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Erin Burnett Outfront

Iran Dismisses Trump's Threat Of "Locked And Loaded"; Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Is Interviewed About What The President Of Locked And Loaded; Trump: 'We'd Certainly Like To Avoid' War With Iran; Six 2020 Dems Calls For Justice Kavanaugh's Impeachment; CNN: Letter To FBI Flagged Info On Kavanaugh Alleged Misconduct Before Confirmation;. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 16, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: To our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump blames Iran, warning the U.S. was locked and loaded. Plus, a growing number of 2020 candidates calling for Justice Kavanaugh to be impeached after reports of a new allegation. Did the FBI mishandle its investigation or not? Plus, Purdue Pharma, the company at the center of the opioid crisis filing for bankruptcy. That is not stopping one Attorney General though from going after the Sackler family and their billions of dollars that they got from that company. Let's go out front.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump blames Iran for the attack on oil supply that caused oil prices to spike 20 percent and he says he's prepared for military action. This is a source tells CNN United States Intelligence believes the attack originated inside Iran.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you seen evidence, proof that Iran was behind the attack?



BURNETT: Trump's words coming after he tweeted in part, quote, the U.S. is locked and loaded. Locked and loaded is, of course, a big threat. And a senior Revolutionary Guard commander from Iran said overnight that the country is, quote, ready for full fledged war.

Of course, the problem with hot rhetoric is that it can go wrong fast, but playing fast and loose with facts and words, of course, is not new for Trump. He actually threatened Iran with much worse in July 2018 when he tweeted to Iranian President Rouhani, "Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before." Well, there were no consequences, certainly not the likes of which few

in history have ever before suffered. But Trump does love to issue threats and then do nothing. Take, for example, North Korea. Remember this?


TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury. Like the world has never seen.


BURNETT: Fire and fury. Well, there has been plenty of fire, but from North Korea. It has fired nearly two dozen rockets since that day. The last one said to be a super large multiple rocket launcher. As for Trump, fire and fury turned into this.


TRUMP: I was really being tough and so was he. And we would go back and forth. And then we fell in love. OK? No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters. We fell in love.


BURNETT: So if fire and fury turn into that, then why should Iran take locked and loaded and Armageddon like threats of making world history seriously? And by the way, what is worse, that the world doesn't take Trump seriously and believe anything he says or that Trump might actually follow through on one of the more dramatic tweets ending up in this case, a new and massive war in the Middle East.

Pamela Brown is out front live outside the White House. So Pamela, what more are you learning about the President's response to Iran?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now the President is hesitating to place the blame squarely on Iran today in the White House. He kept hedging, tap dancing around it saying it certainly looks like Iran saying that it's going to be verified that we're going to find out soon. And then he went on to say, "Well, we pretty much already know who it is."

So he didn't want to come out and directly say it was Iran, though he strongly hinted at it and imply that in fact it was which is interesting, because his own Secretary of State just yesterday tweeted that Iran did launch the attack on the Saudi oil facilities. Now, what will happen next remains to be seen.

As you pointed out, Erin, the President did put out these thinly veiled threats today basically saying if it is Iran, then we can respond with even larger attack than the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities. He boasted about the military prowess in the United States.

But if you go back and look at his prior responses to Iran, he also used that strong language and didn't actually do anything. As you'll recall after the downing of the U.S. strike, he caught off a retaliatory strike on Iran because he said he did not believe a lethal force was proportionate for the downing of the drone.

And so Erin, we're going to have to wait and see how the president responds if in fact the intelligence does confirm that Iran is responsible for this as his Secretary of State has says.

Now, the President also talked today about the idea of meeting with Iranians without preconditions. As you know this is something the President has previously said on at least two occasions that he would do that, no preconditions. Administration officials had said that as well and then the President came out and said that the media essentially was making that up and he never said that.

So he addressed that today saying that if he did meet with the Iranians, that he would not lift the sanctions. He said those are the preconditions there. He also mentioned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be going to Saudi Arabia to talk to the leaders there to figure out what to do. He says Saudi Arabia would need to play a role if there is any response and he also said he made no promises to Saudi Arabia in terms of offering them protection.


And so the president use some strong language today. He did sort of hedge on putting the blame squarely on Iran and so we'll have to wait and see from here what he does.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela, from the White House. And let's go now to Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. And Congressman, I really appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): Thank you so much, Erin, for having me.

BURNETT: So when the President tweets locked and loaded, do you have any idea what he means by that?

OMAR: I don't. A lot of people don't and I don't think even Iran really fully cares about that and I don't think a lot of world cares about that. I think what this President and this administration does is they say a lot of things and they don't really understand the consequences it has on the world stage.

When you think about what has happened in regards to the relationship with Iran, we've worked really hard to improve relations to make sure that we were bringing them to the table. And one of the first things this administration did was to take us out of the Iran nuclear deal and none of this would have really have happened if we didn't put further sanctions that devastated the middle class in Iran and now has put our two countries in the brink of war.

BURNETT: Should a military strike be on the table right now as an option against Iran by the U.S. specifically, Congresswoman, or do you think no? OMAR: Congress has the constitutional right to declare war. The

President doesn't have it. Secretary of State doesn't have it and Saudi Arabia certainly doesn't have it. I think we need to make sure that the American people understand that this administration that lies about weather maps or crowd sizes cannot be trusted to give us the full information.

We need to be able to make a decision whether we should be going to war or not with Iran. We are not in a position to think about another endless war and I really hope that my colleagues in Congress are going to pressure this administration to take a step back and figure out how we use diplomacy in the escalating the situation.

BURNETT: So Congressman, President Trump, you mentioned Saudi Arabia, he says that he trusts Saudi Arabia on this and I wanted to just play for you what he said on the White House lawn about that. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you trust Saudi Arabia when it comes to what they say about Iran?

TRUMP: Oh, I think so. Look, they want to find out also and I think they probably feel they know. But we're going to know very, very quickly. We have pretty much all the material we need. We'll know very quickly.


BURNETT: Now, Congresswoman, we understand tonight that U.S. intelligence does believe the attack originated in Iran as well. But are you comfortable with that that when the President's asked, "Do you trust Saudi Arabia's intelligence?" "Oh, I think so. They want to find out also." That he has confidence in their assessment.

OMAR: I mean, this is a president, if you'll remember, Erin, who talked about how Saudi Arabia buys apartments from him and spends lots of money on his businesses and that's why he's friends with them. I think it's really important for us to remember that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in war in Yemen.

They attacked Yemen. The Houthis have taken responsibility on this particular attack and we have to be very cautious about the way that we move forward and I think that's why it's important for Congress to be able to investigate and take the lead on whether it makes sense for us to engage. It's really important for us to remember this is a war. Our intelligence is war tainted towards Iran.

And we can't forget our involvements in Iraq and how there are people who beat the drums of war and ultimately make us regret a decade or so later.

BURNETT: So President Trump in the Oval Office today said that the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others in his team are going to go to Saudi Arabia. They're going to meet with officials there behind closed doors about this attack and they're going to meet with some of the same people that Trump with over U.S. intelligence when it came to the U.S. intelligence conclusion that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia personally directed the murder of The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, less anyone forget the President clearly took their side. Here he is.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no direct reporting connecting the Crown Prince to the order of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That's all I can say in a classified setting.


BURNETT: That Trump obviously also said that directly himself. Do you - yes.

OMAR: Yes. I mean it's easy for them to cite information from our intelligence community when it fits with the outcome that they want.


And it's easy for them to say, "We're not going to listen to what the intelligence community has to say when they it doesn't fit." Even Saudi Arabia today is asking the United Nations to investigate what has taken place and they themselves were saying that they weren't going to allow the United Nations to investigate in the ways that they butchered journalist Khashoggi.

And so it's really important for us to take a step back to remember who we're dealing with. Saudi Arabia is not a friendly regime. There has been credible evidence that they are sharing some of the weapons that we have been selling to them to al Qaeda and others. And so we have to make sure that we are really cautious in this situation.

And again, that's why I remind people that Congress has the right to declare war and Congress needs to be informed and briefed in this particular situation.

BURNETT: You have also come out in favor of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, Congresswoman. And today, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler spoke out about that and about where he is. And obviously there's been this whole semantic old game going on about what we're going to call this situation going on, on the Judiciary Committee.

But here's what he said today.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Personally, I think the President ought to be impeached. We cannot impeach the President against the will of the American people.


BURNETT: Now, the reason I play that for you is that a recent Monmouth University poll which is the most recent we have, Congresswoman, found six in 10 Americans say they oppose impeaching the President. So what does that mean for Jerry Nadler? He's essentially saying he's not going to go ahead with this because of polls and do you think he's right?

OMAR: No. What he is saying is that there are people like him or myself who've said, it's not. If we are going to impeach this president, it's when. And so if you think back to what was happening with the Nixon impeachment, majority of Americans were against impeachment. And within few months of that investigation taking place, majority of Americans were on board.

And so as Nat Little (ph) was speaking today, he talked about how he personally thinks the President ought to be impeached, but he wants to make sure that everything is at the table, so Americans can move along with us as well.

BURNETT: So is your understanding of where he is that he believes that these hearings will accomplish that, that's how you see this, not as giving in but as that's where he's going.

OMAR: Exactly. I mean, I think for us it's really important to share with the American people what we know and to bring them along in this process. If you'll remember with the Mueller report, majority of Americans did not read that report and so they were getting piece here, a piece there, Members of Congress organized a read in to make sure that Americans were tuning in. A lot of them did not.

And I think it's really important that as we have conversations with the people who entrust us to make a decision on their behalf, that we are fully informing them and we're telling them about the crimes and misdemeanors that we believe this president has committed and why he deserves to be impeached.

BURNETT: One more question, you've introduced a bill along with Senator Cory Booker, obviously, who's running for the White House, you did this today. It would create a pilot program to guarantee jobs for anyone who wants one. That's ambitious. It would cost a lot of money. What is the number one thing you would do to pay for that?

OMAR: Yes. I mean, this is an idea that has a long legacy and was proposed by Franklin Roosevelt. It was supported by Martin Luther King, Jr. It's a pilot project, pilot program that is going to allow 15 communities within this country to create this program. And I think ultimately, when these jobs are created and people are pleased in these jobs, it will pay for itself.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much for your time, Congressman. Thanks.

OMAR: Thank you so much for having me.

BURNETT: And next, more 2020 Democrats pushing for Justice Kavanaugh's impeachment. Could this come back and bite them big time at the ballot box? Plus, Trump starting to sour on new gun control laws. One Republican Congressman who supports an assault weapons ban response out front tonight. And New York's Attorney General says authorities discovered about a billion dollars in wire transfers by the family at the center of the opioid epidemic. What were they doing? Massachusetts Attorney General is out front.



BURNETT: Tonight, reigniting the Kavanaugh debate. At least six 2020 candidates calling on Justice Kavanaugh to be impeached as The New York Times reports a new allegation of misconduct when Kavanaugh was a student at Yale.

The Times reporting a male classmate of Kavanaugh has told senators about an incident he witnessed involving Kavanaugh on a female student, involved exposing himself and the female student declined to be interviewed but her friends tell the New York Times that she does not recall the incident. Now, CNN is not reporting details of the claim because we have not independently corroborated the story.

Out front now, Maria Cardona, Democratic Strategist and Rob Astorino a member of President Trump's 2020 Re-Election Advisory Council. So Maria, do you think Justice Kavanaugh should be impeached? And I'm separating this from what you might have thought before this story, does this give you grounds to say, "OK, now we should do this?"

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, it does, Erin. But I don't think that that should be the only thing that we or the 2020 Democratic candidates do because in all honesty and the truth of it is that we right now don't have the votes to impeach him, even if we were to take over the Senate in 2020 which I hope is the case unless there is a huge tidal wave.


I don't think we're going to get 2/3 of the Senate in order for an impeachment to actually be real. So I think that yes we should call for his impeachment, because I think it underscores how unfit he is and was and has been to serve on the highest court in the land for a lifetime appointment, but we should also use this particular instance, Erin, to underscore to all progressives, to all independents to everyone who understands and knows how important real due process is and justice is that a vote in the election cycle means that you get to vote for a president who will hopefully put people who do not have major sexual misconduct allegations against them on the Supreme Court.

ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: I mean I didn't go to law school and Maria obviously you didn't either, but this is like ridiculous that you would stick with this line after it's basically been completely shot down. I mean The Times had to recant its story. It should never have been printed in the first place and they should be sued for libel if they ever overturned Sullivan versus York Times from 1964, they should be the first target.

This is insane that The Times would print this stuff, even the Washington Post which hates Trump just as much as The Times didn't even go through with this.

CARDONA: Well, what's the libel?

ASTORINO: What's the libel? His reputation has been smeared. There's been no evidence whatsoever if this is the new bar for American justice ...

CARDONA: Do you know why, Rob?

ASTORINO: ... then everyone is going to be in jail.

CARDONA: Because the FBI didn't investigate. The FBI did not investigate. There are more than 25 people that they were told could have first-hand knowledge of what happened to Deborah Ramirez, they did not investigate. That is not due process. That is not justice.

BURNETT: Right. Which is a different incident than the one that we're talking about now, which The Times reports on. I mean, Maria, President Trump saying a little bit about what Rob is saying, OK, but he just waited on the lawn, here he is.


TRUMP: It's a false accusation, whatever happen with The New York Times. I mean I could tell you personally they never checked, they never do. We used to have a thing called fact-checking. They don't do fact-checking anymore. They used to call and say, "What about this? What about that?" How can they do a thing like that and destroy somebody's life?


BURNETT: So Maria I guess but the question I have here is that the New York Times now says friends tell them of the woman who was allegedly involved according to a man who was there that she does not recall it.


BURNETT: Which it does give you a pause. Of course Trump is running with this.


BURNETT: I mean The New York Times helped Trump here.

CARDONA: Well, certainly at least Trump is going to use it, I don't know that it helps him because for Donald Trump to be talking about truth and facts is laughable in and of itself. This is a man who every time he opens his mouth lies to the American people, so I don't think that he in any way shape or form is the arbiter of truth.

And though her story or what her friends say about her, sure it gives you pause, Erin. But anyone who went to college can understand that it is a possibility that this happened to her and that she doesn't remember. It doesn't mean it's not true. I think what needs to happen is that there needs to be an investigation about the sham investigation that went on in the first place prior to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

BURNETT: So Rob, to that point, Deborah Ramirez who Maria just mentioned, another woman. She claims Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party in Yale, OK, and she gave the FBI a list of 25 people that she said would corroborate her ...

ASTORINO: This is after she talked to her lawyer and had recollection of seven days and still couldn't come up with any corroborating evidence.

BURNETT: But hold on, but I'm saying she did give a list of these people and the FBI did not speak to any of them. Should they have so at least they could have said, "We did. We went under every rock."

ASTORINO: No. Because this was the part of the Democratic playbook to run out the clock, if you remember, just to continue every - which they're doing now, they're continuing this. To have Kamala Harris who is a lawyer and a prosecutor scream impeach Kavanaugh now after this ridiculous story and not recanted today after the Times had to pull back the story just shows where this is. It's all about politics. It's all about delegitimizing Justice Kavanaugh because the abortion industry, the abortion decisions which may come out, anything that the left doesn't like, they're trying to delegitimize the Supreme Court.

CARDONA: Perhaps this is about not wanting a Supreme Court Justice who's a sexual predator.

ASTORINO: So this is all part of what we've been through for the last two years.

CARDONA: Perhaps the American people don't want that.

ASTORINO: So why don't you go out right now and call him a sexual predator and other allegations.

CARDONA: I just did.

ASTORINO: Because ...

CARDONA: I just did.

ASTORINO: ... I know you did and that's where we're at in this country. You can make those and not have to worry about any recriminations here.


And you have no evidence whatsoever that he's a sexual predator. In fact, during the whole Senate testimony and everything we heard it was just the opposite.

CARDONA: There are several women who has talked about what happened to them and there's a pattern and we know that there is a pattern, there is something truth there. But you know what, when you have a commander-in-chief who is also a sexual predator, of course, he's going to defend a sexual predator that he put on the Supreme Court.

ASTORINO: Dr. Blasey Ford's own father, father said that he couldn't even corroborate what his daughter and didn't believe his daughter.

CARDONA: Was he there?

BURNETT: Well, I ...

CARDONA: Was he there? He wasn't there.

BURNETT: ... I mean ...

ASTORINO: Well, so any of these - Max Stier ...

BURNETT: The chance is that she necessarily would have run home and told her father.


BURNETT: I think we all could acknowledge that ...

ASTORINO: But he didn't believe her after all this time. Max Stier who made ...

CARDONA: That has nothing to do with it.

ASTORINO: ... Max Stier who made these allegations, do you know about his history too? Max Stier's wife was put up by President Obama for D.C. court nomination, didn't pass. Max Stier was part of the Monica Lewinsky Democratic team against Brett Kavanaugh. So please, stop this hit job, that's all it is.

CARDONA: See, the fact that you have to go and do a hit job on everybody who has an allegation ...

ASTORINO: Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court and he will stay on the Supreme Court.

CARDONA: ... and the fact that you have to go and criticize everybody who has an allegation against Kavanaugh speaks right there to the pattern that exist about this man having inappropriate, perhaps, predatory behavior, sexual towards women when he was in college.

BURNETT: All right.

CARDONA: That is not the kind of person I want at the- Supreme Court.

ASTORINO: No proof necessary.

BURNETT: We will hit pause there.

ASTORINO: No proof necessary, I'm just saying.

BURNETT: And out front next, a Republican Congressman whose daughter was across the street from a mass shooting calls for a ban on assault weapons. What is his response to Trump now wavering on gun control laws? Plus, the billionaire family at the center of the opioid crisis accused of moving money to overseas accounts. The company has filed for bankruptcy. The family still loaded. Massachusetts Attorney General responds.



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, President Trump questioning again wavering on gun control, saying maybe not going to find common ground with Democrats.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the president in a phone call they would accept nothing less than universal background checks, and the president now tweeting: The big questions are, will they, quote, move the goal post and is this a ploy to take your guns away? I hope not on both counts, but I'll be able to figure it out.

OUTFRONT now, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio.

And, Congressman, it's good to have you with me.

REP. MIK TURNER (R-OH): Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BURNETT: Look, this is very personal for you. You know, your daughter was literally there in Dayton for the mass shooting as you said she just crossed the street and by the grace of God, she is OK. But this changed your mind on assault weapons?

TURNER: Right. So, if you look at what happened in Dayton, I mean, you had the best circumstances that you had a high police presence, they immediately opened fire. The mass murderer had on armament and the police in 32 seconds were able to take him down and kill him.

But nonetheless, he was able to kill nine people and injure 27 others. Now, he's an individual who had passed a background check. But I think it eliminates the argument if people say, if we just arm everybody then you won't have these circumstances, you just have increased police presence, the police were there. They were invisible. They were armed.

BURNETT: They were armed. They knew how they operate them. They executed.

TURNER: They had armor piercing bullets. They had everything that they needed to save the lives of really thousands, but nonetheless, this mass murderer was able to kill nine people and injure 27.

If we look at this as a historic historical perspective, when the assault weapons ban first assault ban went into place under Bill Clinton --


TURNER: -- it went into place because our police were outgunned. They would show up to crime scenes and had there be meeting military style weapons and they would not have the appropriate equipment or weaponry. And that assault weapon ban was in place for 10 years, and by the end of that 10 years, we'd sort of re-equipped our police department and it was allowed to expire.

But people didn't anticipate, even though Columbine had happened, what was going to transpire in the American culture and society where today, we have people who will go and open fire on people they do not know, on innocent people and use these for mass carnage.

BURNETT: So why is it that many of your fellow Republicans don't get that? Why are they fighting for people team to still be able to buy these weapons of war?

TURNER: Well, I think any time have you any issue with respect to the Second Amendment, you have to be concerned. It is a constitutional principle, its' one that I support completely.

BURNETT: Uh-huh.

TURNER: But even so, we have recognized that the Second Amendment has its limitations, you can't have a tank. You can't have your own plane with bombs on it. You can't have a flame thrower or a machine gun.


TURNER: It's a technology issue so where we believe military-style weapons versus a weapon that in civil society, we believe would still allow us to be safe and allow people to have their Second Amendment right. I think that's where the debate needs to go.

BURNETT: All right. So, you know, there are some that say, OK, they are where you are. And then, well, if you're going to -- if your goal is to take these weapons off the streets, then you need to take them off the streets, which means take them away from people that already have them.

Beto O'Rourke is in that group. And he spoke about it at the Democratic debate. Obviously, this is the moment that got all the conversation, and here it is.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hell yes, we're going to take your AR-14, your AK-47. We're not going to allow it be used against our fellow Americans anymore.


BURNETT: So, if you're against people buying them, why are you not against taking them away from people who already have them?

TURNER: Well, I actually think that's as nuts as it looks. When we first did the assault weapon ban under Bill Clinton, it was grandfathered. There was not an attempt to take weapons from anybody. And I think, you know, we're not going to criminalize average American

citizens. But I do think that we need to be able to go the next step and saying, by American values, we now believe that these weapons are military weapons and that we need to stop their free purchase from people who, you know, again pass a background check, but yet meant to do harm.


And, by the way, in Dayton, it's the same story we hear over and over again. People knew this individual had stated that he wanted to be a mass murderer.


TURNER: That he had lists in high school where people he wanted to target. And still, yet, he was able to buy these weapons.

BURNETT: Right. I guess I'm just trying to understand, it seems on some level intellectually inconsistent, right, for people to say, these are bad, they shouldn't be out there, but then we're just going to grandfather in. I mean, is it just -- is it just a matter of political, you know, pragmatism that you're saying that, like, OK, sure, you'd love to get rid of them all, but it's not going to happen, so don't go there?

TURNER: I think it's an issue of future. I mean, they were talking about commerce and what are being sold.


TURNER: And you don't want to make law abiding citizens criminals, and that's ultimately what -- you know, when you start --


BURNETT: Buy back.

TURNER: Beto is saying -- said you're going to go door-to-door.


TURNER: You then think you've accomplished.

I think -- but I think we do need to say that we have both a mental health issue and a value issue that's in addition to just the gun issue. You know, my daughter said, if you look at the videos of each of these people who do these mass murders, they all behave the same. Somewhere in the virtual world, they don't look like military and they don't look like police. But they all look the same.

So, we have to look at mental health issues, but also what's happening in the virtual world, and then also I think it is a technology issue and weapons issue.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman. Good to see you in person.

TURNER: Thank you. Appreciate it.

BURNETT: And next, CNN learning two former Trump aides are now expected to defy a House subpoena to appear tomorrow on Capitol Hill. That's a really big development tonight and it's all because of the president. We'll explain in a moment.

And the billionaire family accused of fueling the opioid epidemic says they feel terrible. But they didn't cause a crisis. So, what does the attorney general suing their company have to say about it?



BURNETT: Breaking news: Two former White House aides are expected to defy a House subpoena. According to sources, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn will not show up at tomorrow's impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, and that is under White House orders.

So, Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT live outside the White House.

So, this news just breaking. Pamela, look, these are two people they want to hear from as part of this impeachment inquiry. So, this defiance coming just hours before it was scheduled to begin seems to be a big deal.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. They will unleash or ratchet up the tension between House committees and the White House with this latest effort to prevent two top White House aides before testifying at the House Judiciary Committee. We have learned that these former aides, Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn, are not expected to appear before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. They have been -- there was a subpoena that the committee had issued to them and they will not appear under White House orders that they have blanket immunity.

So, therefore, under what the White House says is they do not have to show up to testify because they have been given immunity. There is something similar, as you'll recall with Don McGahn.


BROWN: The White House did the same with him, that is now in litigation.

So, this certainly will only sort of ratchet up the fight between the two sides and the Democrat's impeachment probe and inquiry that is ongoing here.

Now, Corey Lewandowski also has a deadline tomorrow, and we're told that he is expected to show up on Capitol Hill. And this will likely be a contentious hearing. But how much he will reveal, Erin, remains to be seen because we know from previous reporting that the White House is looking at limiting what he would tell the committee about his conversations with President Trump under executive privilege, which is notable, because Corey Lewandowski, of course, never worked here in the White House.

And so, he may be limited in what he actually shares with the committee, though, of course, he was a key witness in the Mueller report and the obstruction of justice probe. That is already out there. And so, likely, the committee will want to focus on that. But again, these two other White House aides, Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter, are essentially being told by the White House, we've learned from sources, to not appear.

I spoke to Bill Coffield, the lawyer for Rick Dearborn, who says he is expecting a letter from the White House any minute with those instructions that he's been given immunity and the committee has been made aware that they likely won't show up -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And, of course, then court battles we test what impeachment inquiry really means in the courts, whether they say it's effective as they say or not.

Pam, thank you very much.

BROWN: Thanks, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the company behind OxyContin filing for bankruptcy, saying it's going to provide more than $10 billion to address the opioid crisis. The Massachusetts attorney general not on board and responds.

And he's a beloved member of his community, but now in custody after he asked ICE to address immigrant concerns.


REPORTER: How worried are you about the future now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could not imagine. I don't know how am I going to do it.




BURNETT: Tonight, the company behind OxyContin is filing for bankruptcy. Purdue Pharma says the filing is the next step in its settlement with thousands of state and local entities. And they say the filing will provide more than $10 billion to address the opioid crisis.

But there are states not on board. And one of them is Massachusetts.

OUTFRONT now is Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat. Her state did not sign to the settlement agreement.

So, Attorney General, tell us why.

MAURA HEALEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Erin, it's pretty simple. This is about justice. It's about accountability and I want to be clear: the Sacklers who ravaged communities across this country through the sale of their opioid products and raked in billions and billions of dollars through those sales wouldn't be required to pay a dime of it back for this settlement.

In fact, they want to fund this settlement, pay for this settlement based on future sales of the deadly and addictive OxyContin drug. And so, that's the first reason.

The second reason is there's no transparency in this. There's no accountability. They're not required to admit to any wrongdoing. They're not required to produce the documents, which they've tried to shield for many, many years. That's really important, and our families deserve better.

BURNETT: So, you bring up the family. The New York Attorney General Letitia James says that authorities have discovered a billion dollars in transfers, wire transfers by members of the Sackler family, Attorney General, and they're trying to find out if they're trying to shield their wealth, right, to protect it from lawsuits so they would get to keep the money, instead of having to pay it out. A spokesperson for the family says the transfers were, quote, perfectly legal and appropriate.

What do you think?

HEALEY: Well, this is exactly, Erin, why we think this settlement is a really bad deal. We were the first state to sue the Sacklers. And many other states have followed. I think what has become clear through our extensive investigation is that this is a family that has sought for years to hide their assets, to shield their assets.

So, it's no surprise to us that, of course, once they siphoned off all the money they made through Oxy sales from the company, Purdue, they then sought to move it overseas, to hide it from authorities. And, you know, that's so important for the public to realize because the deal that is on the table now is essentially Purdue and the Sacklers not being asked to pay back a dime of the profits that they raked in.

BURNETT: The family money doesn't.


BURNETT: And do you think you will be able to trace that money and prove that they are trying to hide it and shield it?

HEALEY: Well, we're going to will go -- we're going to go all out to do just that. This case will not continue.


We were not surprise by Purdue's filing. In fact, they said that they will be filing for a number of months now. But, you know, bankruptcy is not for billionaires, Erin. It just

isn't. And so, the Sackler family is used to operating that way and think they can continue to get away operating that way, but we're not going to let it.

BURNETT: So, to your point, just to try to get people a sense of the money we're talking about. Here, you're talking about a settlement where the company is going to provide, more than $10 million to address the opioid crisis.

According to "Forbes" in 2016, they estimated the Sackler family to be worth more than that, the family itself to be worth $13 billion, so more than the company is currently paying out as part of the settlement. Obviously, a lot of that money came from OxyContin. Now, they say, the family says they are not at fault for the opioid epidemic.

David Sackler, who used to sit on the Purdue board, spoke to "Vanity Fair" earlier this year in an unexpected interview. The article notes that David and his family made $4 billion in the past ten years from Purdue. He told "Vanity Fair," however -- David did -- that he feels he's the target of, quote, vitriolic hyperbole and, quote, endless castigation.

He continued to say, quote: We have so much empathy. We feel absolutely terrible. Facts will prove we didn't cause the crisis. Just to be clear, you are suing him and the Sackler family personally.

What's your response when you hear him say this is vitriolic hyperbole and endless castigation?

HEALEY: Well, first of all, David Sackler was in the board, along with other Sackler family members. Purdue, remember, is a company that is owned essentially by the Sackler family, controlled by the Sackler family.

And what our investigation showed, Erin, is that over the years, Sackler family members were actually engaged in a legal scheme to get as many people hooked at as high a dose as possible for as long as possible, to as many people as possible. That's what the evidence shows in this case.

And so, you know, of course they're going to deny that they engaged in any wrongdoing, but that's just not what the evidence shows. And why it's so important that we continue to pursue this. And I want to see all documents published and published online, on the Internet, so that the public can actually have the benefit of the whole story. This is about justice, Erin. And we're not going to stop until we get it.

BURNETT: Well, Attorney General Healey, I'm glad to have you on and appreciate your time.

And I just want to make sure our viewers know the Sackler family put out a statement after filing today saying, quote, we are hopeful that in time, those parties who are not yet supportive will ultimately shift their focus to the critical resources that the settlement provides to the people and problems that need them. We need to work constructively with all parties as we try to implement the settlement.

And next, now, an outspoken immigrant rights activist in custody after inviting ICE to speak to his community. Is that what led to his arrest?



BURNETT: Tonight, denied bail. A Houston activist will remain in custody after being detained by immigration authorities for being in the country illegally. Roland Gramajo was celebrated for his work in helping immigrants. He even went so far as to invite ICE to a town hall to hear people's concerns about immigration raids.

But now, some are wondering if that invitation to ICE led to his arrest.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roland Gramajo has quietly lived in Houston with his wife and five children for most of the last 25 years, an undocumented immigrant who never lived in the shadows. Instead, spent the last 15 years working as an outspoken immigrant rights activist. He's a fixture in the Guatemalan immigrant community and now his family fears they'll be torn apart.

(on camera): How worried are you about the future now?

MAGALY QUICANO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT'S WIFE: I mean, I cannot imagine -- I don't know how am I going to do it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This month, Gramajo was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, just days after he organized a town hall meeting to tamp down fears about immigration raids. ICE says the arrest was part of a routine operation based on an anonymous tip to remove Gramajo, who had reentered the U.S. illegally.

(on camera): ICE also says that he has no records for U.S. laws. That he was basically living a lie the entire time he was living here in the United States.

How do you react to that?

RAED GONZALEZ, ROLAND GRAMAJO ATTORNEY: He didn't come back to become a criminal? He didn't come back to do anything illegal. He wanted to support his family. You know, is there a crime in that?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): In 1999 at age 19, Gramajo was convicted of a misdemeanor burglary charge. He was deported six years later in 2004. With his family in Houston, Gramajo illegally reentered the United States a few months later and settled into a normal life.

SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON MAYOR: And therefore, I, Sylvester Turner, a mayor of the city of Houston hereby proclaim May 17, 2018 as Roland Gramajo Reyes Day in Houston, Texas. Congratulations to you, Roland.


LAVANDERA: Family and friends say Roland Gramajo is a beloved member of the Houston community. He was honored by the city of Houston for being an outstanding community leader.

ROLAND GRAMAJO, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: Please keep helping us. Don't give your back -- don't turn your back on us. We are immigrants and we need help. If you guys support us, we will continue to do great things for our beautiful city.

LAVANDERA: Prosecutors and ICE officials say Gramajo has spent the last 15 years living a double life and has no legal status to remain in the United States. But other immigrant rights activists fear the Trump administration is targeting outspoken critics.

(on camera): ICE officials are saying that they don't target anybody based on their advocacy or any kind of criticism of the agency. Do you believe that?

CESAR ESPINOSA, IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We want to believe these are coincidences. Unfortunately, the more and more we see them, the more and more we feel that some people who are speaking out against the administration or ICE are getting -- being targeted by those same agencies.

LAVANDERA: What do you want people to know about Roland?

QUICANO: That he's not a criminal. That he's a good man. He's a good father. He likes to help. And I mean, a lot of people know about it.


LAVANDERA: And, Erin, Gramajo's family says he didn't apply for citizenship because of that illegal reentry, that it would be virtually impossible. His wife is a permanent resident. His five children are U.S. citizens.

And his lawyer says that once he is deported, he wouldn't be eligible to reenter the United States for another 20 years. Gramajo would then be in his early 60s -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ed.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.