even if you are the president, you are going to make some fishermen really angry.

What's your reaction?

TUCK HARRY, FISHING CAPTAIN: One of shock and dismay. You know, after all the work we put in to keep this area roadless and as pristine as we possibly can.

WEIR: And would you characterize yourself as a sort of tree-hugging liberal?

HARRY: No, not at all. Not a tree-hugging liberal at all. And the governor and the president, you know, this is what I'm saying, do not -- do not do this to us. We need to keep this place intact as much as we can.

WEIR: Oh, and Captain Tuck wants me to remind you, these are your trees, America. And any new roads would be built with your tax dollars.

Bill Weir, Tenakee Springs, Alaska.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. CNN Go is where to go.

"AC360" begins right now. [20:00:00]