Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source: FBI Chief "Incredulous" Over Trump Wiretap Claim; Interview with Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; North Korea: Kim Jong Un Supervised Missile Launches. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 6, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next. Breaking news. The FBI Director, "incredulous" over President Trump accusing Obama of wiretapping his phones. And tonight, the White House won't say whether Trump has confidence in the FBI Director James Comey. And more breaking news. Republicans unveiling their bill to repeal parts of Obamacare, what does it leave in place and the meeting filled with expletives. Sources say, the president accusing his staff of fumbling. We have new details behind Trump's rage. Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin with the breaking news. Incredulous, a source telling CNN at this that FBI Director James Comey's reaction to President Trump's charge at former President Obama ordered his phones to be wiretapped during the campaign. We're also learning that Comey had FBI officials reach out to staff at the justice department over the weekend. Part of that discussion, a request that the justice department publicly knock down Trump's allegations. Also, tonight White House Spokesman Sean Spicer speaking to CNN moments ago dodging the question when asked twice if Comey has Trump's full faith and confidence to remain as director of the FBI.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What's the president's view of James Comey right now? Does he have the president's full faith and confidence to stay on as the FBI Director?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I'm not -- I don't think -- we've only heard unsubstantiated anonymous sources make those claims. I don't think Director Comey's actually commented on anything that he has allegedly said, so I'm not -- I'm not going to comment on what people say he might have said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That was Sara Murray you heard asking that question. She's OutFront at the White House at this moment. And Sara, look, this is the reality, the FBI and the White house seemingly at very, very serious odds tonight.
MURRAY: That's right, Erin. There does seem to be some distance between the president and the FBI Director about his allegation that came seemingly out of the blue over the weekend, a serious allegation the notion that a former president wiretapped then presidential candidate Donald Trump. But if you think Trump is backing down from that allegation, no, think again.
President Trump leveling a stunning attack at his predecessor, alleging without any evidence that former President Obama spied on him at Trump Tower. This weekend, Trump tweeted, how low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon Watergate, bad or sick guy. His allegations appeared to have been inspired by a Breitbart article that was make its way around the White House. But since then (INAUDIBLE) Twitter the president hasn't been able to back up his claims. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer offered no evidence today but insisted the president has no regrets.
Sounds like you're saying the president does not regret making that allegation on Twitter.
SPICER: Absolutely not, no way. The president has made very clear that he wants the house and senate intelligence committees to look into anything in the 2016 election that may or may not have been proper with respect toss wiretaps or surveillance. We hope that they do that.
MURRAY: Meanwhile, sources tell CNN that the FBI has asked the justice department to refute Trump's claim that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump's phones last year. The FBI's request came because such a wiretap would be illegal. The president can't just order eavesdropping on a U.S. citizen. A court would have to approve the wiretap request and that would mean a judge would have had to have found sufficient evidence to do so. Today, Spicer declined to say whether FBI Director James Comey still has the president's full confidence.
But what about the president with the FBI director?
SPICER: I haven't asked him that yet. I think obviously he's focused today first and foremost on this effort to keep the country safe.
MURRAY: Over the weekend, the former director of national intelligence also said he was aware of no such wiretapping during his tenure.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATURAL INTELLIGENCE: For the part of the national security apparatus that I oversaw as DNI, there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president -- the president- elect at the time or as a candidate or against his campaign.
MURRAY: As for Obama, a spokesman for the former president insisted he's never ordered surveillance of any U.S. citizen saying a cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. Even members of the Republican Party said they weren't sure what the president was referring to.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: If it's true, obviously, we're going to find out very quickly and if it isn't then obviously he'll have to explain what he meant by it. MURRAY: Now the President Trump's tweet came ahead of a very busy
week for him. He has the new travel ban that they unveiled today as well as the new plan to plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. There is some on the hill who believe that this wiretapping allegations could be a distraction from that agenda, Sean Spicer dismissed that notion today and basically said, look, we can all walk and chew gum at the same time. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. And well, the White House would not say today whether the president still has confidence in the FBI Director, James Comey, we are getting new information now as to what Comey thinks about the president's claims of wiretapping. And Pamela Brown is OutFront with that breaking news in Washington. Pam, what are you learning about what the FBI director says?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT : Well, Erin, we're learning that the FBI director had a level of disbelief, if you will, after the president tweeted that the past president, President Obama, ordered a wiretap of his phones during the campaign. Of course, as Sara mentioned, a president can't order a wiretap of a phone and the FBI acts independently of the president when it comes to going to the FISA courts to ask for a warrant to wiretap them in phone.
And so, in response to this, Director Comey of the FBI was concerned that this allegation could be bad for the FBI's reputation given the magnitude of the allegation and the fact that he believed -- he knows it was wrong, according to a person familiar with the matter. And so that was really behind what we saw, what we reported on over the weekend. Staffers in the FBI reaching out to career personnel at the Department of Justice asking for DOJ to come out and publicly knock down this allegation and say that it's simply not true.
As we know, that has not happened, Erin, and we're told by a person familiar that there was a level of frustration with the FBI Director that that hasn't happened. But, of course, this is really a unique and interesting situation where you have the director of the FBI seemingly at odds with the president.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. It certainly is. Pamela Brown, thank you. And OutFront now, Republican Congressman Chris Stewart who sits on the intelligence committee. And Congressman, I appreciate your time this evening. You just heard, the FBI Director incredulous of President Trump's accusations. And I don't know if you heard but Sean Spicer, the press secretary refused twice to say that Trump has confidence in Director Comey. Do you -- in the intelligence committee, do you have confidence in James Comey tonight?
CHRIS STEWART, UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE 2ND DISTRICT OF UTAH: Yes. We do. I think he's one of the finest men in government, I think he's shown integrity in some very, very difficult political situations and we have much to learn. I mean, the reality is there's no reason for us not to have trust and confidence in Director Comey at this time and in the investigations going forward, we'll be working with Director Comey on that. He's been very forthright with us in the past and I would expect he would continue to act that way. BURNETT: Now, you have confidence in him but the reality of it is of
course, Congressman, the president has made a huge allegation and he has presented no evidence for it, right? It was out of the blue, I think everybody was dumbfounded, you, us, everybody. Should he be making a claim like this publicly and then not putting any proof out?
STEWART: Well, it is a serious claim and it is much better if we have some evidence to support it at the same time. But the problem is it's not the only time we've seen that. For the last few weeks we've seen this narrative that previous Trump administration or that there are campaign officials were in some way colluding with the Russian government to manipulate the campaign, that certainly been a story that we've heard.
Again, without any evidence that officials have had to say we don't have evidence to support that. I don't think either one of these is very helpful. I think it's better if we have a serious and a delivered investigation as a house intelligence committee has been permitted to do. We started this investigation by the way, not in the last month or so, we start today in September. And I think it's better if we do that and probably don't have as much political grandstanding and a little less -- a little less focus on the cameras, a little more focus on finding out the truth and reporting to the American people.
BURNETT: And the truth is important, I do want to say in terms of what we reported. Again, it has been constant communications between the Trump campaign not colluding and constant communications of course, we've had evidence out but colluding no, at this point, no, nor have we reported that. But on this issue of wiretapping, right? The president could clear this up so quickly, Congressman. If there's proof he knows about it. If a request to wiretap him came as he alleges from the Obama White House, he has the ability to declassify that request, could he that right now? And that would mean you, the American public, you, me, we all see the allegations and the requests. So, if the request exists, why isn't he declassifying it and letting us all see the classified information?
STEWART: You know (INAUDIBLE) I think the quicker this type of information comes out the better it is. If the president has information and he could declassify that without endangering national security, I would encourage him to do that. But until that time, then once again, we're left with the committee doing our work and doing the very best that we can in order to answer these questions for the American people.
BURNETT: But just because he comes out and alleges something is true on Twitter, is it -- is it worth you running it down, spending time and resources to run it down just because he said it's true with no evidence thus far?
STEWART: You know, I was asked that in an earlier interview today and I -- and I -- and I had to say, look, this is the president of the United States making a very serious accusation. I don't know how we could ignore it. And that would be true regardless of what the accusation was and regardless of who the president was. If any president says this type of serious behavior took place then we have a responsibility to tell the American people either it did or it didn't. I don't know how we could just say, well, you know, that seems -- that seems unlikely therefore --
BURNETT: We didn't know he have no evidence, he's the president so it carries merit just on that basis of his office.
STEWART: Well, yes, yes, yes. Just like for example we're pursuing allegations of improper conduct between individuals and perhaps Russian intelligence and we don't have evidence of that either. But some of the accusations have been made and so we need to answer that question.
BURNETT: Well, the president was -- I mean, been on that, U.S. Intelligence deemed it important enough to brief the president on a 32-page dossier, right? With the pool aside with James Comey at the FBI. We have since learned that some of the conversations in that dossier between Russian nationals did take place. I mean, there are some facts that go with that including U.S. intelligence deemed it important enough to brief the president. This isn't just a tweet from the president.
STEWART: Well, as there are I think in background now and this is not me speaking as member of the intelligence committee, this is background on what's been recorded by other entities within the press. Let's say that, you know, that they did go to FISA courts in June and they were declined and so they went back I believe in October. And they --
BURNETT: Right. But he could declassify this, so we could all see what the allegations were.
STEWART: Well, that's true but again, I'm just giving you an indication that there was some indication that, you know, there was some reason to believe that. So I'm going to let the president answer that. Again, I haven't counseled with him on this, I don't know what his thinking is. I would encourage all of us, not just the president but all of our organizations and entities. Declassified information as appropriately as we can, as quickly as we can. I think we do need to investigate it, the American people want to know if it's true or not. I think we owe them that type of an answer.
BURNETT: Yes. Well, part of the reason I'm asking this issue about him declassifying, right? Is that the President of the United States can't just order eavesdropping on a U.S. citizen. You referenced the FISA for it, right? A specialized judge has to deem the evidence and has go in and say here's the evidence that we believe as merit as of the wiretap and then that FISA court has to approve the wiretap. So there's a couple scenarios here. Either a judge found sufficient evidence of something going on in Trump Tower that required a wiretap, option one or Trump is falsely accusing President Obama. Both of those things are bad for President Trump, are they not?
STEWART: Well, I don't know that there's, you know, if you're interested in creating a scenario that's bad for anyone individual here I think we can do that for a lot of different folks and a lot of hypothetical theories. I think the more important question here is once again, just getting to the truth, just answering the question for the American people. And, you know, the Intel Committee we work in a bipartisan way, we don't work with the cameras blazing in front of our faces.
We've been -- had reputation on working across the aisle and being serious about our work. I hope and I expect we continue to do that because these questions that you're asking me tonight deserve to be answered and they deserve to be answered in a serious and thoughtful way that isn't politicized and it isn't done for a political advantage.
BURNETT: And before we go, Congressman, I do want to ask you about the other breaking news at this hour. We're getting our first look at the GOP leadership plan to replace Obamacare. Do you support it?
STEWART: Well, I haven't seen it yet. Of course you know there's been all sorts of iterations of this.
STEWART: I sure the hope that I can I suppose that I will unless there's something, you know, dramatically different in that, this is something we promised the American people that we would support and I look forward to looking at it later tonight.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time, Congressman. Thank you for coming OutFront.
STEWART: Thank you. You bet.
BURNETT: All right. And next, we have more breaking news. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a letter to congress again insisting he did not lie during his confirmation hearings, it's a triple down. What's the reaction on Capitol Hill? One of the senate's top democrats OutFront this hour. And an angry president lashing out its staff in an expletive filled meeting according to a source. Why is he so angry tonight? And Jeanie Moos, on why Barbra Streisand is blaming president Trump for ruing her diet.
BURNETT: Breaking news. House republicans just unveiling their bill, what they say will be the repeal and replacement of Obamacare after seven years of promising to repeal and replace. They're now -- they've got a bunch of details out there. They've got something. Among other things they would do away with the so-called individual mandate. That is what President Obama put in place to pay for Obamacare, right?
It requires people to have health coverage and if you don't, you face the tax penalty, right? That's part of how they pay for some of the promises like keeping young adults on their parents' plans. The republicans though get rid of the mandate but allow young people to stay on their parents' plans among other things. Phil Mattingly is OutFront live on Capitol Hill. And Phil, what more are you learning about this repeal and replace?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think two components, Erin, that you hit on right off the bat that are important. Obviously, the repeal of the individual and the employer mandates the willingness to allow individuals to stay on their parents' plans through the age of 26 and the ability to maintain coverage if you have pre-existing conditions so long and that's an important caveat if that coverage is continuous, Erin.
But there's really kind of two thorny issues that this bill gets into. One is impart, how to replace the Obamacare subsidies. Those subsidies would be repealed after a three-year transition period and replaced by refundable tax credits. Those credits would be based on age going up as you get older. Those credits would also be capped based on your income. The more money you make after you hit a $7,500 threshold, that amount of money you can actually get through the tax credit starts to go down. The other major issue here obviously is Medicaid.
So many of those states took the Medicaid expansion offered by Obamacare, it's been a lot of concerns including amongst republican governors, what would happen to that. How it would work from here on out is until January 1st, 2020, those states would be allowed to continue expanding their Medicaid rolls and continue to get the money for that expansion. At that moment the Medicaid expansion would freeze and most of those individuals would be grandfathered in and based on the republican plan cycle out over time.
Those states that didn't take the Medicaid expansion, they would be given money to try and make up for that over the next couple of years. But Erin, there's no shortage of issues here both politically and policy going forward. This, well, it's just the first step.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much but please stay with me because obviously you know a lot about this legislation and where it's going. Mark Preston joins us, our senior political analyst and David Gergen, former presidential adviser for four presidents. So Mark, let's start with the basics here. They repealed Obamacare a lot of times, 40 something times, whatever, you know the number I don't but a lot of times. Now though it matters because they've got the presidency and they can actually get this done.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
BURNETT: But that's if they can get all the votes among even their own party and success is not assured.
PRESTON: Well, it's not assured but if there was ever a time for them to repeal and try to replace it, this would be the time right now because to your point, they own the White House, they have a majority in the senate and of course they were so successful many times over having the house of majority to try to get something done. But the devil's in the details right now and we don't quite know all of the details about how this would be funded. We also know bottom line is that this is going to start on Wednesday. Like they're talking about marking up bills starting on Wednesday. BURNETT: Really, really fast.
BURNETT: So David, here's the issue. When you look at the details, it looks a lot like Obamacare. You just heard Phil if you're up at to 26 you get to stay on your parents' plan, pre-existing conditions, Medicaid is hanging around. The Medicaid expansion money slowing out for the next four years. Senator Rand Paul tweeted just when this plan was unveiled still have not seen an official version of the house Obamacare replacement bill but for me it reports this sure looks like Obamacare Lite. It's significant, David because Senator Paul has a lot of people who will follow his lead. If he's already calling this Obamacare Lite, can it get through?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Well, it -- couple things, Erin, right off the bat. They campaigned on this, they promised the American people they would come up with a bill to repeal and replace, they've done that. And a lot of their supporters are going to appreciate that fact. At the same time, they have come up with a bill that's going to be a hard slog among republicans on the hill. Not only do we have conservatives warning this is too expensive and it sounds like Obamacare Lite Rand Paul is arguing, but there are other senators, there are four senators who are more moderate who have written, basically they will not support this if Medicaid is going to be scaled back for 10 million people or so who have gotten on to Obamacare in these last years.
So it's a -- it's a hard slog ahead. I think critically, Erin, you know this so well, the congressional budget office has not had a chance to look at this yet. It's fresh (INAUDIBLE) they'll have to -- they'll have score it. They'll have to tell us how much it's going to cost and a lot of conservatives are going to be watching those numbers if they care and they're going to have to say how much coverage it will provide. Nobody knows.
BURNETT: Right. And there are so many questions, Phil, but when, you know, you first glance at the these headlines, what you see is a lot of the things people liked in Obamacare are staying, right? Kids on their parents' plans, pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansion. But yet they're taking away the manned date which is what paid for that. OK? So it sounds like you're keeping all the things people like and you're not for them. That's a basic headline right now.
MATTINGLY: Yes. And look, by design, they want all the things that people liked about Obamacare to be in the headlines right now, Erin. No question about it. But look, I think David hits on a key point here. How many people are covered, how much does it cost. And I can tell you from sources that were working on this over last couple weeks, the congressional budget office which is going to give us answers to that though they haven't finalized those answers yet, have delivered just a straight series of bad news to republicans as they worked through this process.
Millions who would be falling off of insurance rolls based on this plan. The cost in general which would frustrate a lot of conservatives certainly moving upwards. Now, we've seen a lot of tweaks just over the course of the last 72 hours in how this plan actually ended up. But there's no escaping the fact that when it comes to the republican -- the way they view this, the person may view this through, it's through access to care, not covering everybody, despite what the president himself said a couple months ago.
And when that in mind, democrats have a political issue to attack on repeatedly in the weeks and months ahead. It's something we're going to hear about constantly, republicans have to figure out a way to sell their idea that access to better care is what this bill provides and that is better than the current kind of state of player.
BURNETT: Although of course we always had access to care, it was called the emergency room and it was the most expensive possible care could you have. Mark?
PERSON: Right. Yes. No doubt about that. You know, not only are we talking about losing the mandate, we're talking about dismantling the Obamacare taxes on medical devices, on prescription drugs, on over- the-counter drugs, is -- yes.
BURNETT: All the pay for us are gone.
PRESTON: So, all the pay for us are gone and it's a -- it's a -- to Phil's point, what they're trying to talk about is creating an open market right now which will provide better care and will lower costs. The bottom line is though, heading into the summer will you get enough republicans to back it. This is their best opportunity to do so but, again, devil's in the details.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much on those breaking headlines.
And next more breaking news, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he's tripling down tonight. He is insisting he did not lie to congress. We are live on Capitol Hill. We have the letter, we have the tapes. And more breaking developments, Kim Jong-Un supervising North Korea's ballistic missile launches today. Four of them. How big of a threat is North Korea right now?
BURNETT: Breaking news, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions tripling down tonight amending his now controversial testimony where he failed to mention that he met with the Russian Ambassador twice last year. The same ambassador U.S. Intelligence official believe is one of Moscow's top spies and spy recruiters. Manu Raju is live OutFront here on Capitol Hill. And Manu, the Attorney General looking at this letter, he is not giving an inch.
RAJU: Yes, that's right. he says that he did not say anything incorrectly because he believes those questions were about the political campaign and he says, quote, I'll quote he wrote here Erin, in this letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee saying that, "I do not recall any discussions with the Russian Ambassador or any other representative of the Russian Government regarding the political campaign on these occasions or any other occasion".
Now, what he did in those letters that he did acknowledge, he did speak twice with the Russian Ambassador, which he did not disclose during the hearing, once during the republican convention in July and once in September of 2016, but he's saying, "I did not recall those discussions about the campaign and campaign activities", which is why he said that. He did not mislead the committee in any way but he believes he needs to amend the record because of these questions that have been raised about these meeting, Erin.
BURNETT: So, is this satisfying his critics who of course have been very, very vocal?
RAJU: Yes, absolutely not, not the democrats. They want him to come before the committee and answer some key questions including Senator Chris Coons. This is what he says.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think it would be more forthcoming if the Attorney General would return to the judiciary committee and answer our questions in full.
RAJU: Should he lie under oath, do you think?
COONS: I don't know that and I look forward to reviewing his written response. He certainly didn't answer the question presented in a straightforward and truthful way.
RAJU: Now Erin, Senator Chuck Grassley is the Republican Chairman of the committee said that he will not bring sessions back before the committee until the regular over-side hearing of the justice department and we don't know when that's scheduled yet.
But expect tomorrow when Sessions' number two at the Justice Department, Rob Rosenstein, will be heading before the Judiciary Committee for his own confirmation hearing. Those questions about how he would run this Russian investigation now that Sessions has recused himself will be front and center tomorrow -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Thank you very much, Manu.
And OUTFRONT now, the senior Democratic senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen. She sits on both the Senates Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee.
And, Senator, I appreciate your time. You know, of course, the attorney general has committed this letter. He is tripling down. He says he did nothing wrong when he testified that he had no contact with Russians during the campaign.
What's your response to that?
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH), FOREIGN AFFAIRS & ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEES: Well, he still hasn't answered the question. You know, he was long overdue in recusing himself. There's still questions out there about what the conversations were with the Russian ambassador and he needs to answer those questions. We haven't seen the written responses to the questions that were submitted to him in writing before his nom -- before his approval during his nomination hearings. So, we also need to take a look at that.
But fundamentally, it doesn't answer the same basic question, which is what did he know about the Russians and any contacts between them and the Trump campaign.
BURNETT: So, I want to play, because this comes down to the full exchange, he references it here in his letter, the full exchange between him and Senator Franken during the confirmation hearing. And I just want to play it so you can hear it and so our viewers can hear the full back and forth.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president- elect last week that included information that, quote, "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump." These documents also allegedly stated, quote, "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump's surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government."
So, again, I'm telling you this as it's coming out, so, you know. But, if it's true, it's obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator Franken, I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians. And I'm unable to comment on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Senator Shaheen, Sessions says in this letter, "My answer was correct," referring to that question. "I did not mention to communications I had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them."
Do you think his answer was truthful?
SHAHEEN: Well, what he said was he didn't have communications with the Russians when clearly he acknowledged that he had a meeting with Ambassador Kislyak during the transition in December.
But the fundamental question, Erin, is really not even about Jeff Sessions. It's about, what ties did the Trump campaign and does Donald Trump have with the Russians? Why has he been so unwilling to criticize Vladimir Putin? Why has he been so unwilling to take action against Russia when they have clearly hacked our election, and with the goal of trying to influence the outcome when they are hacking into the French and German elections and disrupting our alliance with Europe trying to undermine Western democracies?
And those are really the questions that need to be answered.
BURNETT: Those are the big questions, but when you say specifically about him that he had the meetings, which, of course, we now know he did but he did not say so when asked, are you then now, when you take all of this together, saying he lied and he should resign? I know you have not yet said that. But if he did lie, that would be the answer that would make sense coming from you. Do you think that he should resign?
SHAHEEN: Well, that's why I think he should come back before the committee and answer those questions. And why we need independent investigation of what's gone on with Russia, what they have done to hack into our election system to try and undermine our democracy and why Donald Trump, as president, isn't doing more to address that?
BURNETT: Also today, Senator, the president signed a new travel ban which, of course, you're aware of. This includes changes from the original. It exempts Iraqis. The other six countries are on there but not Iraq. People who have current visas get to come in, or green cards. There's not an indefinite ban on Syrians, it's just the same length as other refugees. And if you're in one of the six countries, you can apply for a waiver.
Does this satisfy your concerns?
SHAHEEN: No, it doesn't. The fact is, it still is counterintuitive to American values. This is the country of immigrants. We have built this country with immigrants, whether it's Irish or Franco-American in New Hampshire, with Greek Italians, or whoever.
We -- they bring to this country a work ethic and a culture and we should recognize that and honor that.
I met with an Iraqi immigrant earlier today in New Hampshire who start the his own business who went back to fight on the American side in the war in Iraq, and for us to deny access is not only antithetical to the values of this country, but it also is not good national security policy, because we need the cooperation of our moderate Muslim allies and to deny them access to this country sends the wrong message.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Senator Shaheen. I appreciate your time this evening.
SHAHEEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, North Korea launching four missiles into the Sea of Japan. Are they on the brink of an underground nuclear test? It has been ramping. The former CIA Director James Woolsey is my guest.
Plus, Trump said after his big speech was drowned out. What is going on behind closed doors with all the yelling at the White House? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:40:32] BURNETT: Breaking news, North Korean state news reporting Kim Jong-un supervised the launch of four ballistic missiles today. We're learning President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just spoke on the phone about it, and the Trump administration is saying the U.S. is ratcheting up its defense.
This comes as officials tell CNN U.S. intelligence is watching for sounds of an underground nuclear test in North Korea.
OUTFRONT, former CIA Director James Woolsey, author of a new op-ed titled, "Don't Underestimate North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal".
Great to have you with me. I appreciate it, sir.
Four ballistic missile tests in one day, the Korean ruler their on- site to take credit. What are their real capabilities against the U.S. right now?
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, the Koreans hold a good chunk of South Korea at risk. Their artillery can range into the middle of Seoul. And they -- and U.S. has substantial forces in South Korea. I think the danger first and foremost is there.
They cannot reach the United States yet with a ballistic missile that has a target on the surface of the earth. They're just a bit short of that. But they could detonate a nuclear detonation in an orbiting satellite because they have orbited several packages of 30, 40, 50 pounds, that's easily done. If they did that, they could conceivably not completely haywire the electric grid in the United States and that would be a real disaster.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you about that, because you actually say you're biggest fear is not a massive explosion from a nuclear attack, right, like we have seen, the pictures of Hiroshima or something like that, but it's actually what you're referring to, an electromagnetic pulse attack, or what's called an EMP.
BURNETT: I used the word here, you didn't use it, but I think it's fair in your op-ed. This would be apocalyptic, right?
WOOLSEY: It's hard to get away from that word. The reason is that the electric grid, if it's hit, even, you know, my clocks and automobiles and everything that has any kind of a computer in it, a computer chip could be vulnerable to being taken out by line of sight from detonation above the earth. And there's a dispute about how much of the transformers, how many of them would be taken down by a nuclear detonation of a satellite in orbit. But I think quite a few. Some authorities think fewer.
BURNETT: And you say they have the ability to do this now or soon or -- because in the op-ed, you say that this is something that could. The scenario was pretty horrific. It would kill eventually over time because of the loss of power 90 percent of the U.S. population.
WOOLSEY: Orbiting a satellite is the easiest thing to do in space. It's much easier than detonating a weapon on a target inside another country. The first thing both the Russians and we did in '57 and '58 was orbit satellite. So, a satellite in orbit that has a nuclear weapon in it and the weapon is detonated, let's up 60, 70, 80, 150 miles in space could knock out a very major share of our electric grid and that would be terrible because all of our -- our infrastructure depends on the grid. And if the grid goes, food, water, all sorts of other things go with it.
BURNETT: We had a poll done earlier this month that showed 48 percent of Americans think North Korea is a very serious threat, 70 percent say ISIS is. Are Americans wrong in that here to put north -- is ISIS so far ahead of North Korea?
WOOLSEY: Well, I think ISIS is coming up on the inside track as soon as they get some kind of a nuclear weapon I guess they might pass North Korea in that rating. But both of them are extremely troubling and I think North Korea is still first and foremost because it does have nuclear weapons and has orbited satellites.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. James Woolsey, I appreciate your time -- very sobering as I said -- former head of the CIA.
WOOLSEY: Good to be with you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, the source tells CNN no one has ever seen the president so angry as he is right now. What was behind the expletive- laden meeting in the White House? We've got that video and report.
[19:45:01] And Jeanne Moos on Streisand rewriting the classics and tweaking President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBRA STREISAND, SINGER (singing): If he were run being the free world, where would we move?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: New tonight, the knives are out for President Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus. This is the word from sources close to the White House. One source telling us that Priebus used this morning's staff meeting to try to regain control after a series of negative stories and those stories are creating a livid President Trump.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The blistering series of tweets raised extremely serious accusations about the Obama administration wiretapping phones at Trump tower with zero evidence to back the claims. Nonetheless, President Trump's team stormed the talk circuit echoing his outrage.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think the American people have a right to know if this happened.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And God bless the United States.
FOREMAN: What spurred the roaring tweet storm? After the president's widely praised speech to Congress, sources say he was furious to see questions about his team's ties to Russia again stealing headlines. Particularly galling, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to step back from an investigation into the matter.
[19:50:04] SESSIONS: I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign.
FOREMAN: One source told CNN, "Nobody has seen the president that upset," while others said in a meeting laced with expletives, Trump accused his staff of fumbling the Sessions situation, creating a mini- disaster.
TV cameras captured the an animated meeting in the Oval Office involving Trump's senior staff, including chief strategist Steve Bannon, press secretary Sean Spicer, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, and chief of staff Reince Priebus.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: There was nothing wrong with talking to the foreign -- the Russian ambassador about --
INTERVIEWER: But was there anything wrong about talking about sanctions? That's the issue.
PRIEBUS: -- the current sanctions that were being put in place by the Obama administration. I just answered the question.
FOREMAN: Although Priebus has been visible in defending the White House against the Russia questions and was originally slated to travel to Florida with the president for the weekend, that changed. Priebus stayed in D.C. Some sources say because of the chaos. The White House says he had a family commitment.
But this is clear -- the president took off. The tweets started flying. And so did the spin.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: He got elected about 118, 119 days ago and we still hear the Democrats and others screaming Russia every single day. It's attenuated. They haven't shown any connection.
(END VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN: The lack of evidence from the president for his claims is still a problem, however, because while he may be privy to some information we don't know that justifies these accusations, until that is known, it can look an awful look like this is all about the fury and not about the facts -- Erin.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Tom Foreman.
A lot of sound and fury, Mark Preston, signifying what?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That Donald Trump is one angry individual and really when we talk about the White House and we talk about the inner circle and all the disruption and chaos and Donald Trump being angry about it, Donald Trump should look inward because the chaos is being created by him and they're just trying to go out there and clean it up.
At some point, you have to wonder, when are they going to say to themselves, Erin, "Enough, I'm out"?
BURNETT: Well, right, because how many of them, let's just in terms -- I mean, I know you have sources, but also just a gut here, how many of them had any idea he was going to drop that tweet storm over the weekend, right?
PRESTON: Yes. Nobody. And quite frankly, you know, who would ever think that a president of the United States would accuse his predecessor of eavesdropping and he did it on a Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I mean, it's just very strange timing that he would do it at that time and quite frankly use Twitter to make that accusation.
BURNETT: Well, it is stunning, because, you know, we know that he does like to tweet at that hour and drop things at that hour and that's strategic. But he, obviously, what we're hearing he's incredibly angry right now. And when you're angry, you do things in the heat of the moment. It's almost as if somebody told him something right then.
PRESTON: Or -- right, or --
BURNETT: Right? I mean, he felt like slept on it all night and waited. He got on a phone or someone walked in or someone told him something at 6:00 in the morning?
PRESTON: Or he read the Breitbart.com story and said, you know, I'm so mad.
But just so our viewers know at this time, he came off that speech to Congress with good reviews and then the Jeff Sessions situation hit. And then the internal turmoil of him fighting with his staff hit. And I think the anger built up. And by Saturday morning, he wanted to try to turn the page on all the attention on him.
BURNETT: And yet his approval rating within the statistical margin of error seems to actually have ticked up during all this. PRESTON: Well, it did, but it is still within the margin of error.
If you look at our CNN/ORC poll, what I found interesting, Erin, just real quickly, is that the people who are fervent Trump supporters are 11 points shy of people who are anti-Trump supporters.
BURNETT: That's a huge margin.
PRESTON: Yes, that's a huge margin.
BURNETT: All right. Mark, thank you.
And next, Jeanne Moos on Barbra Streisand saying she's abandoned her diet and why she blames Trump.
BURNETT: Tonight, why Barbra Streisand is blaming the president for stress eating and what maple syrup has to do with it.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What does President Trump have to do with Barbra Streisand eating pancakes? The singer sure had great timing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's IHOP's National Pancake Day.
MOOS: When she tweeted, "Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup."
And Babs isn't alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do think I'm doing a lot of stress eating, to be honest. Swear at the TV and have to get the munchies.
MOOS: Trump's supporters were swearing at Streisand and rewriting her lyrics.
STREISAND (singing): The way we were --
MOOS: Became "the weight we were." "And you don't bring me cheesecake anymore."
Streisand has been vehemently anti-Trump, rewriting her own lyrics at a Hillary fund-raiser.
STREISAND: And if by chance, he gets to heaven, even up there he'll declare chapter 11 --
MOOS: And doing a duet with Jimmy Fallon a Trump --
STREISAND: I can do anything better than you --
JIMMY FALLON: No, you can't.
STREISAND: Yes, I can
MOOS: And while Streisand jokes about Trump-induced weight gain, actress Lena Dunham cites the opposite effect.
LENA DUNHAM, ACTRESS: Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food. So --
MOOS: She was responding to Howard Stern saying she looked smaller.
DUNHAM: Try soul crushing pain and you too will lose weight.
MOOS: And though Dunham was joking, there is anxiety in the air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could feel it. My anxiety is like my stomach starts to bubble.
LAUREN BISK, PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we're experiencing Trump fatigue syndrome.
MOOS: Clinical psychologist Lauren Bisk says people thought once the election was over, it would be over. But nope.
BISK: Actually, my practice has picked up since the election.
MOOS: Are you having any symptoms because of the sort of heightened political tension in the air?
UNIDENTIFED MALE: No, just allergies.
MOOS: Guess he doesn't need extra pancakes. But she might.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Anything with pancakes and maple syrup is delicious. I need no excuse at all.
All right. Thanks for joining us. Don't forget you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere on CNN Go.
"AC360" starts right now.