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Trump: Sanders Is Like Me, But I Have A "Much Bigger Base"; Sanders Poses Biggest Threat To Trump; Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) Discusses About The Chance Of Bernie Sanders Winning South Carolina; Newly- Revealed Audio: Bloomberg Talks "Backhanded" Obama Endorsement, Thought Romney Could Have Done A Better Job; Joe Biden Holds Campaign Rally In South Carolina As New Poll Shows A Tight Race With Bernie Sanders; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) Is Interviewed About Trump Instructing Aides To Root Out Disloyal White House Staffers; Dow Plunges 1,000-Plus Points After Coronavirus Cases Surge; Weinstein Rerouted From Notorious Rikers Island Jail To Hospital After He Was Found Guilty Of Two Sex Crimes. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 24, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We'll hear here tonight from seven tonight - Wednesday night, I should say, seven Democratic presidential candidates over two nights. It all starts later tonight, 9:00 pm Eastern. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Sanders surge the Democratic frontrunner going all in on South Carolina trying to knock out Joe Biden. His rise catching Trump's attention.

Plus, prepare for the purge. The White House now warning anyone who is disloyal to the President could soon be gone. How many people could be on Trump's list?

And the Dow plunging more than a thousand points, a trillion dollars gone in two days.

The number of coronavirus cases spiking, is today's sell off just the beginning?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Trump's biggest threat, Bernie Sanders. This from a Republican Senator, Tim Scott, says Sanders has the best chance of defeating Trump in November. Scott, of course, is from South Carolina where Sanders is now stepping up. His efforts trying to deliver a major blow, potentially, a fatal one to his Democratic opponents.

That crucial primary is now just five days away and tonight President Trump is taking notice of the man who could very well be his 2020 rival, telling reporters onboard Air Force One today quote, "I actually think he'd be tougher than most of the other candidates because he is like me but I have a much bigger base."

And Marco Rubio's former campaign manager actually agrees about the threat from Sanders. I thought the way he put it at the top of his Wall Street Journal op-ed was perfect today. He writes, "Sanders isn't Trump's challenger so much as his sequel."

And here's the line, "A bombastic septuagenarian political outsider calls out a rigged system to the cheering masses. He finished his second in Iowa, first in New Hampshire and Nevada. Leads all the national polls while the establishment candidates wage all out war on one another."

That person, of course, was Donald J. Trump.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live in Charleston, South Carolina. Jeff, how confident is the Sanders campaign right now about winning the nomination?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORREPONDENT: Well, Erin, the Sanders campaign and the Senator himself are more confident than at any other point in the race so far and this is why, that 26-point victory in the Nevada caucuses over the weekend shows that he can and is expanding his coalition of supporters.

Now, all of his rivals are trying to take him down, but that is the problem. There are more candidates in the anti-Sanders lane than Sanders himself. So for now, at least, the next eight days are critical and the math is on Senator Sanders' side.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They say Bernie can't be Trump. So let's look at some of the polls out today.


ZELENY (voice over): Bernie Sanders is on a roll, driven by his winning momentum and his campaign movement.


SANDERS: And the key battleground states; Michigan and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania --


ZELENY (voice over): A very Trumpian move, calling out his own poll numbers.


SANDERS: General Election-CBS, Sanders 47, Trump 44.


ZELENY (voice over): It's setting up the most critical stretch of the Democratic primary with rivals scrambling to slow Sanders from mounting an unsurpassable lead in delegates. Joe Biden is hoping South Carolina voters put the brakes on Sanders's rise, telling us the self- described Democratic socialist would doom the Democratic ticket.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not just can you beat Donald Trump, can you bring along, can you keep a Democratic House of Representatives and the United States Congress, and can you bring along a Democratic senate, can you help people up and down the line.


ZELENY (voice over): Pete Buttigieg making the same case.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had better make sure we got a nominee at the top of the ticket, who cannot just take back the White House, but keep the House in the right hands and send Mitch McConnell packing.


ZELENY (voice over): Backing his argument up with TV ads here in South Carolina.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie Sanders Medicare for All would completely eliminate private insurance, instead of polarization, progress.


ZELENY (voice over): With new urgency in the race, fresh scrutiny for Sanders. Tonight, he's facing backlash from his Democratic rivals for his partial defense of Fidel Castro.


SANDERS: We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, do you what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing even though Fidel Castro did it?


ZELENY (voice over): Florida Democrat say yes, with Congresswoman Donna Shalala firing back, "I'm hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro."

South Carolina voters will weigh in first on Saturday, followed by 14 states three days later on Super Tuesday. Even some Biden supporters like Tracy Hughes are now unsure who was the strongest Democrat to challenge Trump.


ZELENY: And you think that Vice President Biden is the strongest Democrat to beat President Trump?

TRACY HUGHES, BIDEN SUPPORTER: I think it's a tossup. I believe Joe Biden is the one to do it, me personally. I think that Bernie Sanders may have what it takes, but I think that Joe Biden has that history.


I believe that if he's the candidate chosen that everyone will get behind him.


ZELENY: Now, one thing is clear when you talk to so many voters here, there is an age breakdown. Some older voters are still supporting the former Vice President, some younger voters said, look, they like Senator Sanders. But when Senator Sanders takes the stage at a town hall here, the audience is coming in, he's going to see a spotlight shining brighter. The same at the debate tomorrow evening.

In fact, Michael Bloomberg, his aides telling us tonight the debate is going to be all about Bernie Sanders. So we will see how Senator Sanders weathers all of this. But one thing that has propelled him above all of his rivals, he's done this before. The 2016 campaign provided a roadmap, but, Erin, he has never been on the cusp of winning the nomination like he is now.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, the national co- chair of Bernie Sanders' campaign. And I appreciate your time. Good to have you back.

So, look, South Carolina, the firewall for Joe Biden, he was perceived to be head and shoulder as the winner. Poll out today shows them within five points of each other. Do you think Senator Sanders will win South Carolina?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): He's going to do very well. Obviously, it's up hill. I know that Jim Clyburn was very respected in that state. He's likely to endorse Joe Biden. A lot of the political establishment is behind Joe Biden, but Bernie Sanders is going to do better than anyone expected him to do in that state.

BURNETT: So you just heard Biden and Buttigieg slamming Sanders. Buttigieg also, this weekend, calling him inflexible, saying Sanders ideas were 'revolution leave out most Americans'. You hear Bloomberg it's all about Sanders tomorrow. And, of course, last week it was all about Bloomberg for everybody. Is Bernie Sanders ready for everybody to come at him tomorrow night?

He is because he has had consistent beliefs for 30 years. That's why he's doing well. He believes we need to complete the work of FDR and finish the new deal that we need to give everyone in this country the right to health care, a decent education, childcare that we need to get out of endless wars.

That's his message. He knows who he is and he's going to say the same thing on the debate stage tomorrow night.

So we played a clip of this, but senator Sanders has come under fire from Democrats and Republicans for these comments he made last night on 60 Minutes about Fidel Castro. I just want to replay them for you, Congressman Khanna. Here he is.



SANDERS: We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba. But it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, do you what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing even though Fidel Castro did it?

ANDERSON COOPER, 60 MINUTES HOST: There's a lot of dissidents imprisoned in Cuba.

SANDERS: That's right and we condemn that.


BURNETT: Now, some of your Democratic colleagues from Florida which is, obviously, a crucial swing state and these are the Democrats that are slamming him, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, "I find Senator Sanders' comments on Castro's Cuba absolutely unacceptable."

And you just heard Donna Shalala. She said that she hope Sanders will take time to speak to her constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro. Do you think that perhaps he went too far on Castro?

KHANNA: Let me just say this, Senator Sanders clearly believes that Fidel Castro was a dictator that he had massive human rights abuses, that he engaged in mass shootings and there is absolutely no apology for what he did. He did things that were heinous and human rights violations that were indefensible.

But the point is that what Senator Sanders is saying is let's go back to Obama's policy, where Obama was trying to have some normalization with Cuba and not support Donald Trump's policy where Donald Trump has reversed everything Obama did.

And let me tell you, if you talk to President Obama or anyone close to him, he would have carried Florida in 2020. The young people were for him. All Senator Sanders is saying is let's go back to President Obama's policy.

BURNETT: So Mike Bloomberg campaign office in Chicago was vandalized over the weekend, as you may have heard. The word oligarch was among the word spray painted. Not the first time that that word or similar language was used to vandalize a Bloomberg campaign office. And in a statement, the campaign chairman, Kevin Sheekey, said in

part, "While we do not know who is directly responsible, we do know Senator Bernie Sanders and his campaign have repeatedly invoked this language. Senator Sanders' refusal to denounce these illegal acts is a sign of his inability to lead and his willingness to condone and promote Trump like rhetoric has no place in our politics.

Do you think Senator Sanders needs to denounce these acts of vandalism?

KHANNA: Let me just say, I'm the co chair of the Senator Sanders campaign. I unequivocally denounced these acts of vandalism. I don't condone anyone name calling any of the other opponents.


We are not about that. We are about our positive vision, which is a grassroots campaign that is fueled by individual donors and we are willing and eager to build a broad coalition. So we welcome people who were supporting other candidates to look at our platform and I believe when they look at our platform they're going to see that they agree with a lot of it.

BURNETT: Congressman Khanna, of course, some of this language, though, it does come from the top. I understand you denounce them. And here's, though, Bernie Sanders talking about Bloomberg in just the past couple of days.


SANDERS: Today, we say to Mayor Bloomberg we are a democracy not an oligarchy. You're not going to buy this election.

Anybody here worth $60 billion, you can run for president and you could buy the airwaves. My friends, that is called oligarchy not democracy.


BURNETT: Do you think he needs to change his rhetoric or not?

KHANNA: I think he's just pointing out the facts that Michael Bloomberg is spending $300 million to $400 million, an order of magnitude that is, at least, 10 times more than the entire field. And he believes as the Senator Warren as the many of the candidates that that's not healthy for our democracy.

I think that's a fair point to make in a Democratic debate. I mean, here you have Michael Bloomberg calling Bernie Sanders a communist which is patently false.

BURNETT: All right. I appreciate your time, Congressman Khanna. Good to talk to you again.

And tonight on CNN, don't miss --

KHANNA: Thank you, Erin. Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: -- the town halls, Bernie Sanders will be on at nine o'clock Eastern, Pete Buttigieg at 10 and Tom Steyer at 11. And the town halls will continue on Wednesday night, as well.

OUTFRONT next, Mike Bloomberg highlighting his ties to Obama. But new audio uncovered by CNN is painting a much different picture.


MIKE BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wrote a very backhanded endorsement of Obama saying I thought he hadn't done the right thing --


BURNETT: Plus, Joe Biden about to face this do or die primary as his lead narrows in South Carolina. Is Biden's firewall about to crack because of Bernie Sanders?

And guilty, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, convicted of rape and a criminal sex act. His accusers say this is just the beginning. He will spend his night in Rikers prison.



BURNETT: New tonight, audio from 2016 that we've obtained at CNN shows Michael Bloomberg downplaying his own endorsement of Barack Obama's reelection. Now, Bloomberg campaign, of course, has tried to paint a very close relationship between the two men.

But listen to Bloomberg here suggesting not that Obama earned his endorsement, but that his opponent, Mitt Romney, lost it. Listen in.


BLOOMBERG: I wrote a very backhanded endorsement of Obama saying I thought he hadn't done the right thing, hadn't been good at things that I think are important, and Romney would be a better person at doing that. But Romney did not stick with the values that he had when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

He was much more liberal, pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-immigration, things that I care about. And so I was going to vote for Barack Obama. I thought the Democrats would throw it back in my face. They loved the endorsement.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Tim O'Brien, strategic advisor for Bloomberg's presidential campaign. So, look, in terms of the Bloomberg and who he is as a political party, he was a Democrat all of his life until he ran for mayor --


BURNETT: -- in 2001 as a Republican.

O'BRIEN: Right.

BURNETT: That he was a Republican for two of his three terms. But we have heard several pieces of audio recently and there are going to be more.


BURNETT: Which show that Bloomberg is not delivering the sort of lines and the thoughts that's consistent with the Democratic Party now. I mean are you concern when you hear something like this? There's ads out showing them side by side and what he's really saying is it's a backhanded endorsement?

O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, they had both worked on urban outreach programs, the vulnerable youths. They had jointly appeared in press conferences and some of those things. I think at the top of this tape, Mike's clearly making a joke to whoever is there about his view of the banks.

But as the tape goes on, he talks about income inequality and he takes income inequality seriously. And in that audio, he's telling Wall Street, we need to take income inequality seriously. It affects us. We're a source of all this.

And I would point to where we are in the campaign, Mike has the most progressive package of financial reforms, I think, than any candidate. He has, other than Bernie Sanders, he would nationalize the banks, I think, if he had his way.

BURNETT: So tomorrow night is crucial for Bloomberg, obviously, especially in light of last week's performance.

O'BRIEN: Yes, absolutely.

BURNETT: Which, obviously, was not good. How will this Bloomberg tomorrow be different?

O'BRIEN: Well, I think Mike Bloomberg has to prove to voters that he can stand toe to toe with both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and stand up for his ideals, stand up for the things he's fighting for in this election. I think he was taken aback last week by a number of things. I didn't think he expected it to be a circular firing squad. I didn't think he expected Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden to make things up about him and his record.

Nonetheless, if you're on that stage and you're running for this office, you owe voters and the American public a strong performance and that's what we're going to see tomorrow night.

BURNETT: All right. So this is just an interesting sound bite we found that I want to give you a chance to respond to.


BURNETT: So under a year ago, Bloomberg explained why he would not be a presidential candidate and we found this. Here he is. Here's Mike Bloomberg about a year ago.


BLOOMBERG: It's just not going to happen on a national level for somebody like me starting where I am, unless I was willing to change all my views and go on what CNN called 'an apology tour'.

Joe Biden went out and apologized for being male, over 50, white --


BURNETT: So now, you have him reversing course on the non-disclosure agreements the day after the debate, stop-and-frisk apologizing. Is he apologizing too much?

O'BRIEN: Well, so I don't think he reversed course on the NDAs. I think he decided that he could release the ones that he was directly involved in, which was we're only three over a 30-year period. He still doesn't believe he has the right to release other parties from those NDAs, but he wanted to make it clear to the public that as Elizabeth Warren had insinuated, he is not a sexual predator and he's nothing like Donald Trump.


So I think he took a good strong step on his own behalf on the NDAs.


O'BRIEN: Think about going on an apology tour, he clearly expected people would call him an oligarch. I thought it was interesting earlier when Ro Khanna said that Bernie Sanders wants to bring back the values of Franklin D. Roosevelt into the national sphere, which actually we embrace as well. But by their definition, Franklin Roosevelt is also an oligarch.

Franklin Roosevelt was a very wealthy man --

BURNETT: Yes, he was.

O'BRIEN: -- who decided to get into the political process. By that definition as well so as George Washington and John Kennedy. So suddenly Ro Khanna and Bernie Sanders have a rule that people with resources can't get into public life, then they're glamorizing people that they themselves are holding up in front of people as this sort of totems of their own values. If it's good enough for Franklin Roosevelt, it's good enough for Mike Bloomberg.

BURNETT: So you're advising Bloomberg, but you actually know Donald Trump very well as well.

O'BRIEN: I do. I do. BURNETT: Both of them. You wrote a biography of Trump in 2005. Now,

President Trump was asked about Bernie Sanders' surge yesterday and this is what he said. Here he is.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Bernie is looking more and more like he'll be the nominee unless they cheat him out of it.


BURNETT: You know them both, what is your reaction?

O'BRIEN: I know them both. Well, I think Donald Trump would love Bernie Sanders to be the nominee. That's why he's polling for Bernie Sanders. I think that's apparently why the Russians have intervened in the election on Bernie Sanders' behalf.

Bernie Sanders will not beat Donald Trump in the fall. Bernie Sanders tonight, the clips you play of him touting polls showing him ahead are polls that are taken before Bernie Sanders is fully vetted. Bernie Sanders is yet to be fully vetted by the media, his opponents on the debate stage or other Democrats and there's a lot to come out on Bernie Sanders' run on immigration, gun violence, criminal justice.

BURNETT: Which didn't come in the whole campaign in 2015.

O'BRIEN: It has not come out. It has not come out. And if it came out in 2016, what came out, I think, has been forgotten. It hasn't come out in 2019 and 2020 in a muscular and robust way and I think voters are going to want to know about these things. And I think it will shape the polls.

And if the Democrats don't vet Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump will. And that's why Donald Trump is thrilled at the prospect of Bernie Sanders running against him. I've also been out on the road, probably in 15 states now down ballot Democrats, both progressives and moderates are frightened of Bernie Sanders being at the top of the ticket.

They know that he will torch their chances and I think Democratic voters have to get their thinking cap on.

BURNETT: All right. Tim, I appreciate your time.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much.

And next, we're less than an hour away from the start of the Democratic presidential town halls in South Carolina as the calls grow for some 2020 Democrats to drop out of the race.

Plus, the Trump administration is warning to anyone who is not loyal to Trump.


HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: If we find them, we'll take appropriate action.




BURNETT: Tonight, Nevada is about to award its final four delegates and this matters. Right now you got Bernie Sanders leading 22 delegates in the state, Joe Biden next with seven, Pete Buttigieg with three. And it comes as Biden is getting ready to hold a campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina tonight.

The former vice president needs a win in that state. But a new poll from NBC News-Marist shows the race tightening, Biden at 27, Sanders at 23. That is now within the margin of error.

OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former Special Advisor to President Obama, Gloria Borger, Chief Political Analyst for us and Jonathan Kott, Executive Director of The Big Tent Project which is a group raising millions against Bernie Sanders.

Van, you know what's amazing when you look at this situation in South Carolina. How much does Joe Biden need to beat Bernie Sanders by for this to be where Joe Biden needed it to be?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, when you have a drum roll that last this long, oh, wait till I get to South Carolina. The cymbal crash needs to be very loud. If it's a little dink, I win by two, then what was all of this sort of hemming and hawing about saying I could do so well in these diverse states and these non- diverse states don't count.

Bernie is pulling off something that I think people thought was not going to be possible for him. In 2016, the black community did not know Bernie Sanders. He would talk about Dr. King and marching a thousand years ago. People said, "Well, where have you been?"

Well, the last four years, he's been there and so he's now a known commodity and people are leaving the Biden camp, headed toward Bernie. I know a lot of African-Americans were doing that, so Biden's got to do something special this week.

BURNETT: And obviously, they've got this debate tomorrow. But Gloria, I mean, it is pretty stunning to see and how much of this comes down to people wanting to back a winner and right now the winner, the person who is - without question, especially with that big Nevada victory is Bernie Sanders.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Nobody wants to back a loser. Biden has looked weaker and weaker. And the Biden campaign can complain to that Steyer, who is running for the president of South Carolina, it seems, has millions of dollars of ads on TV and is so was siphoning off a lot of his African-American support.

But Biden thought that it was so firm and so clear cut that, as Van was saying, for months and months he's been saying, this is going to be my firewall. And when you look at what happened in Nevada and I was just looking at the numbers here, not only did he increase his African-American vote in Nevada by over 5 percent, but 51 percent of Hispanic voters supported Sanders in Nevada.

And the Democratic base is very diverse and this is very important for Sanders. And not only that, people of all ages voted for him. Joe Biden tends to do really well with people over 65, but Bernie Sanders appeals to people across the board with all different kinds of education and this is important as he heads into those Super Tuesday states beyond South Carolina.

BURNETT: So let me ask you, Jonathan, I know you have brought in $2 million. You want to defeat Bernie Sanders.


What do you think, though, when you look at the polls? Right now, almost every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump, right? Because you always hear from people who say Bernie Sanders is not the right guy, that he can't beat Trump. And that that's the reason, and therefore, he is not the one to pick.

But now the polls seem to be showing Sanders beating Trump even in swing states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Do you buy it?

JONATHAN KOTT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GROUP RAISING MILLIONS AGAINST BERNIE SANDERS: No, I don't buy it. I think part of what the point of my group's efforts are is to make sure voters know exactly what his positions are. I think he's gotten away with not being vetted properly the way the other candidates have.

I think Elizabeth Warren put out a detailed plan on her health care policy, how she would pay for it, how she would get it passed in the Senate, how she would get it passed in the house, and it got examined. It got up and down, we tore it apart.

Bernie Sanders shouts Medicare for all and tells union members they won't lose their health care and that's it. I think once voters start understanding what his policy positions are and what they mean to them, they're going to have a change of heart. I think last night, he did an interview and praised some policy that Fidel Castro had.

I don't think that's really --


KOTT: -- going to help any --

BURNETT: Literacy, yes.

KOTT: -- red state Democrat -- red district Democrats in Florida.


KOTT: I also would point out that for years, Bernie Sanders has been -- has been in the Senate, been in the House. He hasn't been helping Democrats win up and down the ballot at all. All of his endorsed candidates lost last time.

BURNETT: So, Van, you hear those arguments and then you look at the numbers. And then people who don't like Bernie Sanders, they will say, look, he's winning, but everybody else -- more people don't want him than do want him. You know, 40 percent isn't 51 percent.

And they'll make that argument and say, well, look, if you could just knock out, pick whoever you want, get a couple out of the race, you could consolidate around one moderate and take down Bernie Sanders. That's the other argument. I see you starting to chuckle.

JONES: Other than methodology.

First of all, it reminds me of 2016. We had the same conversation about Trump. He's only getting 25 percent, he's only getting 30 percent, but there's 400 other people and only getting 1 percent. So you can go ahead and get 30, 30, 30, and win.

The other thing people don't seem to understand, and I don't -- I mean, it's unbelievable. You have people who have a Biden as their first choice and a Sanders as their second choice. So, the media is missing something, because we would say, well, Biden is a moderate.

BURNETT: What is the crossover appeal of Bernie Sanders?

JONES: There's a crossover appeal, so it's not as if all the moderates left, you got some Klobuchar people who would actually have Bernie as their second choice. So, I just think that we are in a very similar dynamic as we had in 2016 in the Republican Party where you have an insurgency, you have a very unorthodox candidate who is rolling up a bunch of victories, and then, you know, you had super PACs trying to stop Trump.

The thing is, you can't just go and vote against Bernie. Who do you want people to vote for? If you can't answer that question, then it's the same thing you saw with Trump.

BURNETT: All right. So, I was just -- I was flipping my papers because I was looking Gloria for Marco Rubio's former campaign manager's first line in the "Wall Street Journal" today which I'm going to go back to because I just thought it said so much.

He writes: A bombastic septuagenarian political outsider calls out a rigged system to the cheering masses. He finishes second in Iowa, first in New Hampshire and Nevada. He leads all the national polls while the establishment candidates wage all-out war on one another. And that candidate is Donald J. Trump, who is now the president of the United States.

It does -- it does, and I'm not saying history is precedent, but certainly, that is, you know, exact.

BORGER: It has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it?


BORGER: And, of course, Donald Trump was out there saying we're going to build a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it. Not unlike Medicare-for-All, and who's going to pay for it? We don't know. Taxes, whatever.

And it just shows you that voters are sometimes looking for something else. And if you -- if you maybe see Donald Trump as one side of a coin and Bernie Sanders as another, each of with -- whom have very energized bases. If somebody else becomes the nominee in the Democratic Party, and I still believe that's a real possibility, the question is, will those Sanders supporters translate, will they go vote for whomever that nominee is? Will they organize? Will they work their hearts out? Or is it just about Bernie and will they stay home?

BURNETT: So, Jonathan, you know, to Gloria's point, maybe they're looking for something different. Bernie Sanders has been direct that his Medicare-for-All plan will involve taxes for everybody. He says it makes up for it in premium, but he doesn't lay out how and he doesn't pretend to lay out how and says he doesn't know how much it's going to cost.

Voters don't seem to care. Is it possible that they don't care? They like the idea and don't care about the specifics.

KOTT: Some voters don't care. They didn't -- Donald Trump said Mexico is going to pay for the wall, and nobody seemed to press him on how that would be possible since it was clearly not going to happen. But now, I think we have to press Bernie Sanders on that. He sat down for an interview last night and had no idea how we would pay for this and sort of flippantly threw out a $30 trillion number.

I just don't think that's acceptable, and I think voters need to know what they're getting into, specifics on the policy before they go and vote for him. And that's all we're trying to do, make sure they know what his policy positions are.


I mean, let's not forget, this is also a guy that planned -- that planned on primarying Barack Obama.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you. Well, that would be interesting if people care about that. The whole relationship with Barack Obama, as we said, even with Bloomberg, it's dicey for many of them. Thank you all.

And next, alarming new details about President Trump's plan to purge anybody who doesn't have his back. Plus, the Dow suffering its third largest point decline ever. Fears

mounting that the coronavirus could be much bigger than previously thought. Top analyst warns this could be just the beginning. He is my guest.


BURNETT: Tonight, Trump's loyalty list.

CNN has learned that Trump is asking his allies to make a list of staffers who are viewed as disloyal to him. Trump instructing his former body man John McEntee who now runs the Presidential Personnel Office to root out disloyal officials.

Now, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley suggests that the next step could be a purge.


HOGAN GIDLEY, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The federal government is massive with millions of people. And there are a lot of folks out there working against this president. If we find them, we'll take appropriate action.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.


So, Congressman, how outside the norm is this? He's got the head of the personnel office compiling a list.

REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, Erin, I spent three years of my life in the White House. It's a -- it's not the thing you do if you care about getting people's candid opinions, if you want to encourage a real debate, if you're intellectually curious.

It's the kind of thing paranoid, small people do. It's reminiscent of Richard Nixon. We've seen where this leads and it's nowhere good.

BURNETT: So, we've been told these lists have been generated over the last three years. They've been working on them, calling through them, whatever that might mean.

Do you have any idea how many people Trump could be targeting? I mean, do you know anything about this?

MALONEY: Well, you know, it's more all the time, I think, right? I mean, when you're at war with the truth, you're at war with a lot of different people who care about the truth. When you're at war with science, you're at war with your own weather people when the hurricane didn't go where you said it went. When you're at war with the facts and the evidence that your own administration has, you end up penalizing people like Colonel Vindman or Ambassador Bill Taylor, Marie Yovanovitch.

I mean, what we've seen time and again is the enemy for the president is the truth. It's the evidence and facts that don't suit his preferred view of what the reality should be. And that's a very dangerous quality in a president.

BURNETT: So, now, there's of course this book, Anonymous, right, that came off from the person who wrote "The New York Times" op-ed anonymously, who said basically, this person thinks Trump is absolutely terrible and awful and crazy in every way, but there are good people in there working to preserve the presidency. That was sort of the tone of it.

President Trump claims he knows who this person is now.

Here he is just the other day, Congressman.



REPORTER: Who is it?

TRUMP: Can't tell you that.

REPORTER: Why not?

TRUMP: But I know who it is. I know all about Anonymous. I know a lot about the leakers, too. We know a lot.


BURNETT: Do you think he really knows? You know --

MALONEY: What I know is that is not a president of the United States. That's a little child. That is a foolish little person who is confused about what his job is. And it is not to chase his tail looking under his mattress for a monster or trying to find everybody who might disagree with him.

It is not to play these games with the press that amount to nothing. It's to focus on the real problems of the American people, and it is to bring people together, to solve common problems.

And so, I'm just continually disappointed in the president's ability to become smaller every day.

BURNETT: So, you're a member of the House Intelligence Committee. So, you were in that briefing earlier this month where you were told that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election. You know, the original reporting had been that -- you were briefed that the goal was to help President Trump be re-elected. The White House national security adviser now, Mr. O'Brien, is saying he has not seen any evidence to support that finding. He spoke out publicly.

Here's Robert O'Brien. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There's no briefing that I have received, that the president has received, that says that President Putin is doing anything to try and influence the elections in favor of President Trump. We just haven't seen that intelligence. I've heard these rumors and these leaks from Adam Schiff's committee but I have not seen them myself and I have seen no intelligence along those lines.


BURNETT: You were actually in the room. I know you're limited on what you can say. But he's saying what we -- what came out of the briefing room in terms of the reports was not what he saw in the intelligence. I mean, what's your response to that?

MALONEY: Well, first, I would question that it was the House Intelligence Committee that was the source of those leaks, number one, particularly the majority side. I think it was sourced actually to the administration, just to clear that up.


MALONEY: Secondly, I'm obviously constrained by what I can say about the briefing, but none of us is in the dark about what has been known for at least three years. The unanimous consensus of the intelligence agencies that the Russians interfered in our election, that they favored the president, that they're continuing to do so. We've seen that testimony on the Hill by senior administration officials.

My goodness, Vladimir Putin said himself he preferred President Trump in the last election. There's no real mystery about that. This is again an example of shooting the messenger, of not wanting to hear the truth. And it's disappointing because all of us need to take seriously foreign interference in our election, it's a real threat.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Maloney. Good to see you again, sir.

And OUTFRONT next, Trump tweeting that the stock market looks good to him, after the coronavirus, fears spread to Wall Street. The Dow plunging more than 1,000 points today. Is the market prepared for what could become a global pandemic? My next guest says no.

Plus, Harvey Weinstein found guilty of two sex crimes. He was on his way to Rikers Island just a few moments ago, but he's now at the hospital. He was diverted. Why? And what's next for him?



BURNETT: Tonight, stocks plunge. The Dow sinking 1,032 points. That is the third largest point decline ever, after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Italy and South Korea. In Italy, the number of cases spiked from three on Friday to 229

today. South Korea announced another 231 new cases today. These numbers are stoking fears that the virus could contribute to a global economic slowdown.

OUTFRONT now, Scott Minerd, the global chief investment officer at Guggenheim Partners.

Scott, I really appreciate you coming on and being able to talk to you. I mean, look, you've got the gains for an entire year, the year so far gone in a day, a trillion dollars gone from the American markets in two days. You have been raising the red flag about the coronavirus impact on the markets and the economy for weeks.

How much worse do you think this gets?

SCOTT MINERD, CO-FOUNDER AND GLOBAL CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, GUGGENHEIM PARTNERS: Well, Erin, it's interesting. I had said that I thought the market would pull back 5 percent to 10 percent, if things stabilized where we were about a week and a half ago. Obviously, things have gotten a lot worse since then. So, I think we are just beginning to see the sell-off.

I would expect we could go down maybe 20 percent from the highs. We're down only 5 percent. So, I think we got a lot more down side risk in the near term.

BURNETT: I mean, President Trump tweeted today, his words, I'll read it to you.

The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.


We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC and World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock markets are starting to look very good to me.

Obviously not. Not something you agree with.

MINERD: Right. I mean, look, I think it is in the World Health Organization and the CDC's interest to try to play down how bad this is. The reality, Erin, is that we're not prepared to handle a pandemic. And, you know, I think we're getting very close to if we're not already in pandemic.

So, probably, the best thing at this point is for policymakers to try to shore up confidence while they come to grips with, you know, what they'll have to do if things continue to get worse.

BURNETT: And now, look, pandemic obviously would be quite a scary thing for a lot of people and especially for the markets when you start to see emptier airports and things not coming from China, Chinese factories, Amazon. Coronavirus, though, is just one of the red flags you've been warning about, Scott. You recently published a note you wrote about the markets. And your quote overall was: this will eventually end badly. I have never in my career seen anything as crazy as what's going on right now. I have said before we've entered the silly season. I stand corrected. We are in the ludicrous season.

Explain what you mean.

MINERD: Well, you know, Erin, when you look at all the uncertainty in the world and events like the coronavirus and you see stocks are at an all-time high, their market values are very similar by some measures as to where we were in the Internet bubble back in 2000. When you look at corporate bonds and high yield bonds, their spread or incremental yield to U.S. treasuries is sitting near their historic lows.

So, it seems odd to me that at a moment where we have so much uncertainty out there, whether it's in trade policy or it's the coronavirus or whatever else you would like to think, that we continue to see these risk assets go up in value. I think a large part of this is being created by the central banks who are committed to keeping interest rates low with nearly $17 trillion worth of debt in the world having negative interest rates and the Federal Reserve committed to keep putting in liquidity. I think we're inflating assets and we're going to be very vulnerable if we get another shock to the system.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Scott, I appreciate your time. A very sobering analysis, but nonetheless important to hear and I appreciate it. Thank you.

MINERD: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, film producer Harvey Weinstein at the hospital after he was found guilty of two sex crimes. He was on his way to Rikers Prison, now in the hospital. We have more details on his condition after this.



BURNETT: Harvey Weinstein has been rerouted from the notorious Rikers Island jail to the hospital just hours after the disgraced movie mogul was found guilty of two sex crimes. He is facing as many as 29 years in prison.

Erica Hill is OUTFRONT.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Harvey Weinstein, once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, now a convicted rapist.

CYRUS VANCE, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Weinstein with his manipulation, his resources, his attorneys, his publicist and his spies did everything he could to silence the survivors. But they refused to be silenced. They spoke from their hearts and they were heard. HILL: At least 100 women have now publicly accused Weinstein of

actions ranging from unwanted sexual advances to rape. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Six of those women testified at his New York trial over the past month. On Monday, a Manhattan jury found Weinstein guilty on two counts, committing a criminal sex act and third-degree rape, charges based on testimony from Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann. Haley told the court Weinstein forced her into a sex act in 2006, while Mann testified he raped her in 2013 during an abusive relationship.

The 67-year-old was acquitted on more serious charges of predatory sexual assault against both women and first-degree rape against Mann, immediately taken into custody, Weinstein faces 5 to 25 years in prison for the criminal sex act charge, and a maximum of four years for the rape charge.

Ashley Judd who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment in a bombshell "New York Times" story published two years ago, tweeting for the women who testified in this case and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you, gratitude to the brave women who testified and the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defense, wrote Rosanna Arquette.

Arquette publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct in a separate story for "The New Yorker" written by Ronan Farrow. In response to the verdict, Farrow lauded the many women who came forward at, quote, great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today, he wrote.

Weinstein's attorneys who plan to appeal also tell CNN they don't think he could get a fair trial in part because of the intense media coverage. They also believe the D.A. wanted to make an example of him.

DONNA ROTUNNO, WEINSTEIN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The district attorney's office wanted to shame Mr. Weinstein and they wanted to get him on all counts.

DAMON CHERONIS, WEINSTEIN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think clearly throughout the course of this trial, through the cross-examination, through the evidence we put forward, there was a reasonable doubt, a grave reasonable doubt as to whether or not these crimes were proven.


HILL: We're also learning more about why he was taken to Bellevue, rerouted there, Erin. We're learning from his attorney he was feeling chest pains, having heart palpitations and high blood pressure.

We can also tell you CNN has learned that in recent months, Harvey Weinstein hired a prison consultant. His sentencing is set for March 11th. These are not the only charges, though. He faces criminal charges in L.A., stemming from accusations of rape and assault in 2013. Erin?

BURNETT: All right. Erica, thank you so very much. And thanks to all of you for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.