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Erin Burnett Outfront
U.S. Official: CIA Chief Will Not Appear At Senate Khashoggi Briefing; Trump Threatens To Cut G.M. Subsidies; "Guardian" Reports Ex-Trump Campaign Chair Manafort Met WikiLeaks' Assange Multiple Times, Manafort Calls It "False;" CNN Obtains Draft Mueller On Roger Stone's Alleged Efforts To Get Info On Stolen Clinton Campaign E- mails; Trump On Whether Climate Change Is Man-Made: "I Don't See It;" Giuliani Doesn't Rule Out Trump Pardoning Manafort; Interview with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D), New York; Polls Close in Final Senate Race of 2018. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 27, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, National Security Adviser John Bolton says he didn't listen to the tape of a Washington Post journalist being murdered because he doesn't speak Arabic.
Plus, President Trump speaking to the Washington Post. And in a stunning interview tonight, blaming the fed for General Motors, denying climate change is made by people. The reporter who just sat down with the President is OUTFRONT.
And polls about to close in the racially charged runoff election in Mississippi. Can Democrats pull off an upset? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, hear no evil see no evil. President Trump's National Security Adviser mocking evidence of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, I haven't listened to it. And I guess I should ask you why you think I should. What do you think I'll learn from it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you're the National Security Adviser. You might have access to that sort of intelligence.
BOLTON: How many in this room speak Arabic?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have access to an interpreter?
BOLTON: You want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from -- I mean, if they were speaking Korean I wouldn't learn any more from it either.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An interpreter would be able to tell you --
BOLTON: Well, then I can read a transcript, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you don't think it's important to hear that as the National Security Adviser?
BOLTON: I'm just trying to make a point that everybody who says why don't you listen to the tape, unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. The nation's top security adviser does not want to listen to the tape because he doesn't speak Arabic. He's making it pretty clear, right? Well, he is not alone in making a conclusion without listening to the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the tape. I don't want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape. But I've been fully --
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, FOX NEWS: Why don't you want to hear it, sir?
TRUMP: Because it's a suffering tape. It's a terrible tape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: A suffering tape. A terrible tape. A tape that if he had listened to it might make this conclusion pretty close to impossible to stomach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are with Saudi Arabia. We are staying with Saudi Arabia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Because one person who has heard the tape is the Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, the case officer on the investigation. She listened to the tape. It was her agency's conclusion that the Saudi Crown Prince personally directed the murder of an American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
And now we are learning tonight, Haspel will not be attending tomorrow's hearing in front of the full Senate. Just hours before the briefing, she's requested to attend. The top Democrat is now saying it's confirmed she will not appear to brief lawmakers on the CIA's conclusion. A conclusion of course that the President of the United States has made it clear he does not back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: We were told that she would not be attending the briefing for Members of Congress. Her absence is obvious and it is noted and it raises a serious question as to whether this administration is giving us the whole truth. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, CNN's Jim Acosta is reporting tonight that the White House is determined to avoid someone from U.S. intelligence like Director Haspel or the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats from briefing the Senate on the murder. The White House of course denies blocking Haspel from the briefing, but the reality is the fact is the fact, she's not going to be there tomorrow, according to Durbin.
To be clear, it is the CIA led by Gina Haspel that has assessed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi's killing. She should be there in front of the Senate. So who will be at tomorrow's hearing instead? Well, for one, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a man who returned from Turkey and Trump explicitly said has not heard the tape.
You will remember Pompeo was smiles during his recent meeting with the Crown Prince, that happened after Khashoggi's murder. It is also Pompeo's State Department that refused to point the finger at MBS claiming that there hasn't been a conclusion reached on who is responsible for Khashoggi's killing. Like Bolton, Pompeo thus far has simply echoed the boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The CIA has looked at it, they've studied it a lot, they have nothing definitive. And the fact is maybe he did, maybe he didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. Pamela, you're learning new information tonight about why the administration is saying their version as to why Gina Haspel will not be at the briefing tomorrow.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I spoke to a U.S. official tonight, Erin, who says and confirms that CIA Director Gina Haspel will not be at this hearing tomorrow that will be attended by the Defense Secretary Mattis as well as Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State. Gina Haspel will notably not be there. And this official says one of the reasons is because it is a policy-oriented hearing about -- ahead of this vote by the senators on whether there should be military aid given to the Saudis in the war in Yemen.
Now, of course, we've heard from senators on both sides of the aisle who have been calling for Haspel to come to this hearing and brief them on what has happened with the Khashoggi killing and the assessment, according to our reporting, that the Crown Prince directed the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
[19:05:11] But despite those calls, we are told that Gina Haspel will not be there in part this official saying because it's focused more on policy matters. Now, John Bolton was asked about this today and whether the White House blocked Haspel from coming to brief senators. And he said that is simply not true. And as you pointed out, he was also asked whether he heard the tape of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and he was pretty combative in his response to reporters dismissing the idea that he would learn anything from the tape and saying that he doesn't speak Arabic. And he was asked, well, can't you just have a translator listen to it with you and translate what is being said in that tape. And he said, well, I can learn just as much from a transcript.
He also talked about whether the President will meet face-to-face with the Crown Prince in Argentina at the G-20. He said there is no bilateral meeting scheduled. But Sarah Sanders, the Press Secretary said there is a chance that the President could run into the Crown Prince while he is there. So of course that is something that reporters will be looking out for, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And I want to go now to the Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio who has said he's, quote, seriously thinking about a run for President in 2020. Senator, I appreciate your time tonight.
You know, John Bolton, you know, as you heard very combative, he says he didn't listen to the tape of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He says, you know, he was combative with reporters. You know, I guess I should ask you why do you think I should, what do you think I'll learn from it. Continuing to say unless you speak Arabic, what you're going to get from it. Do you agree with him?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: This is just -- it's just a bad movie. I mean, you have the President of the United States refusing to listen to this tape. You have the President of the United States getting a report from his intelligence officials who put the blame at the Crown Prince's feet. You have the President of the United States disbelieving his own intelligence officials. You have a closed intelligence briefing in the Senate tomorrow where the CIA Director apparently won't show up at the behest -- because the President told her not to even though senators in both parties leaders in the committee want her there.
Then you have John Bolton refusing to listen to a tape because he doesn't speak Arabic. He is a high official in the White House. He should want more information, not less. So, this is just the arrogance and the -- I mean, the President throwing in with the world's dictators.
The only people he doesn't criticize -- he criticized his own attorney general, his criticize his senators in his own party, he calls names and calls immigrants names. But he is nice to Putin and Duterte, he is nice to the Crown Prince and never criticizes them. It's just puzzling or worse.
BURNETT: You know, CIA Director Gina Haspel of course has heard the tape and she is the case officer on the assessment, right, the assessment from the CIA that the Crown Prince directly ordered this murder. Look, we understand she's not going to be at the hearing tomorrow. They say it's a policy-oriented hearing. They're going to be talking about Yemen, her views are not relevant. That's the White House's excuse. Your response to that.
BROWN: No. When the Senate -- both parties in the Senate or the House are sponsoring a briefing for senators that's classified and the leaders in both parties and the committee want the Director of the CIA, the CIA should show up unless there is something she absolutely has to do and that's not been the case here. The President doesn't want her there because he knows that she will contradict his position on this. He will reaffirm -- I think there's little question that she will reaffirm that the Crown Prince was behind this and ordered the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.
BURNETT: Unless she is saying her own assessment is wrong and she's not going to do that, right? I mean, her entire credibility -- her career rests upon that.
BROWN: Yes. And her assessment isn't wrong. I mean, her course it's not wrong. And we -- the President's attacks on the media, attacks on your profession, the President's attacks on his own officials, the President's attacks on the military, the President's attacks on law enforcement in my state or around the country, the President's attacks on his own government many of whom he appointed are just -- again, they're puzzling or worse. I mean, what's wrong with this bad movie.
And I want more information, not less. That's why you go to these briefings. I don't want to just hear the politicians, the former congressman that's now the Secretary of State. I'll listen to him of course. But I want the intelligence and I want to come from --
BURNETT: Are you going to ask to see that tape or listen to that tape as well?
BROWN: I assume a number of us will ask for that tape at this briefing. I don't know how this briefing will play out. It's usually the members of the committee get to ask the first questions. That's not clear what will happen. I assume a number of us will ask for that.
[19:10:01] BURNETT: So the President, you know, you heard there's this question as to whether he'll meet with the Crown Prince. So he was actually just asked about it by the Washington Post. His response a bit different in that of his National Security Adviser or Press Secretary. He said, quote, well it's not scheduled but I certainly would. Is that what you want to hear, is he open to it?
BROWN: I'm -- I want to see a different behavior here. I remember his response with Putin. And he is -- you know, I -- I mean, I want him to talk to everybody, but I see him, you know -- he is uncomfortable with the small d Democrats in Europe, the people that were legitimately elected. He seems so comfortable with the thugs running Russia and running Saudi Arabia and running the Philippines and running Turkey and running Hungary. Those are the people that he is comfortable with. That's why so many people are uncomfortable with this President now conducting our national security.
BURNETT: Senator, I want to ask you about General Motors and developments there. Obviously, we've got mass layoffs including factory in your state. The President tweeted, quote, today "Very disappointed with General Motors and CEO Mary Barra for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico and China. The U.S. saved General Motors and this is the thanks we get? We are now looking at cutting all General Motors subsidies including for electric cars." Do you think that's the right response, punish G.M. for doing what they're doing including in your state?
BROWN: I look for a better response and that a more important response and that's this. The President promised in Youngstown, he promised I believe in Warren, Michigan in his campaign that no plants would shut down. He went to Youngstown again last July and he said don't sell your homes, we're going to see companies coming back from overseas.
But then what the President did is he (INAUDIBLE) and he betrayed these workers when he pushed through a bill in Congress that gives a tax break to these companies that outsource jobs. Fundamentally, G.M. in Youngstown pays a 21 percent tax rate. G.M. in Mexico pays a 10.5 percent tax rate. So, the President is saying to these companies, you with overseas, you get a tax, you get a 50 percent off coupon on your taxes.
BURNETT: But he did his faster taxes, so you are for the corporate tax cut, 35 to 21? You wanted to go even further?
BROWN: No, no, no, no, no, I didn't say that. No, I'm saying that the 21 percent they pay in the United States, but the President cut their taxes in half if they move overseas. So the President needs to fix that. And this sort of phony populism is dividing people in order to distract from the work he is not doing to keep these plants in the United States.
My American car, American jobs act would flip the incentives so that Americans who buy cars made in the U.S. would get the tax break. You don't give this 50 percent off coupon to companies that move overseas. That's what the President did.
BURNETT: So quickly before we go, his comment today is that you're to blame. He says, "I love Ohio and I told the, you're playing around with the wrong person". I'm sorry, this is an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
BROWN: I know.
BURNETT: "And Ohio wasn't properly represented by their Democrat Senator, Senator Brown."
BROWN: President never takes blame himself, takes responsible for anything. I asked the President back in June to intervene in G.M. I spoke to him personally. He didn't know about the layoffs that had already happened at G.M. in Youngstown. I asked him to intervene. I asked him to talk to Mary Barra. He did none of that. Instead he gave this huge tax cut.
You know, I understand how this happens. These companies lobby Congress and lobby the President to get more tax cuts. He followed what they asked him to do. And this 50 percent off coupon on company's taxes is bad economics and is immoral and the President needs to fix it and leaders in Congress need to fix it.
BURNETT: Senator Brown, I appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.
BROWN: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, Paul Manafort fighting back against a damning report that he met with the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, just as he joined the Trump campaign.
Plus President Trump speaking to the Washington Post moments ago. The President described as, quote, sometimes discordant. The reporter in that room is OUTFRONT.
Plus, breaking news, polls closing in the close (ph) of watching Mississippi Senate race. It's a huge race tonight. John King at the Magic Wall to tell us there's going to be an upset or not.
[19:17:50] BURNETT: New tonight, former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort firing back against the stunning report by The Guardian. Report is that he secretly met with WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange multiple times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. One of those meetings, according to The Guardian, occurred in the same month that Manafort joined the Trump campaign.
So let me go through the time line for you. The Guardian reports Manafort and Assange met three times. 2013, 2015 and around March 2016. Now, that's a crucial date because Trump first hired Manafort on March 28, 2016 to lead his delegate fight. Nearly four months to the day after Manafort formerly doing to the Trump campaign, it was President Trump himself who pleaded with Russia to help find Hillary Clinton's missing e-mails.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And it was at about that time that Russian hackers began to target Clinton's accounts. Fast forward to October 7, 2016, the day the infamous Trump "Access Hollywood" tape is released. Within an hour, WikiLeaks starts to release the stolen e-mails of Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and Trump then couldn't help himself from heaping glowing praise on WikiLeaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This just came out. WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
His WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart. You got to read it.
Getting off the plane, they were just announcing new WikiLeaks and I wanted to say there, but I didn't want to keep you waiting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: But Manafort and WikiLeaks strongly deny the report. Manafort saying in part, quote, "This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him". However, keep in mind, this does come on the hills of an explosive court filing by the Special Council, more claiming Manafort has repeatedly lied to prosecutors after he agreed to cooperate.
OUTFRONT now, Political Editor for "The New York Times," Patrick Healy, and former Assistant Secretary for Department of Homeland and Security under President Obama, Juliette Kayyem, along with former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District here in New York, Harry Sandick.
[19:20:02] Harry, the bottom line, if The Guardian reporting is true, and obviously it is very strenuously and specifically denied by Manafort, but if it is true, how big of a deal is it that he would have had meetings with Julian Assange?
HARRY SANDICK, FMR. ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: It would be a very big deal because at some point the coincidences of the timing that you just talked about in the intro become too many coincidences to just write-off as a coincidence. And if in fact WikiLeaks is taking steps trying to help the Trump campaign, uniformly, it's not releasing Trump e-mails, only e-mails that would hurt the Democrat's nominee Hillary Clinton, and you have meetings between Manafort and the head of WikiLeaks, it certainly looks a lot like some sort of conspiracy.
BURNETT: It certainly does and it would almost defy belief to think that if this all did happen, again, if, that he wouldn't have told candidate Trump.
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. And remember at the time it was very strange for a lot of political reporters that Donald Trump was hiring Paul Manafort. He was a figure from the past in terms of Republican politics. And a lot of us were wondering what is Manafort bringing to the campaign, why would Donald Trump bring in Paul Manafort. It was never really established.
He was looking for some alternative to Corey Lewandowski, but Manafort came in and we know through the spring and summer the Trump campaign, let's say, they released open to overtures from Russians offering as we know in the Trump Tower meeting some kind of dirt on Hillary Clinton. So, I mean, there are number of things, you know, along the way that draw again President Trump into these kind of, you know, really the dark arts of political campaigning. Hacks and leaks and he spent the entire fall championing WikiLeaks for what it was doing even though you could argue, I mean, this was a hack of a major presidential candidate and yet he was going on and on about what a great thing it was.
BURNETT: And he was again and again. Juliette, I mean, it's a public record at this point. But how much do you think this all could play into Bob Mueller's investigation? And obviously I take this into consideration, right? He extraneously denies it, but it's a day after Mueller says he's been repeatedly lying after he agreed to a plea deal although he was not specific as to lying about what.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND AND SECURITY UNDER PRES. OBAMA: Right. So remember Manafort as well as the entire Trump campaign began this whole adventure with we never met or did anything with the Russians. So, the protests of how dare you accuse me of these are sort -- they fall on deaf ears in my case. Also remember in that rejection in what Manafort said today, he said I have nothing to do with anyone who had anything to do with Julian Assange. That is patently false because we do know that Roger Stone and his associate Corsi were, you know, in discussions with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and Roger Stone and Manafort, were business partners.
So, look, The Guardian piece a lot of us are saying if it's true and the reason why is because Britain is a highly surveillance state, presumably some foreign intelligence agencies would have seen Manafort go into the Ecuadorian Embassy so we do want to wait for that. But if it is true, then this is -- I wouldn't call this all smoking guns anymore, I would just call this all connective tissue. We have enough smoking guns with this case. These are the pieces that are drawing closer around Trump and then of course, you know, the Trump family.
BURNETT: And Harry, look, as Juliette points out, they originally said no contact with anybody, right, that is patently false. I mean, Roger Stone, she mentioned specifically, we have now obtained here at CNN a draft court filing from Mueller's office related to Roger Stone which basically shows that he really, really pushed to get documents directly from WikiLeaks that would help the Trump campaign. What does that mean?
SANDICK: I think that story may be as big as The Guardian story because it comes from what sounds like a Mueller document probably provided to Corsi, probably leaking from someone on that side of things. And indicating that Mueller has evidence that Roger Stone, who although not part of the Trump campaign, has been sort of a Trump associate and a Republican operative.
BURNETT: Certainly in the inner circle on some level and of course also has known Manafort for a long time. I mean, the ties are everywhere. Yes.
SANDICK: Right, so the Manafort-Stone that order for many years ago.
SANDICK: So, the fact that Stone and Corsi were then contriving to make up a story to protect Stone from the investigation, you know, why all these coincidences like we said, and now why all the lying about the coincidences. If there is a simple straightforward story, if these are the unluckiest people in the world, why wouldn't they just tell the truth and straighten it all out.
BURNETT: And Corsi, you know, Juliette, supposedly, you know, in intermediary, right, helping Stone, you know, get this information on some level, that's what the charges are. One of the e-mails between Corsi and Stone was in August of 2016. According to prosecutors, Corsi writes, "Word is friend in embassy plans two more dumps, one shortly after I'm back, second in October, impact planned to be very damaging".
[19:25:05] Obviously we do know there were releases, right, around that time, John Podesta's e-mails among them in October. It certainly to your point looks like more than just random things at this point, Juliette.
KAYYEM: Oh, yes. And you can't even -- you cannot keep a straight face and believe that Corsi somehow got lucky about knowing, you know, it just, oh, it's random luck that WikiLeaks put this stuff out. August 2nd -- just a little bit more on that e-mail, I actually tweeted it out. At the end of that part of the e-mail, Corsi says, you know, basically they're going to talk about Hillary's health, Bill's health, the Clinton Foundation. All of that proves to be true later on with the WikiLeaks releases.
So August 2nd, this is the e-mail you said, August 3 CNN has reported as have other news agencies in the past, Roger Stone mentioned that he had a conversation with Donald Trump. We're done with coincidences. This is the connect -- as I've said, this is the connective tissue part of the case and we'll see what Mueller has -- you know, whether he put, you know, all the pieces together.
BURNETT: And yet again you heard today, Patrick, now, you know, in "The Washington Post" interview the President saying there was no collusion, Kellyanne Conway saying, right, we've said that about a thousand times.
HEALY: Yes, they've said about thousand times at this point. But the reality is that, you know, Roger Stone and Corsi and Assange and WikiLeaks were figures that President Trump was pricing and privileging over and over again through the summer and fall. And that the release of the, you know, the Clinton, you know, the Clinton hacked e-mails were so essential to changing the narrative back in October when --
BURNETT: Well, the -- whatever video came out and all of a sudden these e-mails came out.
HEALY: Right. But these are very close figures to Donald Trump. And that's how you build a collusion --
BURNETT: And of course ironically that those e-mails really didn't get much attention (INAUDIBLE) with tape. All right. Thank you all very much.
And next, President Trump in a new and wide ranging interview talking climate change, why he says people of high intelligence levels like himself are not believers. Also breaking news out of Mississippi, we are just minutes away from polls closing there. A hugely controversial runoff for a crucial Senate seat tonight.
[19:30:51] BURNETT: Breaking news: President Trump is speaking out in a wide-ranging new interview with the "Washington Post" tonight. Among the headlines, the president denying that climate change is made by people, saying, quote, one of the problems that people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we're not necessarily such believers. As to whether or not manmade and whether or not the effects that you're talking about there, I don't see it.
And the president continued, deciding to blame the Federal Reserve for General Motors mass layoffs. The president saying, quote, I'm doing deals. I'm not being accommodated by the Fed. They're making a mistake but I have a gut and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me.
General Motors, of course, was specific about what it was blaming and it wasn't the Fed. It did include the president's tariffs, though.
OUTFRONT now, one of the people who interviewed President Trump, Josh Dawsey, "Washington Post" White House reporter.
Josh, you know, pretty incredible here, right? You know, people of high intelligence don't believe and this is not a thing of faith obviously. We're talking about climate change. And then General Motors, the mass layoffs are the Fed's fault.
JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": The president today was pretty explicit about climate change. He went into a pretty long rip about why he was skeptical. He said that he believed that maybe the climate -- he's read articles that said it may freeze, it may get warmer.
He also made pretty clear to us that he, you know, does not believe in his government's report on that front that came out and said that it was a terrible threat to the United States, would hurt the economy, could wipe out parts of the country. He does not share those concerns.
On the Federal Reserve, the president made pretty explicitly clear how displeased he is with the Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chairman. He picked Powell for the job, but he said I'm not pleased with even one little bit with his performance. He is frustrated about interest rates.
He says Powell is hurting the stock market, he is hurting the economy. He is to blame for General Motors among others, that is seen by dubious by many, that accusation. But it was a pretty specific rebuke from the president of his Federal Reserve chair. It's not something you normally see in Oval Office interview.
BURNETT: I mean, it was pretty stunning. And in your article, Josh, you describe the interview as sometimes discordant. It was an interesting word. What exactly happened in that room?
DAWSEY: Well, the president often goes on tangents or asides. A conversation about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, "The Washington Post" colleague, can weed into an answer about "The Palm Beach Post" blaming him for traffic jams. It's unclear that they did, but that's what he said today in the interview. An answer about human rights can go into a riff about oil prices and how they are down because of him.
A question about any number of topics, climate change can go into a long aside about forest fires and how you should sweep the floors. The president's train of thought is often all over the place. He speaks very discursively and often bounces from topic to topic.
So, it makes for an interesting interview. We had about 20 minutes with him today. Part of the time he talked off the record on a few occasions, but most of it was on the record. And there was a surprising amount of news we felt like we could make just because the president likes to go from one place to another.
BURNETT: Right. And you never know -- you never know what you're going to get. But as you say, discordant, obviously, seems to be the right word.
Josh, thank you very much.
And I want to go now to Stephen Moore, informal adviser to the White House, author of "Trumponomics", Bob Reich, former U.S. labor secretary under President Clinton and author of "The Common Good" to talk about a couple of these crucial headlines.
Steve, let me start with you. I want to read this quote from "The Washington Post" article, what the president said about the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Quote: So far, I'm not everyone a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit. And I'm not blaming anybody, but I'm just telling you I think the Fed is way off base.
So, you know, here he is. He says he is not blaming anybody, but he's admitting it's his own guy.
STEPHEN MOORE, INFORMAL WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, it is his own guy and I think he believes he made a big mistake and frankly I'm in agreement with him on this. I think the Fed is way too tight right now.
BURNETT: The interest rates are too high?
MOORE: I think some of the actions are (INAUDIBLE) economy.
[19:35:01] I don't think it is any coincidence that the stock market turmoil that we've seen in the last couple months, Erin, really started with the Fed, you know, not just raising rates, but telling the American people that we'll raise them and raise them and raise them when there is no real reason to do it because there is no inflation.
BURNETT: The stock market on any given day however, this started more than a couple months ago, we've had huge amounts of swings earlier in the year, and some were due directly to the President Trump's comments on things like Chinese tariffs. So, let's point that out --
MOORE: But my point is the market has been steadily a downturn inside is the fed started raising those rates. And there is no inflation out there. I don't know, maybe Bob Reich sees it. I don't see any indication of inflation. I don't see why the Fed is taking the punch bowl away from this party as the economy is growing so quickly.
BURNETT: Bob, quick response and then I want to talk about something else he said.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY UNDRE PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, the response is that president should not be criticizing the Fed. I mean, it doesn't matter -- Steve Moore and I may both agree about what the Fed should or should not do. That's not the point. There are reasons why the White House and the president do not criticize the Fed because that itself creates a lot of uncertainty and a lot of tumult in the markets. You have to have an independent Fed.
And I think honestly, Erin, the real theme here, if you look at that interview, and it is a disjointed, a little crazy, that interview, what you see is that Donald Trump does not like independent scientists, he doesn't like the independent Fed. He doesn't like an independent judiciary. He doesn't like anything that he can't control. And frankly, that is very dangerous for this country.
MOORE: I will agree with one thing with the two of you on this, I think to say that the Fed is responsible for closing down this plant is a stretch to say the least.
REICH: That's a stretch, Steve. It's crazy. That is nuts.
But the trade wars that he has launched, that's really what is going on. That is the thing that is causing both GM and also the market to be really reactive.
BURNETT: Well, General Motors mentioned that explicitly this summer, right? You heard Sherrod Brown, he says that he talked to Mary Barra, the president, specifically about that this summer, and he says the president chose to ignore that until now. I mean, obviously, that's his version.
I want to ask you, guys, about the climate change comments. And here's exactly what the president said. Just to read it again. One of the problems that lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we're not necessarily such believers as to whether or not it is manmade and whether or not the effects that you are talking about are there. I don't see it.
REICH: Well, if he didn't see it, that is worrisome because you have not only a huge consensus among scientists that there is climate change and that humans have created it, but you also have somebody in the White House who is making decisions about the EPA and about regulations and the Paris accords who is basically saying I don't believe anything that I'm being told. Now, he trusts his gut?
I don't know about Trump's gut. I don't want the future of this planet to depend on Donald Trump's gut frankly.
BURNETT: Steve, would you agree with that, you don't want the future of the planet to depend on Donald Trump's gut?
MOORE: Look, what Donald Trump said today in "The Washington Post" is no different from what he said for the last three years. Anybody who listened to what he said during the campaign, he was always a skeptic on manmade climate change.
I happen to be with him on that. I'm a skeptic. I'm not saying the climate isn't changing. I'm just saying I'm very skeptical that these actions that the government wants to take is going to do anything about it.
BURNETT: I'm holding the NASA assessment. They did just land that rover on Mars. Pretty smart group of people, high intelligence.
Observation around the world make it clear climate change is occurring and greenhouse gases emitted by humans are the primary driver. They are citing the scientific reports. They are pointing out 97 plus percent of scientific reports agree with this.
MOORE: Yes, and, you know, I made this point last night and I'll make it again, there has been many times in the last 50 years when apocalyptic predictions of the consensus of scientists, whether it was the population bomb, whether it was peak oil, whether we were running out of food, all of those -- I mean, can the two of you tell me one apocalyptic claim made by the environmental movement that has been true? Every one of them has been disproven. So, there is --
REICH: I will give you a number of claims. The sea level is rising and also that we are going to be subjected to more extreme weather. That --
MOORE: No, no, you are speculating. Show me something that --
REICH: Wait a minute, wait a minute. And you are saying that we are not being subjected to more extreme weather. I mean, that's the point. Everybody knows this is happening.
MOORE: That's not true. Bob --
REICH: You can't deny what is in front of people's --
MOORE: I looked at the data for the last hundred years in terms of things like -- I mean, you made this point last night.
[19:40:01] Hurricanes are more common today. No, that simply isn't true. There is no trend line in more hurricanes.
REICH: They are more violent and they are larger. And everybody knows it. That is what is so absurd about this conversation.
You have a president of the United States saying that 13 agencies have reported to me, I don't believe them, a thousand employees, 300 scientists, I'm going to trust my gut instead?
MOORE: Well, I think that the main point that Trump has made, and I've talked to him about this, is he believes that the actions that the climate change lobby wants to take like a major energy tax, like shutting down our oil and gas and coal industries in America would do so much severe damage to the American economy that we can't -- it would be devastating.
REICH: Steve, he is actually, it's not -- no, he has actually got out of the Paris accord and he's also stopped regulations. He reversed regulations.
MOORE: Because he wants to produce American oil and gas and coal, not because he wants to put the American workers out of work.
BURNETT: Why is he lauding Saudi Arabia for lowering oil prices? A conversation for another time. Thank you both.
REICH: Bottom line here --
BURNETT: We have to save it for another time.
REICH: The bottom line is money.
MOORE: Yes, exactly. The climate change industrial complex.
BURNETT: Next, former FBI Director James Comey slamming the acting attorney general.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: He may not be the sharpest knife in our drawer, but he can see his future.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Was that necessary?
Plus, breaking news, we're just moments away from polls closing in the Mississippi runoff Senate election. Can Republicans stop the blue wave? John King is standing by with the numbers on this crucial night.
[19:45:23] BURNETT: Breaking news. President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, says he should not rule out a pardon for former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, telling "The Wall Street Journal," quote: It's my job as his private lawyer to tell him he should not everyone consider it now because it will be misunderstood. That doesn't mean you give away your presidential prerogative to do it at the right time. Manafort should get the same consideration as anyone else.
This after the special counsel Bob Mueller claims Manafort has lied repeatedly after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. So he's going to get a kind of a deal and then went out and lied. Well, Manafort says not true, he is cooperating.
OUTFRONT now, the man slated to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in January, Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York.
Congressman, I appreciate your time.
So, Rudy Giuliani, hey, no talk of a pardon for Paul Manafort. I'm telling him not to do it. It will be misunderstood.
What's your takeaway? Is he dangling the idea out to Manafort or is he trying to tell the president not to do it?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, I suspect the dangling of pardon in front to Manafort, but the president should understand that even dangling a pardon in front of a witness like Manafort is dangerously close to obstruction of justice and would just fortify a claim -- a charge of obstruction of justice against the president, you know, because Manafort is a demonstrated -- a criminal, a convicted criminal, a convicted liar, and someone who is lying again now according to the special counsel, and someone whose lies -- or whose telling the truth may implicate the president in collusion with the Russians to try to rig the election.
And any attempt to get him to change his testimony or not testify by dangling a pardon would be obstruction of justice.
BURNETT: And what the president, of course, has taken the opportunity whenever possible to express sympathy for Manafort even after he was convicted. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the reasons that I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial -- you know, they make up stories. People make up stories. I must tell you that Paul Manafort is a good man. I feel very badly
for Paul Manafort. He happens to be a very good person and I think it is very sad what they have done to Paul Manafort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NADLER: Well, what's very sad is that the president's campaign was run by people who are now almost all convicted criminals. And by expressing great faith in someone who is an admitted felon -- remember, he pled guilty to felonies -- and the president is not performing his job as chief law enforcement person in the country.
And again, he should be very careful how he deals with Paul Manafort because of the possibility of obstruction of justice.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about something he said in the interview with the "Washington Post." The president says he has no intention of stopping the Mueller probe, Congressman. He says, in part, quote, the Mueller investigation is what it is. It just goes on and on. The question has been asked about me now for almost two years and he is still there. He wouldn't have to be, but he is still there, so I have no intention of doing anything.
Congressman, you've been adamant that there needs to be a formal bill to protect Mueller. Is it time to let the issue go? It has been two years. He loves to say bad things about him but he hasn't done anything. Take him at his word, he's going to leave him alone.
NADLER: Well, first of all, he has done something. He fired Attorney General Sessions simply because -- and he said so simply because he recused himself from the investigation, from supervising the investigation and he didn't protect the president. That's the president saying that.
And he put in as attorney general, Whitaker, who has no credentials for the job, whose only qualification is that he has already pre- judged the issue. He said that this was -- that there was no Russian collusion despite what -- there was no Russian interference in the election despite what all the intelligence agencies said. He's prejudged the issue.
And he's put someone in charge there who could very well interfere with the election -- with the investigation in ways that we wouldn't know until later. Whitaker could tell Mueller, don't indict this person, don't follow that line of inquiry, and we wouldn't know about it until the end of the investigation. We would have to report to Congress.
BURNETT: So, I want to ask you about Whitaker, but first former FBI Director Jim Comey, Republicans on your committee have subpoenaed him to testify behind closed doors next week. It would be about Hillary Clinton, Russia investigation, e-mails. Comey says fine but it's got to be public.
The current chairman of your committee last night told me that it would be wrong to do this in public. [19:50:01] His comment was as director of the FBI -- this is
Congressman Goodlatte, James Comey never conducted an interview like that in public. And that's what you do when you're gathering information. You want to do in private, so other witnesses don't hear the testimony of other people.
Does he have a point?
NADLER: He is entirely wrong. That was a very abusive subpoena because Comey has agreed -- has volunteered to testify in public. Yes, in a criminal investigation, if you are a criminal prosecutor, you might elect to do certain investigations -- certain interrogations privately, but not in a congressional investigation like this.
And the fact is that there is nothing to fear because Comey has testified in public previously and he's been shouting from the roof tops what he wants to say. So, there is no danger.
BURNETT: Speaking of shouting from the roof tops, today he did just that. Here is what he had to say about Mr. Whittaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: He may not be the sharpest knife in our drawer but he can see his future and knows if he acted in an extra legal way, he would go down in history for the wrong reasons. And I'm sure he doesn't want that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: He may not be the sharpest knife in our drawer. Do you support that sort of talk about someone from the former FBI director?
NALDER: Well, he can say what he wants. I'm not going to comment on that. But he is -- but the fact is that Whitaker is there I believe illegally because his name was never submitted for confirmation. And again, his only qualification is that he's pre-judged the issue and he's ion effect volunteered to sabotage the investigation. And that is wrong.
He has no other visible qualifications for the job at all.
BURNETT: All right. Of course, some colleagues on the Republican side say he has assured them he won't interfere with it. But obviously understand your point as well. Thank you, sir.
And next, breaking news, we are just moments away from polls closing in Mississippi's Senate runoff. What do Democrats need to pull off an upset? John King at the wall, next.
[19:55:15] BURNETT: We are minutes away from polls closing in Mississippi's Senate runoff, the crucial race that will finalize the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith in a much closer than expected battle against Democrat Mike Espy in an election highlighted by controversy and racially charged comments.
Last time Mississippi sent a Democrat to the Senate, though, was 1982. Thus, this is a big night.
I want to go to John King, host of "INSIDE POLITICS", and he is at the wall tonight.
John, what does Espy need tonight if he is going to manage to pull off a miraculous victory here?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Miraculous is the right word. Everyone should go into the night, we'll get the votes in a few minutes. It will take a few hours to count.
Cindy Hyde-Smith, even though she's a flawed candidate, Republicans would concede a weak candidate, she should win this race, Erin. But you asked the question, this is the map tonight. These are the two candidates.
As we explain this, let's go back three weeks. This is where we were on election night. The reason we have the runoff is because neither candidate in the race tonight cracked 50 percent. This is why they had the runoff. But these were the top two candidates.
But, look, the third place candidate, another Republican, 41-16. You do the math. That is the state of Mississippi. So, what to look for tonight, look at this blue. This is pretty impressive for Mike Espy. I do this in green.
This is on election night three weeks ago. That's there. For Cindy Hyde-Smith, let's focus on her big areas. We'll use the yellow here.
Now, let's come forward to the map today. This is what we're going to wait as we count the votes tonight. Let's look at the state population. As you noted, this race is broken down along racial lines, particularly because many of the things controversial Cindy Hyde Smith has said or done over the course of her career.
So, let's take a look at Mississippi. Number one, the African- American population. The darker the purple, the higher the percentage of African-Americans who live in these areas. Remember I told you, this is where Mike Espy ran strong three weeks ago. He has to run even stronger tonight, not just getting 80 percent, 90 percent of the African-American vote, the numbers have to come out. Huge turnout.
This is where the African there's African-American high population across the state, but you see it concentrated here in the western part. Espy must run it up.
Now, let's move to the other area. We circled for Cindy Hyde-Smith. Biloxi, Tupelo, this is now the white population in the state of Mississippi. The darker the purple, the higher concentration of white voters.
That's where the president went last night. That's where the president went last night. The Trump base, the white rural voters especially has to turn out for her again. Most Republicans think she will win. But they said they needed the president to go in at the last minute because they were nervous.
BURNETT: And obviously, Democrats won in Alabama. They say why not in Mississippi? Obviously, there were allegations of pedophilia there. Is that the difference?
KING: It is part of the difference. You had an even weaker Republican candidate. Excuse me for turning my back for a second. Let's go back in time and turn these demographics off and let's look at the state of Alabama and come back to that one here.
Look, with an even weaker Republican candidate, Doug Jones just won, he just cracked 50 percent. So, why can't the Democrats do it again? That's not to say they can't do it in Mississippi.
Alabama is a bit more urban. That's where Democrats live in higher concentrations. It's easy to turn them up.
It's a bit more suburban. That's where you find moderate Republicans who think the president is toxic. Even in a place like Alabama, you can find them.
Mississippi, less urban, less suburban, more rural. Doug Jones won 30 percent of the white vote.
Can Mike Espy do it tonight? If he gets 30 percent of the white vote, we'll have a race. If he doesn't, probably not.
BURNETT: All right. John King, thank you.
And I want to go to Mark Preston, our senior political analyst.
Mark, obviously John laying all of this out. President Trump obviously beat Hillary Clinton by more than 17 percentage points in the state of Mississippi. It should have been a sure bet for Republicans.
What does it say to you that we are even talking about it tonight?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's just a couple of things. One, we are really seeing the Republican Party really lost in the wilderness right now. They don't know who the leader is. Not everyone is behind Donald Trump.
But it was interesting that Donald Trump decided to put his reputation on the line and go into Mississippi. I don't think he did that without basically knowing that his candidate was going to win. He did not want --
BURNETT: The map that John just showed would indicate she would have won anyway, but he can now get credit.
PRESTON: Correct. And he will take credit for it. But it does say this -- if you look at Mississippi with an African-American candidate that is not running as a traditional urban African-American candidate in Mike Espy, if you look at Andrew Gillum in Florida, if you look Georgia, if you look down at Beto O'Rourke, you know, Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Beto O'Rourke, you're talking about a changing South. And you are talking that within the next decade, next couple of decades, the South is going to be a lot different politically than it is now.
BURNETT: Mark, quickly, does the margin matter? Say she wins put it is close, does that matter?
PRESTON: A hundred percent, yes. It does because of this, because the last election, midterm election was two weeks ago. Thanksgiving was last week. It will show if Democratic enthusiasm can continue on two weeks after the regular election.
BURNETT: Right. You know, two weeks I guess is the start, whether it will two years which obviously is a huge test coming.
Mark Preston, thank you so very much.
Thanks to all of you. We'll see you tomorrow.
"ANDERSON" starts now.