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Federal Judge Slams Donald Trump's Comments About McCabe Case, Likens To A Banana Republic; Attorney General Bill Barr Tells Justice Department To Take Another Look At The Michael Flynn Case; Questions About Whether Nevada Is Prepared For The Upcoming Caucus. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 14, 2020 - 19:00   ET


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


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Banana Republic. A Federal judge slamming the President for getting involved in the case against the former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

This as the Attorney General Bill Barr tells the Justice Department to take another look at the Michael Flynn case.

Plus just eight days until the Nevada caucuses, could we see a repeat of the Iowa debacle? A man overseeing multiple precincts there tells me he has not yet been trained.

And Bernie Sanders moving on to Super Tuesday states topping more new polls. Is it the Sanders Democratic Party now? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight: Banana Republic. A Federal judge tonight with withering commentary about the Department of Justice Judge Reggie Walton saying, "I don't think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. I just think it's a Banana Republic when we go down that road."

Now, this Federal Judge Walton -- Judge Walton, by the way is a Republican nominated senior Federal judge clearly is slamming the President of the United States.

In this particular case, over Trump's insistence that the Department of Justice investigate the former F.B.I. Deputy Chief, Andrew McCabe.

Now, tonight the Department of Justice is dropping that probe. But at the same time, Attorney General Bill Barr tonight is giving Trump yet another huge present.

An official telling CNN that Barr is privately ordering a reexamination of some high profile cases including one Trump cares a lot about -- his former National Security adviser, Michael Flynn. Flynn is awaiting sentencing for lying to the F.B.I.

Well, this reexamination is surely music to the boss's ears.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They ought to be ashamed of themselves. What they've done to General Flynn.

What they did to General Flynn is very unfair, in my opinion.

Look at Flynn, it's a shame.


BURNETT: And now here we are, for the second time in basically as many days, Barr appears to be caving to Trump's bidding.

And the fact is that Barr's move to order the case reexamined is highly unusual, and it comes on the heels of his attempt to overrule career D.O.J. prosecutors in pushing for a lighter sentence for another Trump crony, Roger Stone.

Now, overruling sentences for cronies is the sort of thing that happens in a Banana Republic, which may be why Judge Walton added this damning and sobering thought about the current President of the United States, "The integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government. I think it's very unfortunate. And I think as a government and as a society, we're going to pay a price."

Boris Sanchez is OUTFRONT live outside the White House tonight. So Boris, you have this Federal judge, you know, really with withering commentary about Trump when he is talking about a Banana Republic. This as the Department of Justice drops that probe into McCabe. What was the President's reaction to that today?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, were told by sources inside the White House that President Trump did not know that this news about Andrew McCabe was coming, and that he was furious.

Attorneys apparently having to try to calm the President down, trying to dissuade him by presenting the legal rationale for why charges were not being brought against Andrew McCabe.

We're told that the President really tried to force the issue with him that he was adamant that McCabe should face charges.

Of course, he's been targeting Andrew McCabe for a long time now for years, and he has repeatedly suggested that he should be locked up, calling him a Deep State operator and such.

The timing of course is interesting with this news, coming from the Department of Justice that Attorney General William Barr is going to re-examine these cases, including Michael Flynn's case. That is likely music to the President's ears as you said, Erin.

He has repeatedly suggested that Flynn was ambushed by F.B.I. investigators, even though he pled guilty to lying to the F.B.I., so in a way, this could be seen as a sort of a consolation prize coming from Attorney General William Barr to the President, not going after one of his political targets, one of his perceived opponents, but offering him some consolation with Michael Flynn -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much Boris and OUTFRONT now, someone who worked with Bill Barr, the former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer. He served in the George H.W. Bush administration where he was senior to Bill Barr at the time.

And I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, Mr. Ayer. So Judge Walton, you know, worries about a Banana Republic. It was sobering commentary. He talks about inappropriate actions at the top of the government. What's your reaction to what Judge Walton said?

DONALD AYER, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I agree with what Judge Walton said and I guess I'm at a point, myself of thinking, we really have to look at the bigger picture here of what's been going on for a long time.

And I really think when you do that, you come to the conclusion that it's time for Bill Barr to resign as Attorney General.


BURNETT: So, I mean, look, it's a serious thing to say, you know him, you've worked with him. You know the good, you now see what he is doing now. We obviously have him right now looking into another case involving a Trump loyalist regarding, you know, reexamining the case, in this case sentencing in the other. Obviously, I'm referring to Trump's friends, loyalists Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

So how do you get to resign? It's not a small thing for someone like yourself to say.

AYER: No, it's not and I think the bottom line reason is that it's clear from many things he has done since he took over, but also for many things he has said that he doesn't believe in our system of government, in which no one is above the law, and you can go through the record of his performance.

We're looking at it right now in these events -- intervening essentially on behalf of the President, but there's a whole series of events that goes back over his whole term of service for the last year, and then a whole lot of things he said, that show that he really doesn't believe that the President is not above the law, and so I'd be glad to talk about some of those things if you want me to.

BURNETT: What are -- well, what are some of them because obviously now he is saying, well, you know, he does this interview, right, where he gives Trump what Trump wants, right? He defends trying to overrule the sentencing for Roger Stone.

But he says, stop tweeting about it, you're making my job impossible. And some people interpret that as he is actually standing up to the President. It does not sound like that's how you see it. AYER: No, I think what you have to do is look at look at what we do,

not what we say. And, you know, there's a long series of events and in most people's minds, they start with Bill Barr's whitewashing of the Mueller report back in March and April of this year.

Many people will remember in October, you know, I'm sorry, in December, you had the I.G.'s report who had done a long inquiry into the F.B.I. investigation of Russian interference.

And the headline findings of that report was that there were problems in the F.B.I. but the predication, the factual basis for the report was entirely proper and there was no bias found or indicated among the people overseeing the investigation.

Attorney General Barr immediately said that he didn't agree with that. He didn't think that was correct. And he actually got his U.S. Attorney Durham to say the same thing.

You've got Barr behaving very unprofessionally in the context of that investigation before it was over when he goes out and I said it lately as well that the F.B.I. was spying on the campaign.

You have the Attorney General misstating the conclusions of the Mueller report when he talks about in the President's words, no collusion. Well, they didn't find no collusion. They found no conspiracy, no agreement with the Russians to actually interfere.

But plenty of collusion, lots of people having meetings with Russians and that sort of thing.

BURNETT: Very encouraging. So what do you think happened? I mean, look, I'm impressed with the fact that you're willing to come out and say something boldly and without fear and you think he should resign.

But you've known him for a long time. You've known of him for a long time. You've known of his reputation. He's a guy who respected executive power. He was known for that. But yet, by most accounts, he seems to have gone way farther than anybody expected. What do you think happened to Bill Barr? Is it about him or is it about Trump or what?

AYER: Well, I don't think anything happened. I think all you have to do is read what he has believed for apparently most of his life. And he really believes -- I believe he believes that the President should be essentially above the law.

He wrote a memo, which I think a lot of people -- you probably talked about it on this show in June of 2018, when he was, I guess, hoping to be considered for Attorney General and the memo came out with this amazingly broad sense of the President's powers.

Among other things, he said, the President is the executive branch, and he went on to say very specifically, that the President had the power -- indeed, he had the obligation to be in charge of and make decisions if need be in investigations, including having the right to decide in an investigation of himself, what ought to happen. Well, that's the definition of the President being above the law and

that's Bill Barr's conception of the President's powers.

Lots of other things he has done, have carried through on trying to prevent meaningful interference or prevention of his exercise of powers.

There's a whole series of ways in which Barr's Justice Department has supported preventing the effective role of checks and balances in our government. You know, he is litigating the case involving the emergency declaration where the President couldn't get Congress to appropriate money for the border wall.


AYER: And so the President made an emergency declaration and said, I'm going to use that even though he said it wasn't really an emergency and I just want to move faster. I'm going to use that declaration in order to divert money from something else.

Well, Bill Barr's Justice Department is litigating his right to do that, which is indefensible. Bill Barr's Justice Department has pushed the whole concept of absolute executive privilege, multiple opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel, preventing Congress from playing its traditional role of having effective oversight.

BURNETT: Well, I think -- I appreciate you giving all these angles and I appreciate you taking the stand that you're taking and coming on and saying what you believe.

You believe that he should resign, and I appreciate your time. Donald Ayers, as I said, former Deputy Attorney General.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT with me now. Obviously, he covers the Justice Department. I mean, Evan, you've been talking to sources inside the Department of Justice.

You know, you have a judge coming out today referring to Banana Republic, about the President's role and the Department of Justice in some senses.

You have here a former Deputy Attorney General calling for Barr's resignation. What is the mood inside the department?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, look, I think there's a lot of unease about what has happened this past week, Erin.

Look, I think a lot of the things that the Attorney General has been saying, some of the rhetoric that he has adopted from the President was already uncomfortable for a lot of people.

But until this week, we hadn't seen any of the actions that was so publicly done, right, where you have the Attorney General, publicly, essentially disavowing the work of career prosecutors who are simply following the guidelines that this administration has set forth. And so that's one of the things that is now giving people unease

inside the Department about exactly what is happening, maybe these accusations that the Attorney General is simply too politically involved, you know, carrying out the bidding of the President. Maybe those things are true.

I think a lot of people are very, very nervous about it. I think the Attorney General doing this interview this past week where he pushed back on the President's tweets, I think he needed to do that to quell some of the unease inside the Department.

BURNETT: All right, and of course, then the next day doing again what the President wants in part. You know, it's all -- all right, Evan, thank you very much.

And next, President Trump trying to get the last word via tweet after Barr asked him to stop tweeting.

Plus a volunteer in charge of several precincts in Nevada raising serious concerns on this program tonight about the upcoming caucus there. Could it be an Iowa repeat? I'll talk to him.

And Amy Klobuchar stepping up her attacks on Bernie Sanders.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think that is where our party is, and I certainly don't think that is where our country is.


BURNETT: Is she right?



BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump trying to have the last word after his Attorney General, Bill Barr said this to ABC.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.


BURNETT: Well, Barr needed to say that because you know, Trump keeps saying things that seem to imply he is doing that and today, well, the response came on Twitter which, you know, irony there right, since Bill Barr said, could you just get off it?

Nope. Trump says, "This does not mean that I do not have as President the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to." Now, there I guess, he is referring to, you know, the criminal case intervention.

OUTFRONT now, former Director of the Nixon Library, Tim Naftali, and White House correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman.

So Maggie, Barr tells the President to stop tweeting, and so he responds in a tweet to something, you know, important, really important that Bill Barr said, which is he hasn't asked me to intervene in a criminal case, the President's response on Twitter. Yes, but I could if I want.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, Erin, it's very in line with what we have seen this President say in a number of situations.

It was the same with Robert Mueller and whether he had the right to get rid of him. It's been the same with ambassadors and whether he had the right to get rid of them, whether he had the right to have Lieutenant Colonel Vindman moved out of the N.S.C. and the White House after his impeachment testimony.

The question of whether he has the right to do it is actually generally not the case. The question is whether he should be doing it and whether he is crossing lines that other Presidents have not, or when they have, they have come into trouble.

The President was, according to all my reporting, not pleased with what Bill Barr said. We have not seen him react the way that he typically does because we have seen with him that when his back is against the wall, and when he actually has to be disciplined for a short period of time he can be, and I think he has been warned by people.

Look, we saw it in the final week before the election that he actually simmered down. But when it was pointed out to him, that he had not been using his Twitter feed as much in the final week of the election, he got angry that that was noticed and started tweeting to make a point of that. That's exactly what you saw him do with Barr today.

I don't know that it means a change for their relationship going forward. Barr has a lot of latitude with this President. But sometimes this President gets an idea in his head about somebody and it's like a germ and it just burrows in his brain and I think we're going to have to see how this plays out.

BURNETT: So, you know and you're -- in the context of what Maggie is saying, you're talking about Bill Barr, you know, we just heard a former Deputy Attorney General calling for his resignation and we're making the point about Bill Barr and his expansive view of executive power.

So a part of Bill Barr that goes, see, I have that view, but then I got this person, that when he does an interview, and then he does what Maggie is talking about today. Does Bill Barr blanch?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think Bill Barr has his own agenda. I think Bill Barr went back into government to achieve some things. And I think that he views Trump as his enabler as much as he enables Trump. I don't think they always agree on how to use power.

Look at what Bill Barr is doing right now. Bill Barr is investigating the way in which the Intelligence Community does its assessments of Russia. That is hugely important and could have a big chilling effect on our Intelligence Community.

Bill Barr has just launched an investigation of the Flynn prosecution. I think Bill Barr was saying to the President, I've got things to do. You're making it hard for me to do those things.

And those things, by the way, are not good for the country. They're not good for the rule of law, but they are Bill Barr's agenda as much as the President's.

BURNETT: Well, Judge Walton, as I pointed out a Republican nominee judge would agree with what you're saying.

Maggie, to your point. You know, when the President says, when someone tells him I was sort of chuckling when you used the word when he gets disciplined.

But when he's told he can't do something.

HABERMAN: Well, he can be disciplined.

BURNETT: You're right.

HABERMAN: He can behave with discipline is the point. When he gets told he can't do something, he likes to prove that he is doing it.

BURNETT: And so I want to just give a few examples.


BURNETT: Oh, I can do it, if I want -- sort of -- here are three times he did it. To your point.


TRUMP: I never told Don McGahn to fire Mueller. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I would have done it myself. It's very simple. I had the right to.

QUESTION: Can you say whether on this call, you raised Joe Biden or his son's name with Ukraine?

TRUMP: Well, I don't even want to mention it. But certainly I'd have every right to.

I put no pressure on them whatsoever. I could have. I think it would probably possibly have been okay if I did, but I didn't.


HABERMAN: You know, it's funny, in the context of Mueller, which was the first example like that, that I mentioned, where he said, you know, he didn't want Mueller fired, but he had the right to do that.

Actually, it was shown in the Mueller report that he did want Mueller fired.

BURNETT: And by the way, it's not just that he said he have the right to. Also, this was a lie according to others under testimony. He did tell Don McGahn to fire -- so there's the dishonesty plus the --

HABERMAN: Exactly. And so I think that when he says these things of, I never did that, but I had the right to, you have to bear that in mind.

One thing I was struck by listening to Barr in that bit just now, and I think Tim is exactly right. I think that Barr has his own interest that he is tending to.

But when Barr was saying, you know, I've never -- the President has never ordered me to do this. I'm not sure the President has to.

If you think about one of the most important things that Michael Cohen said in his testimony, the President's former lawyer before the House was basically he doesn't need to give you a directive. That you know what he wants, and you follow along with that.

Is anybody who is reading the President's Twitter feed unclear on what he wants? I think it's really all right out there to be seen.

BURNETT: No, it's true. I mean, you know, in a sense, Bill Barr didn't need -- I mean, just take the very specific example of the Roger Stone sentencing. Bill Barr knew what Trump wanted. Everybody knows what Trump wanted.

NAFTALI: Well, I also think it's important for us to make clear that it is a crime to intervene in a criminal matter the way the President is doing. He actually does not have the right to do this.

His role as President means that saying those things, in fact, is pressure. Maybe if we said this on television, it might be interesting, but we're not in a position to put pressure on the Justice Department. He is.

So I think that when he says it, he is actually committing a crime. And so it's not just he doesn't have the right to say this.

BURNETT: And Maggie, just another question that when there are people now and you hear this all the time, I'm sure. People say, well, okay, Trump just does it in a more whatever -- brazen or childish or offensive way -- but other people did it before. This is what they do, meaning Presidents in this case. People say that, but it's not true.

HABERMAN: I don't know what the comparable -- I don't even know what the comparison basis is for a lot of the cases that we have seen under this President, where you have had so many former advisers to this particular President who have come under investigation or have been charged.

I understand that Bill Barr has issues with how the Mueller report in the Mueller investigation was handled. But he then said that he felt the Stone prosecution was right and he thought that the just -- the outcome was right.

I don't -- I just don't understand how you would line that up with previous Presidents, I guess is the best way I can answer that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. And next, questions tonight about whether Nevada is prepared for the upcoming caucus.


SETH MORRISON, NEVADA CAUCUS SITE LEADER: We are going to be using an online tool throughout the process and we have never seen or have been trained on that tool.


BURNETT: You saw the look on my face. You'll see more.

Plus, Bernie Sanders polling in the top tier, even in the State of Texas. Is it his Democratic Party now?



BURNETT: With just eight days until the Nevada caucuses, growing questions tonight about whether there is any risk of an Iowa debacle repeat.

Now, some campaigns and volunteers in Nevada say they are concerned about the new caucus calculator and iPads that are going to be handed out to them that they're going to use for the results.

Earlier I spoke to Seth Morrison. He is going to be in charge of several precincts in Nevada about the training that he's received.


MORRISON: We are going to be using an online tool throughout the process and we have never seen or have been trained on that tool.

They told us that a night or two before the caucuses, we would pick up the iPads and all our other materials. But they there is no provision that has been shared to my knowledge to do the detailed training.

BURNETT: So how do you feel about this --

MORRISON: You know, I am concerned.


BURNETT: Well, okay, Nevada was supposed to originally use the same app as Iowa before the disaster there. So that's part of the reason they had to scramble and put something new in. But Seth actually said he was trained on that app. So before Iowa,

Nevada had a big day, a whole day they were going to train on that app and here's what happened.


MORRISON: We had a large day-long training, where they were supposed to show us the app, but they ended up spending the whole day trying to download the app and most people in the room could not.

So we left that day, knowing clearly that there were problems.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Tom Perez, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Chairman Perez, you know, I just spoke with Seth Morrison. He is going to be in charge of multiple precincts in Nevada for the caucuses there.

He says that they are going to be given iPads, but not until the night or two before the caucuses. He hasn't seen the software tool they're going to be using and he is concerned. What's your reaction?

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, listen, the Nevada Democratic Party, I have great confidence in. Our team is out there as well, and they're not going to be using an app. Let me be clear.

The app that was in place in Iowa, they're not using it. Our goal is to have a caucus that is as low tech as humanly possible while preserving efficiency.


So, what does that mean, Erin? Well, tomorrow when early voting starts, people are going to use a paper ballots and they'll use paper ballots for the next four days. In the meantime, one of the lessons we take from Iowa is that we need to be talking relentlessly with our volunteers. And so, we're doing that day in and day out.

Now, they had to make adjustments after Iowa, but the good news is they always had a back up plan. So, they're not starting from scratch by any stretch.

BURNETT: So, you're not concerned when Seth says he's not getting any training and not anticipating getting any.


BURNETT: He said he did on the app that Iowa used, that Nevada was going to use, and they had a whole day of training, couldn't get any training, because they never got the darn thing to launch. But, you know, he's a little worried he's not being trained. But you're saying that that is misplaced. But it will be --

PEREZ: Look -- yes. I am saying training is critically important and we understand that. And, by the way, I'm very appreciative for Seth and all of the volunteers in Nevada. People have stepped up in remarkable ways. And they're going to be at the 80-plus caucus sites tomorrow. And then a week from tomorrow and all of the caucus sites across the state.

So, these volunteers are the life blood of this effort. But we also have at the same time, the Nevada Democratic Party aided by an army of people elsewhere, including from the DNC. And our goal -- and we will implement this goal -- is to make sure that everybody walks in all of our volunteers, all of the people who are running the caucus walk in Saturday morning of next week when we do have the actual caucus, understanding what their role is with a person to call.

They don't have to use their own technology. They don't have to use an app. In Iowa, people were using some of their own technology. And we made sure, no, that is not the case.

BURNETT: But you're saying people like Seth, he will get the training that he seems to feel he will get more comfortable getting since he hasn't got any.

PEREZ: Absolutely. Without a doubt he will get it and everybody else who needs to be trained will be trained and there will be people in caucus sites or readily available on a phone. If you have a question, you will feel free to call those people.

Again, I have great confidence in the leadership team in Nevada, in Senator Reed and Senator Cortez Masto, and Senator Rosen (ph) and the team in the Nevada Democratic Party.

BURNETT: So, we have obtained a document, Chairman Perez, which shows that DNC officials played extensive roles in the development of the app that was -- that was used in Iowa. The contract with that app specified that the company had to provide the DNC with access to the software for testing, work together with ongoing basis. This is all from the contract to develop the software.

PEREZ: Uh-huh.

BURNETT: So, now, you've looked at this whole situation. How much responsibility do you take for what happened in Iowa, Chairman?

PEREZ: Well, listen, our partnership with the state parties, the Iowa Democratic Party, while they run the caucus and they administer the caucus, everything we do with the states is a partnership. We all succeed together. We all fall short together.

And the language you're referring to is language that we have put in place in contracts to make sure that we are paying attention to cybersecurity. Now, the contract that was entered into with Shadow which was the company that fell short with the app, that contract was entered into between the Iowa Democratic Party and Shadow.

But the language that you're referring to is something we include because we care about cyber security. We have learned a lot of lessons the hard way about cybersecurity. And here's the thing about Iowa and the reason why your language --

BURNETT: Did you test the software? I mean, I'm just -- did this provide you with access to software for testing. Did you test it for security but not for efficacy?

PEREZ: Absolutely. These cyber -- Iowa's failures were not a cybersecurity failure. The language you're referring to was language we include in these contracts so that we are cyber ready.

With hindsight, and again, our rules and bylaws committee inquired into whether it had been pressure tested -- put aside cybersecurity -- whether it had been pressure tested so that it could work at scale and we received assurance that it could. And with hindsight, we together with the Iowa Democratic Party should have tested it more.

BURNETT: But you and I have talked about some of the criticism you're taking about adjusting the criteria to make the cut for a Democratic debate, right? Who's on the stage, it's an incredible power to make that call. You've made the case for changing the rules to focus on polls and not just donors which gives Michael Bloomberg who was polling solidly but self-funding it in.

So, what do you say, Chairman, to those in your own party, I know a lot of them, who are dismissing Bloomberg and they're saying, you know what, he's the guy rigging it, he's buying his way on to the stage, that's not legitimate?


PEREZ: Well, I -- first of all, I would say to people take a step back. Look at what we did as a party when I became chair almost three years ago. We engaged in a very inclusive process of reform. We did remarkable reforms. We reformed the super delegate laws.

And this was supporters of Secretary Clinton, supporters of Senator Sanders, others working together. There was no delegate, super delegate counter in the run up to Iowa unlike four years ago because we reformed the super delegate role. So, we returned power to the voters.

To those who say, well, someone like Michael Bloomberg can buy his way on to the debate stage, I say the following: number one, we need to reform citizens -- we need to overturn Citizens United, reform our campaign finance laws. That's going to be part of the platform. And number two, you do have a remedy if you believe that someone like Michael Bloomberg shouldn't be able to self-fund to raise.

And your remedy is this, get out there and vote. Make your voice heard. Get out there on Super Tuesday or whenever your primary day --


BURNETT: Do you have an issue with someone self-funding? Because it is -- look, it's a circular -- it's a circular question. I understand that. But if someone's willing to put their own money in, is that a bad thing? PEREZ: Well, again, that's going to be up for the voters, Erin, to

decide, because I read recently in the last couple of days, you know, there have been stories written about statements that Mayor Bloomberg has made about stop and frisk.

Well, one of the best ways to -- and I -- full disclosure, I was at the Justice Department when we filed a brief opposing stop and frisk. And a number of people want to know, what's his position?

One of the best ways to answer that question is to have him, if he makes the debate stage and he hasn't qualified yet, that's what debates are about.

BURNETT: Chairman Perez, always a pleasure. Thank you for your time.

PEREZ: My pleasure.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, the 2020 candidates are coming together to take on one of their own.

Plus, we brought you the story of Andrew Yang's wife, Evelyn. She talked about being sexually assaulted by her doctor. And since she came forward, another 37 women have come out with allegations about the same doctor. And you'll hear from one tonight.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't know if he was going to rape me or --






BURNETT: Tonight, who's afraid of Bernie Sanders? Well, apparently, his fellow Democrats. Amy Klobuchar warning that Sanders is not only out of step with the party but she says with the country.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was the only one on that stage that raised my hand and said that I didn't think we should have a socialist leading the Democratic ticket. I don't think that is where our party is and I certainly don't think that is where our country is.


BURNETT: Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT. She is Nevada where the candidates are campaigning. So, Kyung, Senator Klobuchar is far for the only one going after Sanders for his left to center politics, although she's right, she's the only one who did raise her hand on that stage in New Hampshire saying she had a problem with a socialist at the top of the ticket.

What are the other candidates saying now?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the other moderates who are joining her in this belief. It is getting a bit more forceful, more direct, and expected to get more pronounced in the state of Nevada. Why? Because the Culinary Union has told its 60,000 members that a vote for Bernie Sanders would equal the elimination of their union health care. And they are talking about Medicare for All.

Listen to Pete Buttigieg and what he said about Bernie Sanders when it comes to health care.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is just one example of an issue where we have this my way or the highway politics that suggest to people that if you're not with me, you must be against me. If you're not for the revolution, you must be for the status quo.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need a revolution. We want evolution. And we need a nominee who can deliver it.


LAH: And that, of course, Mike Bloomberg taking the same argument that Pete Buttigieg made it and expanding it to say Bernie Sanders can't win the general election against Trump.

BURNETT: So, Kyung, Sanders, though, tonight -- you know, you're in Nevada. He's not there, though, even though it is the next state to vote. He's not actually in South Carolina which is the state after Nevada. He is looking ahead to Super Tuesday, trying to really expand the map, stopping in North Carolina and Texas today.

LAH: A delegate-rich Texas. And here's why. Take a look at this poll. This is a poll that just came out today.

And look who sits at the top of that poll. It is Bernie Sanders. He is at 24. Biden at 22. Warren 15, Bloomberg 10, Pete Buttigieg 7.

And a reminder, Pete Buttigieg was the one who was the top of the heap in Iowa -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kyung. Obviously, a wide open race it seems like right now. Things change so quickly right now. Thank you.

And OUTFRONT next, what is it about Michael Bloomberg that has Trump so obsessed. Plus, a follow up to an exclusive story we brought you. Andrew Yang's

wife says she was sexually assaulted by her doctor while she was pregnant.

And thanks to her coming out and her bravery, 37 more women have come forward with allegations about the same doctor.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He raped/molested all these women and nothing's been done.




BURNETT: Tonight, more than 35 new accusers have come forward since Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, said in a CNN exclusive that she was assaulted by her doctor, bringing the total to nearly 70 women saying they too were assaulted by that same doctor.

Now, he never spent a day in prison. Prosecutors cut him a plea deal in 2016. Now as more and more accusers emerge, the district attorney in New York is being pressured to file new charges.

Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): An attorney now representing dozens of former patients says this man, Dr. Robert Hadden, could be one of the most prolific sexual predators in New York City's history, all the more stunning to his accusers, that this former OB/GYN has never spent a day behind bars.

EMILIA HECKMAN, FORMER HADDEN PATIENT: He's retired. He raped/molested all these women and nothing's been done. And that makes me furious. How can that be?

GRIFFIN: Emilia Heckman, the latest to come forward, said she trusted Hadden, even believed he was doing her a favor, squeezing her in to being the last patient of the day back in 2012. She was told to completely undress and says while naked on an exam tale, he assaulted her.

HECKMAN: The exam went from a rubber glove examination to a tongue and beard. And I recoiled, tensed up.


He abruptly got up and I put my clothes on really fast, because I didn't know -- we were the last ones in the office, and I didn't know if he was going to rape me or -- GRIFFIN (on camera): You didn't know if the attack was over?

HECKMAN: Yes. Yes. Yes, I didn't. I ran out.

GRIFFIN: And you never saw him again?

HECKMAN: Never saw him again.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Heckman was a young model at the time. She says she didn't tell anyone about the assault, worried no one would believe her. Years later, she learned, there was many others.

In 2012, New York police first arrested Hadden for allegedly licking another patient's vagina, but prosecutors didn't file charges and Hadden returned to work at Columbia University's Medical Clinic for more than a month. That's when he allegedly assaulted at least two more women, including Evelyn Yang, wife of former presidential candidate, Andrew Yang.

EVELYN YANG, FORMER HADDEN PATIENT: What happened to me should have never happened. He was arrested in his office and he was let back to work.

GRIFFIN: Two years later, Hadden was arrested again, this time indicted on nine counts involving six of his patients. But even though the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance knew of 19 potential victims, prosecutors cut a deal. Dr. Hadden pleaded guilty to two charges, gave up his medical license, and walked away. No prison time, no probation, not even community service.

YANG: It's like getting, you know, slapped in the face and punched in the gut. The D.A.'s office is meant to protect us, is meant to serve justice. And there was no justice here.

GRIFFIN: Since Evelyn Yang told her story on CNN last month, her attorney says dozens more former patients have come forward, saying they, too, were assaulted.

Emilia Heckman and 40 other patients who were not included in the plea deal want the D.A.'s office to reopen the case.

HECKMAN: I want the district attorney to revisit some of these cases. I want to be included. You know, I wasn't included before.

GRIFFIN: Heckman and Yang along with dozens of other women are suing Dr. Hadden and Columbia University, his former employer, saying that Columbia did nothing to stop the serial sexual abuse on countless occasions. In legal filings, Columbia says it did nothing wrong. Hadden has admitted guilt involving just two of his patients. Heckman listed in her lawsuit as Jane Doe number 23 says after Evelyn Yang came forward, her husband, James Heckman, a media company executive, encouraged her to go public.

HECKMAN: I think the more victims come out and show their face, like, hey, I'm a real person, you know, I'm not just Jane Doe, you know, maybe the district attorney will listen to that. GRIFFIN: Emilia Heckman says she plans to present her complaint

directly to the district attorney.


GRIFFIN: Erin, the Manhattan district attorney, Cy Vance, hasn't spoken publicly about the Hadden case. He's refused our request for an interview, but in a statement told us that while we stand by our disposition of this difficult case, we regret that this resolution has caused survivors pain.

The alleged survivors of Dr. Robert Hadden say, that's just not good enough -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Drew Griffin, thank you very much.

And we'll be right back.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's obsession with his rivals and what he sees as a particular shortcoming.

Here's Jeanne.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's nothing mini about the height war.


MOOS: In matter of minutes, President Trump called Michael Bloomberg Mini Mike. He said he reminds him of a tiny version of Jeb "low energy" Bush, suggested, no boxes please, as in no box for Bloomberg to stand on at debate.

Reporters read the tweetstorm from their phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mini Mike is a five foot four inch mass of dead energy.

MOOS: Never mind that Mike Bloomberg is actually around five-seven.

The White House even shared a photoshopped image of Bloomberg made to look extra petite. But there was nothing petite about Bloomberg's response.

A Carnival barking and clown, Bloomberg said, people call the president.

BLOOMBERG: Donald, where I come from, we measure your height from your neck up. MOOS (on camera): We measure your height from your neck up. Is Bloomberg comparing brains?

(voice-over): On a more cerebral note, the Bloomberg campaign tweeted a quote from Gladiator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time for honoring yourself will soon be an end.

MOOS: President Trump has been dishonoring his opponents this way for ages.

TRUMP: Little Rocket Man.

Little Marco. Little Marco.

Don't worry about it, Little Marco.

MOOS: But when he called Senator Joe Manchin, Munchkin.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I guess he's confused on that because I am a little bigger than him. He's got me about 30 pounds on weight.

MOOS: Ever since Sean Hannity played word association with the president --


TRUMP: Very little. I just think of little.

MOOS: Partisans on both sides have been churning out meme shrinking the other guy or his hands.

"The Washington Post" noted since 1952, when the age of television began, 12 of the 17 presidential contests have been one by the taller person.

TRUMP: There is nobody I'd rather run against that little Michael.

MOOS: But as one anchor noted --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mike Bloomberg, same height as Vladimir Putin.

MOOS: And you don't hear President Trump calling him little Vlad.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: Little Michael.

BLOOMBERG: We measure your height from your neck up.

MOOS: New York.


BURNETT: And coming up this weekend on CNN, we have a brand-new series about the world's, you know, most well-known royal family. At least right now, that's for sure. Don't miss the premiere of "THE WINDSORS: INSIDE THE ROYAL DYNASTY." An excellent show and it is Sunday night is the first time you can see it, at 10:00, right here, only on CNN.

Thanks so much more joining us. Anderson starts now.