Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Awaiting Trump Team's Response To DOJ Filing That Alleges Mar- a-Lago Docs Were "Likely Concealed" To "Obstruct" Probe; DOJ: FBI Seized 100+ Classified Docs During Mar-a-Lago Search; Photo Shows Classified Docs Seized During FBI's Mar-a-Lago Search; Trump Attorneys Under Scrutiny As DOJ Says Docs Likely "Concealed"; Obama: Republicans Backing "Political Minorities" To Cling To Power; Shelters Inundated As Word Spreads Migrants Can Enter U.S. Legally. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 31, 2022 - 19:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump's response. The former president has less than one hour to submit his response to the DOJ's blistering court filing, a filing that reveals Trump and his advisers repeatedly failed to turn over highly classified documents.

And the picture that's worth a thousand words. We break down that stunning photograph of classified material seized from Trump's home, and we speak to an expert on the Mar-a-Lago property about where those documents were found.

Plus, first on OUTFRONT, tens of thousands of migrants allowed in the United States because of a little known exception the government has been making.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow, in for Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight, team Trump's response. Trump's legal team up against the clock to respond to that bombshell 54-page filing by the Justice Department. We should be getting that response at any moment now. It is due in less than an hour and the filing, which is expected to be no more than ten pages or less, could give us the first look at the strategy from Trump's new legal counsel. That is Florida's former solicitor general, Chris Kise.

And for the first time, we're getting crucial insight into Trump's defense against damning new evidence from the DOJ, which, according to the agency's new filing, investigators have, quote, "evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed in the storage room and efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government's investigation". And the DOJ detailing in this filing the depth and the breadth of what Trump still had in his possession this month.

According to the filing last night, the FBI seized another 33 boxes that included 100 classified documents. Now, remember, as our Kaitlan Collins reports, this was after two months after Trump's attorney, Christina Bobb, signed that June 3rd letter, claiming they had turned over everything the DOJ was requesting.

Well, we now know that was not accurate, and the Department of Justice publishing this picture to prove it. What you are looking at there is a number of files labeled "top secret" with bright red or yellow cover sheets spread out over Trump's carpet. Those files were found inside of Trump's office, according to the court. We'll have much more on all of this coming up.

But let's begin with our colleague Evan Perez. He is OUTFRONT live tonight in Washington.

So this thing is due, Evan, in 58 minutes. So we could likely get it in a minute. What are we expecting?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're expecting the former president's legal team to look past what the Justice Department alleged in their 36-page filing last night. This is kind of what they've been doing all along, Poppy. They essentially just talk past what the Justice Department is saying, and we expect, according to Pamela Brown, who talked to people in that world, they are going to focus on the Presidential Record Act. They say the law doesn't really apply. It has no teeth essentially, because Donald Trump was president at the time, you know, before he moved back to Mar-a-Lago.

And they're also going to say that, you know, there are some concerns about Fourth Amendment search and seizure that some kind of Fourth Amendment violation that happened as a result of this -- this search by the FBI. What it doesn't -- we don't expect that they're going to address very much is the bombshell really that is in the -- in the court filing by the Justice Department, which really goes into depth about the possible obstruction that was going on with the Trump team, going from back in may, when they were served a subpoena, and the subpoena said you need to turn over all documents that have classification markings.

You saw the picture. Those are documents that clearly have classification markings, and there's no explanation as to why those documents remained at Mar-a-Lago in a storage room or in the president's desk, former president's desk. You know, in his hotel there months after the Justice Department served the subpoena and said they needed to turn it over.

So, those are the things we expect that, you know, the judge is going to have to consider tomorrow. Now, look, in the end, it is quite possible, and I can see it very possible that this judge says it is possible to appoint a special master, a third party to oversee what the FBI has been doing, because it's not that much of an impediment. We're talking about a couple hundred pages of documents.


HARLOW: Right.

PEREZ: You can do that fairly quickly. She's already inclined to do that. So I can see that being the result of tomorrow's hearing, Poppy.

HARLOW: We'll see what happens. Bring us that filing as soon as you get it, Evan. Thanks very, very much.

OUTFRONT now, Robert Litt, former principal associate deputy attorney general and former general counsel for the director of national intelligence, and Stephanie Grisham, former Trump White House press secretary.

Also joining us tonight, Kaitlan Collins, our chief White House correspondent, who also covered four years of the Trump White House.

Thank you all. We're waiting for this filing.

And as we wait, Bob, let's begin with this and that is based on the filing from the Justice Department that came late, late last night, early this morning. Is it clear to you that the former president committed a crime?

ROBERT LITT, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL FOR THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, I think that we have very strong evidence that there was classified information that was being improperly retained. We have very strong evidence that there is -- there were violations of the Federal Records Act. The president's filings to date have addressed those. What they haven't said anything about is obstruction. It's a much easier charge to prove in this case.

The evidence is very straightforward, the national archives asked for documents. They finally, after some months, got some documents. The government served a subpoena for additional documents. They were told these are all the documents there are. And then they executed a search warrant, and there was a whole bunch of additional classified documents that should have been turned over earlier, including apparently documents from President Trump's personal office.

So I think that's a very difficult charge to defend against.

HARLOW: Right. So much of it comes down to intent and frame of mind. I mean, Stephanie, let's talk about the photo. Let me pull it up again. This is the photo included at the end of the DOJ filing.

Some of the classified documents displayed there on the floor, they wanted to show just how sensitive, how highly classified some of this material was that remained at Mar-a-Lago for months beyond by the way Trump team's response to the subpoena. And Trump is twisting this in multiple postings today.

Here's the latest, quote, there seems to be confusion as to the picture where documents were sloppily thrown on the floor and released photographically for the world to see, as if that's what the FBI found when they broke into my home. Wrong. He goes on to say, they took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it look like a big find for them. They dropped them, not me. Very deceiving.

That's not what happened. The FBI didn't try to make it look like they found them this way. This is how they're displaying what was taken out of those boxes in the search that was so highly classified.

What do you make of the way the president is responding to this? JENNIFER GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know,

I knew immediately when that picture came out that would be something he would not like. He's very visual. He's obviously in TV and entertainment. So I knew that would be something that would really get to him.

It's my understanding that it's standard operating procedure for law enforcement to take photos like that. Hence, they had the number labeling it with the ruler.

I think it was interesting. He said that they were taken out of cartons. So he admitted then that they had them. So I guess they're not planted at that point.

I thought it was interesting that he said for the whole world to see. But I thought if they were declassified, why would that matter? So, again, if they are just trying to find anything they can to see if it will stick to the wall, I think the photo, if I had to predict, the photo would be part of their response, that this is going to be something they're going to blame the DOJ of making this a PR move. That wasn't needed to be put out there.

HARLOW: Kaitlan, what is your reporting? It's clear that this photo has gotten under Trump's skin. What is your reporting on why he's posted about it, not just once, not just what I read, multiple times today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's not Trump but his legal team. They viewed it as unnecessary, for the Justice Department to include this, in this extensive filing last night because they know how damaging a photo can be. You know, their legal case they're making in court about why they don't think he needs a special master is the same regardless of a photo being included.

But they added this photo on at the end for a reason. Trump is very official visual per so are most people. This is a really digestible image to look at when you look at these dozens of pages of filings, to see that photo, to see those markings is pretty straightforward and pretty clear.

So I think that will be referenced in their filing, because I'm told the former president's team is very unhappy with the fact that it was included in there. They viewed it as a cheap shot based on what I was told.

But also I think looking at that, their argument has been he declassified what he had there.


You look at that, you don't see anything that says declassified on the cover sheets of these documents.

HARLOW: I mean, that's a great point. I'll remind everyone, right after the search, it was Trump who called for complete transparency from the Justice Department, release the full, unredacted affidavit. So this is some light into some of what they did find.

Bob, they will file the next 50 minutes their response to the DOJ filing. What do they need to do, what does team Trump need to do to convince this judge to appoint a special master?

LITT: Well, the government made some very powerful legal arguments that there's no basis for appointing a special master in this case. That these aren't Trump's documents to begin with, they're documents that belong to the government. That they've already been reviewed and all that remains is for the court to make a determination on the basis of privilege so that a special master couldn't accomplish anything. And that, in fact, the few legal arguments that the Trump legal team made in their initial filing in their supplement was totally inaccurate interpretations of prior precedent.

I think the Trump legal team is going to have to find some way to advance plausible legal arguments that support their position. It will be interesting to see how they do.

HARLOW: Stephanie, the deadline, less than an hour away. What does it say to you that Trump's legal team is waiting to the last minute to file here? I should say DOJ did the same by the way.

GRISHAM: Well, yes, but DOJ also did a very, very detailed 40-page document. I think that they have a lot of catching up to do, especially if he's got a new attorney. That, like I just said, was a very detailed and long thing that the DOJ filed. So I imagine that they're scrambling right now.

If I can, I mean, for sure, Trump is insisting on seeing everything. For sure things are going back and forth. For sure, Trump is asking things be put in there how he's the leader of the Republican Party and he's the victim, et cetera, et cetera.

So, it doesn't surprise me at all, and I imagine it will be at the very last moment.

HARLOW: Kaitlan, just to put a button on it. One could argue that Trump brought this on himself. We're only seeing this filing from DOJ and this photo because Trump sued for a special master, right? He demanded that more information be public.

I wonder if this subsequently is making his inner circle recalculate it all.

COLLINS: Yeah, I think that's a fair point. They did wait two weeks to ask for the special master, so the DOJ was trying to undercut that argument by saying we've already done what this third party attorney would do. What's also remarkable, and a confidence I've had with people who worked for Trump, or still in his orbit, is how this has gone from a pretty straightforward case of the National Archives trying to back materials from Trump, and now has morphed into this potential case where the Justice Department said in that filing last night, they are looking at whether or not there is potential obstruction by Trump or those around him. And they made that very clear and drove that point home. It's not just the case of this filing and photo, it's the entire situation overall, going from trying to get documents back to what the DOJ is looking into.

HARLOW: Thanks so much for that reporting.

Kaitlan, Robert, Stephanie, great to have you as well. Thanks.

OUTFRONT next, we're standing by from that response from Trump's team dropping any moment. But first, we'll take a closer look at that picture you see of classified materials taken from Mar-a-Lago and talk to an expert on Trump's property, where were those documents found and how many had access to them?

Also ahead, Trump's attorney Christina Bobb facing growing questions tonight after CNN learned she signed a letter in June, claiming all the classified documenting had been returned.

Could she be in legal trouble?

And Texas Governor Greg Abbott spending $12 million to bus migrants to New York and Washington, D.C. Tonight, one reason we're seeing more people at the border. It's a report you'll only see first right here on OUTFRONT.



HARLOW: Tonight, growing questions about the government's secrets hidden in these documents Trump was holding on to at Mar-a-Lago. The DOJ release thing photograph from the search saying there is a, quote, ongoing review of the national security risks that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused.

So, OUTFRONT now, Garrett Graff, CNN contributor who also writes for "Wired" magazine.

Garrett, I want people to understand what these are. Most people don't know what these classifications mean. You say the strangest document in this photo is the orange bordered cover page at the forefront labeled secret/SCI. You talked to senior officials in the intelligence community who have never seen a document with a label like this themselves.

How rare does that mean this classification is?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, SCI is a special sensitive compartmentalized information. What that means is that comes from a specific source or a specific program. It's a special clearance within secret or top secret.

Now, what makes this odd and unique is that you see very few programs that are SCI but only at the secret level. And so what you really -- there are just a couple of different types of classified information that this would normally be considered. Of course, we don't know what this particular document could be.

But two major categories that would be classified at this level are basically non-national security foreign gossip, for instance. You know, diplomatic details about foreign officials, their financial dealings, you know, sources that have picked up who was having an affair with whom. You know, these things that would not be necessarily of grave danger to the United States if they were disclosed, but things that would cause serious damage, serious damage being the test for secret level information.


The other category would be information that comes from signals intelligence of an ally. When we're sharing information back and forth between and among our allies that comes from signals intelligence, you know, wiretaps, the NSA, or the equivalent of NSAs in other countries, the UK's GCHQ for instance. That is often done at the secret SCI level. So this sort of seems to me that it's likely to be consistent with what we know Donald Trump's proclivity for collecting gossip and, you know, potential compromising details of the lives of foreign officials.

HARLOW: Wow. Okay. Also on this document, it specifically says, HCS and TK. What does that indicate?

GRAFF: Yeah. So those are two specific indicators of classified information, both at the top secret level. Again, SCI, sensitive compartmentalized information.

HCS is the most sensitive information that the U.S. gathers. It's human controlled systems, human controlled sources. These are people whose lives, careers, families, depend on the fact that they are sharing information with the United States remains secret. So this is incredibly sensitive information.

TK, another classified indicator that refers to talent key hole, the code name for the nation's satellite reconnaissance systems. And, again, we know that Donald Trump is uniquely interested in the satellite reconnaissance systems overhead because the notorious example previous to this of him tweeting out classified information was when, as president, which was his right to do in this case when he was president, he tweeted out a photo of -- a satellite reconnaissance photo of an Iranian military site, which was one of the biggest revelations of classified information that the U.S. has seen in decades.

HARLOW: Garrett Graff, I just learned so much from you in those two minutes. I'm sure the audience did, as well. Thank you very much for explaining to us what those markings mean.

Now I want to go to Sarah Blaskey, an investigative reporter for "The Miami Herald," also an expert on the Mar-a-Lago property and author of the book, "The Grifter's Club, Trump, Mar-a-Lago and the Selling of the Presidency."

Sarah, thanks so much you for being here on a night like tonight.

When we see this photo of what was found there in Mar-a-Lago. You've been there so many times, you know the resort well. Can you give us an idea of where these documents were found when you talk about that expansive property?

SARAH BLASKEY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE MIAMI HERALD: Sure. So as you pointed out, this is an expansive property. It's huge. There are about 58 guest rooms. And we don't know yet exactly where that photo was taken.

We do have some contextual clues that. Carpet is used throughout the main building, and potentially in other places, too. But from previous filings, we understand that these documents that were recovered in early August, those were stored in two places, in the former president's office, which we have learned is on top of the grand ballroom, it's a separate structure off of the main structure, and also in a storage room.

And storage rooms at Mar-a-Lago tend to be in the basement of the main area. So there's a members only club. This would be basically right below the area that members would use to walk from the main entrance to their dining tables. If you just went down a floor from there, you would be in an area full of storage rooms. And that, we believe, is the area where that storage room exists.

HARLOW: So, what's so important to add to this conversation is the fact that we know that Mar-a-Lago has had multiple security breaches, even during the Trump presidency. People will remember in 2019 this Chinese businesswoman was arrested after trespassing on the property, she had a flash drive containing malware and other electronic devices, including a signal detector. Another Chinese national was accused of trespassing on the property later that year. And in 2017, Trump was on the club's patio when a -- when North Korea launched that missile towards Japan and aides were seen shining flashlights on documents as guests look on.

I mean, those are just a few things that have happened in the past few years at Mar-a-Lago during Trump's presidency. How easy would it be for people on that property to access these areas, the storage rooms?

BLASKEY: So this property is incredibly porous. As you brought up, those are a number of the security breaches, but not the only ones.


At one point, there was a college student who, on a whim, decided to see if he could get past presidential security. And he did. He walked onto the property, walked around the grounds for a while. They caught him eventually. He didn't mean any harm, but that's the kind of thing that can happen at Mar-a-Lago.

It's an incredibly difficult property to secure. That was noted by the Secret Service. And so really, you're talking about a club that, from November to May, has about 500 members that have the right to access large parts of this property. They can stay in the guest rooms, they go to dinner.

And there are also dozens of staffers, over a hundred at least, dozens come in on temporary work visas each season from November to May. And so really, those staffers are the ones that would have the most access. Of course, you can wander around, members can wander around. But the staffers might be accessing the storage areas for their jobs, right? There are china, silverware, things are stored down there, maybe not in the same room, but certainly in that area.

HARLOW: Thank you so much, Sarah Blaskey, for helping us understand it much better.

OUTFRONT next, we continue to stand by for Trump's attorney's response to the bombshell filing from the Justice Department. This as there are questions about Trump's lawyers. What do they know about classified documents in Trump's possession and when.

Also, former President Obama slamming Republicans accusing them of empowering political minorities to help them cling to power.



HARLOW: Tonight, growing questions for Donald Trump's attorneys in the probe into the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Remember, we're waiting any moment for the Trump legal team response to the DOJ filing. It has to come at some point this hour.

Well, sources confirming to CNN that it was Christina Bobb who signed a June letter that said that Trump turned over all of the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, that the Justice Department had demanded in that subpoena, which this photo from the August search of Mar-a-Lago strongly indicates is a false statement.

Bobb is far from the only lawyer in Trump's world who has faced legal jeopardy.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the FBI swept in and seized all those classified documents, Trump attorney Christina Bobb, who is front and center defending her client.

CHRISTINA BOBB, TRUMP ATTORNEY: This raid was a shock to everybody. There are no crimes here. I think this is a lot to do about nothing.

FOREMAN: But well before the search, Bobb signed another document insisting all classified material had already been turned over. The document "The New York Times" said was crafted by Evan Corcoran. Neither has responded to CNN's request for comment.

However, any members of Trump's legal team, if they were involved in moving, hiding, or knew such papers were still in Mar-a-Lago, could be in a bind.

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They are being looked at potentially for obstructing the investigation. And they're in an impossible position. They either need to disavow our client, saying we were misled, or they're going to be considered complicit and have to face questions from the Justice Department.

REPORTER: Mr. President --

FOREMAN: The list of lawyers under scrutiny while acting on Donald Trump's behalf is growing.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I know crimes. I can smell them.

FOREMAN: Rudy Giuliani is now a target of a Georgia probe into whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election.

Attorney Lin Wood is said to speak to the grand jury in that matter. He's a strong Trump defender but told "The New York Times", I didn't do anything wrong.

JOHN EASTMAN, TRUMP ATTORNEY: This is bigger than President Trump. It is the very essence of our Republican form of government, and it has to be done.

FOREMAN: John Eastman, the alleged architect of the plan to overturn the resulting in Congress, and Jeffrey Clark at one point considered as a possible Trump-friendly head of Justice have both drawn the interest of federal investigators.

SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it.

FOREMAN: Sidney Powell and a half dozen more pro Trump lawyers were sanctioned for filing what a federal judge called frivolous lawsuits contesting the election.

And Michael Cohen, unlike the others who all deny wrongdoing, Cohen was actually charged with crimes, including campaign finance violations. He admitted it, lost his law license, and went to prison.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: My loyalty to Mr. Trump has cost me everything.


FOREMAN (on camera): To be clear, defending a client is legal, even if that client has committed a crime. Indeed, it is an attorney's duty. But potentially helping a client commit a crime can quickly make a lawyer need a lawyer, too -- Poppy.

HARLOW: That's exactly right. Tom Foreman, thank you very much.

OUTFRONT now, John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel.

John, you know better than anyone what the rules are for lawyers when they sign documents like this. Do you think Trump's attorney, Christina Bobb, could be in legal jeopardy now?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It simply appears that way. We know from that letter she signed the certification. She did rely on others. She reports in that certification and we don't know what amount of effort she put into it. But she's at high risk signing a document like that, if she's not put some effort into it. That's what can cause her jeopardy.

HARLOW: As I mentioned, you were the White House counsel for then- President Nixon. But your decision to not help Nixon cover up his role in Watergate played a huge role in taking him down. You not only cooperated with the investigation, you publicly testified as well.

And, of course, you memorably revealed that you told Nixon and I will quote here, there was a cancer growing on the presidency and, quote, that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately.


So, if you were Christina Bobb right now, what would you advise her to do?

DEAN: Well, Poppy, I taught a course before the pandemic hit all over the country to alert attorneys to what they should look for, because I did get across the law for a brief time and regretted it and then tried internally to get my colleagues to do the right thing. So there were some 45 lawyers in Watergate that got on the wrong side of the law.

So I took that knowledge and travelled the country and tried to explain to others you can very easily slide across the line. Particularly when you have a powerful client, a powerful figure, it is just not a great step to agree to do something that you later realize you shouldn't have done.

Now, I don't know if there have been violations of the law by the attorneys. It certainly appears they have jeopardy. If they didn't know before they have problems, they certainly know from reporting in the last several weeks that others are looking at this certainly think they do have problems. That means they should probably recuse themselves from the case, which is an unfortunate thing to do, because it sends signals, because they have a conflict.

HARLOW: John Dean, thank you very much for all of that insight and your experience certainly helps this evening on this particular matter especially. Thanks very much. It's always good to have you.

DEAN: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, we are standing by still for Trump's legal team to respond to the Justice Department bombshell filing. The team has until 8:00 Eastern tonight to do that.

Plus, former President Obama not holding back, tonight, accusing Republicans of using political minorities to help them cling to power.

And thousands of migrants now arriving at the U.S. southern border every week. Part of the reason, a little known exception the government has been making for people trying to get in the country. It's a report you'll first see right here on OUTFRONT.



HARLOW: New tonight, former President Obama slamming Republicans for being a party that has sought to boost, quote, political minorities in its quest for power. This comes in speech excerpts obtained by CNN. Obama also said what we didn't anticipate is one of our two political parties would embark on a project that systemically empower minorities, in many cases, not ones that look like me and Eric, referring to Eric Holder, but political minorities to get more power and more seats and to do whatever it takes to hang onto power.

The former president adding that Democrats need to, quote, be more vigilant than ever before, because the stakes have never before higher.

So, OUTFRONT tonight, Bakari Sellers, CNN political commentator and former South Carolina Democratic state representative, and David Urban, CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign senior adviser.

Good to have you both.

So, Bakari, let me begin with you. This came out moments ago from former President Obama, the message, trying to help motivate wavering Democrats who may consider sitting out the midterm elections.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I mean, I have to agree with the 44th president of the United States. What he's talking about is the issue that's not very sexy, but is necessary to our democratic little D principles that we have in this country. The fact is gerrymandering and redirecting is the substance behind why we have the partisan divides we have in this country.

And yes, you have these political minorities, whether or not you're talking about the very, very outspoken MAGA wing of the Republican Party, or you're just simply talking about these jerry gerrymandered, all hell, very small cul-de-sacs where you have individuals able to sway the political dialogue in one way or the other. And that is destroying the fabric of our country.

And so, yes, he was talking about something that matters, something that most people don't talk about. I think ironically enough, David Urban and I would come up with solutions to this, but nobody wants to have this conversation.

And the 44th president was actually talking about this, urging Democrats to be more involved and vigilant about our democracy that's eroding before our eyes.

HARLOW: So, David, I'm going to let you and Bakari solve that problem on the break. However, you got --

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Listen, I happen to agree with Bakari that I think it could be solved, right? Political gerrymandering is, as Bakari says, is largely to blame for this huge divisiveness. If you get a district that's D plus ten or an R plus ten, there's no reason to compromise. You're punished if you compromised in America.

But, you know, as Bakari points out, it's not sexy, but there's a lot of blame to lay at the feet of a lot of parties. The Republicans and the CBC and the CHC, they cut these deals to keep their power. It's a dirty secret in American politics.

HARLOW: Yeah. And then you see positions scrubbed from websites after folks win in primaries and et cetera, et cetera.

All right. David, the White House called out Republicans like Congressman Paul Gosar for example, and they pointed to Madison Cawthorn as well, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Gosar previously posted a cartoon video of him attacking Biden and killing a Democratic congresswoman. You've got Governor DeSantis who called Dr. Anthony Fauci, quote, that little elf, saying someone should chuck him across the Potomac.

I mean, are these attacks from the White House changing any minds?

URBAN: Listen, I think people should be called out if they say things inappropriate. You threaten somebody's physical being, and listen, it goes on on both sides of the aisle and I condemn it.

People following Senator Sinema into the restroom and haranguing her goes too far, it should be called out. You should be chastised and there's no place with that kind of rhetoric in American politics for a civil debate. You'll never get to solution it is you're having these ad hominem attack, which could spur violence.

So, I think they should be condemned on both sides of the aisle. We shouldn't have it clearly. And the Biden administration coming out and saying so before the election is great, but I like to see him do it all year-long and call out both sides, not just people on the right.


HARLOW: Bakari, Republican candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona who, you know, just scrubbed his website of any evidence of his past anti-abortion positions or some of his previous claims that the 2020 election was rigged, you got that.

Now, "Axios" is reporting that Doug Mastriano, who, of course, is a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's governor also tampering on his website his position on climate change. Tim Michaels, a Republican nominee for governor in Wisconsin erasing, literally erasing that Trump even endorsed him.

I wonder what that tells you. What are those three things, three examples, of a number tell you?

SELLERS: There are a couple of things. One is, they think voters are stupid. That's first. Second, it shows how out of touch the MAGA base in this country is with the majority of America. The MAGA base that nominated them or helped them get those nominations.

Blake Masters, Mastriano in Pennsylvania, these individuals cater to the far right of their party, which is completely out of touch with the overwhelming majority of this country. And they're trying to pivot and sprint back to the center as quickly as they possibly can.

The problem is that, a couple of things. One, they're not talented enough. I mean, when you look a lot of these Republican candidates for the United States Senate and gubernatorial candidates, they're just really not talented individuals. That's first.

Second, you cannot run a race thinking that your voters are stupid. That is the race they're trying to run. Either they're trying to hide or they think voters are stupid. Neither of those are accurate. But what we are seeing the larger reflection is that these extreme politics, whether or not it's on abortion or whether or not it's on climate change, are not where most of the country is. You cannot win a general election like that, thank God.

HARLOW: David, final thought?

URBAN: Yeah, listen, I think Bakari knows this well, he's run for office before. In primaries, you run a different race than you run the general election. Politicians say what they think they need to, to get elected.

Joe Biden stood in Pennsylvania and said we are for funding the police, we are not for defunding the police.

HARLOW: He was never for defunding. He was never for defunding the police --

URBAN: Well, Poppy, I understand that, but I'm saying the Democratic Party, the Democratic part for a long period of time, it was a main plank of most Democrats that came on this show and many others --

HARLOW: No, I --

URBAN: -- would say, defund the police. They call for defund it. Joe Biden didn't say step forward and say I want to stop that. That's the wrong thing to do.

SELLERS: He did, though. He literally did. He literally did.

HARLOW: We've got to go. Factually --

URBAN: Show me the tape.


HARLOW: But you know what I like, that you guys can civilly -- you can disagree without being disagreeable. We need more of that in this country.

URBAN: Bakari and I agreed. We agreed on -- we agreed on the redistricting. See, we agreed. HARLOW: OK, go solve our problems in the break, and come back soon. Thank you both very much.

SELLERS: Thank you.

URBAN: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right, OUTFRONT next, Trump's legal team has ten minutes to respond to the Justice Department's filing. We'll bring it to you when we get it.

Also, the government making an exception to a Trump era immigration rule, and through word of mouth, it's now leading to a surge of migrants at the southern border. This is a story you'll see only first right here on OUTFRONT.

Plus, for the first time in nearly a generation, there were no named tropical storms in August. That does not mean that America is in the clear yet.



HARLOW: Tonight, $12 million, that is how much Texas Governor Greg Abbott has spent on busing thousands of migrants to New York and Washington, D.C. Another 100 migrants just arrived in Washington today.

Rosa Flores with a report you'll see first here on OUTFRONT with more on what's behind the latest influx of those migrants at the southern border.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Little Francillon has been in pain for weeks. His dad, Francillon Sr., has no money for doctors after the family fled Haiti with nearly nothing six years ago.


FLORES: There's a lot of violence, earthquakes -- for your family, you left.


FLORES: They've been living in this migrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico, for about a month. Pastor Hector Silva runs the shelter says in 25 years, he's never seen this many migrants, thousands arriving every week.

He drives us to the second shelter he opened a few months ago and estimates about 12,800 migrants, mostly Haitians, are currently waiting in Reynosa. He can house nearly 6,000. The rest are living on the streets. PASTOR HECTOR SILVA, RUNS SENDA DA VIDA, A MIGRANT SHELTER AT MEXICO

BORDER: It's very difficult to stand at the gate and see the mom with the child and say, I'm sorry, I cannot help you.

FLORES: The question is, why? Why are so many people flocking here, and why now?

Instagram? And for you?


FLORES: Facebook? Facebook? Facebook?

Many say word has spread, including on social media, that migrants who come here can enter the U.S. legally if they wait their turn. Silva says there is some truth to it.

SILVA: The good way.

FLORES: The legal way to do it.

We checked. From May to July, at the six ports of entry, more than 28,000 Title 42 exceptions for made, which allows migrants to go to these international bridges and seek asylum. This is notable because, until recently, exceptions to Title 42 were rare.

Title 42 is a Trump-era public health rule that immigration agents have used nearly 2 million times since 2020 to swiftly expel migrants to Mexico. And per court order, the Biden administration must keep it in place, forcing asylum seekers to cross into the U.S. illegally, advocates say.


Little Francillon's family want to cross legally. That's why they're here after a grueling journey.

So, they travelled through ten countries to get to Mexico.

The pastor shows us how it works. Anticipation builds, as he puts migrants on a list by arrival date. Little Francillon's parents arrived in early August and don't make a cut on this day.

After months of waiting and paperwork, the pastor buses these migrants to the Reynosa-Hidalgo International Bridge, where they walk up to immigration, and in most cases ask for asylum. On this day, he says he bused more than 200.

This removes the human smuggler. This is them going to the port of entry and, in some cases, asking for asylum.

SILVA: Yes, they know there's many people on the list and it's got to be legal.

FLORES: Legal, but still broken. More than 40 percent of the more than 28,000 exceptions to Title 42 have happened here at the Reynosa Hidalgo International Bridge. Silva has this message for migrants.

SILVA: Do not come to the border. Do not come to Reynosa.

FLORES: Little Francillon's family is already here, risking it all.

What is your American dream?

He says he wants to work for a better life.

And so are thousands of others waiting for their chance at the American dream.


FLORES (on camera): Now, I asked DHS about all of these exceptions. Why all of these exceptions? Why now? Now, DHS did not send me a statement on record, but I did hear from a federal law enforcement source, which told me what we already know, that Title 42 is in place and that it applies on a case-by-case basis for humanitarian reasons.

So, I did some more digging. And turns out, in a footnote, in a federal filing, there is some light to all of this. It says in part, quote, given a significant increase in the number of individuals who have presented themselves with situations that weren't humanitarian exceptions, DHS has, beginning July 13, 2022, began to gradually increase the number of humanitarian exceptions it applies subject to operational constraints -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Rosa, that is exceptional reporting. Thank you very much for all the digging you did.

OUTFRONT next, it has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in decades, with no named storms at all in August. But is that about to change?


HARLOW: All right. Breaking news, we have just obtained the Trump legal team's response to the Justice Department's filing. It is 19 pages.

"AC360" with John Berman will bring you that right now.