Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Reverses Stance on Torture; Trump: Romney is a Spoiled Brat; Romney: Can't Imagine Supporting Donald Trump; Carson Ends Presidential Campaign; Sanders Seeks to Rebound: We'll Win with Big Turnout; Police: Knife Reportedly Found at O.J. Simpson's Former Home. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 4, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, a Trump 180. The GOP frontrunner changing his mind on torture after defending his position less than 24 hours ago. Donald Trump is live this hour.

And Trump, the businessman. How he wheels and deals behind closed doors. OUTFRONT tonight, an insider's exclusive story. And more than 20 years after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of two murders, has a crucial piece of evidence been found buried at his home? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump's about face. The GOP frontrunner now changing his cores on a controversial position on torture. Donald Trump under attack for promising to target terrorists' families and for saying, he would waterboard terror suspects. He has changed his stance dramatically in less than 24 hours. So, last night the issue came up. When he was challenged, he was challenged on his plan to order soldiers to kill innocent people of families of terrorists and torture suspects. And he was put on the spot. They said it's a violation of international law. Trump though last night was defiant.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These animals over in the Middle East that chop off heads sitting around talking and seeing that we're having a hard problem with waterboarding. We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.


BURNETT: But today, the Trump campaign released a statement which said, in part, quote, "I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president, I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities." Rather -- Donald Trump. The debate had many moments in it. That was probably a high point. I mean, it was a pretty low, low moment for Trump and the other candidates filled with schoolyard taunts and not so subtle references to genitalia.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT tonight in New Orleans at a rally where Trump is about to speak to a crowd of supporters any moment now. Sara, the reversal on torture is very significant. Donald Trump has doubled down, tripled down, on this issue. What's behind the about face?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. He has made it a regular talking point to talk about torture to say he would bring back waterboarding and maybe things that are even worse than that. Like you say, I'm not just a terrorist (INAUDIBLE). I think the reality is backlash has been stirring among national security experts, among foreign policy experts. (INAUDIBLE) And I that's why you're seeing him walk that back today. When he takes that stance saying he agrees with violating international law, Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner looks like he doesn't understand the Geneva Convention. He also alienates the -- (INAUDIBLE) -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you, Sara. And, you know, we could barely hear Sara there with the music and the cheering. And maybe you were distracted by that little Trump baby. All day long the battle between Trump and his opponents has been boiling over torture and other things.

Athena Jones is OUTFRONT.


TRUMP: These politicians come up here like lightweight Marco Rubio, like lying Ted Cruz.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the heels of a raucous, even raunchy debate, the insults kept flying on the campaign trail today. Donald Trump not letting up in his criticism of his rivals and not letting go of Marco Rubio's comment about the size of his hands.

TRUMP: So, when little Marco Rubio spews his crap about the size of my hands which are big, those hands can hit a golf ball 285 yards.

JONES: Ted Cruz questioning the billionaire's businessman readiness to be president and his shifting views.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have you noticed how many times he said the word flexible? Let me tell you, when a politician says he's going to be flexible, that means he's getting ready to stick it to you.

JONES: A new shift on display today, Trump walking back this line from last night.

TRUMP: We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.

JONES: Reversing his stance on torture and ditching his calls to target the families of terrorists in violation of international law. Saying in a statement he understands, "that the United States is bound by laws and treaties. And I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws." Thursday night's debate was laced with locker room innuendo.

TRUMP: He referred to my hands as being small. Something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee you. JONES: Cruz and Rubio unloading a series of attacks on Trump's

temperament, his business dealings, and his immigration proposals, a concerted effort to stop the seemingly unstoppable GOP frontrunner.

[19:05:06] CRUZ: I think the American people understand that yelling and cursing at people doesn't make you a tough guy.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He has spent a career of convincing Americans that he's something that he's not in exchange for their money.

JONES: But later, all three contenders standing by their pledge to back a man they spent the entire night arguing isn't fit to live the country. Trump today continuing to define normal political rules deciding to skip a major conservative gathering outside of Washington this weekend, he'll campaign in Kansas instead. Rubio took the opportunity to tweet Trump.

RUBIO: He really doesn't belong at a conservative gathering. And Donald Trump is not a conservative.

JONES: Meanwhile Cruz is throwing cold water on the prospect of blocking Trump at a contested convention.

CRUZ: If the Washington dealmakers try to steal the nomination from the people, I think it would be a disaster.


JONES: And we know that Trump has bought TV ad time in some of the big states coming up this month. Michigan which votes on Tuesday and Florida where voters head to the polls the following Tuesday, these are his first ad buys in those states. And according to Kantar Media CMAC Trump has only spent a grand total of just over $12 million on TV ads this entire campaign season. That is what a fraction of his rivals and his Super PACs backing them have spent -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Athena, thank you very much from Washington tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, former republican presidential candidate and the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee. Governor, thank you so much for being with you.

You know, you and I have talked before. We talked in Iowa. You told me Donald Trump is a straightforward guy about who he is. And obviously today, we're now hearing him change his position on torture. He's adamantly said he supports using it against terrorists even that he supports killing their families. But today he put out that press release saying he would not order the U.S. military to break international laws after he received withering criticism over those possible policies. Do you think that it's a good thing that he's changing his position?

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think he's coming to grips with reality of what the limitations of power are. But I would tell you what he could announce, if he wants to torture captured terrorists, make them watch last night's debate. Because that exceeds waterboarding. Why anybody would want to have to go through that, I think they would cough up any kind of information just to beg, please turn this off. It was not the Republicans' best night. It was a great night for Hillary Clinton. But to me, I have a new definition of torture. It's called watching that Republican debate last night. Painful. Painful.

BURNETT: I think there are a lot of Americans who would agree with you. People who would say they were ashamed to be American. Many Republicans were even saying that. Let me just remind you -- sorry, let me torture you Governor with a quick snippet of what it was like last night.


TRUMP: He referred to my hands if they're small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee you.

CRUZ: Breathe, breathe, breathe, breathe.

TRUMP: Lying Ted.

CRUZ: You can do it. You can breathe. I know it's hard. I know it's hard but just --

RUBIO: When they're done with the yoga, can I answer a question?

CRUZ: You cannot.

TRUMP: Don't worry about it, little Marco, I will.


BURNETT: The Republican pollster Frank Luntz was with a Focus Group, Governor. There were nine people in the group and they each had to come up with a word at the end to describe the debate. The nine words were sophomoric, embarrassment, disappointing, shameful, despicable, angering, law on substance, we count by his one word, disgusting, schoolyard, brawl. Who do you blame for that?

HUCKABEE: You know, I don't know how to blame other than the candidates because they're in control of what they say and how they say it. Let's give some kudos to John Kasich who really did stick to the issues and he didn't take the bait when it was tossed to him and it certainly was on several occasions for him to attack one of his rivals but he didn't. I was the first time since I've dropped out of the race that I was actually glad I wasn't on the debate stage. It was just not the way it's supposed to be when you run for president of the United States. It shouldn't be when Republican candidates are debating for the presidency, that you have to ask your children to leave the room in the old days, you said, kids, come in here. I want you to see our government, our system, our democracy in progress. Last night it was kids, you're going to have to leave the room. The Republicans are about to have a debate.


HUCKABEE: And I do think Republicans have got to clean it up and step it up.

BURNETT: I mean, look, it was crass. Let's just be honest. The comments in particular about hands when they were made a few days ago and last night if it could possibly have gotten worst, it did. But I have to ask you, Governor. Because Donald Trump is at the center of every one of these exchanges, I know you have spoken positively of him. But do you blame him for the vulgarity? He is the common denominator it seems like.

[19:10:01] HUCKABEE: No, I don't blame him exclusively. I mean, Marco Rubio has been taunting him for days over these kind of remarks. Ted Cruz was giving him breathing lessons last night. So, it's a pile on kind of experience. Trump is who he is. We don't expect him to come in with folded hands and a new testament in his front pocket. We just don't. He is who he is. I think people accept that. I'm not saying it's always ideal because there are times when he steps across a line that I wouldn't have been able to do. I would not have been able to get a Popsicle at recess if I talked like that. I do think that there comes a point in this process when we need to be talking about what matters, what matters to the people who frankly have elevated Trump to the front position.

And it's those folks out there who feel like that the system is rigged against them, who really believe that the people in power might as well be Louis XIV or Marie Antoinette because they are just doing the biddings of the donor class. And people are sick of the Republican establishment, the elites. And Mitt Romney's speech yesterday only went further to solidify that level of anger. I thought it was a bizarre type of speech that he made. And all it did was make Donald Trump supporters even more committed to him. I don't think it moved anybody away from Trump and it probably didn't make the establishment people any more against Trump than they already were.

BURNETT: And Governor, you know, your daughter joined the Trump campaign. You know --


BURNETT: -- you've been more positive about Donald Trump in other conversations certainly that I've had with you. Are you going to back him in this primary? Are you going to not endorse?

HUCKABEE: I don't plan to endorse, Erin. Look, there are a lot of things about Donald Trump that I really admire. I admire the fact that he's self-funded, that he isn't getting all his money like everybody else on that stage, which is from the same corporate global interests that have created the mess we're in. But what we're seeing is we're really in the midst of a takeover of our government. So far we're getting close to maybe changing that, but it is a bloodless revolution, but it is a revolution of sorts where people are ready to overthrow a government that has simply not served them, but has served themselves. It's hopefully going to be delivered by balance, not by bullets. But I do understand what's out there in the mood of people. And I

think if anybody didn't see that video of the carrier plant where 1400 people were told they just lost their jobs that were going to Mexico, that's the America that people are so frustrated with that they feel like nobody is paying attention to how hard they're working and how far behind they're getting even with their hard work.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

HUCKABEE: Thank you, Erin. Good to be with you.

BURNETT: All right. Governor Huckabee.

And OUTFRONT next, what's it like sitting across the bargaining table from Donald Trump. What is his character like? My guest tonight a billionaire who's been doing business with Donald Trump for nearly 30 years. An interview you'll see only OUTFRONT.

Plus, more than 20 years after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, has the LAPD found a murder weapon?

And as reality sinking in for Mitt Romney one day after calling Donald Trump a phony and a fraud.


FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), 2012 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: At this stage, we say all right, he could easily become the nominee. Probably the most likely to be the Republican nominee at this point.



[19:16:46] BURNETT: Tonight, the war of words escalating between Donald Trump and Mitt Romney. Trump speaking now in Louisiana. All day he's been relentless unleashing his toughest attacks yet on the former Republican nominee.


TRUMP: He's a nasty guy. You know, he's a nasty guy. He's like a spoiled brat. He thinks he's hot stuff. And I hate people that think they're hot stuff and they're nothing. He's making a fool out of himself. And I watched him yesterday and it was sad.


BURNETT: Now Romney is not letting up as he tries to take Trump down either, telling our chief political analyst Gloria Borger why he is choosing to speak out now.


ROMNEY: I wanted to remain as a neutral umpire, if you will, calling balls and strikes and some fouls and I've done that along the way, but over the last several weeks some of the things Donald Trump has said and done both on policy as well as temperamental things have suggested to me, I just couldn't wait any longer.


ROMNEY: Well, you know, I don't know what impact these things have politically. But I do know that when my grandkids say, what did you do to stop Donald Trump, I want to be able to say something. I wasn't just sit on the sidelines until the very end.

BORGER: At the debate, the other candidates said that they would support Trump if he became the nominee. Is there any circumstance under which you would?

ROMNEY: Well, I can't imagine supporting Donald Trump for president or Hillary Clinton for president. Either one. I'll hopefully be able to find a conservative on the ballot who I can vote for.

BORGER: Did party leaders looking back, and I guess yourself included, misread their own voters in the Republican base by betting on the fact that perhaps Donald Trump would simply implode of his own free will?

ROMNEY: I don't know about other people. I certainly paid attention to Donald Trump. I didn't expect him to do so well.

BORGER: Right.

ROMNEY: But he's tapped into an anger, which is very much understood. What he's done with that anger however is not to build it into resolve and high purpose, but instead to take it down a very dark alley. And that I think is unfortunate. Donald Trump has and at this stage we say, all right, he could easily become the nominee. Probably most likely to be the Republican nominee at this point, but I think there's a better choice out there.

BORGER: Who is it?

ROMNEY: Well, Marco Rubio is the right person in Florida.

BORGER: Here we go.

ROMNEY: John Kasich is the right person in Ohio. And Ted Cruz is right anywhere he is leading right now or where he is closest to Donald Trump.

BORGER: When are you going to choose one?

ROMNEY: Well, it depends in part on how the process continues. I expect that after March 15th, it may be clearer who is going to be the -- if you will the person who opposes Donald Trump most effectively. And so, I would anticipate endorsing at that time, but let's say all three are doing about the same.

BORGER: Right. Then what? ROMNEY: Well, then I would probably again, encourage whoever is doing

best in a particular state to get the support there and do that state by state. And that would lead to an open convention where you'd see the delegates selected make the final decision.

BORGER: So, this contested convention, is this a scenario that you're actively looking at?

ROMNEY: Oh, I think it's a realistic scenario. A lot of people have thought that for some time.

BORGER: Likely? Likely?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it's more likely than not that we will have a nominee before the convention that's Donald Trump. I think he has a much stronger shot of getting the 1237 delegates than they're not. But, you know, the debate last night was not good for Donald Trump. He showed that he cracks under pressure. And I think that may begin to open the door for some people who are looking for a different path.

BORGER: Are you referring to a contested convention which has a first ballot than people are unbound after that, second ballot?

ROMNEY: Well, I'm going to begin by campaigning for people who I believe in and encouraging people to vote for folks who I think would be a better nominee than Donald Trump, but at a convention, sure. I would be one of the people encouraging delegates to get behind someone who I thought could win in November.

BORGER: If there is a contested convention, would you allow your name to be put into nomination?

ROMNEY: That's not going to happen. What is going to happen in the contested convention is the people who are running for president and who have delegates are going to be able to battle with one another.

BORGER: But would you allow it?

ROMNEY: I'm not going to even go there.

[19:21:04] BORGER: I have to say that you were someone who sought his endorsement in 2012. I don't have to remind you about that. And then you tweeted that you sort of regretted that and that you said that four years ago, quote, "The things he says now about the KKK, Muslims, Mexicans, disabled, I would not have accepted his endorsement." But when he endorsed you, he was kind of the Godfather of the Obama birther movement. I mean, wasn't that bad enough?

ROMNEY: Well, no, I think that's very different than calling Mexicans rapists than saying that Muslims are not going to be allowed into the country as immigrants, that mocking a disabled reporter, that going after women and saying she asks tough questions she was in her menstrual cycle. I mean, this is highly offensive.

BORGER: Well, the birther thing was offensive. ROMNEY: You know, he had a believe that President Obama was not born

in this country, I said that I disagreed with him. There are political views about one another where we're going to disagree, but what he has said during this campaign, that George W. Bush is a liar, that John McCain isn't a hero, I mean, he has said some things that are completely totally outrageous.

BORGER: Well, I think Obama would think it was offensive. That, you know, that Trump was saying he wasn't born here.

ROMNEY: You know, the funny thing about Donald Trump's hold birther thing. And I said this to him, it wouldn't have made no difference. Barack Obama's mother was American. It was a whole ridiculous thing that Donald Trump was pursuing. And I think it is characteristic of what you see now.

BORGER: Do you regret that you didn't run?

ROMNEY: No. As I looked at that stage last night and I spoke with my wife, she's in other side of the country and we spoke by phone. It's like, she said, aren't you glad you're not up there with the kinds of things that are being said. It's so degrading, so demeaning. Mr. Trump has taken this campaign in a very deep gutter. And I hope somehow we're able to come out of that gutter.


BURNETT: You know, those tough words continuing, Gloria. I mean, you know, talking about the deep gutter and blaming it on Donald Trump, you know, Romney tells you he's not going to run for president, but did it sound to you when you asked him directly about the convention that he would consider it if he were drafted at a contested convention?

BORGER: He's practiced enough as a politician, Erin, to not go there no matter how many ways I tried to ask that question. And I specifically said, would you allow your name to be place in nomination? And he said, oh, that's not going to happen. But would you allow it? I have no interest in going there. So, I think the door is not shut completely because anything can happen in this race as we know. I think what Romney is really interested in is seeing one of these three fellows rise to the top or have some kind of a combination ticket. You know, if this were a perfect world for Mitt Romney and he could pick anyone he wanted, I think it would be House Speaker Paul Ryan whom we put on the ticket with him when he ran in 2012.

He loves that guy and he thinks he is the future of the party. But I think right now he understands how disenfranchised Republican grassroots would feel if suddenly the Republican establishment said, oh, never mind all your millions of votes or your turnout enthusiasm. We're just going to put Mitt Romney in there or somebody else. I think he understands that that would be sort of a nonstarter.

BURNETT: Yes. Yes. And certainly cause outrage. You heard Governor Huckabee say, they want to do it with ballots, not bullets. BORGER: Sure. Exactly.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Gloria Borger.


BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Clinton and Sanders to face off at a crucial CNN debate. Will Sanders take off the gloves? And my exclusive interview with the man who has watched Donald Trump up close and personal for years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's drawing fences that he knows will be broken.


[19:28:55] BURNETT: Breaking news. Ben Carson ending his campaign for president today officially announcing it at CPAC, an influential conservative meeting in Washington. The talk there today is also the surprise withdrawal of Donald Trump from CPAC, he cancelled his scheduled Saturday morning appearance.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT from the latest. From the scene there. And let me start Manu first of the Ben Carson news coming out today at CPAC saying, he is ending his campaign. Does he plan to endorse anyone still running?

MANU RAJU, CNN NATIONAL SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: You know, he was very coy about that. We spent a lot of time pushing him at a press conference afterwards. Is there anyone here you would get behind that? And he was really, really kept his mouth shut. Very mum about that. Said he was looking at various factors, including whether or not anyone is laid out detailed policy ideas. I asked him if that mean that you won't get behind Donald Trump. He said absolutely not. That's not what I mean at all. But what's interesting also Erin is that he was sharply critical of Mitt Romney in a way that Romney is gone after Donald Trump saying that will only serve to divide the party and will hurt the party come November. Ben Carson also ruling out getting behind any third-party candidate.

[19:30:02] So, he wants to have a say in this presidential race. We'll see if he decides to get behind someone before that critical March 15th day in the primary calendar.

BURNETT: Which is going to be crucial, and so much speculation with every vote counting so much right now.

Manu, what was the reaction at CPAC to Donald Trump backing out? He obviously has spoken at CPAC many times before -- him choosing to suddenly not come to his scheduled slot tomorrow is obviously very significant.

RAJU: It is. It is a surprise. Several thousand convention goers here were very disappointed. We've talked to a bunch of them. There were a series of folks who wanted to hear what the presidential frontrunner actually had to say.

But I would say it's probably no surprise in some ways because this is a very pro-Ted Cruz crowd. When Ted Cruz took came out, he took some pointed jabs at Donald Trump, making fun of him for not wanting to talk to conservatives or maybe he was worried that Megyn Kelly, the FOX News host, would show up.

And, actually, when one small section of pro-Trump supporter started chanting "Trump, Trump, Trump", Ted Cruz supporters boo them down. So, clearly, maybe Donald Trump decided it wasn't a good idea to come before a rather hostile audience.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

RAJU: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And from CPAC to Bernie Sanders, he's about to take the stage, as you can see, at a rally there in Michigan, speaking to a crowd in Allendale, as we head into a crucial weekend for the Democratic campaign, because there are a bunch of stage votes voting tomorrow, Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska. Maine voting on Sunday in Bernie Sanders backyard. That is a lot of states.

Jeff Zeleny is with the Sanders tonight.

And, Jeff, when you look at those states. A lot of those states are caucuses. Could that be a big advantage? Could Sanders possibly win well in those caucus states?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Senator Sanders believes he can. He is eyeing Nebraska and Kansas and Maine on Sunday, like you said.

They think Louisiana might be out of reach. By the end of this weekend, he certainly could have three more states. Now, Senator Sanders is taking the stage behind me here just right now. There are nearly 5,000 people here in Michigan. This is his second stop of the day here.

He is really looking forward to Michigan next Tuesday, Erin, as a place where he can revive his candidacy. You can hear the crowd roaring for him. And this is what you're seeing in college towns across those states. He believes that he has the energy and momentum going into this weekend.

But, Erin, the reality here is, the delegate math is running against him. He needs to win here in Michigan. That's why that debate on Sunday in Flint, Michigan, so important. He's going to continue pressing his economic message.

Erin, one thing he won't do is talk about the e-mail controversy. He says voters simply don't care about that -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And you can hear the roar of the crow there. Five thousand people for Bernie Sanders in Michigan tonight.

A major contest coming up for both parties. John King is OUTFRONT.

And, John, let's start with the Democrats.

People may say, oh, you know, everyone votes on Tuesday. Not so. This is a huge weekend. Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, all voting tomorrow. Maine on Sunday.

Could there be a Sanders surprise this weekend?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every Tuesday, every Saturday in March, Erin. No days off.

Could there be a Sanders surprise? Let's play some of it out. Here's the delegate math.

Let's say Bernie Sanders wins in Kansas and Hillary Clinton comes in second. You roughly split the delegates.

Nebraska is in play. We could say Bernie Sanders wins that. You talked about Maine. Let's say Bernie Sanders wins that.

Even if Sanders runs the board, what the Sanders campaign would say after these contests, I gave him three there is, we have momentum, right? He would still be behind Hillary Clinton in the delegate count.

But getting a win or two this weekend or three, if he can get them, is very important from a motivation standpoint, for the morality of the campaign, to say we're going forward. But the math of the campaign kicks in when we move to next week, because, look, Hillary Clinton has swept across the south. She has proved African-American voters in the South, African-American Latinos in Texas.

Her message to Democrats is I'm winning the diverse base of the party. Bernie Sanders is winning in predominantly white states. So, yes, there's a chance for Bernie Sanders to prove he's still in the mix, he's still winning states this weekend. But the big one for Bernie Sanders, we have the debate in Flint, Michigan this weekend. Michigan votes next Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders needs to do this. He needs to prove in the industrial Midwest in a big state where his economic message should be able to sell and where you have a diverse electorate, that he can win. This is the big test. Yes, this weekend could be a boost to him.

But the big test is here, because if we get to next week, Tuesday night and Michigan fills in for Hillary Clinton, not only is she pulling away in the delegate count. But she's proving I won in the south and now, I'm winning the industrial Midwest. Bernie Sanders, what's your case?

BURNETT: All right. And now, on the Republican side, also a big weekend, right? You've got Kansas, you've got Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine for the GOP as well in this race where Donald Trump is trying to become the presumptive nominee. The others are trying to stop him.

What are you looking for?

KING: Well, here's this, I filled in the map as if Donald Trump runs the weekend, right?

[19:35:02] If Donald Trump runs the weekend, look what he starts to do. He starts pulling away a little bit in the delegate chase. He can make the case again, OK, Ted Cruz you've got a couple, OK, Marco you have one, but look at what I'm doing here.

Will there be a surprise? If Ted Cruz is going to prove he's a viable contender, why can't he win in Louisiana? It's a state that's built for him.

So, for the sake of argument, I'll give that to Ted Cruz. That would be a blow to Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump, otherwise, has swept across the south.

Is there a place Marco Rubio can win? He changed his schedule. He's going back mostly to Florida for March 8th, but he did spend some time in Kansas. So, let's say for sake of example, Marco Rubio can take Kansas away.

If you could do something like that, take one or two away from Donald Trump this weekend, again, Erin, you would further the perception that maybe Trump is weakening. But the big contest again, Michigan next week, then Ohio and Florida on March 8th.

But this weekend, If Trump is starting to falter, maybe we'll get a couple of crumbs this weekend.

BURNETT: Hmm. All right. Well, it's going to be a weekend to watch. Thank you, John King.

And don't miss the next Democratic presidential debate. It is right here on CNN. It is, of course, in Michigan ahead of that crucial vote on Saturday. Sunday at 8:00 and 11:00 Eastern on Sunday night, we will be live with the post-debate analysis.

And OUTFRONT next, more than 20 years after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of two murders, has a crucial piece of evidence been found buried at his home?

And secrets to Donald Trump's business, from a man who's known him for decades.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For that moment, the world stops. That individual looks at him and he does something that most powerful men don't do.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:40:31] BURNETT: Donald Trump speaking to supporters tonight in Louisiana, as usual, touting his business record. But what is Trump really like at the negotiating table when the cameras are off and you actually see the real person?

Tom Barrack sold New York's landmark plaza hotel to Donald Trump 30 years ago. And since then, the two have invested together and negotiated against and for each other. Barrack buys into the idea that Donald Trump will make America great.

I sat down with Barrack and asked him why.


TOM BARRACK, INVESTOR WHO SUPPORTS TRUMP: Why Trump is very simple and it's not based on a political agenda. It's based on the quality of a great executive that I have experienced as an adversary, as an investor with him, as a friend, and in finding some factors that you don't see in his bravado every day, which is compassion, humility, and his unbelievable ability to talk simply and clearly to the normal person and then adapt the situation to various points of view. I think he's one of the few individuals in our world that would sacrifice where he is to do what he wants to do.

BURNETT: You mention a word to describe Donald Trump that I think a lot of people watching either think you're crazy or want to know what they're missing and that word was humility. Humility and Donald Trump, explain how those things go together.

BARRACK: Of course, he's charismatic, he's bold, he's charming, he's big, he's confident. He's got all those things that in the first 30 seconds, you size up a man. You say great. This is a leader.

But over the ensuing years what I found was this unbelievable softness, this kindness, this humility to the doorman at Madison Square Garden, to the janitor who is cleaning one of his office buildings, to the Arab Muslim in one of his projects in Dubai, to the Panamanian who's working in his hotel in Panama City, where when for that moment, the world stops, that individual looks at him and he does something that most powerful men don't do, he listens, he's compassionate and he connects. That's because, internally, I really do believe he is a very humble man.

BURNETT: And you mention an Arab Muslim. Of course, obviously one of the most inflammatory things Donald Trump has said is that he would temporarily ban Muslims from coming to the United States. You do a lot of business in the Middle East. You do a lot of business in Saudi Arabia. You've done a lot of business with Saudi prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal, who when Donald Trump said that took to Twitter and said, "RealDonalTrump, you are a disgrace, not only to the GOP but to all America. Withdraw from the U.S. presidential race as you will never win."

Tom, in addition to doing business in the Middle East, you are a Lebanese American. Do you have a problem with what Donald Trump has said about Muslims? How do you get your arms around that? BARRACK: So, let me give you both sides.

First of all, Prince Al-Waleed is probably the greatest example of young Saudi generational leadership in the world. He's brilliant. He's astute. He's concise.

He's a global investor and strangely enough, he has a lot of the same attributes in his part of the world that Donald has in ours. He's doing the right thing for what he needs to do in marking ground and Donald is doing the right thing in what he needs. He's drawing fences that he knows will be broken.

So, when Donald is including 1.8 billion Muslims in one package, I assure you that Donald is not really thinking that that will be the case. I think what he's doing is sending a message in saying, look, Muslim community, you need to take responsibility and accountability for yourselves in all the things that happened or we're going to have a very serious conversation.

I think they're both right. And quite honestly, although they've done business before, my solution to the Middle East crisis would be put both of those individuals in a room for 15 minutes and you'll accomplish more than you would in the U.N. for 15 years.


[19:45:00] BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, more than 20 years after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder the LAPD reveals they may have new evidence found buried on Simpson's estate.


BURNETT: It's considered the trial of the century to some and more than two decades later, there is yet another stunning twist in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Police announcing a knife was found at the former estate of O.J. Simpson. Even more incredible, a police officer may have hold onto it for close to 20 years.

Paul Vercammen is OUTFRONT.



PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A shocking discovery in the murder case involving O.J. Simpson. A knife reportedly found more than a decade ago on the football's star's force estate, just surfacing after being obtained by police in the last month from a retired LAPD officer.

NEIMAN: He claimed that an individual who claimed to be a construction worker provided him with this knife, claiming it was found on the property. VERCAMMEN: The retired officer says the construction worker

supposedly worked on the property. This could have been around the time of his demolition in 1998, three years after Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

REPORTER: Please describe the knife, the condition it was in, how long the knife is if you found anything on it, possibly dried blood?

NEIMAN: Yes, I don't have that information and the investigators have asked that we not be very descriptive about the knife.

VERCAMMEN: Detectives will say forensic testing is under way for blood, DNA, even fingerprints, but police are holding back details as they vet whether or not this is all a hoax.

[19:50:09] Investigators want to know why the officer who says he was given a knife while working security on a movie set waited so long to turn in the knife.

NEIMAN: I would think that an LAPD officer, if this story is accurate as we're being told would know that any time you are -- you come into contact with evidence, that you should and shall submit that to investigators.

VERCAMMEN: The surprising revelation comes as there's a renewed fascination with all things O.J. brought on by the epic series "The People Versus O.J. Simpson."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got away with beating her. He is not going to get away with killing her.

VERCAMMEN: Even President Obama commented on the news today.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I thought it may be useful to take a small break from the spectacle of the political season and now I gather O.J. to focus on something that really matters to the American people.

VERCAMMEN: For the Goldman family, the development isn't something they want to address, saying, "It only creates more unnecessary hype and encourages the media circus."

O.J. Simpson remains in a Nevada prison after being convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas. Most legal experts say Simpson can never be retried for the two murders.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, FORMER O.J. SIMPSON ATTORNEY: There's the two verdicts in every case. There's the verdict of the trial which can't be reversed because of double jeopardy and then there's the verdict of history. And the verdict of history has no statute of limitations, no double jeopardy clause.


VERCAMMEN: And back here live at LAPD headquarters, another perspective from the Goldman's collection attorney. He says in his experience, he's seen instances where someone who values something as a collectible tries to drive up the price by creating a media frenzy. And then, off camera, the LAPD captain telling me interesting timing.

Back to you now, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paul Vercammen.

OUTFRONT now, Harvey Levin, the founder and executive producer of TMZ, which who broke the story, of course. They broke a lot on this trial, back at the first time.

And CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, who represented the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson in the civil case against O.J. Simpson.

So, Harvey, you know, let me start with you and what you're reporting here. The question everyone wants to know, you've reported there's evidence that blood may be on the knife. Could it finally be -- I mean, could this possibly be the missing murder weapon?

HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, TMZ: Well, it could, and that's what the LAPD wants to determine. And that's why right now it's in kind of -- what they call organic testing where they are looking at hair, they're looking at fingerprints or possible hair and fingerprints. It's going to go to the serology unit next week for DNA testing. We just don't know.

What we do know is that knife was buried. I can -- we literally just two minutes ago put up a story and I can give you some new interesting details. We now have talked to people connected with the cop who actually got this knife. And they -- here's the story he tells. This is the story he tells.

He retired in 1998. This knife was brought to him by this construction worker while he was doing security for a movie shoot in 2002. So it was after the demolition but the guy was doing some demolition work on the new house, and that's when the construction worker walked over to him in 2002.

Now, the -- what I am told is, this cop's position is that as soon as he got it, he called the West L.A. division of LAPD and said, I have a dirty, filthy, rusty knife that was found on the perimeter of O.J. Simpson's property and I want you to know it. He says he was put on hold.

A supervisor came on the line and the supervisor said: It is a closed case. O.J. Simpson was acquitted.


LEVIN: He can't be tried again because of double jeopardy and we have no interest in it.

And on that basis, he says he put it in his toolbox where it sat for almost 15 years.

So, that's his position that he was actually given the OK by West L.A. LAPD to do what he did.

BURNETT: Which is a very significant detail because people have been saying, oh, this guy got the knife and he's been sitting around with it, never turned it in. Harvey reporting that the guy says -- the police officer said he did and they said, "Go away. We can't retry the guy. Keep it to yourself." They're now doing DNA testing.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They are. And I think in the end it's highly unlikely that you'll come up with evidence linking him to the murder. As much as I would like to see that happen, and the reason I say that is because even if Simpson's blood were on the knife and Nicole's, his wife's blood on the knife, that could be explained away. She used to visit the Rockingham estate to pick up the kids. Remember, they had kids together.

You'd really need Ron Goldman's DNA on the knife. Now there you'd have a piece of evidence that would link him to the murder. I have my doubts that a knife that's been missing and in the ground for so long will have identifiable DNA on it.

BURNETT: Harvey, what's your understanding? I mean, they are doing all the testing they possibly can right now, right?

[19:55:01] LEVIN: They have not started the DNA testing yet. It's still in organic and they'll go to serology next week.

It's going to be difficult to turn up DNA. If the knife was folded when it was buried, they'll have a better chance. But, you know, I'm not that interested in whether O.J. Simpson's blood is on it or Ron's blood or Nicole's blood.

Look, I believe O.J. Simpson committed the murders. I also firmly believe he got help after the fact in getting rid of the clothing, the shoes and the knife. And so, if somebody helped him get that -- bury the knife or somebody did bury the knife, what if that person's DNA turns up on the knife?

Then you know who the accessory after the fact was. And everybody has kind of been wondering. It's the O.J. Simpson version of Deep Throat. You just want to know who it is. Maybe best case scenario it would unlock that.

CALLAN: You know, I agree with Harvey on that. There's a tight timeline on the evening of the murder. Remember, Simpson gets on a plane that night and flies to Chicago. He had very limited time to bury the knife. So there probably was an accomplice.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you both very much. A fascinating story that's riveted everybody, including President Obama today.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Thanks so much for joining us. Anderson starts now.