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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Two Giuliani Associates Arrested At D.C. Airport, Had Lunch At Trump Hotel With Giuliani Hours Before; "Washington Post:" At Least Four National Security Officials Raised Alarms About Ukraine Policy Before & After Trump's Call; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) Discusses The Call Of Trump With Ukraine. Aired 7-7:30p ET

Aired October 10, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


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"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, two men arrested in connection with Trump's Ukraine scandal. The two are business associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer.

In fact, according to "The Wall Street Journal," they were seen having lunch with Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel in Washington just hours before they were arrested at the airport. I want to show you a picture of one of the men with Giuliani at that same hotel just last month. These two men were arrested as they were about to leave the United States with one way ticket. Here's what President Trump said late this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know them. I don't know about them. I don't know what they do. But I don't know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You'd have to ask Rudy. I just don't know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: One possible problem for the President, all of the photos like this, President Trump with one of the men after dinner at the White House back in May, another one from July of last year with the other Giuliani associate. Another one, here's both of them with Trump, Giuliani and Vice President Mike Pence.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT in Washington to begin our coverage of this breaking development tonight. So Evan, how close are these men who are now arrested for alleged crimes to Giuliani? How close are they to Giuliani?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They're very close. Giuliani has referred to them as his clients. And Erin, more importantly, these are the guys who allegedly were behind some of this operation that Giuliani has been running to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and Joe Biden's son, alleging that there was some corruption allegations that needed to be investigated there in Ukraine.

These men allegedly, according to this indictment that was unsealed by prosecutors in Manhattan today, were actually doing other things. They were essentially running a business, that was moving money from Ukrainian sources, from people overseas and trying to essentially hide it as they were trying to funnel it to candidates here in the United States.

These were congressional candidates, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars that allegedly were going to a pro Trump political action committee here in the United States. All, of course, is illegal for you to do, because under U.S. law, you're not allowed to donate foreign money into us candidates.

So that's how close they were and the question now, obviously, is how many - again, not only how far does this go. We know that Giuliani obviously was very tied to these men and, of course, you heard the President saying he had no idea who they were, but is that true? Who else was involved in this?

BURNETT: Right. I mean, obviously, a lot of questions and, I mean, several pictures. Obviously, there's a lot of pictures of the President with various people, but these are repetitive events. And Evan, look, this all goes back or ties back to Trump's attempt to get dirt on his political rival Joe Biden from Ukraine.

PEREZ: Right, exactly. And I think one of the broader questions that's being asked tonight, Erin, is whether or not the effort to smear Joe Biden was perhaps another influence operation, foreign influence operation itself. Whether it's something that perhaps some people who we don't know about, perhaps the Russians, people who are pro Russian, business people in Ukraine were behind funding some of this.

Again, those are the questions that are being asked because the FBI and prosecutors in Manhattan don't believe that we have a full explanation yet about where this money was coming from.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan. And I want to get straight to Jim Acosta who's traveling with the President tonight. Jim, the President, obviously, Trump very clearly now trying to distance himself from a person that he seems thrilled for a long time to be tied to and that is Rudy Giuliani.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Absolutely, Erin. I think the President is certainly trying to put some space between himself and Rudy Giuliani. You heard the President on the South Lawn of the White House earlier this afternoon on his way to this rally here in Minneapolis, telling reporters he doesn't know these two associates, didn't know what they're up to, telling reporters if you want to know what they're up to talk to Rudy Giuliani.

At one point, the President was asked, "Why are you appearing in these pictures with these two individuals?" He says he takes pictures with a lot of people at these fundraising events and other events that he holds as a political candidate. I will tell you, Erin, I talked to the President's Personal attorney, other personal attorney Jay Sekulow earlier today.

He only made a brief comment and said that neither the candidate, meaning President Trump, nor the campaign have been involved in the scheme. Jay Sekulow refer to it that these gentlemen were allegedly involved in. At the same time, Erin, we should point out just a short while ago here at this rally in Minneapolis, Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager was briefly talking with reporters.

I asked him, did he know these two individuals tied to Rudy Giuliani, Brad Parscale said he did not.

[19:05:04]

He went on to say that he raises his money $64 at a time, so the campaign also trying to put some distance between themselves and Rudy Giuliani. One final thing, Erin, I thought that it spoke volumes earlier this afternoon when the President was asked whether or not he believes Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, friend for many, many years will be indicted. He said only, "I hope not." Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta. Much more on that. And I was looking down here, I was just looking at the breaking news that we have. "The Washington Post" is reporting at this hour that at least four National Security officials raise concerns about the Trump administration's attempts to pressure Ukraine for political purposes.

There is a lot of breaking news in this story and I want to emphasize, they're saying these concerns were raised both before the call because of things that team Trump was doing and immediately after the call with the Ukrainian, President Zelensky. A Washington Post reporter Greg Miller broke the story and joins me.

So Greg, I mean, you're saying four National Security officials raised alarms about what the White House was doing and they did this before the call, because they were already concerned and after the call.

GREG MILLER, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, that's right. I mean and this is a conservative estimate at this point. These are four officials that we know of that we've been able to identify. There may be more and, yes, so I think one of the important things in our story is that some of these officials were going to lawyers inside the White House with their concerns even before the call, because of all of the stuff they saw happening.

And that would include the removal of a U.S. Ambassador with no explanation, the antics of Rudy Giuliani who's promoting conspiracy theories about Kiev on television and planning trips to Kiev. And other developments that were getting closer and closer to the White House, including a meeting at the White House in early July that really unnerved a number of people in the room.

BURNETT: So there's a couple of things in here that appear very significant. First of all, when you talk about the transcript of the call itself, that there was immediate concern about it, a lot of people on it had very serious concerns. Now, you're reporting that within hours now of that conversation it got moved, it didn't even take a day. Within hours, they moved it to the code level server.

MILLER: Yes. So the way it was described to us was that this was an immediate reaction. But even coming out of the call, there are people who are immediately turning to higher ranking people in the White House. They're really alarmed about what has happened and there's kind of almost an atmosphere of a bit of panic.

You have senior officials, including the National Security Adviser, John Bolton, at the time who was not on the call, scrambling to try to get a transcript of the call to figure out what had transpired. And even as he's doing that, other officials are ordering this stuff shoved into a highly classified server to get it out of visibility.

BURNETT: So Greg, one other point here, you talk about Gordon Sondland, who obviously they pulled from testifying this week, who had been a big donor to the President and was then the Ambassador to the European Union. That he came to a meeting and in this meeting starts bringing all of this stuff up about Joe Biden and the conspiracy theories, debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine's role in 2016.

You report that John Bolton was in there and went ballistic. Was John Bolton ballistic do stick because he could not believe this was happening and had a problem with it?

MILLER: Yes. I think that Bolton was really, as controversial as he was as a National Security Adviser. He was very critical of Russia and very supportive of Ukraine and he saw what Giuliani was doing and what these two ambassadors were doing as derailing what he regarded as a really important policy. And he blows up over that meeting in particular because there's a reference.

Sondland, their meeting with a Ukrainian delegation at the White House, they're going through all of the pre approved talking points and if Sondland goes off script and starts talking about Ukraine needing to reopen investigations that had been closed. Now, he doesn't use the word Biden. He doesn't use the word Burisma. But everybody in the room knows exactly what that means and that's really kind of a frightening moment.

BURNETT: And it's interesting that it could be a third rail for Bolton, so many wondering what he will have to say in all of this and how important he could be. Greg, thank you very much with that latest breaking news from The Washington Post.

I want to go now to Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee. All right. So you and I were both desperately trying to quickly read through this. Greg was laying some of it out. These are very deep concerns that were raised before the call. They were raised after the call. John Bolton himself clearly had a very serious issue with all of it.

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Right. And it's consistent with the whistleblower complaint that identified, I believe, the term dozens officials was used in the complaint that were alarmed by this call.

[19:10:01]

It means that there are people down there who still have a moral compass, who are career professionals who care about our National Security and who know this is wrong and these facts will come out. It is telling that this supports why the President was desperate to stop Ambassador Sondland from testifying before the Congress because he knows the truth. We should get the truth.

BURNETT: And, obviously, he stopped Sondland. Now, I know you want the Ambassador that was removed so suddenly and because of allegations that she was anti Trump or whatever it was, Ambassador Yovanovitch. She's obviously could be very important to all of this as well. She's supposed to be testifying.

MALONEY: That's right and I'll be in Washington tomorrow morning ...

BURNETT: Is she going to be there?

MALONEY: ... for that interview. I certainly hope so. I hope she follows the lead of Ambassador Volker and appears before the committee. It wouldn't surprise me if they try to stop her, but ...

BURNETT: I mean she's technically still an employee of the State Department, so it would seem like they're going to try to claim (inaudible) ...

MALONEY: Well, as I understand it, they need to instruct her and they haven't done that yet.

BURNETT: OK.

MALONEY: But look we know that they are. Look, everybody in this White House right now is either trying to clean it up or cover it up, but there are some people who want to get to the facts and I'm OK with that. I'm OK with the truth. I think that if the American people can just know the facts would be better off and I think the key witnesses here who were there, who saw what happened should be allowed to testify.

And stories like the one with Mr. Giuliani today only underscore how shady these dealings were and the people he was dealing with.

BURNETT: So the President says he does not know these men. Obviously, we showed several pictures of them together and he does take pictures with a lot of people, that's his excuse for it, but there were obviously multiple. He says, "You'd have to ask Rudy. I just don't know," when asked if he knows these men. Do you believe him?

MALONEY: Right. Well, we've seen denials like that over Stormy Daniels and other things where the President is just flat-out saying something that's not true. It's possible, presidents do take a lot of pictures with people but not a lot of people give $325,000 to your Super PAC. Not a lot of people pump that kind of money ... BURNETT: That is true.

MALONEY: ... illegally into an American campaign. They tend to be memorable and when you meet with those people, those are different kinds of meetings. So I don't know what the President is saying or whether it's true or not.

But what I can tell you is that these people were breaking American laws. They should not have been involved in our politics. They pumped millions of dollars, as I understand it, or hundreds of thousands of dollars at least into the main Super PAC supporting the President.

And they may be the clients who were paying for Rudy Giuliani's activities in Ukraine. We should know who was paying for Rudy Giuliani's trips to Ukraine, by the way. We don't know that. Were these his clients, were these criminals paying him to engage in this activity?

BURNETT: Do you think Giuliani did anything illegal?

MALONEY: I don't know. I hope not. Look, I'm a little old-fashioned about this. I don't want the American President or his senior advisors to be doing something wrong. Well, it breaks my heart to think that an American President is engaged in this level of mendacity and shady conduct.

I think Mr. Giuliani's record is speaking for itself, but let him come up and explain himself. Let's see documents. Let's hear the testimony from the people who were there. I can live with the facts. Apparently, the White House cannot.

BURNETT: So the House Democrats had requested documents and testimony from these two individuals who were arrested today. Our understanding is the criminal case then will take precedence. So does this actually hurt your investigation? I mean, how important were they if all of a sudden they're kind of off the table? Is that information that you needed to have?

MALONEY: I think it's important that our committee stay focused on the core issues of America's National Security and the President's conduct. That is the heart of this.

There are other people who will look at some of these other facts. There are other organs of the Congress or the government that can hold people accountable. Our job is to tell the American people what happened, what the President did and how it affected our National Security and to hold him accountable, because no one's above the law and that's where our focus needs to be.

BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. And we will see if Ambassador Yovanovitch does show up. Interesting, she, as far as other congressmen knows, has not yet got in her direction from team Trump. And next, more on the breaking news, could Rudy Giuliani be indicted now that two associates have been arrested? The President not rushing to Rudy's defense tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I hope not. Again, I don't know how he knows these people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:52]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump telling our own Kaitlan Collins, he hopes his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani will not be indicted after two of Giuliani's associates who helped him try to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested for illegally funneling foreign money to President Trump's campaign, but it was hardly full-throated.

I mean so here's how he put it when she asked.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Are you concerned that Rudy Giuliani could be indicted in all of this?

TRUMP: Well, I hope not. Again, I don't know how he knows these people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Senior Advisor to President Obama and Host of "THE AXE FILES" on CNN, David Axelrod, CNN's Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger, former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean and former Deputy Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, Donald Ayer. He is one of 16 attorneys, many of whom worked in Republican administrations who released a statement today calling for an expeditious impeachment probe.

Gloria, let me start with you. 'I hope not' is Trump's response to whether he's concerned Rudy Giuliani could be indicted. From a president who does not hesitate to lash out and eviscerate, to triple down and profess utter innocence, this sure is not sounding like he's backing his man.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he didn't come out and say this is a complete witch-hunt. The indictment is a fraud and a phony. He said, "I hope not." And he said you have to ask Rudy if he knows these people and it sounded a lot like the way he was treating Michael Cohen before Michael Cohen became his ex-attorney.

BURNETT: And I'm going to ask that in just a moment. David, let me do that. Asked about the situation today, Trump denied knowing the men that were arrested. The two associates of Rudy Giuliani's who were arrested and he said, "Ask Rudy Giuliani." So let me play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I don't know those gentlemen. Now, it's possible I have a

picture with them because I have a picture with everybody. I don't know them. I don't know about them. I don't know what they do, but I don't know maybe they were clients of Rudy. You'd have to ask Rudy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So the point that Gloria just made, David, it sounds a whole lot like this infamous exchange that Trump had with reporters about then personal attorney Michael Cohen's hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. Here it is.

[19:20:08]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No. No. What else?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then why did Michael Cohen make this if there was no truth to her allegation?

TRUMP: Well, you'll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. And you'll have to ask Michael.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: David, you'll have to ask Michael Cohen, you have to ask Rudy, it sure sounds like the same like the same shell.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it sounds like the sound of a branch being sawed off behind these guys. And I think that the President uses these people to do his political chores and when it becomes inconvenient, he separates himself from them.

It's very tough given the exposure that Rudy Giuliani has had over the last two years and particularly through this episode to divorce himself from Rudy. After all, Rudy Giuliani was the guy he wanted the president of Ukraine to meet with to discuss these matters of the Bidens and Ukraine's role in 2016 and so on. So it's pretty hard to jettison Rudy now.

BURNETT: I mean it certainly sounds like that, John. And look, the two that were arrested today, associates of Giuliani, were helping him to dig up dirt on the Bidens and Ukraine, pushing for the U.S. Ambassador for Ukraine to be kicked out. She eventually was and today officials said, look, their arrests are not the end of this. What they said for Rudy Giuliani could be very ominous. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: We will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct that draws into question the integrity of our political process. And I want to add that this investigation is continuing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Should Giuliani be concerned that he may be next, John?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he certainly should be. A couple of reasons, one; it's very unusual for the Southern District to come out and make these kinds of announcements. They did it with Michael Cohen, they did it with Jeffrey Epstein and these are cases that they know the boss doesn't like. But yet they're making clear that their independence is intact.

Secondly, if you read the indictment, it is an ongoing conspiracy. Four people were named in the indictment. It's a very strong, but very brief indictment. It's clearly an ongoing and potential in the indictment. They say the conspiracy is continuing and as I said in the press conference, they're still investigating.

BURNETT: So, Donald, look this comes as The Washington Post is reporting at least four National Security officials and I don't know if you just heard the reporter. But he said that we should view that as at least, with emphasis on at least, raised alarms about what was happening with Ukraine, specifically about digging up dirt on the Bidens and the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine's role in the election and that they were doing so even before the call.

And then when they heard the call within hours it got moved to the super-secret server. It certainly screams at this point that there were a lot of people really who knew this was wrong and an immediate urge to cover-up, Donald.

DONALD AYER, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Well, I mean, this is an interesting example of something with President Trump we've seen kind of over and over again and that is things get deeper and thicker and more disturbing information comes out. And it's almost, sometimes, an advantage for him, because we get distracted from what we already know otherwise.

And one of the things I want to say, I was one of the folks that signed a letter that's focusing on what we do know he did and what he shared with us. And essentially, the call he had with the President of Ukraine and then his public announcement that China really ought to be investigating and trying to find dirt on the Bidens.

We know now already. This is all very interesting and I think this will lead somewhere and lead to more incriminating information. But we already know that the President has violated his oath of office. We already know that the President has used his powers in order to bargain for personal benefits here. The worst kind essentially aid in digging up dirt on political opponents and we know all we need to know to know that he should be impeached.

And what we're finding out now is more facts that pile on top. It's going to be interesting to watch. It'll unfold and we'll get a lot of information. But we shouldn't be distracted from what we already know to be true. And that's one of the problems with the amount of bad behavior that this president engages in. It distracts us.

BURNETT: And, David Axelrod, to that point in this Washington Post report, they are reporting that John Bolton went ballistic when these topics came up with Gordon Sondland - that the guy who donated a million dollars to him is the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union brought up this whole issue of investigating Joe Biden and Ukraine, that John Bolton went ballistic.

[19:25:05]

And I also want to play for you, because I don't where this just happened, former National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster has now spoken out about this. I want to play for you what he just said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think it is appropriate for the President of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process? Thank you.

H. R. MCMASTER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes. Of course, no. No, it's absolutely not. Of course, it's not appropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: David, H. R. McMaster is obviously a very respected person. He, at one time though, pushed the President's story about leaking classified information or sharing classified information with the Foreign Minister of Russia. You now have H. R. McMaster speaking out. You've got this reporting that John Bolton knew this was wrong.

When you have so many people who are so respected and people may or may not agree with their politics, very senior who clearly think this is wrong, does this, David, start to affect Republicans?

AXELROD: I think the thing that will affect Republicans is Republican voters. The thing that is frightening Republicans is the prospect of being tagged by Trump and losing primaries. But I just want to make a point on Bolton and McMaster for that matter.

BURNETT: Yes.

AXELROD: But my first reaction, I think Gloria was on the same show, was that he scorned Bolton, he humiliated Bolton. Bolton is an institution in Washington, highly regarded even though there are people who don't like the things he's done, but he's got a lot of relationships and his fingerprints in my view are all over a lot of these stories, because he was a witness to a lot of these things.

This is the most obvious example. I think this is going to be a problem for the President. All of these people he's scorned have no reason to do him any favors here.

BURNETT: And Gloria - yes, go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: I just want to add to what David is saying and you talk about changing Republican's mind. David is right. They're not going to shift until public opinion shifts ahead of them and then they would follow.

But the question that I have hearing McMaster today and seeing how Republicans are refusing to answer very direct questions is where is Tillerson, who was also asked according to a Bloomberg story to do something that he said he would not do, where is Kelly, former Chief of Staff, where is Mattis, Secretary of Defense.

These people who were in the administration, who are no longer in the administration, I think would have a great deal of impact if they came out together and said, "This is a problem." I don't know, David, maybe you'll disagree with me, but I think it might have some impact.

AXELROD: No. No, I think so. And I think there is a drip, drip, drip nature to this that could change public opinion. But when you asked how a Republican politician is going to behave. The reason they're hanging back and not commenting on what they know to be wrong is because they're just too concerned about the political implications of taking on a president who still has an 87 or something percent approval rating among Republican voters.

BURNETT: Yes. Donald, in your letter which you wrote with the 16 other attorneys who also many of whom served under Republicans, you do say, "We believe the acts revealed publicly over the last several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the President's oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed'."

The point that you are making, which you mentioned, is that what we have seen publicly in your view is enough to impeach. Are you concerned that the fact that there's a whole investigation here and therefore to the public the perception that there's more information needed is actually going to slow this whole thing down to a point where it loses that momentum?

AYER: Well, I think there's a challenge for the Democrats and the folks on the Hill that are running the investigation and that is to move as quickly as possible and to make some hard judgments about how wide-ranging. Unfortunately, I think, this president is probably guilty of numerous, numerous high crimes and misdemeanors that could be put into a bill of impeachment.

And the question is, well, how many are we going to include, and I'm not saying they have to do it in the next two weeks. I think that would probably be premature, but it seems to me there's a lot of hard calls to make. It seems to me, also, we already know the answer. And the question is what should be in the bill of impeachment that ends up going to the Senate.

BURNETT: John Dean, what would you say is the timing from here?

DEAN: Somewhere between the end of the year and the 2020 election. I can't predict exactly when it's going to come down. I think the House will move, obviously, with some dispatch whether they'll ever be a Senate trial is up for grabs still. I think a crafted, well-crafted articles of impeachment that do pass

the House could put a lot of members of the Senate on the spot.

BURNETT: Well, and it's also very interesting, I will say, that you're saying between the end of the year and the actual election itself, as many would hope that this is all done before that.

[19:30:05]

Thank you all so very much and thanks to all of you for joining us.