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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump Signs Order For Extreme Vetting Of Refugees; Trump Target Radical Refugees: We Don't Want Them Here; Trump: Too Early To Talk About Removing Russia Sanctions; Sen. Schumer: Trump Order Is One Of The Most Backward And Nasty; Trump: The Office Is So Powerful That You Need God Even More; Trump Cities Conspiracy Theorist To Defend Voter Fraud Claim; ; Aired 7:00-7:30p ET
Aired January 27, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
January 27, 2017
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, ERIN BURNETT , CNN HOST: OutFront next, the breaking news, President Trump signing a new executive order tonight. He says he's keeping out terrorists but is it a Muslim ban? Plus, our special series live from the border tonight. Stunning footage inside the secret tunnels where people and drugs are smuggled into the U.S. Will Trump's wall stop it? And who is Gregg Phillips and why is the president relying on him? Let's go OutFront. Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news, extreme vetting. President Donald Trump moments ago signing an executive order that would temporarily ban refugees from seven Muslim majority countries. This is according to drafts CNN has obtained.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Let's be clear, this order appears to be directed at Muslims. Trump himself said he would prioritize Christian refugees gaining entry in an interview today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BRODY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: As it relates to persecuted Christians, do you -- do you see them as kind of a priority here?
BRODY: You do.
TRUMP: Yes. They've been horribly treated. Do you know, if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, very, very -- at least very tough to get into the United States. If you were a Muslim you could come in. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Moments ago the senate majority leader Chuck Schumer reacting angrily in this statement. I quote him, "Tears are running down the cheeks of the statue of liberty tonight. This is one of the backward and nasty executive orders the president has issued." Also today thousands of anti-abortion protesters gathered in Washington for the annual march for life. Vice President Mike Pence told the crowd the president would announce his supreme court nominee very soon and Trump today hinted strongly at the person he's choosing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The person that I pick will be a big, big -- I think people are going to love it. I think evangelicals, Christians will love my pick. And we'll be represented very, very fairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny begins our coverage tonight OutFront at the White House. Jeff, Trump signing a flurry of executive orders this week, what, up to 14, but these on immigration, do they really have teeth?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDNT: Erin, indeed they do. Sort of play out exactly what he talked what he talked about in the campaign, extreme vetting. They really should come as no surprise, but they are going at the heart of refugees coming here to the country, particularly Syrian refugees. Now, the White House just moments ago actually released some of these orders. We are looking through them right now. But they do specifically focus Muslim majority countries. Now, this is all coming on a day when here at the White House he opened his doors for the first time to a foreign leader.
TRUMP: Actually, I'm not as fresh as you might think.
ZELENY: President Trump welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May to the White House pledging to uphold the special relationship with the United Kingdom.
TRUMP: Great days lie ahead for our two peoples and our two countries.
ZELENY: The world was watching the east room of the White House for Mr. Trump's first meeting with the foreign leader. Yet it was the more challenging diplomatic test he's facing with Mexico and Russia that took center stage, the president taking steps to cool an escalating standoff with Mexico. He spoke on the phone for nearly an hour today with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who canceled a trip to the U.S. over Trump's demand that Mexico pay for a border wall --
TRUMP: -- respect for Mexico -- people.
ZELENY: Yet he stood his ground, insisting that Mexico would one way or the other pay billions.
TRUMP: As you know, Mexico with the United States has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders. They've made us look foolish. The United States cannot continue to lose vast amounts of business, vast amounts of companies and millions and millions of people losing their jobs. That won't happen with me. We're no longer going to be the country that doesn't know what it's doing.
ZELENY: A statement from the Mexican government said the presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue. That line does not appear in the White House statement about the call. To pay for the wall the president said one idea is a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico. Controversial among republicans. He told the Christian Broadcasting Network today he could do it without congress. In assertion, congress is likely to take issue with.
TRUMP: It's something that I have to do, it's something that I can impose if I want. We are getting along actually very well with the Mexican government. We'll see what happens.
ZELENY: A week into his presidency, Mr. Trump said it's too early to say whether he will lift sanctions imposed by President Obama against Russian President Vladimir Putin. He's set to talk with Putin by phone on Saturday. After being criticized for his praise of the Russian leader, Mr. Trump took a more measured approach today.
TRUMP: How the relationship works out, I won't be able to tell you that later. I've had many times where I'd thought I'd get along with people and I don't like them at all. And I've had some where I didn't think I was going to have much of a relationship and it turned out to be a great relationship.
ZELENY: The president said he believes waterboarding and other forms of torture work but would follow the lead of Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired general, who opposes such extreme measures.
TRUMP: I don't necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he will override because I'm giving him that power.
ZELENY: Now, Erin as we have it on the air here, we've been looking through those orders that the White House just released and it is exactly as we thought it would be. It is a -- it is a ban on Syrian refugees and a suspension of the other visa programs here. Now, this is something that he campaigned on but it is something that is very controversial. But it's also something that the president has the executive authority to do. This does not require the action of congress. That does not mean it's going to stir controversy on both side of the aisle, Erin. It indeed is.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny. Just as you say, we're all reading through this, looks like a 90-day suspension for all visas as we said from those seven majority Muslim countries. I want to play more of what President Trump said today when he explained on this issue of course right now halting refugees, explained why he's going to give Christian refugees a priority. TRUMP: They've been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, very, very -- at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If you were a Muslim you could come in. But if you were a Christian it was almost impossible. And the reason that was so unfair is that the --everybody was persecuted, in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody, but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.
BURNETT: Jim Sciutto is OutFront. All right. Jim, obviously he's saying here Muslims were permitted entry, Christians were not. Is that true?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not. Let's look at the numbers. Let's look -- first of all, refugees coming to the U.S. from all over the world, Muslim versus Christian, this in 2016, so in 2016 the numbers are about even, 38,901 Muslim, 37,521 Christian. This is from around the world. Typically we're told by Pew Research that the number -- there are far more Christians than Muslims.
This year the number of Muslims ticked up because you had so many leaving Syria and the vast majority of those refugees leaving Syria are Muslim. Now let's look at specifically Syria, the percentage of religions coming out of there and into the U.S. 99 percent Muslim, less than 1 percent Christian. But to be clear, the population of Syria is almost exclusively but the vast majority of people are Muslim. Latest numbers we have, 93 percent of the population is Muslim, 5 percent Christian.
And I should note that in recent years many of the Christians have fled that country because of the dangers that Donald Trump is talking about. And most of them are concentrated around the Damascus area. So, Donald Trump is implying, actually he's more than implying, he's saying in a statement that the U.S. made it more difficult for Christians to come in than Muslims. The fact is the U.S. does not look at religion, does not give Christian or Muslim a benefit.
It looks at the status of the refugee and the reason you have more Muslim refugees coming from Syria is that there are more Muslim refugees trying to flee Syria, not because the U.S. has imposed some sort of, you know, advantage on Muslim versus Christian.
BURNETT: All right. Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. Laying out those facts there. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley sits in the appropriations committee, environment and public works, budget and the senate foreign relations committee. So a lot to say here. Senator, thanks for being with me. You just heard President Trump say he will give priority to Christian refugees. What do you think of that?
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Well, I think it goes against the fundamental nature of freedom of religion in our country. It's such a foundational principle of America that we don't discriminate on the basis of religion. And when it comes to refugees, when it's chiseled into the foundation of the base of the statue of liberty, it says give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the oppressed and afflicted of the world, not those of one religion or another. But I'm particularly concerned about the second half of his order addressing basically being a Muslim registration operation.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you about that. And you're talking about a Muslim registry and we do have the order now, right? So it would be a temporary ban on visas from a group of Muslim majority countries. When he signed this executive order earlier tonight he spoke about what he wanted to accomplish and here's what he said.
TRUMP: I'm establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don't want them here.
BURNETT: Senator, of course, we know the San Bernardino attacks were carried out by a woman who had come to the United States from Pakistan. Better vetting may have stopped her. She and her husband killed 14 innocent people at that holiday party. Isn't Trump right to establish new vetting procedures?
MERKLEY: We had this model in place and it didn't produce a single prosecution because those who would do us harm are going to circumvent that basic process. But what this does do is it feeds right into the ISIS message to recruit terrorists, which is that America is conducting a war on Islam. So we've had this before. It didn't work, and in fact it caused a lot of hatred towards the United States, feeds into ISIS' rhetoric and that makes us less safe rather than more safe.
BURNETT: But when you look just at that case as an example, right? They didn't check social media, they didn't do certain things. And I think we all look and say, "Gosh, we wish they had." And maybe you're saying extreme vetting wouldn't accomplish that, but is he wrong to say that those processes need to be looked at?
MERKLEY: Listen, the -- we had this exact model in place. It didn't catch the situation that occurred in California. It didn't catch anyone, not one, but it did feed a lot of the hatred of folks who felt the United States was treating Muslims as second-class citizens both inside of our country and treating Muslims poorly around the world. And so if you want to add to the risk to the United States, this is a good strategy. If you want the United States to be safe, absolutely, vet our folks coming into this country. We do it. But don't do it on a religious basis.
BURNETT: All right. So, today the president -- in addition to those orders that he signed late today, held a very serious press conference with the British Prime Minister. He also talked about the weight of the office and how it has turned him towards god. This was in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. I don't know if you had a chance to hear this part, so I want to play it for you, Senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've always felt the need to pray, and you know that, so I would say that the office is so powerful that you need god even more because your decisions are no longer, gee, I'm going to build a building in New York or I'm going to do -- these are -- these are questions of massive life and death. There's almost not a decision that you make when you're sitting in this position that isn't a really life-altering position. So god comes into it even more so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you hear him talk about god there, Senator, does that make you more comfortable that he has -- he is assuming the weight of his office or does it make you less comfortable?
MERKLEY: I have been hoping that as he assumes the mantel of leadership, he would step back from a lot of the conspiracy thesis he's had, a lot of the divisions he's had, the lot of the efforts to sow hatred between groups and really start to represent all of our nation and understand how important these decisions are. I was very concerned about his comments about the nuclear weapons, nuclear arms race, because if you take someone with -- who has a massive ego and isn't taking a decision seriously, we could make mistakes that could harm the entire planet.
So, I am -- that's a very thoughtful statement and seeking spiritual guidance. That is a good thing. I must say, however though, I hope he'll bring much more of that concern as he nominates people for his administration because what we have seen as a man who campaigned, he campaigned against Wall Street, he campaigned for worker, and he campaigned for draining the swamp, but we're getting the swamp cabinet of big oil, big banks, and billionaires who are very poor fit for running the departments that he's assigned them to.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator Merkley, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
MERKLEY: You're welcome. Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. And next, President Trump says one man has proof of massive voter fraud. Who is he? And what is his evidence?
Plus, why were the president and British Prime Minister holding hands at the White House today?
And our special investigation series on President Trump's border wall. Tonight, inside the vast network of tunnels under the U.S./Mexican border.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Depending on the resiliency of the digging crew, they can go really fast really far.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump not backing down on his unproven claim of the most voter fraud in American history during the election. He tweeted, "Look toward to seeing final results of VoteStand." Gregg Phillips and crew say at least three million votes were illegal. We must do better. So who is Gregg Phillips and why is Trump citing him as a source? Drew Griffin is OutFront. DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Where does Donald Trump get his information of massive voter fraud? Not from study after study, report after report, analysis after analysis that has found no evidence but from a non-profit group that has released no evidence. Its leading voice is the former Executive Director of the Mississippi Republican Party. He's now CEO of a health data company based in Texas and a conspiracy theorist, and this morning on CNN's New Day, Gregg Phillips wouldn't say what his proof actually is.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You said we know that 3 million people illegally voted. You did that already.
GREGG PHILLIPS: We didn't name a soul though. We didn't name a person.
CUOMO: And you still haven't.
PHILLIPS: But we will.
CUOMO: Do you have the proof?
CUOMO: Will you provide it?
CUOMO: Can I have it?
PHILIPS: We're not -- we're going to release everything to the public.
PHILLIPS: As soon as we get done with the checks.
GRIFFIN: President Trump apparently can't wait either. After Gregg Phillips' appearance on New Day, the president tweeted, "Look forward to seeing final results of VoteStand. Gregg Phillips and crew say at least 3 million votes were illegal. We must do better." VoteStand is Gregg phillips' mostly empty app site with no proof of anything. It's affiliated with True the Vote, a non-profit that raised a million dollars in 2014 according to its latest tax filing.
Paid half of that amount in salaries including $120,000 to its director, Catherine Engelbrecht who raises money by hiring private fund-raisers and posting frightening but vague YouTube posts like this.
CATHERINE ENGELBRECHT, FOUNDER OF TRUE THE VOTE: Is election fraud a real problem? Yes. How bad is it? Well, we have over 800 convictions listed in our online election crimes database, but that number does not scratch the surface because for every case of fraud that's actually run through the multiyear gauntlet of litigation that's generally necessary to get a conviction, another hundred cases are never prosecuted at all.
GRIFFIN: How does she know that? Good question. Here are the facts. There is no proof of widespread voter fraud in the United States. In study after study, republican-led, democratic-led, independent-led, academic-led, going back years and years, no one has been able to prove there is systemic vote fraud in U.S. elections. And we've been down this road before. In 2002, republican President George Bush with his republican Attorney General John Ashcroft launched the ballot access and voting integrity initiative to crack down on election crimes including vote fraud.
After six years, the total number of people convicted for voter fraud, less than 150. A Rutgers professor who analyzed data from the initiative concluded the percentage of illegal votes was statistically zero. And as for the elected secretaries of state who actually run elections in their states, not one, republican or democrat, has voiced any concern about massive voter fraud in the November 8 election, prompting the National Association of Secretaries of State to say, we are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump. Apparently not enough evidence for the president.
Drew griffin joins me now. Also with me our Washington Bureau Chief or the Washington Bureau Chief of Daily Beast and our political director David Chalian. So, Drew, let me start with. You've gone through these facts, you've gone through them again, we're now hearing this new group with these assertions that they say they're going to come forward that they have names. Is it possible there's any way that there's some evidence these secretaries of state have just missed and everyone else has looked into this has missed and there are millions of illegal votes?
GRIFFIN: No. I mean, I just don't know how else we can go over this but no. 32 of those secretaries of states, the people in charge of the elections are part of the National Association of Secretaries of State. So that was a powerful statement they made, we find no evidence. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said I've found no evidence. In a December 1st filing by Trump's own attorneys, all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud.
Some people, Erin, are going to watch this and think we're all involved in a conspiracy, a media conspiracy, to hide the fact that three to five million voted illegally in this election, but that's a pretty big and growing conspiracy of conspirators now involving 32 republican secretaries of state I guess.
BURNETT: Right. I mean, it is pretty stunning because you have to realize who anyone who's thinking this happened that there would have had to have been coordination. This wouldn't have randomly happened sporadically all over the place. I mean, David, President Trump is now citing Gregg Phillips and Drew just showed us who he is. He has shown no evidence of actual voter fraud, right? You just heard him there. He'll put it out when he's going to put it out, has no credibility on this issue. How dangerous is this that the President of the United States put out a tweet citing this guy by name?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, it could be dangerous. It's certainly not a wise move for the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, to be highlighting and spotlighting conspiracy theorists with no proof of what they're claiming. That's not a good thing. But I think there are two ways to think about this, Erin. If this is just Donald Trump smarting over the fact that he did not win the popular vote, that's one thing.
And then this could be sort of a personal mission for him. But if this is Donald Trump as I think some of his critics fear laying the groundwork to put more strict voting regulations and rules into place to try to limit people's access to the vote, then that could become a much more serious problem.
BURNETT: So, Jackie, to push his unproven voter fraud allegation, Trump told a story this week. You know, he had this, you know, cocktail party at the White House and he told a story about a German golfer. Trump said this golfer went to vote, I don't know why, but he went to vote in Florida and he was turned away. Latin-Americans, Hispanic who is he says were not citizens voted. Now, it turns out the story is not true.
But Trump apparently was told the stories, running with it, he's telling people, he's using it to bolster his claim. How -- what does this mean about how he's going to govern? I mean, this is governing by anecdote.
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR THE DAILY BEAST: Oh my goodness. I hope this isn't how (INAUDIBLE) this is like gossip -- an episode of gossip girl. It's not usually what usually happens that comes out of the Oval Office. A guy told a guy who may have been that guy's cousin that there was voter fraud. It doesn't make any sense. So this doesn't really inspire confidence. And one would hope that, you know, perhaps he would get his sourcing a little better before he makes these kind of wild -- very serious allegations on having to do with the electoral process.
But, yes, once you started digging -- once you started digging into this, the daughter of that German golfer said Trump and this golfer aren't even friends. So the whole story was sort of blown up with a couple phone calls.
BURNETT: So Drew, when you look at this, you know, this happened before President George W. Bush ordered an investigation to voter fraud. It took six years. You report fewer than 150 people were criminally convicted. That was after six years of investigating. A lot of money spent on an investigation. Trump is looking for three million to five million convictions.
GRIFFIN: I just -- I just don't know what -- where he's going with this, how he would possibly get the money to do this. Obviously the republicans in his own party are just, you know, holding their nose and hoping this all goes away. But to Jackie's point, you know, I heard the same thing out in the street. I was in Fayetteville, North Carolina. You hear these stories. A guy comes up and says, oh, a bus driver told me he drove around black church members to voting place to voting place. They believe this stuff.
You start asking questions like oh, really? Do you know the bus driver? No. Do you know the bus company? No. Do you remember the color of the bus? No. But they believe it and this is the kind of conspiracy theories that keep driving these issues.
CHALIAN: Erin, can I just make one other point. Three -- if there are three to five million illegal votes, why is it only Donald Trump who is complaining? There are other people on the ballot. And even if the White House recently pointed to California and New York, don't you think that if you were somebody on the ballot in California and New York and you lost that you would be raising -- nobody else is raising this concern.
BURNETT: Well, certainly if those votes came in certain states it would have flipped the election, so if Hillary Clinton thought there was anything in this, she would be, you know, yelling loud and clear. All right. Thanks to all three and, Drew for that amazing reporting.
Next, President Trump's threatening a massive tax on Mexico. My guest is the founder of Patrone Tequila. He says Americans will pay that price. And our special series takes you to the U.S./Mexican border. Wait until you see what we have tonight. Footage from inside border tunnels many dug by hand, used by smugglers and immigrants.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The imagination of people trying to illicitly come north is something I don't try a second guess. They're incredible.
[19:31:12] BURNETT: Breaking news: tonight, President Trump refusing to back down on his right to slap a 20 percent tax on goods coming to Mexico to pay for the wall. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump said he absolutely can do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's something that I have the right to do. It's something that I can impose if I want. We are getting along actually very well with the Mexican government. We'll see what happens.
INTERVIEWER: Do you believe that that is a strong move going forward? Do you see --
TRUMP: Well, it's an option. It's certainly an option. I can do that. I can do it if I want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And tonight, in our special week-long investigation, our Ed Lavandera is back along the southern border. This time in California with incredible access to an underground network of drug smuggling tunnels that stretch from Mexico beneath the existing border fence into the United States.
Here's Ed Lavandera with the story you'll see only OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, the vigilance along the southern border has been growing. Hundreds of miles of fencing, border patrol agents crisscrossing the remote terrains and urban streets, ground centers and high powered cameras keeping constant watch. Now smugglers go where the cameras and eyes can't see them.
(on camera): We are in a tunnel underneath Otay Mesa, California, which is just south of San Diego, on the border with Tijuana, Mexico. This is a tunnel that stretched about 760 feet from Tijuana into a warehouse or would have stretched into a warehouse on the other side of the border and we're about 70 feet underground right now.
LANCE LENOIR, BORDER PATROL OPERATIONS OFFICER: That's one of the deeper tunnels we've found.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Lance LeNoir is part of a specialized team of Border Patrol agents known as the Tunnel Rats. They work underground, navigating newly discovered tunnels and sewer systems.
(on camera): Do you think these tunnels started appearing as a response -- as more fencing went up in this area?
LENOIR: Oh, I'm sure it probably did. But we're also still talking there's a lot of stuff they have to move.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Homeland security officials say in the last ten years, nearly 30 of these tunnels have been discovered just in the San Diego area alone.
JUAN MUNOZ, HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS SPECIAL AGENT: They will continue to go on between the U.S. and Mexican border -- yes, it will continue. If there's a way that these drug trafficking organizations can stay undetected and it's by tunneling, they will.
LENOIR: This is usually a high-dollar, high, you know, risk/reward enterprise. It's a lot of stuff that they've got to move in a relatively short amount of time.
LAVANDERA: LeNoir says the tunnels are used to move large packs of marijuana and cocaine and are often lined with electrical power and ventilation.
LENOIR: This one had a rail system in it.
LAVANDERA (on camera): How long does it take to build something like this?
LENOIR: Depending on the resiliency of the digging crew, they can go really fast really far.
LAVANDERA: Is it by hand, by shovel?
LENOIR: Yes, it's basically almost exclusively by hand with power tools.
LAVANDERA: When these things started popping up, what was your reaction to that?
LENOIR: The imagination of people trying to illicitly come north is something I don't try to second-guess. I mean, it is -- they're incredible, some of the methods they use.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Fighting this ingenuity below ground has fundamentally changed life on the border above ground.
Alicia and Chris Martin spend their lives straddling both sides of the border. They own organic farms in Mexico and a produce distribution business and one of the most unique restaurants in Nogales, Mexico.
(on camera): The restaurant is called the rock.
ALICIA MARTIN, BUSINESS OWNER: Yes, it is. Yeah. La Roca.
LAVANDERA: La Roca. The rock.
A. MARTIN: Yes.
LAVANDERA: Because your uncle built this into the side of this mountain.
A. MARTIN: That's me.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): As a child, Alicia remembers freely crossing the border into Mexico.
A. MARTIN: This is our farm. We'd come down in our bathing suits as kids, get the popsicle, get the ice cream and go back.
LAVANDERA: But with immigration controls tightening on the U.S. side and the fear of cartel violence, La Roca has struggled to keep its doors open.
A. MARTIN: It was all of a sudden somebody came in and hit the light switch and there was nobody. There was nobody in town. There was nobody on the street.
CHRIS MARTIN, BUSINESS OWNER: They're difficult problems to solve, throwing up trade barriers, putting up a wall. There's such harsh approaches to the problems. Once again, you're treating a symptom and you're not going after the root cause of the problem.
LAVANDERA: Perhaps no place symbolizes the impact of tightened border security quite like this place, Boquillas, Mexico.
(on camera): This is one of the smallest legal border checkpoints you're going to find. This is the Boquillas Crossing in Big Bend National Park. Literally two little boats and a guy who rows you across.
(voice-over): Boquillas is a small town of 200 people. Its lifeline is the tourists that venture across the Rio Grande for the tamales at Jose Falcon's restaurant.
LILIA FALCON, BOQUILLAS RESIDENT: It's very nice to live here.
LAVANDERA: Lilia Falcon runs the restaurant her father opened in 1973, but after 9/11, the United States closed the Boquillas Border crossing and the town slowly started dying. Falcons had to close.
The entry point reopened almost four years ago and Falcon's is back. But Lilia Falcon worries about Donald Trump's crackdown on immigration and border security. If that border crossing goes --
FALCON: Then the town again will be dead again. It would be hard. It would be very hard again. We wouldn't like to go through it again.
LAVANDERA: It's the chance of taking this rowboat to the other side that just might be the best $5 you'll ever spend.
BURNETT: Ed, you've travelled the length of the entire southern border, almost 2,000 miles. You've seen the wall that exists. You've seen where it stops. You've seen the mountains. You've seen the rivers. You've seen the tunnels. What has stood out to you the most?
LAVANDERA: You know, there's little moments like that in South Texas where we saw a stack of ladders that had been abandoned next to one of the border walls, clearly left by migrants who had used these ladders to scale over that wall. There's full of moments like that. But overall, what has really struck me this week reporting this series is the sense that you get from people that the changes they expect to see here at the dawn of the Donald Trump administration is very similar to the changes that were sparked in the years after 9/11. And there's that sense from these border communities that the changes will be that dramatic here in the years ahead.
BURNETT: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you for that incredible series that I think has opened the eyes for so many watching.
OUTFRONT now, I want to go to the former Arizona sheriff, Paul Babeu.
And thank you very much, Sheriff. I appreciate you taking the time.
You know, Ed Lavandera --
PAUL BABEU, FORMER SHERIFF, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: Of course.
BURNETT: Ed Lavandera has spent the past month on this special series traveling across the American/Mexican border. Tonight, you saw the massive tunnels. I know you're very familiar with those.
BURNETT: One where we see Ed right now, 70 feet underground. OK? So, it's 70 feet underground.
BURNETT: Underneath the existing fence that exists. So, do you still think a wall is the right answer? I mean, you can't put a wall 70 feet below the ground. If you do, then they go down 80, right? They've got ventilation. They've got electricity. They've got it wired for rail.
BABEU: Right. Well, I could tell you that largely, what we're looking at, there's the illegal immigration issue, there's the drug smuggling issue, which are largely these tunnels are used almost exclusively for, and then there's the larger issue which I think wasn't even a part of this conversation, is the national security threat posed by an unsecured border.
Look, if we had over a half a million just basic illegals, people who wanted to come here to the United States for a better life, for a job, for health care, whatever purpose, far more never were apprehended. So, it stands to reason that if basic illegals can come in here in that volume, that people that have terrorist intentions --
BURNETT: But, Sheriff, I understand your point.
BABEU: -- with military training and deliberate plans could sneak through as well.
BURNETT: I understand your point. This has been raised by Middle Eastern leaders and others. It's a fair point. But what I'm getting at is whether the wall would stop them or anyone else that wants to come in, right? I mean, there's the tunnels.
BABEU: Yes, it would. Yes, it would.
BURNETT: OK, why?
BABEU: And the reason I say that, I served as an army officer commanding up to 1,100 soldiers in Yuma. There not only when you had 14-foot-tall corrugated steel, no-climb fence, far more important than the fence is enforcing the law. When there's real consequences behind it, and that's what we haven't had, under both Democrats and Republicans.
[19:40:06] So, there's a lot of blame to go around here. What Donald Trump is going to enforce the laws that are currently on the books.
BURNETT: OK. So, that's one thing, but isn't that different than the wall, right? So, we went through the tunnel issue, there are 70 feet underground. So, a wall doesn't help with that.
BURNETT: He found the stacks of ladders. The wall in many places that Ed went, it's 10 to 20 feet high, that's easy to scale. It's easy to use a ladder. Ed was able to go under the wall, slither underneath it in a couple places, Sheriff. So, again, I see your point about consequences and all your points.
But the real question is, does a wall help?
BABEU: There's a proof of concept -- it does. In Yuma that I point out 94 percent reduction in illegal entries. That's a secure border. That's what it looks like. And it's because you have physical barrier, but you also need the enforcement.
There's nine sectors of the border patrol along the southwest border and very few were actually enforcing what was called streamline -- an actual consequence if you breached that barrier, that wall, you were deported and there were consequences behind it.
Most of the border, there was disparate enforcement. There was full catch and release was happening and so, when there's no consequence and no enforcement, of course, my deputies have arrested people 16, 22 times. They keep returning. And why wouldn't they? Because there's no consequence or punishment.
That's what's really been the issue here, far more than a wall, far more than any other issue that people think is going to solve it. It's going to be enforcement of U.S. laws.
BURNETT: All right, Sheriff. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
BABEU: Thank you, Erin. Anytime.
BURNETT: Next, President Trump's border wall -- my next guest is the founder of Patron, the tequila. And he'll tell you exactly how much more it will cost you to buy a bottle of Patron if Trump enforces his tax.
And Donald Trump tonight echoing his top adviser Steve Bannon, calling the media the opposition.
[19:45:50] BURNETT: Breaking news, a battle of billionaires over the border wall. In a rare press conference today, one of the richest men in the world, the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim offering to negotiate with President Trump on Trump's behalf.
Trump's latest threat against Mexico, of course, is massive tax on imports.
OUTFRONT now, billionaire businessman John Paul DeJoria. He is the co-founder of Patron's Spirit, which is produced in Mexico, like all tequila, and of Paul Mitchell Systems.
John Paul, thanks so much for being with me. Our big number tonight, 20 percent, because that is the number -- the tax that President Trump is again threatening to put on imports from Mexico to pay for the wall. You make and then export Patron from Mexico. If the tax comes into effect, what happens?
JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, CO-FOUNDER, THE PATRON SPIRITS COMPANY: If it comes into effect, unfortunately with all due respect, the Mexican government doesn't pay for it, the U.S. consumer does. If the tax comes across, we have to raise our prices. We can't make the tequila in the United States. Our quality tequila has to be made in Mexico by law, can't make it here. So, it's passed on to our distributor, onto the retailer, which will pass on to the consumer.
So, if that happens, will people stop buying patron? Probably not because people want to treat themselves to the quality of a Patron, but will it affect the Mexican government? I think it's going to affect the United States citizen more than the U.S. government, I really do -- or the Mexican government.
BURNETT: And you're saying, what, for Patron, just in your individual case, it's what, a few dollars, a bottle more with just that tax?
DEJORIA: It will be a few dollars more a bottle with the tax but the consumer in the United States is going to be paying for it, not the Mexican government. So, I think we have to take a different look at that.
BURNETT: So, when you talk about that, OK, if this tax, that's what it means for Patron. We also buy for Mexico, auto parts, cars, truck, and a lot of oil. It's the fourth biggest supplier of oil to the United States. Trump was asked about the point you're making, John Paul, he said the tax, whether it would be passed along to consumers here in America. And I want to play for you his answer and get your reaction.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I think some of it may get passed along but it also creates jobs. So, I'm not against something like that but with respect to Mexico, something else could happen which would be much more positive for both Mexico and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, he says there, John Paul, I think some may get passed along but it also creates jobs. Fair?
DEJORIA: Well, you have to -- not quite. We have to really think this one out a little bit because oil, for example, and food is a commodity. If you raise the price by 20 percent because of whatever taxation there is, the consumer at the other end is going to pay for it. They're going to pay for it across the line. So, I think they may want to think that one out a little bit. You're going to be paying more for vegetables, you're going to be paying more for gas that comes from Mexico, and if such a large percentage that we use comes from Mexico, it only makes sense that the only gas companies have to charge more money.
So, the U.S. consumer's going to pay for it. Mr. Trump is a smart fellow and I think Mr. Trump wants to do what's right, but I do think they have to think this out a little bit more. Now, when it comes to renegotiating maybe a trade pact, that's different. I know when I ship into Mexico for Paul Mitchell hair care products, we have a duty of 16 percent, so we have to charge a little more money to the Mexican people. They pay it because the quality of the product.
So, going both ways it definitely affects one another. But I know that going down there, we get charged 16 percent going down.
BURNETT: Which I think is actually an important point because people may conflate the wall with NAFTA itself and you have a lot of issues with that what he's proposed. But right now you're saying, as part of NAFTA, when they sell here, there's no tariff, right? That's why he's talking about putting one on. But when you go down there, you're paying right now 16 percent tariff to go into Mexico.
DEJORIA: Yes, I am. That is correct.
BURNETT: That's part of NAFTA.
DEJORIA: That is correct. That's correct. There's no question about it.
But going back to Mexico paying for the wall, the way it's stated right now, I'm sure they'll review this and change it a little bit, the U.S. consumer pays for it, not Mexico. But I think they're going to look at it maybe a little more seriously and figure out what may really work and what may not work, and I don't think that one across the line a 20 percent tax is going to be advantageous to our people or jobs.
[19:50:03] It's not going to affect jobs as far as I know one bit. Unless he only charged people that were U.S. manufacturers that ship it right back to the United States, maybe that's different. I don't know. Maybe it will equalize what money they're saving so that they'll hire more people in this nation. I don't know.
But when it comes to things like products made in Mexico that can't be made anywhere else or commodities like oil and food and things of that nature, it's American citizens that pay for it. They may want to rethink that one just a little bit.
BURNETT: John Paul, thank you very much. For all of that information, appreciate it.
BURNETT: And next, we're going to go inside the White House to find out who is closest literally because we have a seat map, people, to the ultimate seat of power.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: New tonight, President doubling down on an aide's claim that the American media is now the, quote, "opposition party". Chief strategist Steve Bannon said the same thing yesterday. Does this mean Bannon is welding the most influence in the Trump White House, or is it someone else?
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.
[19:55:03] SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump's West Wing is packed with a team of advisers with warning world views and often sharp elbows.
In the midst of a tumultuous first week in the West Wing, it appears Trump is adopting the management style that suited him in business and helped him win the White House and trying to apply it to Washington's unwieldy bureaucracy.
TRUMP: Put me into the boardroom as your representative and I will deliver for you like no politician has ever delivered, believe me. Believe me.
MURRAY: Previous presidents have churned to their chief of staff to ensure order in the White House. Trump has lavished praise on him.
TRUMP: Reince is fantastic. Reince has been an unbelievable leader.
MURRAY: But he's given Reince Priebus equal authority to Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor. They're joined in the White House by counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, someone Trump holds in high esteem.
TRUMP: There is no den she will not go into. When my men are petrified to go on a certain network, I say, Kellyanne, will you -- absolutely, no problem. And she gets on and just destroys them.
MURRAY: Rounding out the West Wing is Trump's senior advisor, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and husband of Ivanka Trump.
TRUMP: I sort of stole her husband. He is so great.
MURRAY: His influence grew throughout the campaign and Trump trusts him completely. When it comes to the prime White House real estate, Priebus claims the office traditionally reserved for the chief of staff, complete with a fireplace and conference table. Kushner snapped up the spot closest to the Oval Office and Bannon is sandwiched between them. Conway is settling into a space on the second floor previously inhabited by Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Trump has a penchant for competing power centers and a variety of viewpoints. In his view, that means the strongest proposal wins. But the setup can also breed turf wars and internal rivalries.
White House veterans like David Axelrod, who worked in the Obama administration, served up even stronger warnings, noting a model chain of command and staff spats can lead to severe consequences.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is a big difference between running the Trump organization or even a campaign and running the White House because the decisions and statements and actions a White House takes can have grave implications, mortal implications, for people here and around the world.
MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: And thanks to Sara.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: Thanks so much for joining us. Have a great weekend. Don't forget. You can watch the show anytime on CNN Go.
Anderson starts next.