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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Lashes Out At Fraud Trial That Threatens His Biz Empire; Now: GOP Rep Gaetz Moves To Oust Speaker McCarthy; NY Police: 9-Year- Old Girl Who Vanished During Family Camping Trip Found "In Good Health," Suspect In Custody; RFK Jr. Says System Is Rigged, May Run As Independent. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 02, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump in court for fraud. The attorney general says he exaggerated his worth by billions. Trump calls her a racist.
Trump's former close business associate is OUTFRONT. Our legal analyst Ryan Goodman is here, along with Omarosa Manigault-Newman of "The Apprentice".
Plus, is RFK Jr. inching closer to a third-party run? Hear him in his word railing against what he says is a rigged system and why he's saying he takes votes away from Trump.
And the numbers don't lie. Last night's Chief/Jets game was the most watched Sunday game since the Super Bowl. Swift strikes again?
Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Trump in court. Former President Donald J. Trump appearing by choice in a New York courtroom today. Today is day one of his massive business fraud trial, with a quarter billion dollars of his own money at stake if he losses. That's a possible damages.
And it is worth saying this again that Trump was there by choice. In fact, he actually postponed a scheduled deposition in Florida so that he could be seen in person to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESDENT: We have a rogue judge who ruled the properties are worth a tiny fraction, a one-one hundredth, a tiny fraction of what they actually are. We have a racist attorney general who is a horror show who ran on the basis that she was going to get Trump before she even knew anything about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Attorney General Letitia James knows a lot about Trump now. That's one thing we can say. The PowerPoint presenting Trump's case is 65 pages. And in it prosecutors lay out in detail what the judge ruled is a decade of Trump's fraud. They go year by year here. That's the entire decade.
One, you can see 2014, they say Trump inflated his wealth by $2.2 billion. And the attorney general then shows her backup evidence. They point to a letter to Deutsche Bank from November 15, 2011, that stood out to me. There Trump is trying to secure a loan using these massively inflated property values, right? The whole point was inflate the value, get more -- a bigger loan.
He writes, quote, as per our conversation, I'm pleased to enclose the recently completed financial statement of Donald J. Trump, open parentheses, hopefully you will be impressed, exclamation, his signature at the bottom.
It is safe to that while the accountants may have written the first few words of that sentence, there's no question that he personally included what was in the parentheses, hopefully you will be impressed.
Well, prosecutors are also pointing to this conversation with Patrick Birney, the assistant vice president of financial operations at Trump Org. Birney says, quote, Allen Weisselberg who, of course, was the chief financial officer of the company, told me, Donald likes to see it go up in that period that you just said, like when he was president.
Prosecutors follow up and ask him, so, Mr. Weisselberg told you that Mr. Trump likes it to go up? Birney replies he likes it to go up. And it I don't think refers to assets. I think it refers to net worth. And that, of course, goes to the entire motive of everything, Trump's modus operandi, to try to be seen as worth more than he really is.
And inside the courtroom today, our reporter said Trump sat with his arms folded. Here are some of the courtroom pictures. Scowling occasionally, flipping through papers. At times he could be seen leaning over to whisper to his lawyers.
Inside the room, Trump avoided eye contact with the Attorney General Letitia James. But outside the courtroom is a different story.
NPR's Andrea Bernstein who will be with us in just a moment says Trump glared at the New York attorney general when he left the courtroom for lunch. And then he slammed her personally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This has to do with election interference, plain and simple. We have a corrupt attorney general in this state.
This is a pure witch hunt for purposes of interfering with the elections of the United States of America. It's totally illegal. That this goes to politics.
Now, it has been very successful for them because they took me off the campaign trail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)(
BURNETT: All right. Now, one quick fact check here, it took him off the campaign trail, in this specific case is not accurate because he did not have to be there today. He chose to be there. He wanted to be there. His presence was not required as it has been in the other times to be in the court right just to be booked.
This time, it's clearly by choice. And the reality of it is, is that this is the campaign trail for Trump. It is a way to motivate his base. He gets to have those sound bites, like we just played there.
And the case all in here is going to be quite involved. It is expected to take up to three months, which means it will be wrapping up as his other cases are ramping up.
In January, the defamation trial begins in the E. Jean Carroll case in New York.
Two months later in March, the Justice Department's 2020 election case begins that day before Super Tuesday. You remember that date was set.
Three weeks later, the New York hush money trial begins. That's Alvin Bragg.
And in May, that is when Trump is expected to stand trial for his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
So, a lot to break down tonight here, Trump's day in court, his chosen day. I want to start with Brynn Gingras. She's OUTFRONT at the New York courthouse live tonight.
So, Brynn, he was there. There were a lot of questions about whether he would be. Some were very surprised. So what comes next?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you pointed out, Erin, he had sort of a campaign rally many times when he left the courtroom to talk to those cameras. Now, in the short term, what we do expect inside that courtroom is to hear tomorrow from Donald Bender. Now, that is Trump's former accountant for Trump himself, and Trump Org. We finished up today's testimony with him on the stand, the state's attorney basically trying to bring out financial documents and use him as a witness to ask questions about the makings of those financial documents.
We also expect in the longer term on the witness list for the state's -- for the New York attorney general is Trump himself, Trump's children. Also, listen, Michael Cohen. Of course, he's Trump's former fixer, who is the reason this whole case got even started if you remember his testimony to Congress where he said under oath that Trump did falsify business records.
On the defensive side, the list is more than a hundred witnesses could be called in this trial that you just pointed out, could last for three months. Among them, we're told, is an NYU Business School to talk about how Trump came to the valuations that are all being questioned at this point of many of his properties. It's unclear if he will then be called again, Trump himself, on the defensive side to the stand. But that's, of course, a very strong possibility.
As for Trump, like you said, Erin, he was here today. It's very possible he comes back tomorrow. We haven't heard officially just yet. He was very engaged today with his attorneys sitting at the defense table with them, talking to them, listening to the testimony as it was being given.
But, as you also pointed out, Erin, didn't make any contact, or very little contact with Letitia James. Eric Trump, however, is sitting in the front row behind his father. He actually did walk over to Letitia James and did shake her hand a couple of times.
So, we'll have to see how this all plays out tomorrow. Again, it's unclear if he will show up tomorrow. But, certainly, we will be here to give you the very latest.
And again, Erin, this is a long haul -- this trial is expected for three months.
BURNETT: All right. Brynn, thank you very much, outside the courthouse. And with me now, Andrea Bernstein, award-winning investigative journalist for "ProPublica" and NPR. Also now the co- host of the podcast "Trump Inc." and "We Don't Talk About Leonard."
Also here tonight, Ryan Goodman, former special counsel of the Department and Defense, and, of course, with Just Security.
And Jack O'Donnell, the former president and chief operating officer of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
So, Andrea, let me just start with you because you were in the room. You know, you saw Trump when he walked out, and that kind of glare, as you just described it, to the attorney general, and he avoided eye contact when he was actually in the room.
But in the sketch you see them all together, right, this judge, Letitia James, Trump, his children. What was it like in that room?
ANDREA BERNSTEIN, AWARD-WINNING INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, PROPUBLICA, NPR: Well, that was what really struck me is this sort of national, international drama that's been playing out, big but still small courtroom where everybody is feet from them other, Trump from Letitia James, Eric Trump is there.
BURNETT: Feet from each other.
BERNSTEIN: Feet, yes.
BURNETT: Like guys were sitting -- I mean, yeah.
BERNSTEIN: Exactly. And Trump, when he walks in, has to walk right by James when he walks out, that's when the glare was just as he was about to get to the door, he kind of turned around and gave her once of his very intense stares. I happened to be sitting right behind so I could see.
But in some ways, it was this sort of this big drama, but also this very tight New York story. It was almost like, wow, this New York business story has become a national drama. And just to hear about the fraud and I would say one of the more ear-catching anesthesia ear- catching anecdotes, when Trump was caught lying about the value of his triplex. He said it was three times as big as it was.
BURNETT: Right, his Trump Tower.
BERNSTEIN: Right, Trump Tower.
"Forbes" called him out. So, they realized they had to stop claiming that once "Forbes" published the story, but they didn't want the net worth to go down. So according to the documents that the attorney general showed sort of a preview of today, what happened is that Trump and his family and his employees scrambled to find other assets that they could boost the values up, Seven Springs Golf Course and 40 Wall Street say they were worth more, so it won't like -- look like their financial -- total financial assets were going down.
BURNETT: Which is amazing when he wants it to go up, and that's the whole thing, it.
BERNSTEIN: So, that's what they were questioning, exactly.
BURNETT: The self net worth.
BERNSTEIN: And then what was striking was that his defense was -- well, I mean, you -- you know, in real estate, you get whatever you can for a property, and it's sort of like that's what Trump is in trouble for.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you about that, Ryan, because Trump made his arguments outside of court today. And one of them was exactly what Andrea just referred to. Let me play it how he said it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a clause in the contract, it's like a buyer beware clause. It says, when you take a look at the financial statement, don't believe anything you read. This is up front. Don't believe anything you read.
Some people call it a worthless clause because it makes the statement, and anything you read in the statement worthless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. The judge last week, right, in a ruling, right, has already ruled that he did indeed commit fraud, says you can't call it a worthless statement, that's bogus. But it seems like the heart of this is going to come down to that very
issue, that it's all subjective, that, who knows. If Deutsche Bank didn't say anything about it and we're fine with it, and so what? Is there a there/there?
RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: There certainly seems to be a "there" there. So, in the opinion last week, the judge works through this particular argument. He says reliance on the worthless statement is worthless. He says -- he relies on New York state law and says you can not use a disclaimer for a misrepresentation of facts that are peculiarly within the knowledge of the --
BURNETT: So if you know it's a lie, it doesn't go -- it can't be done.
GOODMAN: That's right. And in addition, there's another New York state law that says does not matter about the sophistication of the parties. Meaning even if the banks are supposed to know better, that doesn't get you out of trouble, it's still a false statement in your document.
The disclaimer doesn't say what Trump says it says. In fact, the judge says this disclaimer doesn't use the word "disregard". It doesn't say worthless, it doesn't say that they should ignore it, it doesn't say it's useless.
It is a statement that even Trump and his own deposition, which the judge of the court says the statement is made in good faith. And that's the whole question here -- was it made in good faith or was it an intentional false statement?
BURNETT: I think Andrea lays it out very clearly, right? When they got called out by Forbes for the triplex, and then you literally see it all written in pen along the side of everything, Jack.
You know, as you looked through that and you see the pen marks and the asset values suddenly go up for things like 40 Wall Street. Does any of that surprise you? I mean, you know you've talked with me and our viewers have seen you talk about how you saw him do this in instances that aren't even reflected in this case.
JACK O'DONNELL, FORMER PRESIDENT AND CEO OF TRUMP PLAZA HOTEL & CASINO: Well, Erin, of course, no, it's not a surprise. I think it's a pattern for his entire career where he has inflated his value in his businesses, in his own personal finances, you know, to benefit himself. The example that I gave you last week was we inflated, he asked me to inflate a budget by $30 million so that he could secure a loan, you know, to bail himself out actually.
And so, no, there's no surprise here. And, you know, today was classic Trump, quite frankly, it was attack, it was, I'm the victim, and you know, and political theater, as you've already said. Everything today was Trump.
BURNETT: Were you surprised, Jack, by the fact that he was there? I mean, obviously, completely by choice.
O'DONNELL: Erin, I was absolutely not surprised at all. You know, this was to greaten an opportunity for him to show that he's strong, to show that he's not afraid. And I think that was the intent.
And I think it was also -- it was politics. He wanted to show his people that he was going to be there and fight.
Now, do I think he's going to show up every day? No, I don't. I think it's probably a one-day thing. He's made his statement today.
But I was not surprised at all that he was there today.
BURNETT: And, Andrea, one thing on that front, as Brynn was talking about and you saw yourself, he's leaning in, he's interacting with his lawyers all day. I mean, this is something that this is deeply personal to him. Oddly in a way that the election interference case and the classified documents case are not, right? This is the core of who the person is.
BERNSTEIN: Right. This is the mythology that he's been attack that he's built, that he was New York's greatest real estate mogul. In fact, I think one of his lawyers said that today.
And one of the things that's so interesting is I wrote a book called "American Oligarchs". Hundreds of people spoke to me but said very quietly it's not really the way it appears. Today in the courtroom, that was splayed out for everybody to see in the courtroom. It is not the way it appears.
And that's what Trump is really defending himself against is not only the money, $250 million, a lot of money, but also the puncturing of that myth that he's created himself.
BURNETT: Right, because of the entire myth, right, the entire of the man is, I'm really rich, I know what I -- that's what it is.
If there's anything that defines the guy or the soul of the guy, this is it, Ryan. I mean, do you think -- we look at these long list of defense witnesses and all that -- there's going to be the kids -- we know that, the kids.
What about -- what about him? He's on both lists, the Venn diagram. He's right in the middle. Does he testify?
GOODMAN: It's hard. It's a hard choice. If he does testify, then he might get himself in a lot of trouble. He could get himself in trouble through perjury because he's going to say I'm innocent, I didn't do these things, and it looks like the judge doesn't agree with that and will conclude that he did do these things.
BURNETT: Because he's already said that he did those things, right? This is kind of the damages portion of the trial, not the guilt or innocence part of the trial.
GOODMAN: Essentially. So, he's already given his full deposition. And the judge has read that full deposition.
GOODMAN: There are all other implications and pitfalls. If he does testify as a defense witness and other cross-examination, the attorney general could bring up a bunch of other things that he does not want to answer, like, your record, Mr. Trump, of voracity and truthfulness when it comes to making false statements to courts and the election, when it comes to making false statements to federal agencies about documents that you had at your estate.
Also other things to impeach the witness, I think that's one of the risks. But on the other hand, if he pleads the Fifth, then he's in even worse trouble for this particular case.
BURNETT: Right. And if there's any case in which he wants to testify again, it's this one, right?
BERNSTEIN: But to us -- he wants to testify to the public.
BURNETT: Right, which he can do as he did today, right? He can go out and call people racist and corrupt and everything else.
All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it, Andrea, Ryan. Thank you very much, Jack.
And, next, I'm going to speak to "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa Manigault-Newman. She served in the Trump White House. She's been to Trump's homes. So did she have any idea that Trump was inflating his wealth?
Plus, breaking news: Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz making a major move moments ago to try and oust the Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He's doing it formally. It is something that has not been done officially in more than a hundred years.
Also breaking this hour, police in New York just announcing they have found the 9-year-old girl who went missing while on vacation with her family, and now we're learning of a suspect. We have all the details just coming in ahead.
BURNETT: And that breaking news -- Matt Gaetz, the Republican congressman, has filed that motion to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, the first time that this has happened in more than a hundred years.
Let's listen to Matt Gaetz speaking to reporters right now.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): As I said in my remarks earlier on the floor today, regardless of how you feel about Ukraine money or border money, these two things should not be lumped together. They deserve their own dignity and their own vote. And the people are tired of seeing the ways of Washington that jam everything together in order to really frustrate actual legislators. MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you succeed,
there's going to be -- if you succeed, McCarthy's almost certainly going to put himself up as a candidate for speaker again. And that may mean there's no one who can get 218 votes. Are you prepared to get to that possibility with no one getting 218 votes?
GAETZ: Well, I would think that if it took Kevin McCarthy 15 rounds to become speaker and after eight months of a failed speakership, and after a successful removal vote, as your hypothesis would portend, that he would take a hint.
REPORTER: Do you have someone?
GAETZ: I had -- look, I have made no deal with Democrats. Because I believe the Democrats should vote against Kevin McCarthy for free. It's Kevin McCarthy who's out there offering deals to Democrats. So if there's a deal made with Democrats, the only deal is to make one with McCarthy, because I'm not offering anything and won't offer anything.
And by the way, if the Democrats want to own Kevin McCarthy, they can have it, because one thing I'm at peace with is when we stand here a week from now, I won't own Kevin McCarthy anymore. He won't belong to me. So if the Democrats want to adopt him, they can adopt him.
REPORTER: If you're successful, who would be your alternative? Who would you be putting up there if you're successful?
GAETZ: It's -- look, our number two is Steve Scalise. I think very highly of Steve Scalise. I would vote for Steve Scalise. I would probably vote for at least a hundred Republicans in our caucus and maybe a hundred other Americans out there who wouldn't necessarily need to be a member of the body to be considered for the speakership.
But I am not going to pass over Steve Scalise just because he has blood cancer and is going through treatment.
REPORTER: What would you say to members who have worked so hard to try to get these appropriation bills through that's finally happening. Now they say they don't want to be distracted from that. What do you want to those members who don't want a vote against McCarthy for that reason?
GAETZ: Well, mostly, I would say you're welcome. Because we weren't endeavoring on the appropriations process earnestly until we held a political gun to the speaker's head last week. We left for a six-week vacation, and we'd only passed one of our appropriations bills, the veterans bill.
If Kevin McCarthy was serious about appropriations, we'd have been here all of July, we would have been here in august, and we would have been doing the people's work passing their budget. The American people are tired of Washington, D.C. not having a budget, running $2 trillion annual deficits sitting atop a $33 trillion debt. And if this country's going down, I'm going down fighting. REPORTER: I mean, it's happening now, right? You all were supposed to
be back home at your districts. That hasn't happened. There are appropriation bills on the calendar. I know it might have taken a while to get here, but you're here.
And so, what do you say to your colleagues who say we can't support this because we want to get this done, we want to get the government funded?
GAETZ: Well, I would suggest if we were real serious about that process, we wouldn't be having four-day work weeks. We started votes tonight at 6:30 p.m. on a Monday. Most Americans don't start work at 6:30 p.m. on a Monday and end a few hours later, right?
So, I don't believe that the level of effort that you're seeing out of the Congress this week is reflective of the momentum that we had built previously.
RAJU: But you're going to need Democrats -- you're going to need Democrats to vote with you to oust McCarthy. And you're criticizing McCarthy for having to potentially need Democrats to keep him with the job. Aren't you pretty much doing the exact same thing here?
GAETZ: Manu, the yellow brick road of working with Democrats has been paved, constructed, engineered and architected by Kevin McCarthy. Look no further than the debt limit deal, a deal we passed with Democrats. Look no further than the last continuing resolution, which he passed with Democrats.
And, by the way, if he's able to stay in power, it will be him working for the Democrats continuing to do their bidding. So this is a revealing exercise, and I think it'll show the country who's really in charge.
REPORTER: Just follow on that, though. Most Republicans still do support McCarthy. So, why bring this up if you don't have the support of most of your conference?
GAETZ: Well, he doesn't have my support anymore, and he doesn't have the support of a requisite number of Republicans to continue as the Republican speaker. Now he may continue as the House speaker and he may continue as a speaker of the Democrats and some sort of uni-party coalition. But he is not going to be a speaker in power as a consequence of Republican votes based on the number of people who are going to be with --
REPORTER: Is this like a personal disagreement you have with McCarthy? Or this solely just --
GAETZ: You know, it's so funny that I come out here and I've been doing this for a great number of days with all of you. And I lay out in Technicolor the specific areas of the breach of the agreement, breaching the 72-hour rule, breaching the suspension rule, blowing past the top lines, not passing single-subject spending bills. And yet the McCarthy operation continues to make this some sort of
personal beef. No one seems to be real eager and engaging me on the substance of my argument, which is that we need single-subject spending bills, we need to return to pre-COVID spending.
But some people try to make every policy disagreement personal because they are so personally embarrassed from their own failures.
And so, this is -- this has nothing to do with personality, this has to do with breach of an agreement. I laid that breach out weeks ago. I stood on the floor, you all covered it. And I said these are the areas of breach, they have to be rectified. We heard the speaker's profanity in his bluster. And that's simply not strong leadership.
REPORTER: Do you believe that --
GAETZ: Rachel, next.
REPORTER: Are you concerned that some conservatives who agree that McCarthy is in breach of these promises he made in January are not backing your effort, people like Chip Roy, Byron Donalds, Thomas Massie? Obviously somebody who tried to oust Boehner said this could backfire conservatives. Are you worried about that pressure and that fracture in conservatives actually --
GAETZ: No, listen, I -- Chip Roy and Thomas Massie, we all want to get to the same place. We all want to have less spending. We want to return to the budget process that is in law. And I hold no ill will toward them if they make a different tactical choice than I have made.
So if my dear friends who I agree with on almost anything, Mr. Roy and Mr. Perry and Mr. Massie want to own Kevin McCarthy, then that can be their choice, and they can make whatever choice they'd like.
RAJU: Does Trump support this support --
BURNETT: All right. Matt Gaetz answering questions, as you can see, from reporters.
Our Manu Raju you can see right in the corner is there. So he's going to be joining us in just a couple of moments and fill us in on what else is happening there, because right now I do want to just bring in a Democratic voice because you'll hear Matt Gaetz again and again saying this comes down to Democrats.
The Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California is with me now.
Congressman Khanna, I know you had a chance to hear some of that, happening elsewhere on Capitol, where you are right now. Matt Gaetz taking questions from reporters. So, what do you say?
Just to be clear, there has not been an attempt to move to vacate a speaker since 1910. So this is almost unprecedented in its attempt. And it has never been successful.
So what do you think is going on with Congressman Gaetz doing this now?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Erin, I didn't think I'd have to hear more Congressman Gaetz on your show. I've heard a lot of it from him all week.
But you know what's sad? I was in the grocery store on Saturday when we finally got the budget passed, the continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown. It was the first time that people came up to me and say thank you for what you did, not me personally but the Congress, to keep the government open.
I mean, there was a sigh of relief. And now I come back Monday and there's chaos again. This is exactly what the American people don't want. They want us to focus on solving the problems, not the kind of theater that the Republicans are creating.
BURNETT: All right. He talks about how that -- Gaetz is saying that McCarthy will not remain speaker if Democrats don't help him. So, that's what he's saying. Obviously some of your colleagues have indicated that they might, that they might vote to help him.
Gaetz says he's made no deal with Democrats and that you should vote against Speaker McCarthy for free. Where do you stand on this? Would you help support McCarthy to have him remain speaker, to prevent more chaos?
KHANNA: Erin, we are meeting as a caucus tomorrow morning to discuss exactly the question you're asking. I am committed to following Leader Jeffries. There are times in politics where you have to act in unity. This is one of those times.
Hakeem Jeffries has done a phenomenal job as leader. I will follow what the caucus decides and will defer to his leadership on this issue.
BURNETT: So, okay, I understand what you're saying. So, in other words, you may say I don't know a full answer to this next question. But let me ask it anyway to understand what your feelings are about it. What would McCarthy have to offer to secure Democratic votes to remain the speaker, right?
Because if your caucus is going to do something to support him, you don't ever get better leverage than you're going to have in that moment. So what do you want for it?
KHANNA: Well, again, not trying to duck the question. I genuinely am going to defer to Hakeem Jeffries and Katherine Clark because they're in a position of negotiating the schedule and negotiating the votes with leadership. If you asked me what is my vision on Medicare for all or jobs, I can give you an answer. But here I really believe the appropriate posture for every Democrat, whether a progressive like me, whether a blue dog, whether a moderate is to unify around our leadership.
That's what Speaker Pelosi said, follow Hakeem Jeffries. Speaker Pelosi is saying I think every Democrat can be there for that.
BURNETT: Well, of course, as you say, I guess you essentially want to show that you don't have the same chaos which is display right now in the GOP in the House. I mean, there's no question about it. It's a mess when you look at that.
But, when you speak about chaos and unseemly things, there is some to go around. The Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman is denouncing talking points his staff circulated. These talking points referred to Nazi members of the Republican Party. I don't know if you had a chance to see this, Congressman.
But these talking points were circulated to defend Bowman because he is facing serious criticism. And it's against the law to pull a fire alarm in a House office building. And he did so shortly before a vote to keep the government open.
So, what do you think happened here? He's now saying it's an accident, his office referring to Nazis in the GOP. That's them, not me.
Are you okay with that as a defense?
KHANNA: Erin, I'll address your specific question. But first I want to point out there's no equivalent between that case and an individual member of Congress and the Republican chaos where they aren't able to keep the government open that affects millions of Americans and where they're preventing us from getting things done with these motions to vacate.
That said, look, the language of calling Republicans Nazis is completely wrong. I would never call people who I disagree with philosophically, ideologically a Nazi, which has historical connotations.
KHANNA: And Representative Bowman has apologized for that and said that that was inappropriate language, and that has no place in the Congress.
I also believe that he has been transparent in explaining why he pulled the fire alarm. He's cooperating with the House administration. There's going to be a transparent inquiry into that, which he has owned up to.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Khanna, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
KHANNA: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Good to talk to you.
And, next, Trump in court today in defending his reputation as a successful businessman despite being accused of fraud, a judge finding him guilty of fraud. I'm going to speak to Omarosa Manigault Newman. You remember her, "Apprentice" contestant who served in the Trump White House. Her reaction to something Trump said.
Plus, breaking news: police in New York just announcing they have found the missing 9-year-old girl who vanished while on vacation with her parents. We've got all these details coming in here, and we will share them with you, coming up.
BURNETT: Tonight, Trump defending his image as a successful businessman, despite damage allegations in court today that he has been a fraud for decades.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My brand is extremely valuable, the greatest properties -- we have among the greatest properties in the world, and I have to go through this for political reasons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Trump telling reporters he would love to be campaigning instead of attending the trial. Of course, it was his choice to be there today and talking to the cameras about his money is what he loves most.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: My name's Donald Trump, and I'm the largest real estate developer in New York. I own buildings all over the place.
It's always been easier for me to think big. It was always easier for me to attract the money and the capital.
All together, I have over 100 companies. When the first season of "The Apprentice" finally finished shooting, I was able to get back to my core business, real estate. I've made some really incredible deals.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Omarosa Manigault Newman, she was a contestant on the first season of "The Apprentice", went on to work on Trump's 2016 campaign and served in the Trump White House. She was fired by then Trump White House chief of staff John Kelly in December of 2018.
And then Omarosa, you wrote about all of this in your book "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House".
So, Omarosa, you met Donald Trump 20 years ago. You know him well through many stages of his life. You were competing to be an apprentice at the Trump Organization. So what was your reaction when you see these allegations which a judge has said happened, they're not now allegations. There is now ruled as guilty by a judge, repeated fraud inflating his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion.
What was your reaction?
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER "APPRENTICE" CONTESTANT: Unbelievable. Well, you know, you showed the clip of us, "The Apprentice," it was all just bogus. Donald Trump fabricated this lifestyle, this brand that he sowed to America. 20 years ago we showed up at Trump tower to help, I guess, reinforce that because we didn't know what we know now, which is Donald Trump is a fraud.
BURNETT: And, Omarosa, so when you were on "The Apprentice," as you pointed out, right, the whole thing, right, the whole -- well, wasn't a drone then, but the helicopter shots, right, coming in, all of it was to project this image of wealth and luxury.
Here's a clip from actually your first episode.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWMAN: Welcome to Trump Tower. I hope your stay is enjoyable. To start, please enjoy some champagne and caviar.
NEWMAN: It is a taste of the life you could lead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So you're all there, young bushy-tailed, those smiles of awe, caviar. They brought you into his penthouse, a lot of the gold there painted and not real, but you wouldn't know that at the time. You're walking around in awe.
Did you, Omarosa, have any reason to question his wealth at the time?
NEWMAN: Well, no, because I had actually read all of Trump's books including "The Art of the Deal." And we totally bought this illusion that Donald Trump was this huge billionaire, this real estate mogul, and that we would work for one of his successful companies.
Now, we all know now after 13, 14 seasons of "The Apprentice" that not many of the apprentice went to go work for his companies, and that even "The Apprentice" was fabricated.
But I think what's worse is what he's done to the country, and how he's defrauded the people of New York. That's what this case is about, his fraud.
BURNETT: All right. So, let me give you a chance to respond, can U.S. some people might say, okay, Omarosa, you're saying this because you're upset. You were fired by Trump twice on the show, fired in the White House.
So what do you say to them? They say, look, she's saying this because she has an ax to grind. That's why you're speaking out against him. NEWMAN: Well, I'd like to remind you that I wrote my book at a time
when not many people were speaking out. After I saw up close what Donald Trump was doing in the White House, how he was really compromising our democracy, I spoke out to tell what I was seeing to help prevent it from happening again.
But yet we look and see that Donald Trump is the frontrunner of the Republican side that, there is no one even close to him. So, more people who actually did contribute to this Trump phenomenon need to continue to speak up to stop him in his attempt to return back to the White House.
BURNETT: So, Omarosa, Trump has called the Attorney General Letitia James a racist more than once. And today he called her a racist attorney general who is a horror show, right? That's when he left the courtroom and he went to the cameras. A racist attorney general who is a horror show.
And our reporter in the room saw Trump look directly at her in his way out of the courtroom. "NPR's" Andrew Bernstein was just here. She was saying, he glared at her as he walked out.
What do you -- what is this about?
NEWMAN: I think it's mostly about intimidation. He has saved his worst insults, his biggest vitriol for women of color. He's called her a peek-a-boo, he's called Kamala Harris a monster. He's called me a dog.
I mean, he saves the worst insults for women of color. And he tries to veil his racist remarks in some kind of hedging. He says on Truth Social that it's a witch hunt.
But the truth of the matter is Donald Trump needs to look in the mirror. He is facing for the first time accountability for his actions. He can call people as many names as he wants. But it is time for him to face the music and he must pay, and he will, at the hands of a Black woman.
BURNETT: All right. Omarosa, well, I appreciate. It's good to talk to you again.
NEWMAN: Good to talk to you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Omarosa, as I said.
And next, the breaking news, authorities in New York just announcing really good news, that 9-year-old girl who vanished while on vacation with her family, she has been found and she is alive, and they have a suspect. There are more details coming in. We have that coming up.
Plus, the conspiracy theories that RFK has talked about, he's teasing a third-party run, despite against running against Biden, he says he is actually more of a threat to Trump.
BURNETT: Breaking news. The missing 9-year-old Charlotte Sena has been found alive. Charlotte vanished from a state park about 35 miles north of Albany on Saturday around 6:15 p.m. Saturday night. She was riding her bike. She was camping with her family.
New York state police just announcing moments ago that a suspect is now in custody. Charlotte is reportedly in good health.
So I want to go straight to Polo Sandoval who has been following this story.
And, Polo, obviously, there were so many who feared for how this could go. She has been found alive. Do they know how they found her?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Erin, this is exactly the outcome that so many people were looking for. This actually just broke in the last hour. So there's still a lot of unanswered questions in all of this.
But the key takeaway coming from New York state police that Charlotte, that Sena is safe, that she has been found. And authorities are with her now and they're obviously speaking to her right now and that she is, according to authorities in, good condition. Police also adding that somebody who they are calling a suspect is currently in custody.
Governor Kathy Hochul going on to social media and commending all the people who were searching for her since Saturday, as you just pointed, that she was on a camping trip with her family about 50 miles north of Albany. Now the governor tweeting that, after 48-hour-long search, Charlotte Sena has been found.
Again, she's extremely grateful to state police and also park rangers, as was all the other partners that have been working tirelessly to locate Charlotte over the weekend to ensure that she could return home safely. That's basically what she wrote there.
This is also certainly a critical point, since there were serious concerns that were mounting with every hour that went by.
SANDOVAL: In fact, just hours before they made this announcement, officials had just expanded the search to include about 50 miles in the foothills around the Adirondacks. You're talking volunteers and professionals as well.
BURNETT: So, Polo, obviously they're talking to her so we don't know what happened or anything, right? We just know, all we can say is thank God she is in good condition, as they're describing. But we just don't know. We don't know what really happened.
But what about the suspect? Do you have anymore on this?
SANDOVAL: Yeah, correct. We still don't know about the circumstances of how she was found. And we don't know anything else about the suspect. And as we work to dig for more, it's important to point out that it was yesterday morning that the New York state police knew this was more than just a missing person's case.
They felt that she was abducted, and that's exactly what we heard from New York state police yesterday. That's because after what they described as an exhaustive search of the area, they found nothing and no one. And that's why they knew that there was something more at play.
But, again, tonight, we can confirm, according to New York state police, that Charlotte Sena, that 9-year-old who went missing on Saturday evening, is safe.
BURNETT: All right. Thank God for that, and I just hope that what she went through, that everything is okay.
All right, Polo, thank you very much.
And next, Robert Kennedy Jr. sounding a lot like Trump, railing against a rigged system. But now, there is speculation growing that he may run as an independent. It's a seismic event, but in what way.
Plus, the NFL may have just set a record when it comes to how many times they mentioned Taylor Swift last night.
BURNETT: Tonight, rigged. Democratic presidential candidate and conspiracy theorist Robert Kennedy Jr. sounding a lot like Trump, right, accusing the system of being, quote, rigged against him, saying that now he may run as an independent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT KENNEDY JR., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They rigged the process, which is I can't possibly win, which is how it's rigged right now. I would have to look at other options. I would have to look at running as, you know, maybe outside the party or something. I take more votes from President Trump than I do from President Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. He's referring to internal polling perhaps, from a pro-RFK super PAC that shows a three-way matchup between Trump, Biden and a generic independent candidate pegs Trump two points ahead of Biden. Now with RFK as the independent candidate, Trump and Biden are tied, and Kennedy picks up two points.
Now, taken with a heaping dose of kosher salt, these are numbers from a pro RFK super PAC. But if the race remains close as it is now, RFK Jr. running as a third party candidate could have a seismic impact, right? If he runs in a primary at the end of the process, if he losses, he can't then say, oh, I changed my mind, I run as an independent, you can't do that, right?
So, if he makes a decision now, he could be there at the end. And that could have a huge impact.
David Axelrod is with me now, the former senior adviser to President Obama.
So, David, when you think about this -- and you, I know, have been more concerned about Cornel Race -- West, I'm sorry, running in the race and hurting Biden than you were about RFK Jr.
But now, possible, he could go as an independent. Does all this set off more alarm bells for you?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think anything that lowers the threshold, lowers the ceiling, helps Donald Trump. I think he has a ceiling. So, if he needs fewer votes to win, that helps him.
Biden tends to do better among people who have a negative view of both of them. And probably benefits from a binary race.
But just the point on Bobby Kennedy Jr., he says the system was rigged against him. He had a approval rating among Democrats of 14 positive, 57, negative. So, there isn't a system you could devise that would have yielded Bobby Kennedy Jr. As the nominee of the Democratic Party.
You know, he's getting out because he wants to stay. He likes the attention. He wants to stay in the race. Even his own internal polling, he's not really a factor to win the race. He's only a factor to hang around and continue to get attention, which is what happen he wants.
But he is much more popular among Republicans than Democrats. There's no doubt about it, by about 30 points positive among Republicans, where there's a market for conspiracy theories and rants against the deep state.
BURNETT: You mentioned the Republicans, that the popularity among Republicans. That's certainly true. And John King actually was in New Hampshire and Iowa, both -- he's been to both states talking to Republicans, trying to understand what they're thinking.
BURNETT: It was interesting what a couple of them said about RFK Jr.
So, let me play two of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCAS RAYMOND, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: I am extremely likely to vote for Robert Kennedy, yes.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why?
RAYMOND: He is willing to state that we should not blindly trust corporations or our government.
JIM MUDD SR., IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: He's the first Democrat I think I've ever listened to and admired what he had to say. There might have been another one that I'm overlooking. But this guy, Kennedy, he sounds like a real genuine individual to me. He's smart.
And he's even-minded. He's open-minded, I should say.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, it's interesting. That's exactly what will you just referred to, but I thought it was interesting, David, that you were saying, even with that, perhaps that appeal being much more strong among Republicans, that him running as an independent would still help Trump because it would lower the threshold for victory.
AXELROD: Yeah. I'd also say that there are still some Democrats who would see the name, which is the magic name in the annals of Democratic politics, Robert F. Kennedy Sr. was a political inspiration of mine. And there'll be some people who will vote for him.
But, listen, if you're looking for a right wing conspiracy theorist, the world champion is running already. So, I know what people are saying now. We'll see what happens in November. I think this is mischief making on Kennedy's part. By the way, he's got some major donors on the Republican side. So, what does that tell you?
BURNETT: All right. David, thank you very much, as always.
AXELROD: OK, good to see you.
BURNETT: And next, wait until you see how Taylor Swift just helped the NFL make Sunday Night Football must-see TV.
BURNETT: Twenty-seven million people tuned in last night to see the New York jets take on the Kansas City Chiefs. That is the most watched Sunday game since the Super Bowl.
Well, it was not because of the game. I think it's safe to say that, right? It was probably because of Taylor Swift, because the world's most popular pop star was seen on TV cheering on Chiefs star tight-end Travis Kelce, her rumored boyfriend. And they showed her again and again and again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the guest of honor, Taylor swift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, of course, Taylor Swift is in the building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, and yeah, she's here. Taylor is in the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took care of Taylor Swift song titles right out of the gate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor likes what she's seen so far.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's Taylor Swift in the VIPs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor is still here. Taylor Swift.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody hanging there.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: They knew what made money. Her name was mentioned, by the way, about two dozen times throughout the game. You heard some of them there. And she was there with famous her name was mentioned, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Hackman was also there. By the way, the Chiefs did win 23-20.
Thanks so much for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.