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Don Lemon Tonight

Paul Manafort One Dagger Slightly Removed, Judge Handed Down Shorter Sentence; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (R) Illinois Was Interviewed About Paul Manafort's Short Jail Time; Paul Manafort Sentenced To 47 Months In Prison; House Passes Broad Anti-Hate Measure; Battling A Rising Tide Of Hate In America. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired March 07, 2019 - 23:00   ET



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ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, that is very special but just imagine that at your house.

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BURNETT: And this is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Erin Burnett in for Don Lemon once again.

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman get a stunning sentence tonight from a federal judge in Virginia. Now that is be the case. It was overseeing his trial for financial crimes, right, bank fraud, horrible tax evasion. Manafort got 47 months in prison.

Now the reason I use the word stunning, which I recognize we can overuse in television is because it truly was astonishing. Significantly less than the 19 to 24 years sought by prosecutors as well, right, with those the sentencing guidelines to the special counsel Bob Mueller's office, that's what they wanted.

Now the judge calls that recommendation, excessive. And I mean more than excessive, right? We're talking about 47 months versus up to 24 years totally different stratosphere. Manafort, of course is accused of witness tampering and additional crimes in his other court cases he's going to be sentenced on that next week.

But the judge today said that Manafort lives in otherwise blameless life. He's also giving Manafort credit for the nine months that he's already spent in jail in solitary confinement for most of that. Meaning that when all is said and done, is not 47 months. It's 47 months less that so it's just over three years behind bars.

He also has to pay millions of dollars in fines and restitution. So, it's interesting when you say in otherwise blameless life and then you say your fines are going to be at the lowest $6 million and up to $25 million. Manafort was convicted of course of eight financial crimes, including bank and tax fraud, hiding foreign bank accounts.

And this was by a jury of his peers, the American jury in a three-week trial. Before Manafort was sentence he did not express remorse for his crimes. He did express remorse for himself and how horrible his life has become and how family has been ruined and his life is in a shamble and he is ashamed, but he did not say he was sorry for what he did.

Manafort's lead attorney spoke briefly outside the courthouse.


KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT'S ATTORNEY: As you heard in court today Mr. Manafort finally got to speak for himself. He made clear he accepts his responsibility for his conduct, and I think most importantly what you saw today is the same thing that we had said from day one.

There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved in any collusion with any government official from Russia.


BURNETT: Now here's what we do know. We do know that Paul Manafort has not been charged with conspiracy, which would be the actual crime. We don't have any idea what Mueller has found though. Now, I want to keep in mind. Today, tonight was the first of two sentencings for Manafort. So, he is going to be sentenced next week in the second case that was in Washington, D.C. as I mentioned today.

This was in Virginia for two separate jurisdictions. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and witness tampering in D.C. and the prison time there could be substantial 10 years, or anywhere up to 10 years.

So, this is obviously going to be the big question.

And joining me now is Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat who sits on the intelligence and oversight committees. And I appreciate your time, Congressman.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI, (D) ILLINOIS: Thank you. BURNETT: So, you know, the look on the face of some of the prosecutors today as described by our Evan Perez who was in the room was astonished. This is -- this is not what they expected the sentence that's just under four years. What do you think?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, I would agree that it was on the low side for sure. The sentencing guidelines are much higher and, you know, the judge said a couple curious things, one of which he said was -- he said that the defendant in this case, which are Manafort had led an otherwise blameless life. And I just didn't understand what he was talking about.

This gentleman, Mr. Manafort is facing two sentencing hearings in one week. I don't see how someone who led an otherwise blameless life would end up in this type of situation.

BURNETT: Why do you think the judge did this? I mean, obviously, he's been critical of Mueller in the past, right? He had accused prosecutors at the beginning of this of, you know, basically using Manafort as a pawn to get the president to try to impeach him or whatever was a quote from Judge Ellis at the time.

And of course, now making a point of saying this is not about collusion. Was the judge trying to send a message?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I'm not sure, but you know, I think that in this particular case, you know, Mr. Manafort didn't even express remorse for his crime.

[234:05:02] So I'm surprised at the sentence. I'm also very curious about what his lawyer meant at the end when he said that there was no collusion with quote, unquote, "any Russian official."

And this was a book end to a statement that the White House made earlier in the day when they said that they weren't taking any pardons off the table for Mr. Manafort. So, this kind of call and response was a rather curious signal to various people.

BURNETT: I mean, look, there's a couple of ways to look at it. One way is, OK, this is a chairman of a presidential campaign for now a sitting president who is going to prison for defrauding taxpayers of millions of dollars for bank fraud. I mean it's stunning.

But then, on the other hand, there's the sentence that is in so many ways a mere slap on the rest. From a political standpoint is this a win for Trump?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Unclear. There's going to be a second sentencing hearing, which is next week --


KRISHNAMOORTHI: -- and that could involve a sentence of up to 10 years. Just one fact that I will just point out about that particular hearing. There was a filing that was made in January that inadvertently reveal that Mr. Manafort had actually met with a business associate who was connected to the Russian intelligence services.

And apparently in that meeting, in a cigar bar in New York City he actually passed in part, private polling data from the Trump campaign to this a Russian intelligence agent, essentially, and apparently, that agent in return asked for relief from sanctions on Russia.

And so that is the clearest evidence of collusion or conspiracy in this whole Russian saga. And so, I think depending on what happens next week and what happens with that particular piece of information in the investigation that could spell more difficulties for the president.

BURNETT: And what about for Manafort. I mean, if you're saying that's the closest to conspiracy, which obviously would be the legal term for, you know, for collusion, the crime, could there be more coming?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Possibly. I don't know that the special counsel is going to continue to prosecute Mr. Manafort beyond the stage. It sounds like he may be done with Mr. Manafort. However, we don't know where the special counsel is going to go with that very important meeting between Kilimnik and Mr. Manafort and what other information he has such as, for instance, who directed Mr. Manafort to go to that cigar bar and exchange polling data.

You know, you don't have to be, you know, you don't have to be David Axelrod to know that that private polling is being given for a reason and that reason is potentially targeting by the Russians in their social media campaign or their efforts to influence the American election.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time tonight.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: All right. I want to bring in Elie Honig, Shimon Prokupecz, Asha Rangappa, and Garrett Graff, author of "The Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror."

So, Shimon, you know, you and I were together just as this was breaking tonight and we're e still together. But you know, I used the word stunning and I was sort of joking, you know. But this is really what? This was not what anyone expected. And I know CNN was in the courtroom and you know, that the prosecutors -- the astonishment showed on their faces.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, and like you pointed out before. I mean, Evan Perez, you know, our good colleague here was inside the courtroom, we had other CNN reporters who were inside the courtroom. And all said that it was really, you know, became a show in terms of it became about the judge. And then it became a reaction more from the prosecutors than we saw anyone else.

I think they certainly were shocked. They started seeing signs while Ellis was speaking, while the judge was speaking that this wasn't going to go well for them. And that was a moment where some of the prosecutors started looking at each other when Ellis was using words like big sentencing guidelines are out of whack. Or where he is saying that the 19 to 24 years is excessive, you know.

So, you started seeing some indications. Certainly, there that this wasn't going to go their way. And you know, and for Paul Manafort, you know, he came in, his health is a little bit of an issue. He was in a wheelchair. He spoke for four minutes. He spoke from the wheelchair. He asked the judge for compassion.

It's true. He never really was remorseful for what he had done. He was more remorseful, and sad, and upset over the life that he's had to live the last nine months that he's been in jail awaiting trial.

So that was the kind of color, you know, it is some of our colleagues noted that at the end his eyes Paul Manafort were blood shot and there was no clear indication while he was speaking that he was crying, but certainly, at the end you can tell that he realized the gravity of all of this, and I bet a huge sigh of relief.

[23:10:03] I know his attorney certainly felt that way that they were not expecting such a low sentence. But in the end, it seems that the judge who, as you said, did have issues with this prosecution went on the low side here.

BURNETT: Yes, I mean. And you know the judge calls it, Elie, excessive. The guidelines, right, the 19 to 24 years. You call the actual sentence a joke.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I stand by that. I think the sentence was unjust and unreasonable and unprincipled. I do agree 19 to 24 would have been excessive. But this went --


HONIG: -- 15 years below the bottom of that range.


HONIG: That is an enormous reduction. And I have two problems with it. First of all, it's hard to conceive of a defendant who would more openly flout the U.S. government and the criminal justice system. He lied at every turn. He got convicted at trial. He got his bail revoked because he tried to tamper with witnesses. He like to Mueller, he lied to the FBI. He didn't even express remorse today.


HONIG: And I don't know what kind of message that sends. The other objection I have is that, you routinely see defendants, I routinely see depends when I prosecuted drug cases in the federal system first time nonviolent drug offenders who get way more than this sentence. And I think it's hard to ignore the fact that Manafort is older. He's white, he's wealthy. He's a quasi-celebrity.

And most of those drug defendants who I had experience with here in New York were none of those things. And there's a disparity that I think is hard to ignore.

BURNETT: And Asha, you know, to that front, you know, that end, you have Judge Ellis noting that Manafort quote, "lives in otherwise blameless life," talked about in being a good friend and a generous person. Obviously, no one really knows what was going on in Manafort's personal life and neither Judge Ellis, so I don't know how he would know that.

But he's trying to compartmentalize what happened, right? You know, tens of millions of dollars of tax fraud is OK, and otherwise blameless life.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I mean, I was an astonishing statement for him to make based on these charges alone. But Erin, I have been hammering this point home for a while now that it is really hard to understand the full counterintelligence story just by looking at the criminal charges alone.

I mean, what Judge Ellis was unable to take into account are things that are known to the Department of Justice and the FBI but didn't make it into the courtroom. So, for example, we know that Manafort was under FISA surveillance from before the time even enter the campaign. That would have required the FBI showing a court that he was working knowingly acting as an agent of a foreign power in clandestine intelligence activities.

We know that the Republican National Committee platform in the Ukraine changed under his watch out. We know from this other case that he was passing polling data. These are just little tips of the iceberg. And I think it justifies why the House committees need to do an investigation.

Because just looking at the criminal charges that make their way into court is really the tail end of the bigger story on what Russia was doing in this campaign.

BURNETT: You know, Garrett, it does seem, you know, the judge back in May had said to Mueller's team. And according to Judge Ellis you really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud, you really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you or reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment.

All right. That was where Judge Ellis, that's what he said last spring. That appears to be where he stands now, right? You know, Paul Manafort today come out and talk about the last year has been the most difficult my family and I have ever experienced. He continued, the person I've been described as in public is not someone I recognize.

I mean, on and on. And look, the guy is in a wheelchair I understand there's some empathy one can have. But this was whoa, it's me. There was no I'm sorry at all.

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. And that blameless life comment is really confounding. I mean, prosecutors actually in their sentencing memo cited that really as the opposite impact. You know, this is someone who has had every advantage of career and education and wealth and was still out there breaking the law, multiple federal laws over the period of a decade at almost an industrial scale.

I mean, money-laundering $65 million is a full-time job for a decade. And this is someone who you know, hid that money overseas, brought it back to spend the million dollars on bespoke clothing including that famous ostrich jacket.


GRAFF: This is someone who is clearly not only not remorseful but knew every step of the way that every single step he was taking was wrong. And he has worked for some of the most repulsive regimes around the world for decades now. I mean, I think that anyone who sort of looks at Paul Manafort as a whoa, it's me, has their morals and efforts sadly misplaced.

[23:15:00] BURNETT: All right. All of you, please stay with me. Because we talk about today and the stunning sentence, but as I mentioned you've got another sentencing next week in the other Manafort trial. Could it be a surprise or a very different story?


BURNETT: All right. So tonight, 47 months. That's it. And of course, either of them is already served. But next week, that's the second case, so there Manafort is going to be sentenced as well, and he could be sentenced for up to 10 years.

The panel is back with me. So, Shimon, let's just explain the D.C. charges as opposed to the charges today. Charges today were like, right, tax fraud.


BURNETT: Bank fraud. What is he being charge for next week?



BURNETT: I'm sorry, sentence for.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. So, this is the first indictment in the entire Mueller investigation. This was the first indictment against Paul Manafort and he is charge with FARA violations as working for the foreign governments and not registering with the U.S. government.

[23:20:04] There are also obviously charges of witness tampering. Remember, this was another case where they felt that he was involved in potential witness tampering involving a Russian agent, so there's that elements all of that case.

BURNETT: Kilimnik.

PROKUPECZ: Yes. Kilimnik of that case. What's significant about this judge and this is Judge Amy Berman Jackson, is that she's got a very different take on Paul Manafort than Judge Ellis. She's the judge that threw Manafort in jail for violating the conditions of a release for that tampering, which she accused him tampering with the witness. There are other allegations there so she threw him back in jail.

She hasn't been the most kind to him like Judge Ellis, so she has a very different take on a lot of a lot of that case. And the other thing is also he's facing up to 10 years or two counts there that he's facing up to 10 years in prison from there.

And what we're going to see is whether or not she adds additional time to what Judge Ellis sentence him today whether or not she says OK, well, I'll give you five more years so that you spend a total of nine years or that she gives him the whole 10 years.


PROKUPECZ: Judge Ellis had a view -- different view of the special counsel team also, she you know, to Asha's point has a very different understanding of the special counsel's investigation because she's been in the middle of a lot of the classified and a lot of the intelligence --


BURNETT: That's been coming out.

PROKUPECZ: -- Yes. That has not come out.

BURNETT: So, Elie, just to be clear, you know, anyone who's been following this that if there's any confusion, right? She has the ability to sentence him for up to 10 years. And -- and this is important. She also can decide whether that is concurrent or on top of.

HONIG: Exactly.

BURNETT: So, in other words, she could try to rectify what she sees as a wrong by Judge Ellis, somewhat.

HONIG: Yes. So, she can sentence him to up to 10 years. She can either tuck it on or she can make it on the same --


BURNETT: So, he can get a max of 14 years --


BURNETT: -- at a minimum of frankly what he has right now.

HONIG: Right. The most she could do is say I sentence you to the max of 10 years and we're going to run it consecutive so it's going to start when you're done this for bringing up to 14. I think that's unlikely. I think in her head she will be accounting for this soft sentence.

I think she's much less gullible, much less sympathetic than this judge will be. I think Judge Ellis has proven herself both with the Manafort case and with the Stone case to be a very clear eyed, no- nonsense judge. And I look for her to partially remedy what Judge Ellis did today.

But that said, the bigger hit was in Virginia, the bigger exposure was in Virginia.


HONIG: And he already got a huge cut on that. So, I think she can go part of the way to fixing it.

BURNETT: So, let me ask you, Asha. Because just to be clear, you know, people when you hear about the meeting in Trump Tower and you hear about sharing polling data and you hear about the links with Konstantin Kilimnik right, the -- they say whatever alleged.

RANGAPPA: Russian intelligence. Yes.

BURNETT: Russian operative. Right. I'm just trying to check with the right adjective on there.


BURNETT: But the bottom line is, it would seem if there was collusion or conspiracy. Paul Manafort would have somehow been involved, right? I mean, he had those links to Ukraine and then the platform changes at the RNC. But yet, he was not charged with that. Is there any scenario in which he is charged later or is this basically an admission that they don't have a formal conspiracy case, Mueller.

RANGAPPA: Well, I think this is where we're running up against the limitations of these kinds of activities which is, we don't necessarily have crimes that cover them. I mean, you know, if he's acting as you know, a Russian agent and changing the platform on Ukraine, you know, the best thing we have is the Foreign Agent Registration Act which he was actually charged under.

This was one of the crimes that he was just sentenced for. But you know, to spell all those things out this is why I think that these House committees really need to get to the facts underlying it, because again, they may not meet this, you know, criminal definitions which are -- which are quite narrow compared to the national security concerns.

And I just want to add, you know, to get to something that Shimon said. This is now become about this one judge. And I think it's important to remember that the rule of law isn't about one judge. He will be sentenced. He will go to jail. And, you know, Bloomberg news reported that New York attorney general is ready to go with a case against him by the state if he gets pardoned.

So, he will serve justice and I just think it's important to remember that before getting discouraged about what happened today.

BURNETT: Are we ever though, Garrett, because this is important. I mean, you're talking with the chairman of a presidential campaign with an unbelievable array of contacts with Russia across that campaign. Will we ever know why Manafort lied? Why Manafort gave the polling data to these alleged Russian operatives, why he -- that platform change. Will we ever know the motives and the reason and what the relationships were with foreign intelligence?

GRAFF: So, I'm going to disagree a little bit with Asha here who I normally agree with fully, and say I actually do think we're going to learn more about the motivation of Paul Manafort. And then I'm not sure that he is necessarily out of the legal woods entirely here.

[23:25:02] It does seem possible that if Mueller has sort of one final large overarching conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy against the United States indictment to drop potentially including other members of the Trump campaign, other Trump associates, other members of Russian intelligence that Paul Manafort might be subject to that.

It was notable in Manafort's that 800-page sentencing memo that the special counsel handed down that they actually didn't mention the polling data. They left out some of these things that we have learned only because not because the special counsel has told us, but because Paul Manafort's attorneys are terrible at redacting documents.


GRAFF: And so, Mueller knows some of the stuff that he hasn't yet told us. I think is pertinent and means that he is planning to tell us in a different forum.

BURNETT: All right. Well, that is fascinating. It leaves on pins and needles as we await what we think is the soon to be announcement that Mueller has done.

Thank you, all. And you know, tonight, we're still waiting on a response from the White House about Paul Manafort sentencing even though of course, we know the president of the United States is watching the coverage avidly. Could the president pardon his former campaign chair?


BURNETT: Federal judge showing incredible leniency to President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. A chairman of a campaign, presidential campaign first ever to go to prison, sentenced to 47 months in prison which is far less than the 19-24 years recommended by the special counsel. So is this a big blow for the Mueller investigation?

I want to bring in Matthew Rosenberg and Max Boot, the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I left the Right."

OK, Max, Rudy Giuliani of course has just weighed in because he cannot. So here is what he says, talking about Manafort.

"I felt terrible about the way Manafort has been treated. I think it's not American to keep a man in solitary confinement to try to crack him. He's not a terrorist. He's an organized criminal. He's a white collar criminal. The man was treated this way because he wouldn't lie."

Except for he did lie. What's your response to this all in that we basically saying we need to treat white-collar criminals differently, more easily than anyone else?

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: This is more evidence, Erin, that irony is truly dead because when Rudy Giuliani was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, he was notorious for his mistreatment of suspects including doing high-profile (INAUDIBLE) with people who were then later released or had the cases against them dropped.

So, I mean, this is very much his own M.O. when he was a prosecutor being used against somebody like Paul Manafort who unlike some of the people that Rudy Giuliani went against were not actually -- Paul Manafort is actually somebody who has a long criminal history of financial fraud, of bank fraud, of tax fraud.

He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States. He has represented horrible dictatorships all over the world, some of the worst regimes on the planet. This is not somebody who has led an otherwise blameless life as the judge said.

This is not somebody who as Rudy Giuliani is trying to suggest is a victim of the prosecutors. If anything, he has gotten leniency today given his horrible conduct and the way that he has been involved in undermining our democracy.

BURNETT: So Matthew, the big question of course is whether the president will pardon Paul Manafort, right? Waits to the sentence next week and then he can decide. So strategically, what do you think he's going to do in terms of making that decision? Does he wait for the Mueller report to see whether there is a whole another slew of indictments and, you know, to try to gauge when it would have the most power with a potential pardon?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We've all learned to not bet on what Donald Trump is going to do.


ROSENBERG: Look, we know from Michael Cohen's own lawyer and his testimony that Trump seems to be suggesting or Trump people around the president seem to be suggesting that pardons are on the table. He said before the president and now the president's lawyer that Manafort is now a victim of the witch hunt which, you know, it is sort of amazing. You steal millions of dollars from taxpayers, you engaged in crimes that enrich yourself immensely and somehow you are the victim here is something that I think --

BURNETT: Right, and to emphasize, convicted and admitted, right?

ROSENBERG: Yes. BURNETT: Pleading guilty. I mean, it is insane.



BURNETT: Anyway, go ahead. I just want to put an exclamation point on your point there, Matthew.

ROSENBERG: It is amazing, you know. I mean, somehow he's better than the average thief. I mean, he's better at stealing money. That's for sure. He stole a lot more than the average thief does. But I do think that -- you know, look, you probably are going to see at least talk of pardons coming soon.

And if you're people around the president and you really -- if there is any new fear, the idea of pardoning somebody right now is probably pretty attractive. Tells other people, don't cooperate, you will get a pardon one day, you know. But it is always hard to predict with these guys.

BURNETT: I mean, you know, Max, there is also the issue of course you get what, three years? It is almost the same amount of prison time for a guy who lied, said he was going to cooperate and kept lying, Paul Manafort, and a guy who cooperated and is willing to give everything, Michael Cohen. It doesn't really make a great argument for cooperation to begin with, does it?

BOOT: No. I mean, I think what Judge Ellis is doing here is inexplicable and offensive. I mean, clearly, he is no Judge John Sirica. Remember, Judge Sirica during Watergate became known as "Maximum John" because he threw the book at the Watergate defendants, basically gave them maximum sentences and therefore coerced them into cooperating and that helped to bring down the Nixon administration.

I think that's actually a great role model for a judge to get out the truth and to unravel this high-level conspiracy, and clearly Judge Ellis doesn't seem to be interested in that because inexplicably, he has sympathy for Paul Manafort.

{23:35:03} He may be quite possibly the only person outside the White House who has any sympathy for Paul Manafort.

BURNETT: One more question I want to squeeze in. Matthew, Rod Rosenstein, outgoing deputy attorney general who had been overseeing the Russia investigation until Bill Barr came in, made an interesting comment today. Here he is.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: In the spirit of promoting a culture of integrity, I want to leave you with the wisdom of an ancient proverb: if you desire to know a person's character, consider his friends.


BURNETT: Who is he talking to?

ROSENBERG: Certainly, he is sort of talking to the president. You know, I think there is something remarkable here. Paul Manafort wasn't just some random associate. He was for a time the chairman of Donald Trump's campaign. We now know that he was engaged in a number of crimes, tax fraud and other financial crimes. He also, as Max pointed out earlier, represented some notoriously dirty regimes, authoritarians around world.

He also during the campaign provided internal polling to a man, Konstantin Kilimnik, who is believed to be a Russian intelligence agent. Around the president, you have a series of unsavory characters. That is the best description for many of them. A number of them now are either convicted or admitted criminals. And it does say something about the collection of people who helped elect Donald Trump president.

BURNETT: We're supposed to feel sorry for Paul Manafort, right, because if hadn't been crazy enough or dumb enough or whatever word you want to use, he would never gotten caught. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for him that he got caught. It's crazy. All right, thank you both so very much. And now, 23 Republicans are voting against an anti-hate resolution today, why?


BURNETT: OK, tonight, the House passed a resolution condemning anti- Semitism, but not just anti-Semitism and other things, a lot of other things, other forms of bigotry in the wakeup comments made freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar, which has been criticized from both parties and labeled anti-Semitic.

Now, you would think everyone will be on board with an anti-hate measure, but not the case because some people wanted it to just be about anti-Semitism and that's clearly about her. They put in all these other things and 23 Republicans chose to vote against it. Why?

Here to discuss, former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, Peter Beinart, and Joe Lockhart.

So Congressman Dent, 23 Republicans voted no. I guess they just wanted this to only be about anti-Semitism and clearly condemning her as Republicans frankly did when it came to white supremacy with Steve King recently. But why would they actually vote against it when it was condemning bigotry?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Erin, look, I believe they should have voted for this resolution. But I do agree. Look, this issue is really about Representative Omar's offensive comments. As Ted Deutch said today on the House floor very eloquently, you know, this shouldn't be so hard.

The House is correct to condemn Steve King's remarks. They should have condemned Representative Omar's remark in the same manner and same fashion. If you're somebody like Ted Deutch, sitting here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, this is where he's from, his father was in the Battle of the Bulge, his family -- they are patriotic Americans, and to have your loyalty question like that, I think I can understand why my Jewish colleagues, my former Jewish colleagues, would be deeply offended and why this is anti-Semitic.

They shouldn't have done that. They could have also passed a second resolution condemning white nationalism or Islamophobia. They could have done that, too. But the truth is this is really about Representative Omar's comments and that is why we are debating a resolution today and everybody should have voted for it.

BURNETT: Right. You know, of course, the water gotten muddy. However, there of course is always some incredible irony or hypocrisy. Peter, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy voted yes, but then afterwards he said this.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Congress is better than this. Please do not make history write about our time of these two years that the most we've ever done is that we had to keep bringing resolutions to the floor to tell people that anti-Semitism is wrong.


BURNETT: OK. So, look, he is right, but then you look at his own record, right? He has that tweet. He deleted it but we obviously still have it, warning three prominent Jewish Democratic donors who are trying to buy the election. So he picks three Jewish donors and makes comment about money which is how this whole thing with Congresswoman Omar started when she said it is all about the Benjamins baby, referring to Jewish money.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I totally understand why people are genuinely offended by what Representative Omar said. As an American Jew myself, I have concerns about what she said. But if you want to understand the disproportionate nature of the attack on her, you have to understand that it is about her policy views about Israel.

The reason she represents a threat and Kevin McCarthy does not represent a threat is because she's challenging the debate on Israel. It is that that people are rallying to protect.

You know, there was a report that came out in the U.N. late last month that Israeli forces killed 189 people during the protest last year in Gaza including 35 children. Congress had not discussed that at all. Part of the fear of Ilhan Omar is that she will bring that conversation to the floor.

BURNETT: So, Joe, here is one other thing on the other side. Republican Congressman Liz Cheney voted no.

[23:45:00] She is one of the 23. She was unafraid about that. She released a statement saying why. "For Democratic leadership to kowtow to their radical members and refuse to offer legislative languages that criticizes Representative Omar's statements in the strongest possible confirms what we already knew, that their party is controlled by far-left extremists who can't even muster the courage to stand up to blatant anti-Semitism."

She is basically saying you threw the bathwater in with the baby.


BURNETT: And I am not OK with that.

LOCKHART: Listen, I take what she says with a grain of salt. If they want to stand on Steve King, he's been doing it for 10 years.

BURNETT: Right, took them a lot longer to do that.

LOCKHART: And it was only when the Democrats regained control that they decided oh, wait a second, maybe it is wrong to associate with white nationalists. There is a string of Republicans and if we want to go down the line, we got Louie Gohmert going after George Soros. We have Matt Gaetz from Florida who brought a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union.

It could get extremely silly. I think what Nancy Pelosi broke here was a fair deal. Let's not forget that we have a president who is sitting in the Oval Office who never apologized for what he said about Charlottesville which was against blacks, which was against Jews, and where he said Neo-Nazi, that they are fine people.

So I think was about politics. I agree with Peter. This is about making sure that the debate over support with Israel does not open up into open warfare with Democrats and Republicans. It was about politics and it was met with a political solution.

BURNETT: Yeah. All I do have to say, it is ridiculous that we are having all these votes. It would be nice if we could --

BEINART: Do some policy.


BURNETT: -- govern policy.


BURNETT: All right, thanks to all. Next, new and horrifying images emerging of teenagers giving Nazi salute at a party. Anne Frank's stepsister, a Holocaust survivor, is trying to teach those teens, what they are doing or what they are mocking isn't a joke. She sat down with CNN. That's next.


BURNETT: There is a frightening rise in the number of racist and anti- anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, including among teenagers. In one community, Anne Frank's stepsister, a Holocaust survivor, met privately with a group of high school students who were photographed giving the Nazi salute. More on the move to battle to rising tide of hate tonight from CNN's Sara Sidner.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: High school students in Alabama spouting violent racist and anti-Semitic comments and enjoying every minute of it, then posting it on social media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without the holocaust, what would the world be like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would have white people still.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews would run the world without the Holocaust.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jews are fine because they are white.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Holocaust never happened, Jews would be running the world right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's fine. We just need -- gone, so it's half mixed Oreos. What are you going to do with them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stick them in concentration camps and --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you have to wait until they die.

SIDNER: The girl you hear repeatedly saying the N-word sent out a statement on her father's car dealership Facebook page. "The horrible, horrible things I said were a terrible attempt to be funny. I'm sorry to anyone that had to listen to the video. I will do everything in my power to be better each and every day."

But this is just one example of a rising tide of hate among youth. The same week, thousands of miles away in upscale Newport Beach, California, high school students do a Nazi salute above a red cup swastika they created. Parties with a side of Nazi rhetoric seem to be popular with some teenagers these days.

BRIAN LEVIN, PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY SAN BERNARDINO: What I saw was how the combination of ignorance, evil, shock and pure validation (ph) can come together at a time when the social political landscape is about uttering and (ph) polarization. And what happens is there's a race to the bottom because we don't have civic moral leadership in this country that sets a standard as to what's acceptable communally.

SIDNER: Brian Levin is a professor at Cal State San Bernardino and runs a center for the study of hate and extremism. He and other experts on the subject say there has been heavy recruiting by white nationalist groups in recent years on college campuses and grade schools. The Anti-Defamation League found in 2017 anti-Semitic incidents in K- 12 schools increased by an astounding 94 percent, after nearly doubling the year prior. And the FBI says between 2016 and 2017, reports of hate crimes against Jews skyrocketed, up 37 percent. Overall, hate crimes reported up 17 percent.

While several white nationalists, KKK and neo-Nazi groups are trying to disguise their hateful messages to make it more attractive to the mainstream, Levin says the youth are looking for shock and awe that's popular on social media.

The behavior isn't just appearing at parties. Last month in New York, it appeared in a playground, and a new Nazi way to ask for a date to a dance in Minnetonka, Minnesota. She later apologized. Eva Schloss hopes she's an antidote to anti-Semitism among the youth. She is a Holocaust survivor. The stepsister of Anne Frank, whose story of surviving the Holocaust has haunted and inspired the world for more than 70 years.

Schloss travelled to Newport Beach High School just days after some of its students took part in the incident. She sat down privately with the offending students and their parents.

EVA SCHLOSS, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: I just told them that the Nazis did really horrible, horrible things, not just gassing Jewish people but even their own disabled people.

[23:55:00] That was the first experiment with gassing children or people.

SIDNER: Schloss survived Auschwitz concentration camp at 16. But most of her family were annihilated by the Nazis along with six million Jews. And now more than 70 years after the attempt to exterminate so many human beings, she is faced with young people who think Nazi symbolism is all the rage.

SCHLOSS: How hurtful it was for many, many survivors of the Holocaust who have lost millions of their families all over the world, really, you know. I mean, it is an insult to those people.

SIDNER: Insult to you?

SCHLOSS: Yes, insult to me, as well.

SIDNER: And lastly, are you afraid, now that you've seen young people doing this over and over and over again here in America, are you afraid for the next generations of people?

SCHLOSS: Well, there's so much education going on now and it's got to be improved. It's got to be more and more. And I hope that eventually they will see the light that it is not anymore acceptable. I'm still an optimist, you know? I think it can't go on, people doing such evil acts. I don't -- it must not happen and it will not happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER: Eva Schloss did say she was shocked that in 2019 in a highly educated town with highly educated students that incidents like this could still happen. Erin?

BURNETT: Sara, thank you. And thanks to all of you for watching. Our coverage continues.