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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Rice Declines Request To Testify On Russian Hacking; Comey: "Mildy Nauseous" To Think I Affected Election; FBI Chief Defends Decision To Reveal Clinton Email Probe; Spicer Clashes With Reporters Over Definition Of "Wall"; Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 3, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER HOST: Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, breaking news, Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser takes the stand, refusing a request to testify about Russian meddling in the election. Why? Plus the FBI Director James Comey says he's mildly nauseous that he may have impacted the election. The democrats buy his defense. I'll ask Senator Cory Booker. And stunning new video tonight, the devastating aftermath from the mother of all bombs dropped on ISIS. You'll see it here. Let's go OutFront. And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.
OutFront tonight, the breaking news, CNN learning tonight that Susan Rice, President Obama's national security adviser is refusing a request to testify at a senate hearing on Russian meddling in the election. Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the judiciary committee called Susan Rice to testify. Republicans are eager to speak to her to hear what she has to say. President Trump himself is accused her of likely breaking the law.
His charge that Rice requested the unmasking of Trump associates' names. Trump associates who were caught up in incidental surveillance of Russian officials. He says that she did it in an effort to hurt the Trump campaign. Trump claimed the matter was "a massive story despite having no evidence." Jim Sciutto broke the story. He's OutFront tonight. And Jim, obviously a significant statement from Susan Rice. Why refusing to testify?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I'm told Susan Rice used this as a partisan request. It came from the republican chairman of committee, Lindsey Graham and the ranking democrat on the committee, Sheldon Whitehouse, he actually wrote to Susan Rice and said, I don't agree to this invitation to you to testify because I don't see your testimony as germane to the subjects of the investigation which is Russian hacking in the election.
In fact, I'm told that Susan Rice was going to accept this invitation when she thought it was coming from both democrats and republicans on the committee when she found it was just coming from the republicans, she said, no, listen, this is a partisan request, it is unusual. All the other folks being invited to testify, were invited by both parties and of course the focus for concern is this going to be a diversion. Take it away from Russian interference and focus on the now uncorroborated claims that she made an illegal or unusual request to unmask people related to communications intercepts.
BURNETT: So obviously significant development and we're going to talk about Senator Booker in a moment. I also want to ask though, Jim, The FBI Director, Jim Comey testified today for four hours.
BURNETT: And he repeatedly and passionately defended his decision to go public with the Clinton e-mail investigations just days before the election, right?
SCIUTTO: That's exactly right. And he repeatedly said, he had no regrets. He did say it was a very difficult, he even said painful decision for him personally that he's gone back over again since then many times but each time he does, he says he comes to the same conclusion that he made the right call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
At times defiant, and others reflective, FBI Director James Comey said the idea that his decision to go public with details of the renewed Clinton e-mail probe impacted the election result made him feel nauseous but he has no regrets.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might had some impact on the election but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision.
SCIUTTO: Comey argued that he was battling for the very credibility of the FBI. Saying he doubted the top officials in the Department of Justice could carry up the investigation without the perception of bias.
This even before a highly publicized meeting between then Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on a phoenix tarmac during the height of the campaign.
COMEY: Her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me. And I then said, you know what, the department cannot by itself credibly end this. That was a hard call for me to male, to call the attorney general that morning and say I'm about to go a press conference and I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to say.
SCIUTTO: Pressed by democrats on why he confirm the investigation of Clinton but not a concurrent probe of Trump campaign ties to Russia. Director Comey argued it was a matter of timing, too early for the Trump investigation, not so for the Clintons.
SEN. CHRIS COONS, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Had there been public notice that there was a renewed investigation into both campaigns. I think the impact would have been different. Would you agree?
COMEY: Remember, the Hillary Clinton investigation, we didn't confirm it existed until three months after it started and it started publicly. So I thought the consistent principle would be, we don't confirm the existence of certainly any investigation that involves a U.S. person but a classified investigation in its early stages.
Comey also defended his decision to notify congress on October 28 just the days before the vote, as the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton's email practices after discovery of new emails from long-time Clinton aide Huma Abedin on the computer of her then husband former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
COMEY: Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner including classified information. His then spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him. For him I think the printout for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state.
SCIUTTO: It was that discovery that led Comey to write his now infamous 11th Hour letter to congress.
COMEY: I had to tell congress that we are taking these additional steps. I'd pray to find a third door, I couldn't find it. Two actions speak or conceal. I don't think many reasonable people would do it differently than I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Another topic questioning leaks regarding the Russia investigation. When pressed repeatedly by lawmakers, James Comey said he has never leaked classified information, he has not authorized his staff to leak classified information but when asked if he's investigating leaks from inside the intelligence community, Erin, he would not comment.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim. And OutFront now, the democratic Senator Cory Booker, he sits on the foreign relations committee. And Senator, good to have you with me tonight. I want to start with the breaking news on Susan Rice declining that invitation to testify. There are concerns of course that Rice tried to learn the identities of Trump officials picked up in incidental surveillance during the campaign for political reasons. That's the republican charge. Do you support her decision not to testify?
SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, first of all, Trump makes a lot of wild accusations which you and CNN and other news outlets proven time and time and then they were outright lies. I wish she would come in and testify. Lindsey Graham is generally a straight shooter and I think it would be good to hear her version because I think she would dispel a lot of these lies. But you have to understand anyone who understands the experiences in Rice has had as somebody that's been attacked in a partisan manner for much of her career could understand why she is in a defensive poster and why her lawyers don't want her to become prey to what might be a partisan witch hunt.
So again, I know her, I've known her for years. She is somebody I've known going back years before both of us were involved in Washington. She's an honest person, straight shooter, patriot serving this country. I can understand her position and clearly as someone who believes we should get the truth. I think -- wish she would come in. And the one thing I'll say though, the very important fact is this is why I and so many other people with the gravity of what's happening with the Russian attacks on our country, this is a time congress sets its roll but we should have an independent special counsel investigating this that would have access to interviews with Susan Rice.
BURNETT: So I want to ask you, interesting I think, obviously you make your point, you believe her, but you wish that she would come in and speak her peace, that Lindsey Graham is a straight shooter. I want to ask about Director Comey because I know, senator that you didn't in many ways agree with many of the decisions that he made last fall. He said again and again and again today that when it comes to that 11th-hour Clinton investigation announcement, he would do it all over again. Let me just play again a couple of quick clips.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have some impact on the election but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. I pray to find a third door. I couldn't find it. Two actions. Speak or conceal. I don't think many reasonable people would do it differently than I did no matter what they say today --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator, he says reasonable people would have done the same thing as he did. Are you what Director Comey would you call a reasonable person?
BOOKER: So first of all, Director Comey is just flat wrong and what he did to me is agrigious. He himself talks about his being nauseated. He interfered with an election at a time where all he had to do was take the extra step which would've take him a handful of base to actually see if there's anything substantive in those emails and if he found something, then notify congress. He is just dead wrong in this case. He knows he's wrong. I'm glad that he feels sick to his stomach but reality is is he did something that was uncalled for, unnecessary, and ultimately influenced in American election in a way that was highly inappropriate for the FBI.
BURNETT: So when you hear him there say he prayed to find a third door, it was incredibly painful, he felt nauseous, those are all the words that he used. Do you believe him?
BOOKER: Look, again, I have respect for him in many ways, many areas, things I have agreed with him on but I'll tell you, in this case what he did was to me unacceptable. It should be outrageous, anybody, democrat or republican to have in the final moments of a presidential election, no party should be welcoming this standard that he just set based on no concrete evidence. He hadn't found anything. He hadn't found a smoking gun. He was in the midst of an investigation. He should've gone further in a private investigation. What he did was unacceptable. It should be unacceptable to all of us to allow an FBI director to interfere in an American election in the way he did it was just dead wrong.
BURNETT: So do you think he should step down or be removed? Obviously, he's now in the middle of a 10-year term here but from what you're saying, the words you're using, seems like a fair question for you.
BOOKER: Again, I'm not -- I'm not going to make any conclusion about that at all. I wish he would come clean and be clear that he did not have to do this. He could have continued the investigation. By the way, if he did find something that ultimately he did, ultimately those proved to be not relative to the investigation, but if he did find something, I would want him to come forward but he had nothing, nothing at that point but more investigatory work to do. So this is outrageous that he is defending himself in this manner.
I wish in fact, I think (INAUDIBLE) hey, look, I made a judgment call, I was wrong in hindsight." It makes me nauseated as he said but we're going to move forward. We have an important work to do in our country. At least he could've given us the understanding that this was not going to be a precedent setting moment in American history where an FBI agent in a reckless manner could interfere in an American election the way that this happened. It's just -- to me it's -- I really, it's almost the stuff of science fiction that this could happen in this day and age.
BURNETT: But you won't go so far as to say as a result of that that you should step down? You would still think someone you're saying all those things about could remain as director of the FBI?
BOOKER: Look, he should be held account. There should be accountability for this, what that is, I don't know but this is a person that's not taking responsibility for their action and not owning up to the mistake that they made and that's unfortunate. He should be held to account.
BURNETT: He also talked today, senator about Russia's medaling in U.S. politics and he says that that is still going on. He wouldn't talk obviously specifically about the Russian investigation because it's ongoing but here is what he said about the medaling in the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, SENATOR, SOUTH CAROLINA: Is it fair to say that the Russian government is still involved in American politics?
GRAHAM: Is it fair to say we need to stop them from doing this?
COMEY. Yes, fair to say.
GRAHAM: Do you agree with me the only way they're going to stop is for them to pay a price for interfering into our political process?
COMEY: I think that's a fair statement. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Senator, do you think the Trump administration will try to stop Russia from doing this or not?
BOOKER: Well, so this is the difference between what we were talking about before. His mistake and his medaling is one thing but when you have a foreign nation who has virtually, quite literally attacked our electoral process where there's no question to that, where you have our independent investigatory agencies confirming that. And for the President of the United States to be so dismissive that he has complained more in the last month about Nordstroms that he has about the Russians. That is outrageous.
And what we need to understand, democrat and republican are independent. Is this is foreign nation that has attacked us and is as reported to the today continuing to do such activity and determined to do it more, in fact more emboldened in it. If we don't check this, if we don't respond, if we don't take action and take this seriously it's going to continue to happen and what I know from my briefings and my engagement is they're getting more and more sophisticated at about their ability to undermine our election and not just our election.
You can go from the (INAUDIBLE) states to western Europe, they are becoming -- they can't ever match us tank for tank, they can't match us aircraft carrier for aircraft carrier. So what they're doing right now is finding other insidious means with which to undermine the strength of our democracy and very frankly, the values for which we stand.
BURNETT: OK, Senator Booker. Thank you so very much.
BOOKER: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: And next, when is a wall just a fence. White House Spokesman Sean Spencer -- Sean Spicer, I'm sorry, has an explanation you've got to hear. Plus, new video showing the spot where the mother of all bombs detonated, the biggest nonnuclear bomb dropped since Hiroshima. You will see what happened in this new video. And Jeanne Moos on why Trump is always talking about himself in the third person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Trump was able to get them to give something, I don't know what the hell it was but it doesn't matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: New tonight, the White House push9ing back hard tonight insisting it is building a wall. In a dramatic moment, the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer clashed with a Breitbart reporter over whether the president can build a wall right now even though democrats say that he can't because there's actually no money in the bill for his key campaign promise. Watch for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE SPIERING, BREITBART REPORTER: Why is the government's focus so much on existing border security measures than have been fighting for the wall that he promised that -- to build?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is the kind of barrier that exists throughout the country. You see a place where cars can literally create little things and drive over. We've got places can get burrowed under, that one they've cut through and to replace this with 20-foot-high Bollard wall will protect our country, something that the DHS has designated the most effective way to do this. So that's what we got out of this bill.
SPIERING: Are those photos fences or walls?
SPICER: That is called a Bollard wall. That is called a levee wall.
SPIERING: So that's the wall that --
SPICER: No, no, no, just -- no, no, there are various types of walls that can be built. Under the legislation that was just passed it allows us to do. As we have mentioned, that is called a levee wall on the left, that is called a Bollard wall.
SPIERING: -- levee wall?
SPIERING: So that's not a wall. It's a levee wall?
SPICER: That's what it's actually called -- that's the name of it. It is called --
SPIERING: But it's build for fencing, not a wall.
SPICER: No, no. In this current bill it allows us to do the following. What we've done is taken the tools that we have to replace and if you look at that one in particular, you've got a chain link fence is what -- is currently at our southern border. That is literally down there now. We are able to go in there and instead of having a chain link fence replace it with that bollard wall. That -- that's what it is.
JIM: But it's not the wall the president promised though.
SPICER: That is -- no, no, hold on. Hold on Jim, I want to take turns but just to be clear because Charlie asked the same thing, so I'll give you a little help on this one. That this is the 2017 budget. The president -- this is a down payment on what the president is going to prioritize in the 2018 budget that starts October 1st.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So you had to see it for yourself. Jason Carroll's OutFront at the White House. And Jason, the White House, you heard Sean, they're going to be able to build this wall even though democrat say that the budget deal doesn't allow them to do it.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, look, this isn't it, not yet. I know Spicer was saying this is a down payment. There's a lot of argument on that front. Look, they're making a lot of effort to show, look at this picture, look at that picture, look at this great big glorious wall that's being built but at the end of the day this is not the wall that Donald Trump had so talked about so much about during the campaign. You know, the big wall that would eventually perhaps, it would be so big it would have his name on it.
The administration did not get the funding this budget go around for that wall. What they did, they got money for border security, some $300 million and so what that allows them to do is maintain existing barriers that are already down there on the border. So let's say there is a fence that's falling down or part of a wall that has a hole in it that needs to be mended, they have the funding to fix that. What they do not have is the some $12 billion that this president wanted and that's some of the estimates, $10 to $12 billion to build this wall.
That's not what the president got this go around. Perhaps he'll get that in September when they go again and try to do it -- and try to get another budget. They didn't get it this time. Perhaps they'll get it next time. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jason. OutFront now, Chris Cillizza our Editor-at-Large, Jeff Zeleny, Senior White House Correspondent and David Chalian, our Politics Director. OK. So -- one interesting thing that came out of this is I mean, they're obviously not able to build a new wall. But they're trying to say when there's a hole in the wall or someone goes over the wall or under the wall or whatever, OK, that they can replace it with something much more stalwart. Right? Like, we could basically put up a real wall where there's not a real wall now but now a new wall?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And never mind the fact that nowhere in Sean Spicer's, you know, extraordinary statement said -- was he saying that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. I guess we will table that for now.
ZELENY: Because the reality here is in the short-term spending agreement that was approved this week to keep the government open, the White House totally caved on this, so the government wouldn't shut down. So there is $321 million more for border fencing and yes, that will help in some respects but this does nothing to actually build the wall but the reason that the president is so adamant about this. The last couple of days he's been furious, I'm told, about the press coverage of this.
They are trying to say, "Look, we are going to build it," he is still intend not building in it but he is now in a fight with himself and conservatives on this. Not even democrats. Democrats are, sort of, on the sidelines watching all of this.
BURNETT: Right. I mean, because they didn't care what the question was -- I mean, he had a whole bunch of pictures of fences, which by the way I'm going to get because this is very important, everyone. Fence versus wall actually is not a semantical issue here. It's important. But he came ready with all this.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes.
BURNETT: No matter what they asked he was going to do this.
CILLIZZA: And this is by the way is day two.
CILLIZZA: The Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget Director had the exact same thing. Look, here is what it is now and here is the fortification that will be there later. This is bad spin. It just is. The reality of the situation, suggest point, Donald Trump said a week and a half ago, "I need $1.4 billion as a down payment on the wall." Congress, including deficit hawks on the republican side said no. Donald Trump maybe calculation I would say rightly that government shutdown is much more disastrous than giving in on this for the moment and they gave in. I think that's actually smart politics.
CILLIZZA: But Donald Trump doesn't like to lose and so Donald Trump wants to find a way that he can win. So you say, see, this (INAUDIBLE) we're going to put up a really big steel fence.
BURNETT: A bollard wall. Right.
CILLIZZA: It's -- it is -- this is not the wall, this is a wall.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Chris, that begs the question, though.
CHALIAN: Donald Trump does love a win, so take the win that you didn't shut down the government. That is something you could sell as a political win. That was clearly his priority. And I don't know -- I don't understand why he isn't touting that. There's no knowledge in politics. When you're explaining, you're losing. And that's exactly what Trump and Spicer was doing today. He was -- he was simply explaining and the problem is, he now is in some nuanced land for funding that doesn't exist as about a wall or a bollard fence or a hole in the fence that you can drive a car, whatever it is. He is now trying to explain nuance because the simplicity of Donald Trump's promise is actually not attainable.
CHALIAN: Just I'm going to build a wall across the southern border and I'm going to have Mexico pay for it. BURNETT: Yes.
CHALIAN: The most popular line in this campaign rallies, but that's not the reality of government.
BURNETT: And here is the thing, on this issue of wall and fence, OK, because Sean Spicer and you -- everyone saw the reporters and some people watching, they go, "Well, why would the reporters being so petty about wall or fence?" Here is why, OK? Because the president is the one who cares about this distinction. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The fence. It's not a fence. It's a wall. You just misreported it. We're going to build a wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. So the word fence matters to him. And some of those pictures and the reporters were pushing because they, sort of, look like fences. You heard Sean Spicer said, "That's a bollard wall," but we actually looked at the press release from the Customs Border Control and Department of Homeland Security when they talked about this, they call it a bollard fence, not a bollard wall, but this word clearly matters to them. That's what I'm saying. They don't want to call it a fence.
ZELENY: Because the president, then candidate started calling it a wall on the campaign. I mean, I don't know if he really, you know, is that hard pressed, whatever they built but he called it a wall, so now he wants to call it a wall. The reality is though, I mean, this is one of the things his supporters really wanted. I mean, I was at -- a ton of his rallies last year and that got that applause line, so he probably a lot to change in his (INAUDIBLE) here on -- in the difference of a fence and a wall but as we speak about this, there is a group at the -- in the Homeland Security Office who are already, sort of, you know, working on building this. They don't have the money for it yet but they are planning it here.
ZELENY: Another problem, there is -- there is so many problems. A lot of land, you know, is owned by private owners. We could go on for hour about the issue of building this wall, but the president wants it.
CILLIZZA: Look, breaking news, I think it is unlikely Mexico winds up paying for the wall, you know. And so now the question is that means the U.S. government has to find a way to pay for it, if it's going to through with Jeff, you're very skeptical of that. Republicans built their messaging for the last 25 years on being fiscally conservative. We want to shrink the amount of government spending. All of a sudden we're talking about $15, conservatively $15 billion to build a wall that logistically suggest point, may not even be able to be built.
To me, this is small potatoes compared to the big question. Where does the money come from? Do house republicans abandon the idea that we want to shrink the deficit, interesting, OK, well, we're going to build the wall. Mexico will theoretically and a fantasy will pay us back.
BURNETT: Which is -- but also what's amazing about this is when it wasn't a real thing to discuss. Most republicans said -- would say they were for the wall. That was something you look at the candidates, everybody is for the wall.
CILLIZZA: Well, except the republicans on the hill not --
CHALIAN: Republican voters have just said, totally wanted this and believed that Trump's voters were totally invested in this, but if you talk to republican members on the hill during the campaign and democrats, they all took it as silliness. They just didn't think it was a reality and now that he's president and trying to make it a governing reality, they're part in the expression, up against the wall.
BURNETT: We'll leave it there. Offence.
CILLIZZA: It's a bollard fence, David.
BURNETT: OutFront next, breaking news. We're just learning, house republicans are going to hold a vote on the health care bill. We have the exact date. (INAUDIBLE) the vote? And Ivanka Trump's new book already facing backlash. Why? Some of the people shes' quoting are fighting back.
[19:30:44] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, House Republicans just announcing they will vote on a health care bill and that vote is tomorrow. This is according to two GOP aides.
The House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling reporters that Republicans have the votes. The number, 216.
Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT.
And, Phil, obviously, a huge development here. They're actually going to bring this to a vote. Majority Leader McCarthy, they've got the votes to pass it. Is this now a sure thing?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, emerging from the speaker's office just a few short minutes ago, Erin, to tell reporters that they had decided they were going to move forward.
Look, leadership has been unequivocal about this. They were not going to bring this bill to the House floor until they knew they had the votes to pass it. Obviously, very painful reminders of what's happened over the course of the last six, seven weeks when they've scheduled four votes and pulled them off, and ended up not being able to get there. So, this is an indication, at least according to the everything I'm
being told right now that they are there, they are right on the edge. But I do think it's important to note, Erin, that throughout the course of this day, this full-court press we've seen, President Trump, Vice President Pence, all of the leaders working member to member to member trying to get them to this point, they are not very clearly over the 216 number they maybe get to.
If they are there, they are right on the edge right now. But as you noted, the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying they're there, saying they have the votes and saying tomorrow is the day to actually get this done.
BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you very much.
I want to go straight now to Republican congressman from Texas, Michael Burgess. He met with President Trump today on that healthcare bill.
You're a doctor, obviously, sir, and I know you chair the subcommittee on health for energy. Thank you for being with me. So, let's just start with this breaking news.
REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R-TX), MET WITH TRUMP THIS MORNING ON HEALTH CARE: Thanks for having me on.
BURNETT: You heard -- you heard Phil Mattingly. Obviously, you all think you've got the votes. You're going to bring this to the floor tomorrow. But you're right on the edge. Obviously, there have been other times. We all know, of course, in March, and many times since, it's been close, but it has failed.
Why is this different? Is it going to pass?
BURGESS: Well, I learned the same as you did, and had just as I was sitting here getting for your -- getting ready for your show, I got the e-mail that we'll be going into the Rules Committee in about an hour's time. So, that's a pretty good sign. If we're going to rules, that we're going to vote on an amendment in Rules Committee tonight, and it will be on the floor tomorrow.
I agree with you, I do not think the leadership would bring this forward if they were not certain of success.
BURNETT: So, how certain are you? I mean, you know, you were in the room with President Trump today. There were five of you, including him. And he -- two of your colleagues were no votes and they've turned into yes votes. That's the reason this can now go to the floor.
What did he say to turn this?
BURGESS: Correct. And the amendment that was put forward by former Chairman Upton, Fred Upton of Michigan and Billy Long of Missouri was to provide additional protections for people who in the individual market, who had not kept continuous coverage on their insurance who were felt to be at risk because of the MacArthur Amendment that would have allowed states to opt out of some of the insurance regulations, this segment of the population, although narrow, we're certainly sympathetic.
And both Chairman Upton and Mr. Long of Missouri felt very strongly that there ought to be additional protections for this group. They felt the best way to do that --
BURNETT: And was the president convincing? I mean, did you get the feeling that this is a guy who can make a deal or --
BURGESS: Oh, yeah, very much so because -- I will be honest with you. Originally, the president was -- we're through adding amendments. I'm sure he's as frustrated as many of us are. Remember, I was on the authorizing committee that spent 28 hours marking this bill up a month ago. I thought we had a pretty good product when he concluded that night.
So, there are days that I've been discouraged that things seem to change along the way. And I think the president had some of that same frustration this morning. But he listened to what these two members brought to him, the idea that was presented. And he felt it was definite with everything that the president had said about wanting to protect people with preexisting conditions.
BURNETT: So --
BURGESS: And again, we are talking about a very narrow segment of the individual market and peoples who's -- who did not keep continuous coverage, who might then be at risk in a state that was granted a waiver out of some of these insurance provisions.
[19:35:01] So, it is a small but very sympathetic part of the population and the president was sensitive to that.
For that, I appreciate it. I think he listened.
BURNETT: So --
BURGESS: We talked to him for a long time. It was about an hour's visit that we had there in the overall office.
BURGESS: He was genuinely curious about why these two members felt so strongly about this amendment. And I think at the end of that discussion, we all agreed that this was something with which we could move forward.
BURGESS: Other groups had already signaled their support, and so, there you are.
BURNETT: On this issue though of preexisting conditions, I have a couple of things I want to ask you about it. BURGESS: Sure.
BURNETT: Because I know you're talking about it being a small part of the population and it may be, but these are people -- we heard Jimmy Kimmel talking the other night.
BURNETT: Right? About his son. I mean, these are heart-breaking situations.
BURNETT: And under Obamacare, people with preexisting conditions are guaranteed coverage as the same rate as everyone else. That is hugely expensive, no matter how small that segment of the population might be. That's why the GOP originally took it out of the bill, right? Now, you got --
BURGESS: No, no, no. I beg your pardon. It is in the bill that passed through our committee, the authorizing committee that provided the replace -- repeal and replace --
BURNETT: The bill we have right now, this is the amendment that Mr. Upton cared so deeply about, right?
BURGESS: There is an amendment that would allow --
BURNETT: Getting more money for preexisting conditions. But what I want to ask you about is this $8 billion. No one seen -- the estimates out there still show people with preexisting conditions could pay a whole lot more money for health care even with the $8 billion. The press secretary today, Sean Spicer, wasn't able to say, to promise and guarantee those people wouldn't pay more.
Is that still the reality that people with preexisting conditions are going to still pay a whole lot more under this new bill?
BURGESS: Again, you were talking about a very narrow segment of the market. There's no -- no one even knows at this point if any state will ask for the waiver. No one knows if the secretary of Health and Human Services will grant that waiver.
But in the event that it does happen -- and there were some members who felt strongly that the states needed the flexibility of being able to have this waiver -- that's what encouraged them to be for the bill along the way. And this was an additional protection that was layered in, that Chairman Upton and Mr. Long brought to the president. He agreed with them that this protection was a good philosophical approach.
The actual -- some of the actuarial reports that we have seen showed a very -- that this will more than cover the number of people who might be involved. And this is money that is available, $8 billion over the next five years, one billion each year for the first two years, two billion every year after that to a total of five years. This is felt to be adequate protection.
And again, these are people who, after a year's time, it's not like they'll have this status indefinitely. After a year's time of paying the premium for which they get help, then they've been in continuous coverage, then they are back in the pool. Then it no longer is a problem. So, it is not indefinite open arrangements that it was in years passed.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
And obviously, as we can report, that is now -- the congressman going into the rules committee tonight for that amendment and going to the floor tomorrow for a vote.
OUTFRONT next, Ivanka Trump's confession. She was too busy during the election to get massages or to meditate.
And new video tonight, the impact of the Mother of All Bombs dropped on ISIS. We'll show you exactly what it looked like in the aftermath of the most powerful bomb dropped since Hiroshima.
[19:42:20] BURNETT: New tonight, the backlash against Ivanka Trump's new book building, a number of people profiled in the book are now taking the president's daughter to task, distancing themselves from the title, which is "Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success".
This includes famed researcher Jane Goodall and spiritual leader Deepak Chopra.
OUTFRONT, Amanda Carpenter, former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, and Erin Elmore, who worked for Ivanka Trump during the campaign.
Erin, let me start with you. There are 208 names cited in this book. She has a lot of inspirational quotes from different people, from Oprah, to Gandhi, obviously including Jane Goodall, Deepak Chopra. Not everyone is happy. I mean, one of the women quoted, the founder and chief executive of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, tweeted, "Ivanka Trump don't use my story on 'Women Who Work' unless you're going to stop being complicit."
ERIN ELMORE, WORKED WITH IVANKA TRUMP DURING CAMPAIGN: I mean, first of all, she has The Voice to talk to 40,000 young girls with her organization. Shame on her. Is that the message that she wants to send to youth of America, hey, if we don't agree with everything another woman says, let's bully them on Twitter. Hey, every young woman, we should also have the exact same point of view. She really is stepping on the face of feminism. BURNETT: Amanda?
AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ (R): Well, if Ivanka Trump wants to use her own voice, she shouldn't steal other people's stories and use their words without at least running it by them. Listen, she's getting a lot of criticism and I think a lot of this might not even be her fault.
This is a really bad book rollout. Number one, you run stories by very famous people when you're going to use their stories, use their quotes, to make sure they don't blindside you in the press. Number two, you make sure the initial reviews are good. Her reviews, she's being savaged by -- coming off as a light weight and a poser for working women because she really doesn't understand the struggles that most working moms have.
But moreover, and this is I think the biggest problem with the rollout, she's not in a position to respond. Why do you write a book, put it out when you can't do a press tour? They should have put this whole thing on pause. She should have re-evaluated her message and just take a pause if she wants to be a presidential advisor because now, she's being savaged and can't do anything about it. It's the worst of every world possible.
BURNETT: So, Erin, let me ask you, because some of the reviews are scathing. I think we all know that, right? You know, "Slate" said it's great for women with full time household help. "The New York Daily News," obviously not a fan of Trump, though, was less scathing. They wrote, "An earnest, if sometimes unrelatable, treatise on work- life balance, motherhood and workplace empowerment."
Erin, some of the lines that are upsetting people, that are causing some of this consternation. We're all familiar with. But let me just read one to the viewer.
Ivanka writes, "During extremely high capacity times, like during the campaign, I went into survival mode. I worked, I was with my family. I didn't do much else. Honestly, I wasn't treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care. I wish I could have woken early to meditate for 20 minutes."
Do you see a problem in a paragraph like that, Erin, or no?
ELMORE: In a 210-soemthing-page book, I guess we can pick a part, a paragraph or two, and say it's not our favorite. Meditation in and of itself has nothing to do with affluence. It's culture -- in Hinduism and Buddhism, it's actually tied to a lack of affluence.
Yes, we've read about nannies and all of that, but to be honest, whether you're a working mom that's a waitress, or a billionaire, to be criticized for having help is just so wrong, because honestly, if you're at work, someone has to watch your children. And as a working mom myself, I know you're never in the position where you feel that you can do everything for everyone. So, moms already feel the guilt. Let's not double down on the guilt and dump it on Ivanka Trump. CARPENTER: Yes. But when I read that passage, you know, I have a lot
of friends that work in presidential campaigns, there wasn't a time for massage. They were working all the time. And to me, that shows the double standard that she kind of has in her position in the campaign, her position in the government.
I mean, let alone take away the expensiveness of a massage, like most working people who don't have the money, let alone time.
CARPENTER: Hundreds of dollars. But the campaign staffers I know, they barely had time to get clean clothes. They weren't sleeping, period. And so, heck, maybe I should have worked on the Trump campaign at sometime if there's a typical staffer can get massages and its' a bad week if you don't.
ELMORE: Wait, didn't she say she couldn't get a massage? That's what I took out of that, that she didn't have time for the massage. So, hey, I don't --
CARPENTER: Yes, but previously --
ELMORE: I mean, that's the sacrifice we're going to campaign.
CARPENTER: Other staffers are working a lot harder than she did. But this gets to the idea of why this is a bad issue for her.
ELMORE: That's (INAUDIBLE).
CARPENTER: She does not relate to the issues of working women. She does not understand the struggles that they go through. When her idea of a sacrifice is not getting a massage that week when most women are trying to squeeze in e-mails between diaper changes and all the rest, it's just out of touch and that's the whole program with her entire initiative.
ELMORE: Well, I spent several days in swing state of Pennsylvania. On one day, we arrived at around 6:30 in the morning and left around 10:00 tonight. She was not with her children, she was on the phone the entire day. She told me that when she got home, she was going to make a birthday cake for her daughter.
CARPENTER: Great! That's awesome. Great.
ELMORE: She's hands on and she's also a mom that does a lot for her children.
CARPENTER: Listen, I'm not out --
ELMORE: She is working hard. Thank you.
CARPENTER: Listen, I don't think this entire bad rollout is her fault. She shouldn't have put the book out at this time. Somebody should have vetted it. There are red flags all over this thing that is going to damage her brand long term. I hope for the sake of her career, she takes a break, re-evaluate and understand why this continues not to work for her.
BURNETT: I'll give you the last word since Erin had the first. Thanks to both of you.
By the way, if the standard is making your own cake, I don't even know where to start. I think it's perfectly fine to buy it.
ELMORE: Just a piece of the puzzle. Just a piece of the puzzle.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.
And next, the first up close look at the destruction caused by the Mother of All Bombs that America dropped on ISIS. We're going to show you the first footage of what actually happened.
Donald Trump's obsession with -- well, saying his own name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks? That's called an asset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:51:47] BURNETT: New tonight: incredible access to the site where the Trump administration dropped what's called the Mother of All Bombs in Afghanistan. Just how much damage did that do? Here's new footage with Barbara Starr.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: From the air, it looked almost like a mushroom cloud. Massive destruction on the ground now visible from the Mother of All Bombs that was used against ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, caves and tunnels torn apart, among the rubble and shattered trees. The target, dozens of terrorists hiding in this remote Afghan mountain valley in Nangarhar province.
Afghan national police looking at the rubble, including their stray weapon filmed this just days ago. U.S. troops tried to land here, but still came under fire two weeks after the U.S. for the first time used it's largest nonnuclear bomb in combat.
GEN. JOHN NICHOLSON, U.S. ARMY: This munition, this weapon, was the right weapon against this target. STARR: Nearly 100 ISIS fighters were killed by the MOAB strike,
according to the Afghan government. The U.S. believes there still may be more than 600 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, but it's determined to get them out of this area.
NICHOLSON: Since they arrived in southern Nangarhar, ISIS K has dragged elders out of their homes and beheaded them in front of their families.
STARR: Even today, ISIS claims responsibility for a convoy attack in Kabul that injured three more U.S. troops and killed Afghan civilians.
Two weeks after dropping the MOAB bomb, two platoons of army rangers, about 50 troops, flew 3 1/2 miles south of the airstrike to attack a series of compounds where the leader of ISIS in Afghanistan was suspected of hiding. On a nearly moonless night, the mission turned deadly for Americans almost instantly.
As the helicopters landed, a firefight broke out, two Army rangers were killed in what the U.S. now believed was an inadvertent friendly fire incident. The remains of Sergeant Joshua Roberts and Cameron Thomas returned to their families. A full investigation now under way on how it happened.
MOOS: Back in those mountains, the U.S. is pushing ISIS fighters southward toward Taliban-held areas and the groups are getting into firefights between themselves. U.S. official says, that's just fine -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Barbara. Thank you.
And next, Jeanne Moos on Donald Trump and what he has in common with Elmo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELMO: Elmo wants to know, how can Elmo find out?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:57:55] BURNETT: Ever notice Donald Trump talks about himself in the third person a lot?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's first when it comes to the third person.
TRUMP: Nobody would be tougher on ISIS than Donald Trump. MOOS: And this week, he did it in a tweet. That's Trump himself
tweeting, "Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?" Which prompted author J.K. Rowling to poke the president, "I wonder whether Trump talks to Trumpself in the third Trumpperson when Trump's alone?"
TRUMP: If Putin likes Donald Trump.
You wouldn't even be hearing about the word "immigration" if it wasn't for Donald Trump.
Trump was able to get him to give something. I don't know what the hell it was, but it doesn't matter.
MOOS: This is a man who tweeted, "Congratulations Donald" on his own "Apprentice" ratings. He said, "Thanks Donald" when consumer confidence went up.
But Donald doesn't have a monopoly on thanking himself.
Remember this guy?
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: Thanks, Obama.
MOOS: Thanking himself for lower gas prices.
You know, there's actually a technical term for this.
Psychologist Kevin Volkan has two theories for President Trump's use of the third person --
KEVIN VOLKAN, PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR, CAL STATE-CHANNEL ISLANDS: I think he's branding himself, which, you know, of course, he's very good at and I think he does that almost unconsciously, and I think also this could be, you know, indicative of narcissism, where, you know, you're constantly referring to yourself.
TRUMP: No side tracks, Donald, nice and easy.
VOLKAN: You want the world to revolve around you.
MOOS: Psychologists say toddlers are often illeist, before they fully grasp the concept of I and me, like Elmo.
ELMO: Now, Elmo has a question for you.
MOOS: Tweeted one Trump critic, he gives third person talkers like Cookie Monster a bad name.
COOKIE MONSTER: So, Cookie Monster alive.
MOOS: Forget cookies, the president likes his own name in his mouth.
TRUMP: Donald Trump, Donald Trump. Donald. Donald Trump.
COOKIE MONSTER: Cookie Monster.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
TRUMP: Stay on point, Donald. Stay on point.
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us. Anderson is next.