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Erin Burnett Outfront

Judge To Trump Attorney: "You're Losing All Credibility"; Soon: Senate Set To Pass $95B In Foreign Aid In Spite Of MTG; Stormy Daniels To Friend: "I Am Scared" As Trump Trial Picks Up. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 23, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, a brutal beat down for Trump in court today. The judge telling Trump lawyers they're losing all credibility as the former chief of the "National Enquirer" reveals he was, quote, Trump's eyes and ears during the presidential campaign.

Plus, George Conway was in the courtroom today with Trump. This is Conway, a lifelong conservative, is taking a major leap to help the Biden campaign. He's going to tell you exactly what he's doing. It's a big step.

And Republicans turning on, quote/unquote, Moscow Marjorie, big time tonight. One senior senator putting the blame on Marjorie Taylor Greene for the party losing in November, right bullseye.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with the shutdown. The judge in Trump's hush money trial telling Trump's lawyers, quote, you are losing all credibility with the court. This is as they were struggling to defend Trump for ten alleged violations of his gag order.

And we're actually as I speak right now, on standby for ruling from Judge Merchan after hearing the court watchers described as disastrous, those were the words that we heard for Trump.

Now, let's just show you this sketch that shows how tense things got in the courtroom. The judge, again and again, pressing Trumps legal team for evidence that Trumps posts were just responses to quote, political attacks. Trumps team though, did not have a response to that.

And Merchan, in what was a dramatic admonishment, told Trump's team, and I quote him, while I'm just telling you that you've presented nothing and I've asked you eight or nine times, show me the exact post that he was responding to and you have been able unable to do that even once?

Well, the result of this was Trump visibly angry when he left court today.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not allowed to talk, but people are allowed to talk about me. So they can talk about me. They can say whatever they want, they can lie, but I'm not allowed to say anything. I just have to sit back.


BURNETT: Well, of course, that's not true, just even on the Trump side of it. The gag order only bars him from talking about three specific categories of things -- speaking publicly about potential witnesses, publicly about prosecutors, which does not include commenting on the judge, the district attorney, or staff members. So we can do all those things. Just can't talk about witnesses or prosecutors, and can't speak publicly about jurors. By the way, for those jurors, if they were to go out and say something nasty about Trump, they get kicked off the jury.

So we are on standby for that gag order ruling at this moment. It comes as the former chief of the "National Enquirer", David Pecker, took the stand and Trumps trial for the second day, and Pecker admitted under oath that he had agreed to be what he called Trump's eyes and ears during Trump's 2016 candidacy for the White House. He detailed how Trump's lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen asked him to help the campaign specifically by doing this, finding a story about Trump that was bad buying it from somebody and then never running it. So it was killed. It's called catch and kill, and also then promoting negative stories about people running against Trump or who Trump did not like.

And we actually have a special report later this hour detailing some of these negative stories. You're going to want to see what Trump was promoting about Joe Biden and others. Everybody was seeing on the front covers of the checkout line.

But we begin our special coverage this hour with Paula Reid, who is OUTFRONT live outside the New York courthouses.

Paula, I know you will be every day during this historic trial. What are you learning about why prosecutors are starting their case with David Pecker?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Pecker is the perfect first witness for the prosecution because he is able to lay out how he was working directly with Trump and Michael Cohen to catch and kill negative stories about Trump. And he's explaining to the jury how he was doing this, not just because he and Trump were lifelong friends because he and Michael Cohen wanted to influence the 2016 election.


REID (voice-over): Former "National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker back on the witness stand today, where he shared details of his decades-long friendship with Donald Trump, and how he eventually used his position to help Trump in 2016 election.

Under questioning from prosecutors, Pecker described a meeting he had with Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, in 2015, where they asked, what can I do and what my magazine could do to help the campaign?

Pecker testified that he responded saying, what I would do is I would run or publish positive stories about Mr. Trump and I would publish negative stories about his opponents.


I said I would be your eyes and ears.

He told the jury he saw the agreement as mutually beneficial. It would help his campaign and it would also help me. Pecker said he began meeting with Cohen a minimum of every week. And if there was an issue could be daily. He said he would go directly to Cohen when confronted with a negative story about Trump. The prosecution question Pecker in detail about a doormat who tried to sell a story about Trump allegedly fathering a child with another woman as Trump sat in court and shook his head.

Pecker said he directed the editor of the "Enquirer" negotiate a number, a price to buy the story and take it off the market the doorman was paid $30,000 for the story, even though it later proved to be false. Pecker told the court if the story got out to another publication or another media outlet, it would've been very embarrassing to the campaign.

Pecker claimed if the story were true, it would probably be the biggest sale of the "National Enquirer" since the death of Elvis Presley. But then admitted if it were true, he wouldn't have published the story until after the election court.


REID (on camera): The court is not in session tomorrow, but Pecker will be back on the stand Thursday, facing more questions about the effort to catch and kill the story of Karen McDougal, a woman who allegedly had a year-long affair with Trump. But then prosecutors are going to press Pecker on why he didn't catch and kill the story of Stormy Daniels, and instead passed her story off to Michael Cohen -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Paula, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Stu Zakim, who worked closely with David Pecker at the "National Enquirer's" parent company. Elizabeth Williams is also with us, the sketch artist who was in the courtroom with Donald Trump today. And, of course, has been throughout this trial. Now you all know her.

And our legal experts, Karen Friedman Agnifilo and Stacy Schneider.

So, all right. So great to have all of you. Let me just start straight off with you, Stu.

You were Pecker's communications chief at AMI, right? So you worked with him, you saw him, you know how all of this worked --


BURNETT: -- in intimate detail.

So Pecker testified today, he told Trump he'd be his eyes and ears during the campaign. So as you're seeing the transcript of exactly what he said today, what stood out to you as you heard Pecker describe the way catch and kill worked?

ZAKIM: Which was pretty amazing. So until now, it's only been speculated how it really worked. But Pecker clearly outlined it under oath today, how it will play it out and the benefit to him. Obviously, it was incurring goodwill with Trump and having that access to him and vice-versa, burring bad stories about Trump, highlighting his good stuff and bearing his enemies.

So it was like a mutual in their minds, a win-win, I can help you. You helped me and that's pretty much how Pecker operated all along. Then why the inquirer has the reputation that it has.

BURNETT: So, Stacy, to this. I know there was a key testimony for you about how Trump to this agreement, this catch and kill agreement as Stu is talking about as Pecker testified today, to harm Trump's political opponents as well, right? So he would catch bad stories about Trump and kill him. And then he would promote bad stories about people running against Trump.

So, Pecker testifies, quote Michael Cohen would send me information about Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or Marco Rubio. That was the basis of our story. And then we would embellish it from there.

And then just so everyone understands what that meant, the Ted Cruz sex scandal, five secret mistresses, bungling surgeon Ben Carson left sponge in patient's brain. I remember that. Who doesn't remember that, right? There was -- maybe there was even some fake picture. I -- right, with the sponge? Okay.

Donald Trump, healthiest individual ever elected. Okay. What is the prosecution showing jurors here?

STACY SCHNEIDER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Okay. This is very strategic on the part of the prosecution and David Pecker, who is just a background witness in this case actually dealt a very devastating blow to the Trump defense because especially the part you're mentioning where there was an arrangement that Michael Cohen would, according to David Pecker, would call him up after one of the Republican debates. And whoever was doing the best and the debate, he would direct him, David Pecker, to run a devastating story about that person.

And what's that -- setting up the trial for the jury to see is the fact that Trump allegedly seems to have a pattern and history of gaining an unfair advantage during that election, and I think that that point, although subtle today, is going to come back later on in the trial as its the same theme that that Trump is being tried on right now, unlawfully influencing the election and then covering it up through paying off Stormy Daniels and then putting false entries.

BURNETT: Making the election interference case, it's putting that into the ether.

SCHNEIDER: Yes. So it's the same theme as what he's being tried for right now, allegedly. And I think that was a really subtle and good talking point later on for the D.A.


BURNETT: So, Elizabeth, as you're watching and your sketches today, you can see Trump looking at David Pecker on the stand, right? That's what on for almost three hours. So when you're watching him, when we see most interested, when was he? I remember yesterday you were talking about showing his interests by him being at the edge of his seat, literally the way that you drew that you the oil pastel.

So, what did you notice today?

ELIZABETH WILLIAMS, COURTROOM SKETCH ARTIST: Yeah, today when he started out, he was doing that closing the eyes thing, which I look at him through the video. The video screen my binoculars. I want to make sure he's really closing his eyes and he is closing his eyes. I'm wondering, hmm, okay. He gives him a couple of glances.

But then when they start talking about McDougal, Karen McDougal --

BURNETT: The playmate that he allegedly had a year-long affair with.

WILLIAMS: The eyes are open, the arms start folding. You know, when he folds his arms, now that I've drawn them a bunch of time, he folded his arms when he was arraigned in Miami and he folded his arms several times during E. Jean Carroll, and that means something is not right with Donald Trump and he's now laser-focused on David Pecker, okay, because prior to that, I look at him quite a bit and he was somewhat paying attention. But the McDougal testimony, that seemed to really get to him.

BURNETT: And that, Karen, obviously, while this case is about payments made at -- for silence to Stormy Daniels and whether that that was a felony count in an election law, Karen McDougal is very relevant to the story because she is a person who has a detailed, extensive affair she says she had with the former president and David Pecker and the national enquirer was obviously involved in getting rid of that one as well.

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. I mean, the prosecution is painting this entire scheme as a criminal conspiracy. This is conspiracy between David Pecker, Donald Trump, and Michael Cohen. And that they all got together.

Conspiracy requires two or more people to get together, have an agreement and the agreement is to do something unlawful. And what they're saying is -- what they were doing that was unlawful, was they were unlawfully trying to influence the election.


AGNIFILO: So this is all part of the scheme, the criminal scheme.

BURNETT: And they have set up that there was a meeting where this was explicitly discussed, right? So even though this was a matter of as you're saying, Stu, this is how things were done, that there was a meeting that they said, look, were -- I'm running for president and this is what we're going to do. That's what the prosecution says happened.

So Pecker is not done yet. He comes back to the stand when trial resumes. So how do you think he will do under cross-examination?

ZAKIM: Well, that will be really any interesting test because he comes across as we've seen, very smooth and savvy. And let me just tell you what the facts are. He's never responded to the threats being attacked. So, they're challenging his credibility, which he has worked with prosecution and the defense made -- prosecution rather made him look like the nicest guy in the world.

You're going to see his true colors come out. He's a fighter and when he's attacked, similar to Trump, he fights back pretty hard, which is why has this aggressive behavior and reputation throughout publishing that you don't mess with Pecker.

BURNETT: Right. And this is going to be an awkward situation where he is the first witness brought by the prosecution not because he wants to be sitting there. We understand he and Trump don't speak anymore, but it's a long friendship. You made a point of saying hi to his table yesterday. So this -- this cross is going to be very revealing.

SCHNEIDER: Very, very revealing. And I think what the defense my prediction is, what they're going to do to clean up this mess that was made today because Trump looked awful is they will say to David Pecker, you've been approached by many, many -- dozens of celebrities through the -- every year and their attorney is trying to clean up bad stories or they've threatened you not to run stories about their clients or somebody famous because they're going to threatening to sue you.

And I'll think they'll -- the defense will just say, this is just tabloid journalism. This isn't -- Trump didn't go after the mainstream media and try to get them to do something different. This is not really consequential journalism. I'm sure "National Enquirer" won't be happy to hear that, but yeah, they'll clean it up as best they can, see if the jury buys it.

BURNETT: All right. So as this is happening today, Karen, you also have the -- we are waiting right now, we could get it right now. The gag order ruling coming down from Judge Merchan, whether Trump violated the gag order nearly a dozen times in tweets and things he has said about people he's banned from saying things about potential witnesses, primarily among them.

Today, it did not go well for Trump's lawyer. The judge told Todd Blanche, then this is the quote that I mentioned at the top of the show: you're losing all credibility with the court. And then I've given you, what, eight or nine opportunities to show me why he posed posted this in response to something political as you're alleging, and you have not answered that question once.


And so, how badly did this go for Trump?

AGNIFILO: I think it went fairly badly for Trump. A lawyer has to make arguments, right?

And the judge has said he expects and welcomes vigorous crossing or vigorous arguments on behalf of clients. But you can't step over the line and do things that are not credible. And that's what the judge was signaling to Todd Blanche today, is that number one, this is a hearing. It's your opportunity to present evidence. You could have presented -- Donald Trump could have said what he thought or what he meant or what he was trying to do.

But, for you to just make an argument without presenting that evidence that Donald Trump was, quote, trying very hard to comply with the court order or saying -- or saying that, the other thing that he said that I think really made the judge say you have no credibility with me, you're losing credibility, was when the defense attorney said, look, the prosecution only asked for a couple of the tweets to be are the couple of the postings to be a violation.

So therefore, they let other ones go. They must have waived -- the gag order doesn't stand. That is not going to fly at Judge Merchan's courtroom. Only he can say whether or not the gag order is imposed or whether it stands or whether it doesn't.

And so the fact that he would make an argument like that Trump's trying to do it without -- without more. Judge Merchan said that's ridiculous, and he's not having it.

BURNETT: Which also just defies belief. I mean, he retweets things in does these things.

Elizabeth, there was one sketch I just wanted to show that was a moment between Trump, the judge, and Trumps lawyer. Very tense back and forth that you drew here. I mentioned it at the top of the program. We were talking about this gag order. What did you actually see here?

WILLIAMS: Well, what happens in those situations is you're drawing people who are constantly moving and then you're seeing that this tension is building up. I mean, Merchan's a pretty cool character. He doesn't get easily roiled up. But as Blanche is continuing on this path of this argument, and Merchan's feeling like he's not being heard, you see now, Merchan's arms going up. So I have to now add the arm to the body and Blanche's arm is moving in his hand. But these are all important gestures because they show actually what

happened, this weezer -- actually what they were doing. And you've got a grab it because it shows that tension. I mean, they were -- they were going at it. I mean, Merchan was not given up and neither was Blanche. So --

BURNETT: Saying just so the personal and the psychology of it all, I think it brings it home to all of us, right? We all rely on the system as we should, but it is so much about emotion and psychology.

All right. Thank you all very much.

And next, longtime Trump critic George Conway was there in the courtroom today, feet from the former president. What he says was the most damning hit to Trump today.

Plus, new details about what Stormy Daniels is saying tonight about the hush money case and how threats to her have ramped up, just since the trial started this week. We have exclusive new insight into Stormy Daniels' thinking, right now, tonight, ahead of being a potential witness.

And we are just moments away from a crucial vote to give Ukraine that much needed and much delayed aid.

One of the leading voices holding it up, quote, Moscow Marjorie. Republicans have now turned on her in a big way.



BURNETT: Tonight, Trump egging on protesters to go to the New York courthouse where his hush money trial is taking place.


TRUMP: Outside, they're great Americans, people do want to come down and they want to protest at the court, and they want to protest peacefully. We have more police presence here than anyone's ever seen, for blocks. You can't get near this courthouse.


BURNETT: Well, Trump also falsely claimed that, quote, thousands of his supporters were, quote, turned away from court today.

The reality of it is this, the fact is his supporters are allowed outside the courthouse, just the facts are so far in this trial, not many have showed up.

OUTFRONT now, George Conway, he watched Trump's trial today from inside the courtroom. He's been inside many days so far, and he's joining me also to talk about his nearly $1,000,000 donation to President Biden. He's about to headline a major fundraiser for the first time for the president tomorrow. And talking about this, you know, here, George, publicly, you in TV for the first time, I just want to start with where you spent your day and you spend other days, and that's in this courtroom.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: There was no cordon keeping people away from the court.

BURENTT: No, not that I saw when I was there yesterday.

CONWAY: I mean, it's like I think his problem is that people aren't -- his supporters aren't willing to pay the subway fare to go down there. So --

BURNETT: All right. So you've been watching him closely for years and now you're there, I mean, feet away from him. You're in the criminal trials, so you're in the room, you're watching every single thing said, he response, how it's handled.

What moment struck you the most today?

CONWAY: I struck me -- I mean, first of all, the two moments that struck me where one, when the judge basically challenged Trump's lawyer on the gag order and basically said you're losing all credibility and he was making -- and Todd Blanche was making these arguments that just were not even close to being anything that was in the zone of convincing or credible. I mean, arguing essentially that retweets don't count, even though, you know, Trump boasts that when he puts something on Truth Social and amplifies it and everybody learns about it. And then the fact that he actually modified what the Fox anchor said about juror number two.


BURNETT: Right, yeah.

CONWAY: And the fact that -- I mean, it was just the fact he was arguing that retweets don't count, the fact that he was arguing that --

BURNETT: We see retweet in quotes when someone says something pejorative about --

CONWAY: And the other argument was somehow, there was an exception to the gag order if somebody made a political attack on him, even if it was a witness. And the -- first of all, there's no exception for that in the gag order, but you just can't attack witnesses and the witnesses have the right to say whatever they want because they are witnesses, they're not the criminal defendant.

And also, was that he -- the witnesses were -- it wasn't anything he was actually responding to -- about that Blanche couldn't point to what it was that Trump was responding to.

BURNETT: Right, said political motivated attacks and couldn't list one. CONWAY: Right? And he couldn't list one and points there was he Merchan was saying, okay, but this -- the timing of what you're saying doesn't make any sense and it just was -- it just went downhill from there and I almost felt bad for Todd Blanche, but that's what happens when you represent a guy who's just the willing out.

Oh, my favorite moment there. And that part of it was -- Blanche said, my client is trying very, very hard to comply with the order and that just set -- that you could just see the judge looking at Blanche like oh, come on.

BURNETT: You got to be kidding.

CONWAY: You got to be kidding me. You know, he's looking for ways around it. It's --

BURNETT: So we get that ruling any moment, could come at any moment. And I know it probably be a fine at this point. But obviously could end up with prison time if he keeps doing it. I mean, it's a serious thing.

CONWAY: Yeah. I think it's going to be it should be a fine. But then I think there has to be a warning like, okay, we're going to put you in for an hour or two hours. You keep doing this.

BURNETT: And then it goes.

All right. So look, George, you -- you're obviously a very well-known conservative lawyer and you've made your career and your reputation on that, right, for decades. Okay. And then, you know, you had a moment, you became a Trump critic.


BURNETT: And you did so at great personal cost. I had great, great, great cost in your -- in your family and your personal life. You have done it because you believe in it deeply.

And now you are giving Biden the maximum amount, but somebody can give Joe Biden, $929,600 that you have earned over your life to a person running for president.

So, how in the world did you get there?

CONWAY: Yeah. No, that's -- that's just an amazing story to meet if you told me that I would do something like that and support a Democrat and tomorrow, I'd be headlining a fundraiser in Washington, asking Democrats to give to a Democrat, I would have said -- well, you know, that -- that's just pure fantasy that would never happen.

And -- but the evolution was just watching how Republican Party has become something that's completely unrecognizable. It's become a personality come -- it's become essentially one of the things that attracted people to the Republican Party in '60s, '70s, and '80s was a feeling that the left had become anti, anti-American. And right now, the people who are anti-American are the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world and the people in the House of Representatives who were basically voting against -- who are voting and men trying to block aid to American allies because they want to help Donald Trump create an issue for the campaign on border. It doesn't even make any sense.

And it's just -- I mean, this man -- four years ago, I voted him like tenth presidential election and I, for the first time, cast the vote for the Democrat.

BURNETT: First time?

CONWAY: First time in ten, first time out of ten. And I did that because I felt that Donald Trump was a threat to the country, a threat to democracy. He doesn't care a whit about the country. He doesn't care a whit about the Constitution, about the rule of law. And he wants to undermine the country and its rule of law for his own political purposes.

And that was before January 6. That was before he actually tried --

BURNETT: But, George, what I'm also curious about, and I guess I put the emphasis on $929,600. Most people can't imagine giving $929 to a person running for office, right? It's just -- it's just an ugly thing. They don't want it. So you're doing this and you know, you've been working your life as a lawyer. You got children.

You're choosing to do this, and I know it didn't come -- I mean, there was a moment where -- when you're driving your car --

CONWAY: I'm driving my car and I'm thinking, okay, well, I'm going to ask these people to give money. I hate asking people to give money. I don't even like asking people to give me money that they actually owe me, and I'm trying to think, well, I need to, you know, I want to set an example. And I thought about what the law, you know, I've only given wants to a Democrat, but that was only for a lunch for somebody who was being honored of law partner of mine.

And I gave $30,000 to the Trump Victory Fund in 2016 my wife was running the campaign.


And I was like, you know, it was a reasonable amount them.

BURNETT: Right, to give, okay.

CONWAY: And I thought, well, why am I doing this? And I thought it's like this is for all the marbles. This man, I mean, after what we saw on January 6, what we saw afterwards, and what we see him now saying, he basically wants to turn the government into a vehicle for retribution against his political enemies, wants to turn -- I mean, he wants to turn the country into a banana republic, which he tried to do four years ago. And I thought, you know there's nothing more important than this. And

yeah, it's going to come out of my kids inheritance. But the most important thing they can inherit is the living in a -- in a -- in a constitutional democracy. And that was the moment that I said, I have to do everything I can. I'm going to give the maximum and I'm not going to regret it. I mean, I'll regret not doing it.

BURNETT: And I know emotional now, what -- how did your children react?

CONWAY: Yeah. Well, my oldest daughter said, well, mind you write me a check for that amount? You'll get something someday. You'll end up spending on one place anyway.

BURNETT: But they understood. They understood that you did this.

CONWAY: Well, you know, I don't think -- I don't know. I don't know that. I don't know that the eldest one who had the conversation we have quite understood, but I think I hope someday she will.

BURNETT: All right. Well, George, thank you for sharing this. And for talking about and I know you will be headlining that fundraiser tomorrow in Washington which is obviously going to be a significant moment for you and a hard one in some ways, in an easy one another.

CONWAY: Yeah, thank you.

BURNETT: Thank you.

And next, Stormy Daniels could soon be called all to testify against Trump. Why she's getting more scared as the trial goes on? We've got exclusive new details from a colleague and confidence.

Plus, breaking news as we are standing by for that crucial vote on Ukraine aid. Finally, finally, as Republicans turn on the woman who tried to stop it, all, Marjorie Taylor Greene.


SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): She's uninformed. She's a total waste of time. She is a horrible leader. She is dragging our brand down.




BURNETT: Breaking news desperately needed Ukraine aid looking like it is headed for final passage in the Senate tonight. Not a minute too soon.

Ukraine has been outgunned on the battlefield now for a long time. The aid has been held up and held up maybe in a way that cannot be made up for, held up by congressional hardliners on the right. And the most prominent of them is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is threatening to oust Speaker Mike Johnson for supporting this aid.

And tonight, in a remarkable moment, senior Republican senator is calling out his fellow Republican, saying that Greene shenanigans could cost Republicans to lose control of Congress.


SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): She's uninformed. She's a total waste of time.

She is a horrible leader. She is dragging our brand down. She -- not the Democrats -- are the biggest risk to us getting back to a majority.


BURNETT: Those are incredible words, a sitting Republican senator.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill.

Manu, I mean, the bill is expected to pass, be signed quickly by President Biden. It has been held up for months and months though the damage from that is very significant.

BURNETT: And this whole situation has now opened up a huge and unprecedented rift in the Republican Party.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a major rift, oftentimes between the Republican leadership and some members in their party, people on the hard right, both going after Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader who helped to usher this package through the Senate and is now put pushing this bill that passed the House.

And, of course, Mike Johnson himself facing that threat that could call for his ouster that vote that could happen on the floor if Marjorie Taylor Greene or any of those other hardliners decides to move forward with it, a real debate within the Republican Party about the U.S. presence in the world, the so-called isolationist wing of the party versus those who support a more robust U.S. present.

Mitch McConnell very much on the side of a more robust U.S. presence. Mike Johnson, increasingly has aligned himself with the Mitch McConnell wing of the party. The question though is where did this go from here?

You have some -- some other Republicans senators beyond Thom Tillis are taking aim at the GOP hardliners for going after Mike Johnson and warning them not to move ahead with such a plan about the implications if they do.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): There are some folks who try and get themselves as many tweets, as many followers as they can. A lot -- a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. SEN. KEVIN CRAMER (R-ND): Turn your angst toward the real adversary,

your real political opponents. And it's certainly not Mike Johnson. I mean, my gosh, if he's not good enough, no one's going to be good enough.


RAJU: But there are still so many questions about whether Mike Johnson can hang on and whether that vote will actually happen.

The House is on a recess week this week. They get back next week. At that point, Marjorie Taylor Greene could call for such a vote or any of those can and will any Democrats come to Mike Johnson's defense, that remains a question all along. And then on the policy, Erin, after months of internal GOP battling, this bill, finally said to pass the United States Senate tonight and pass today.

It moved through a procedural today after 30 Republicans voted to advance it, Erin, that is eight more than voted for this Senate package about two months ago, Mitch McConnell arguing that he believes his party has turned the tide away from an isolationist wing of his party.

BURNETT: All right. Manu Raju. Thank you very much.

And I want to go straight to the former Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado. He just resigned from Congress in part because of the infighting in his party. Congressman, I'm glad to see you again.

So you just heard Thom Tillis say Green is failing. She could cost Republicans the majority. You have been saying this for quite some time, and unafraid been on afraid and so doing. But now, you've got Thom Tillis doing it.

What do you say to that?

FORMER REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, I think it is a conclusion that many are reaching in Cap -- on Capitol Hill, in America, frankly, the idea that a Republican believes that Russia is a country that we should be promoting, that anything having to do with the war criminal Putin is a good idea to promote, is just a bad thing for America.


And the national security implications of what Marjorie Taylor Greene is talking about are scary. They are undermining our ability of fight a very significant war on the mainland of Europe, a war that we haven't seen a tank battle in Europe since World War II, or since the 2014 when Russia invaded previously. But that is significant and to have an American member of Congress supporting Russia, I just -- I didn't think I would see the day that that would happen.

BURNETT: So Trump is now defending Johnson and he had been unclear as to where he was going to come out of this, perhaps waiting to see where the winds blew. Well, now they're blowing for Johnson and so now he's defending him. And obviously that's not a very subtle hit -- hint to perhaps who Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Here's Trump.


TRUMP: We have a majority of one, okay? So, it's not like he can go and do whatever he wants to do. I think he's a very good person. It's a tough situation when you have one, I think he's a very good man. I think he's trying very hard.


BURNETT: Again, that's all new, right? He was -- he was openly cavorting with Marjorie Taylor Greene on her point of view. And now, now again, the winds have shifted.

Do you think Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to go forward with putting the motion forward to remove Johnson given what Trump is saying now or no?

BUCK: I do. I think that she will probably file a motion to vacate. I think that President Trump came out against the very bills that are the basis for Marjorie Taylor Greene's position, and I think that ultimately, Mike Johnson, Speaker Johnson will be in office as speaker until the end of this year, at a minimum. We'll see what happens with the election in November.

But I don't think that Marjorie Taylor Greene is gaining traction in what she's trying to do.

BURNETT: But when you talk about the bills that she is against and the Trump is against to, it's why she was against them. We're talking about this Ukraine bill, among others. It was actually on the show, Congressman, you referred to Marjorie Taylor Greene as "Moscow Marjorie", and it seems to have stuck.

I know you're aware of this, but Russian state television is now showing a "New York Post" cover using your nickname for Marjorie Taylor Greene "Moscow Marjorie". And they are now taking it a step further, listened to what they said.


MARGARITA SIMONYAN, RT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF (through translator): Marjorie Taylor Greene, you've just shown, is a beauty. She is one of a few members of the U.S. Congress who is trying to look like a person in an old-fashioned sense of word. She is a blonde who wears white coats and the fur color. She is demonstratively heterosexual.


BURNETT: She's a beauty, a blonde, demonstratively heterosexual. That's what they're saying, right? And this is as they show Moscow Marjorie on the "New York Post", and the Russian post -- the Russian press at the same time, its going after Speaker Johnson, openly insulting him just a few of the headlines, scatterbrain, brainwashed, the look of a traitor.

Now, Congressman, you really started something here. It's now a part of what's the discussion is over there. I mean, I'm just go showing everyone all the different places that Marjorie Taylor Greene is now appearing in Russian television.

What does this tell you about how important Greene is for point of view, and the Republicans who are pushing that are to Putin and Russian state media?

BUCK: Well, I think that anytime the propaganda arm of a war criminal like Vladimir Putin is talking about how beautiful Marjorie Taylor Greene is, or how smart she is, I think that would be an insult to any other American other than Marjorie Taylor Greene. I don't know how she's going to react.

But I can tell you that Mike Johnson is very happy that the Russians think less of him. Let them talk about how, how bad Mike Johnson is. I campaigned -- I went around my district and talk to people about the fact that Vladimir Putin barred me from going to Russia. Every single time I mentioned that, I got standing ovations, having an enemy like Vladimir Putin is a good thing in America.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Congressman Buck, I appreciate your time and thank you very much.

BUCK: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Stormy Daniels. She's worried about her safety. She may have to testify, of course, in this trial. Her close friends speaking to her tonight will be with us. And tonight, she has exclusive new information on Daniels' reaction to the case.

And do you remember this cover, Ted Cruz's father linked JFK's assassination? Well, tonight, this special report and how "National Enquirer" was helping Trump's campaign.



BURNETT: Tonight, I'm scared. Those are the exact words of Stormy Daniels, revealing that threats against her have ramped up significantly since the hush money trial began? Daniels does not have security. She's worried about coming to New York to testify. That is according to the director of her documentary, who's also a friend and confidant now exclusively telling OUTFRONT that Daniels also feels she has constantly being undermined as a witness in the case.

Daniels is talking about how she is preparing for her moment in court with Trump in her documentary "Stormy".


STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: I'm more prepared with my legal knowledge, but I'm also tired, like my soul is so tired. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Sarah Gibson is a close friend and confidant of Daniels and she is sharing these new details OUTFRONT, and Sarah also is the director of the documentary just saw that clip from "Stormy".


And, Sarah, I know you worked with Daniels for five years while you worked on this documentary. So you really have seen her life, seen how this it has impacted her life. And I know you've remained closed and you have just been in touch with her.

What else is she telling you?

SARAH GIBSON, DIRECTOR OF "STORMY": Well, she's, you know, a single working mother trying to make a living for her family and she's had to really put her whole life on hold.

All of her projects, all of her appearances while she prepares to potentially testify and they haven't told her when she's going to testify, but she's got to be ready to drop everything and traveled to New York. She's had to go several times to meet with the prosecutors, which is willingly done, but she's had to take time out of her schedule and time out of her life, often sending her own money.

She's not a wealthy person and she doesn't have 24 hours security detail and the threats on her Twitter have been increasing and getting scary. And I think she's just ready for all of this to be over so she can move on with her life.

BURNETT: I mean, there is a moment in your film where Stormy expresses remorse and her specific remorse is for not being able to stop Trump and she's -- she tells you that she wishes she had the opportunity in 2011 to get the story out, before Trump even ran for president, before this trial was even, you know, a possibility. And I just wanted to play part of that clip in the conversation she had with you.


DANIELS: To this day, I blamed myself and I have not forgiven myself because I didn't shut him (EXPLETIVE DELETED) down in that moment so maybe make him pause before he tried it with someone else. The hardest part about all of this is I feel like I am partially responsible for every woman that could have come after me.


BURNETT: So, very revealing thing to say.

You know, what, you talk about these threats that are ramping up against or she has to be ready to just put everything down, leave her child, flight to New York and be in a trial and no security. How does she even deal with that right now?

GIBSON: It's really stressful. She's trying not to pay attention too much to the news because I think it really makes her anxious. I think that she is a person who has shown during the trial with Michael Avenatti that she is more than able to hold her own on the stand and she'll be a really good witness if she is called, and she'll show up for it and she'll do a great job.

But I think the lead up to it is really freaking her out, honestly.

BURNETT: Melania Trump, we've been told is called this trial a disgrace. And obviously in the past, she has had some pretty pleasant things to say about Stormy Daniels and he or she is actually a clip, but audio of her talking to her former chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham. Listen to this.


MELANIA TRUMP, FORMER FIRST LADY: If you Google, go Google and read it, and Annie Leibovitz shot the porn hooker, and she will be in one of the issues, September of October.

STEPHANIE WINSTON WOLKOFF: What do you mean? Who? She shot the porn hoker?

M. TRUMP: Stormy.


BURNETT: And that was Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.

Stephanie Grisham, who was the chief of staff for Melania Trump, was on the show last night. She told us Melania is taking it every ounce of this trial looking for proof, looking for always, there's something in an email that was sent, that is proof of this, the actual affair itself, which, of course, is not what this trial is about. Trial is about the cover up, not the affair or the incident itself.

So what is Daniels' reaction been to Melania and her role in all of this?

GIBSON: Well, we didn't really interview Stormy about Melania. We did interview Stormy about what her life was like when she met Trump and she was a single working director in the entertainment industry and was 27 years old and was just looking to make something of her life and her career.

And Trump was 60 when she met him. He was married. He had a four-month son at home and she really feels like she isn't really the one that should be apologizing here.


GIBSON: And you know, she hasn't really said anything much about Melania except for Stormy does know what it's like to be a new mom having just had a baby and how emotional that time is in your life and we've talked a lot about how this must have been very painful for Melania, and how she deserved better and didn't deserve this.

BURNETT: Well, as you point out, it is not Stormy's cross to bear, what happened in that situation.

All right. Well, thank you so much, Sarah. I really appreciate it.

GIBSON: Thanks for having me back.

BURNETT: All right. Good to see you.


BURNETT: And next, the special report on how these covers that you're looking at now were part of the "National Enquirer's" plan to help Trump's campaign.



BURNETT: Breaking, news Trump attacking Michael Cohen in a new interview, quote, he's a liar with no credibility, despite a judge deciding right now whether Trump violated a gag order for recent attacks on Cohen, who, of course, is a crucial witness in the case.

This as the "National Enquirer" boss, David Pecker, testifying today, he was in constant contact with Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): It is a tabloid smear and it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In March of 2016, things had gotten really ugly between the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, and the one who was seen as a possible threat, Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Trump taking jabs at Cruz's cruises wife on Twitter.

CRUZ: Donald, you're a sniveling coward and leave Heidi the hell alone.

CARROLL: The "National Enquirer" ran a headline alleging Cruz had five extramarital affairs.

CRUZ: This "National Enquirer" story is garbage. It is complete and utter lies.

CARROLL: Trump claimed he had nothing to do with it. The next month, the "Enquirer" goes after Cruz again, alleging his father was connected to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

TRUMP: What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It's horrible.

CRUZ: Trump alleges that my dad was involved in assassinating JFK. Now, let's be clear, this is nuts. CARROLL: Trump doubled down on the story and denied involvement with the tabloid.

TRUMP: All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the "National Enquirer", there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald, I had nothing to do with it.

CARROLL: But it was not the only time the "Enquirer" set its sights on one of Trump's opponents, also targeting Hillary Clinton, claiming she had strokes, cancer, saying she had six months to live, and even going after his former fixer, Michael Cohen after the hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels became public and he fell from Trumps favor.

MARK LANDSMAN, DIRECTOR, "SCANDALOUS": It's propaganda, 100 percent.

CARROLL: Mark Landsman directed the documentary "Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer" for CNN Films.

LANDSMAN: I think the Enquirer did a very good job of blurring the lines of fact and fiction. I think they were very instrumental in this dissolution of fact-based journalism in American culture and American media.

CARROLL: Blurring the lines with salacious headlines and stories. But it's not been all wrong.

In 2007, the "Enquirer" did break the true story about John Edwards, the then Democratic presidential hopeful of having an affair and fathering a child with a former campaign staffer, a point Trump made when he defended the paper's credibility years later.

TRUMP: This was a magazine that frankly, in many respects should be very respected. They got O.J., they got Edwards.


CARROLL: And it should be noted that Senator Marco Rubio was another one of those who was seen as a Trump rival. He was another one of those targeted by the Enquirer back in 2016. He was actually asked about that today. He basically blew it off saying that isn't that the same publication that said Elvis was alive.


CARROLL: Tells you what some of them stand in this day and age.

BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

And thanks so much to all of you.

Anderson starts now.