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Rare Joint Appearance By Five Members Of The Most Exclusive Club In The World; Four American Soldiers And All Were Killed In That Fire Fight In Niger; Former FOX News Host, Bill O'Reilly, Settled A Sexual Harassment; President Trump Is Giving His Administration A Ten Out Of Ten For Its Storm Response One Month After Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico; President Trump's Net Worth And It May Put A Dent In This Famous Boast; Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 21, 2017 - 19:00   ET



[19:00:17] PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday. I'm Pamela Brown in for Ana Cabrera. Great to have you along with us.

And just one hour from now, we will witness a rare joint appearance by five members of the most exclusive club in the world. All of the nation's living former Presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. They will reunite at Texas A&M University for a hurricane relief concert to benefit victims in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean.

And this event comes just days after both Obama and the younger Bush blasted the current state of politics under President Trump, breaking the code of silence that former Presidents normally maintain. And particular, it was the comments by Bush warning against bigotry, nativism that left Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to deliver a blistering attack on Bush and call for a Republican revolt.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: President Bush to me embarrassed himself. Speech writer wrote a highfaluting speech. It's clear he didn't understand anything he was talking about. He has no earthly idea whether he is coming or going. Just like it was when he was President of the United States. There's not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's.


BROWN: Well, CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us now live from the White House.

And Boris, do we know if the President was aware Bannon was going to say those things?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Pamela, it is not clear. CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on Bannon's comments, but we have yet to get a response. It is something of this White House has had to talk about before though. You will recall just last week, Bannon was talking about Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell as if he were Julius Caesar and he talked about finding his Brutus. Bannon is at all-out war with the establishment GOP. And that time around, you will remember just on Monday, Trump was here at the White House giving a joint press briefing with McConnell in which he said that Steve Bannon is a friend and that Steve Bannon is doing what he believes is best for the country. Again, those were his comments about McConnell and other Republicans.

This to some degree though is different. It is a vicious attack on a former President in which he questions President George W. Bush's intelligence and whether or not he knew what he was saying in that speech. It is very much keeping in line with the vow that Steve Bannon made when he left the White House. That he would go after anyone who attack President Trump -- Pamela.

BROWN: And Boris, do we know why President Trump won't be at tonight's benefit concert for hurricane relief starting just about an hour from now?

SANCHEZ: We don't have a clear indication as to whether or not there was some strategic thought behind this. So what I can tell you is that the White House put out a statement saying that they were happy to be invited to participate in it because President Trump is going to be featured in about a two-minute video thanking the crowd for their contributions and thanking the Presidents that will be on hand as well. Here's a bit of the video now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we begin to rebuild, some of America's finest public servants are spearheading the one America appeal. Through this effort, all five living former Presidents are playing a tremendous role in helping our fellow citizens recover. To Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance.


SANCHEZ: So certainly the President's presence will be felt at the benefit concert. But the optics perhaps of having him on stage with these former Presidents with whom just in the past week, he has had some awkward exchanges to say the least. That would just be odd for something that's meant for a good cause, Pamela.

BROWN: So to be clear, the President was asked to participate, but we don't know if he was invited to comment personally, correct?

SANCHEZ: Exactly, yes. So he was invited to participate and that's how we wound up with this video message, but it's unclear whether he was invited to be there in person. The White House hasn't clarify.

BROWN: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much.

And to refresh your memory, here's some of what former President Bush and Obama said to public speeches just this week.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our young people need positive role models. Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone. Provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral education of children.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have to win a campaign by dividing people. You are not going to be able to govern them. You won't be able to unite them alter. And that's how you start.


[19:05:12] BROWN: Joining us to discuss, CNN Presidential historian, Tim Naftali and Washington Bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun Times" Lynn Sweet.

Lynn, to you first. The White House has denied that those comments were about President Trump. But do you have any doubt who the former Presidents were referencing?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: These former Presidents, Bush and Obama, know well the context of how this comments would be taken. So they know the context that they are talking in. So there's not much of a doubt that if they did not want to have their comments taken as a reference to Trump, they would not have said what they said the way they did, Pamela.

BROWN: That's a fair point. Or they would have clarified this as particular to Donald Trump.

Context, Tim. Is this normal for past Presidents to criticize the current commander in chief? Just how, was what does this mean?

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's happened in the past. Dwight Eisenhower issued a veiled criticism of John F. Kennedy's domestic policies. George Herbert Walker Bush criticized a little bit of Bill Clinton's foreign policy.

The difference is this. You have both former Presidents from both parties who will continue to be partisan. George W. Bush is campaigning for one gubernatorial candidate in Virginia and Barack Obama is campaigning for the other one. So they haven't given up their interest in their respective parties, but they both have basically said that the White House, they said carefully, the White House is no longer using Presidential language. The White House should be uniting us. Both didn't mention Donald Trump's name. They would have been inappropriate to do that.

BROWN: These were thinly veiled.

NAFTALI: Well, what they were saying is that our country should be moving beyond racism and our country shouldn't turn a back on global interaction. These are great broad concepts, but concepts that both Obama and George W. Bush believe in. They are partisan. They have policy preferences that are different and they continue to be different. But on these broad issue, they have a common idea. They actually share these ideas. And they talked about that.

So that they are saying, they are speaking actually over the head of Donald Trump. They are talking to the American people. They are saying to the American people, don't forget those big ideas that actually united us as Democrats and Republicans. Engagement with the world and moving beyond racism.

BROWN: Globalism, is that it was focused on. I mean, that's what, you know, really what the message was. They just kind of makes you wonder, Bush had been has been very silent, right, up until now. I mean, he hasn't really spoken out like this. Why do you think now?

NAFTALI: Well, because with the exception of a few comments his father made, his father was silent. And there's a sense that former Presidents don't take on the incumbent. I think the fact that George W. Bush said something is very significant. And I don't know, but I have a feeling it may be connected to his sense that the current President is demeaning the office. Don't forget, Donald Trump went after George W. Bush and his family in the primaries, but that was in part because Jeb was a candidate.

BROWN: And he didn't --

NAFTALI: Jeb is no longer a candidate. And the question is, are you going to show respect for the people who in the office before you? You may disagree with them, but they held a burden that only you and they not understand. That's why we called it the President's club. There was a limit on what they were willing to about the predecessors because they knew only a few of them have ever had this experience in modern history.

BROWN: Right.

NAFTALI: Modern memory. And President Trump has decided to leave that aside, to attack his predecessors and they are now stepping up and not attacking him back personally, but saying to the American people, there's a better way to unite the country.

BROWN: And we expect the five past living Presidents to show up on the stage right there on the other side of the screen. You can see people starting to gather there in Texas to raise money for those hurricane victims.

Lynn, I want to bring you back in. There was a moment at the last White House press briefing that sent a chill through newsrooms everywhere. It was the White House's response to a reporter questioning claims made by chief of staff general John Kelly. Listen.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Your reaction, Lynn.

SWEET: Well, Sarah Sanders eventually rolled back from that statement. But what was highly inappropriate was saying to reporters that who they can and cannot ask questions of on the White House staff.

Chief of staff Kelly is a retired four-star general and he thrust himself into a big debate this week by going out into the briefing room a few days ago and saying something that wasn't true. As he was trying to defend President Trump, as he was doing ably Intel, until he made a turn there where he brought in Congresswoman Wilson. And when he said something about her being at an event, that he was saying something that she didn't say and there's videotape to prove it that subsequently came out, I don't think you say that somebody's off just off limits.

And I just wish Sarah hadn't said it the way she did. And I applaud that she did come back and issue a statement that said yes, it is appropriate. I'm paraphrasing, to do questions. And in the sense, a charity here. I want to give her a benefit of the doubt that maybe upon reflection, she realized that you just don't invoke the military as a way to shield herself and any White House staffer from taking questions.

[19:11:09] BROWN: And Tim, in an interview with FOX Business News, President Trump says general Kelly was disgusted that a congresswoman was listening to his call with a gold star family. Let's listen to what he said here.


TRUMP: He was so offended that a woman would be, that somebody would be listening to that call. He was, he actually couldn't believe it. Actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable.


BROWN: Well, as we know, general Kelly was listening in in on the call. What is your reaction to that?

NAFTALI: Well, you know, this is really hard thing. And my reaction is that as a person, first of all, is it's really hard to watch two gold star families disagree, even you know, indirectly. And I think it's just terribly sad. And I think that this was not a good week for our country. And I just feel very badly about it. I feel badly for both families, the Johnson family and the Kelly family.

And I just, I wish that our politics was not such that this kind of thing happens. I also have to say that it saddens me that general Kelly, who deserves our understanding and gratitude and condolences, then took this very strange turn into talking about something that he thought had happened in 2015 -- 2011.

BROWN: 2015.

NAFTALI: 2015. Regarding --

SWEET: Can I jump in and say one other thing.

BROWN: Go ahead, yes.

SWEET: It's so important for the White House to have their facts straight before they say something in this. It was a false accusation to give the impression in any way that Congresswoman Wilson somehow elbowed her way into the phone call. Long-time family friend. She knew the soldier who died. She knew the family. She was in a car going to pick up the body of the slain soldier, OK. She didn't do anything secretly. It should not, those words just are totally wrong to say in the context of how she got the call.

So if we want to just take this whole controversy in a bite sized chunk, it is so important just to get the facts straight, which is very hard for President Trump to do as we well know.

BROWN: Well and you know, look, we all make mistakes. Sometimes, our memories aren't so, aren't always right and this could have been a situation where he just didn't have, you know, have a good recollection which is clear that may have been the case, because the facts didn't line up. But at least come out and say, let me make a correction here, you know. That is something you don't really see the White House. So often, you see them trying to make an untruth a truth.

And you said, Tim, that this has not been a good week in Washington. In your view, how does this compare to sort of other weeks we have seen in the President's first year in office?

NAFTALI: In this - well, I will refresh my memory about how this all started by going back and listening to the press conference, the President's press conference with Mitch McConnell which is where this started. And the President was asked why have you not spoken publicly about the Niger incident?

BROWN: By Sarah Murray.

NAFTALI: He was not - I didn't -he wasn't asked why have you not called the families? Maybe she said it. There was a little cross talking at the end. He then responds defensively. About not, about calling families, and then finds himself talking about his predecessor, going on the offensive, which is very much unfortunately the characteristic of our commander in-chief. When he feels defensive, he goes on offensive. And then that led to understandably real Ambridge, real indignation on the part of Obama lieutenants and Obama staffers and others who were saying that the President who is defensive was going and attacking all his predecessors in regard to how they dealt with the fallen and the families of the fallen.

I mean, that's, you just don't do that. That is truly a secret duty for the commander in-chief. They are representing us and we are thanking those families for the sacrifice of the members of the family. That is -- it's about as important a responsibility as any for a commander in-chief. And for some reason, our President decided to go there and to start to politicize. And that's how it started. And that was the beginning of the week and things got worse.

[19:15:36] BROWN: And you wonder how the President looks at it, you know, as the week wraps up.

Tim, thank you so much. Lynn Sweet, really appreciate it.

SWEET: Thank you.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

BROWN: And coming up on the Saturday mystery surrounding the deadly ambush in Niger, the body of one of the U.S. soldiers who was killed found nearly a mile away from the scene. How did he get there?

Plus, new revelations, new bombshell revelations about former FOX News host Bill O'Reilly and the sexual harassment claims that cost him $32 million. So why then did FOX renew his contract?


[19:20:15] BROWN: In south Florida today, unimaginable sadness and heartbreak for the family of a U.S. soldier killed in combat overseas.


BROWN: This is burial ceremony and final resting place for army Sergeant La David Johnson. You saw there his widow kissing his casket. He was 25 years old. He was killed earlier this month when his unit was ambushed by ISIS in Niger.

And he wasn't the only one. Four American soldiers and all were killed in that fire fight. Two of them members of the army's Special Forces the so-called Green Berets. So far, the Pentagon has released very little information about the events on October 4th when those four American soldiers died in Niger. Officials have said that Sergeant Johnson somehow got separated from his team. His body was recovered two days later about a mile from the ambush site.

Let's get straight our military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby. He is a retired two-star navy admiral and former Pentagon spokesman.

And admiral, nearly your entire military career, you were in public information. Your job was to let the public know what the facts were in cases like this. What is your take on why we know so little about this operation that killed four U.S. soldiers even though it's been 17 days since it happened?

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, a couple of reasons for that, Pamela. First, I think it speaks a little bit to the complexity of the mission itself and what happened and the sort of chaotic frenetic environment that this ambushed caused. And the fact that the military themselves are still trying to do the forensics here and try to get a sense of exactly what happened for their own purposes because the second reason is it's under investigation. And that's not uncommon at all. In fact, that's mandatory when you have a situation like this. You want to fully investigate it. And now that it is being investigated with FBI help, they are not going to be talking about much of it at all.

That said, Pamela, I do think that the Pentagon should have been more forthcoming about some basics much, much sooner. It happened on the 4th of October. I can understand that they waited a couple of days because they didn't have Sergeant Johnson back, but after that, I think they could have been more forthcoming.

I mean, just yesterday as a matter of fact, Africa command put out a press release, a statement basically providing context about the mission in Niger and what it is and what we are doing. And that kind of context would have been important I think for the public to know a couple of weeks ago.

BROWN: Right because a lot of people didn't even know we had U.S. service members in Niger. So you are right. That was important context. And you mentioned the FBI. What do they bring to the table in an investigation like this?

KIRBY: Not at all uncommon for them to get involved in something like this particularly when it has counterterrorism aspects to it. They will bring a lot of counterterrorism expertise to this. This also a lot of great forensic analysis and intelligence analysis as well. So while they don't get involved in every military investigation, something like this certainly makes a lot of sense.

The other thing about their involvement is people need to remember that the counterterrorism effort in Africa is truly an interagency effort and it's been like that for several years, the FBI does have a field personnel in Africa working in concert, not only with the U.S. military, but with local governments. So they are there as well. They have knowledge and expertise. And that would only make perfect sense that they would be involved and helpful.

BROWN: And Senator Graham, Lindsey Graham, says he is not surprised that terrorist violence is spiking in Africa. Here's what he said on Friday.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think most Americans won't to do the following. (INAUDIBLE) and their allies, they want us to deal with it. They don't want another 9/11. We don't want the next 9/11 to come from Niger!


BROWN: So what do you think? Is he right? Are we going to see more anti-ISIS operations in Africa?

KIRBY: Well, we have been seeing them. I mean, this is something the Pentagon has been focused on now for a couple of years. It's not something that just happened. As we squeeze ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we knew they would be looking for safe haven elsewhere in addition to spreading their ideology across Europe into the West. So they have tried to seek safe haven in Afghanistan. We saw them crepe in to Libya. And of course, we know that they would be reaching into sub- Saharan Africa in this hallow region, which is, of course, why we have troops there.

So we are not surprised by this. But I do think the senator hit on something very important and that is that we are going probably have to deal with an expansive presence for them in that part of the world. And I agree that we shouldn't be surprised to see the U.S. military perhaps stepping up efforts against ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliates there in that part of Africa.

[19:25:19] BROWN: And it shows you what happened there with those four service members being killed. How risky these operations are and hopefully, some lessons will be learned.

KIRBY: Absolutely.

BROWN: Admiral John Kirby, thank you very much.

KIRBY: My pleasure.

BROWN: And we will be right back.


[19:30:06] BROWN: $32 million. That's how much CNN has learned former FOX News host, Bill O'Reilly, settled a sexual harassment claim for. It was brought by a FOX News legal analyst who was a regular on his show. "The New York Times" reports the settlement came in January, just one month before FOX resigned O'Reilly for a $25 million a year contract. He was eventually fired in April.

CNN correspondent Jean Casarez and CNN media analyst Bill Carter join us now to discuss.

So Jean, let's start with you. What is O'Reilly saying about this?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a response and we want to show that to everybody.

It says quote "in its latest diatribe against Bill O'Reilly, the Times printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace."

Now, "the New York Times" is reporting, Pam, that it was January of this year that FOX News actually was privy to the threat of a lawsuit by one of their legal analysts, Liz Wiehl. Bill O'Reilly, according to the Times, said to FOX News this is private, personal. I will handle it. It will be confidential. He did. By middle of January, apparently, the deal was done.

FOX News was given a document by Bill O'Reilly's attorney alleging that something happened. There was a deal. There was a settlement. But there was no monetary amount according to the Times who spoke with Bill O'Reilly's attorney of how much it was. So FOX News didn't know it was $32 million as the Times is reporting.

But there's also an affidavit of Liz Wiehl that came out -- Liz Wiehl, came out January 17th. She signed it. She said that she and Bill O'Reilly had been friends for over 18 years. We have worked together. We have socialized together. On occasion, I have given him legal advice and although I did have claimed against him, I now have no claims against him at all.

BROWN: So this was after the settlement.

CASAREZ: Correct.

BROWN: All right. So Bill, to you. O'Reilly and his team say as you heard Jean did say, this is part of a smear campaign to keep him from getting another job. Do you see him getting another primetime gig?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: I mean, you know, who knows in this world because he has a lot of followers and obviously, you know, he's going to make a very big case if this is fake, but it's really interesting he's saying you know, it's false and defamatory. He is not saying what's false. He is not threatening to sue "The New York Times" because I know he wouldn't because discovery would probably kill on this.

But the fact he spent $32 million to settle a case, which by the way, he did not dispute, seems to me to be the evidence you need that something really bad went on between he and this woman and the fact she then doesn't make the claim after receiving $32 million should hardly be surprising to anybody.

BROWN: Right. And how damming is this to FOX in your view that FOX, you know, had a new contract for him just shortly after that?

CARTER: Exactly. Remember, FOX was also in the middle of the entire Roger Aisles scandal. They had all of these other cases of sexual harassment that they were settling for what looks now $100 million. Now here they are with their biggest star that they need to renew and he comes and tells them, well, I do have this sexual harass m thing going on, but I'll set it and they don't ask what happened or what was the basis of this and they let him go ahead and settle it and don't ask for how much. And then turn around and offer him a $25 million a year contract after that. I mean, you know, I can't see anyway that FOX isn't, you know, culpable here in allowing this guy to stay on the air after they knew what he was doing was obviously in lying with what all the other settlements. They have already made against with other women that he had sexual harassment charges with.

BROWN: And Jean, FOX is saying that it put him out in the clause, in the moral clause, of course if you could steps further saying that if there were more allegations, right, that they could fire him.

CASAREZ: Yes, that's an excellent point. Because they say in their statement, 21st century FOX, that in fact, with this new contract that they had, even more than your generic morals clause. That it went to say if there any other allegations at all in regard to you and your impropriety, that we will be able to fire you. And they say that's what they relied on to then let him go later that year.

BROWN: Fascinating.

And Bill, I'm going to play an interview, part of that interview that O'Reilly gave NBC News just last month and get your reaction to it on the other end.



BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: My conscious is clear. What I have done is organized a legal team to get the truth to the American people. Nobody's a perfect person. But I can go to sleep at night very well knowing that I never mistreated anyone on my watch in 42 years.


[19:35:11] BROWN: It just, you know, makes you wonder. You can't help it to wonder how you can, how a confidential, $32 million sexual harassment settlement, you would have a clear conscious. It's hard to know. But you know, you can't look at exactly what the details are because it's private.

CARTER: But remember, not the only case. This guy had another what, six or seven cases brought against him that he had to settle. So, you know, for him to say his conscious is clear, he obviously doesn't have a conscious. He is going passed all these things saying, well, I'm not mistreating these women. They are misinterpreting what I'm doing, you know. He had the previous $9 million settlement with a woman who had taped him making lewd phone calls.

I mean, this is not a guy who can possibly walk away from this without somebody saying this is an outrageous bunch of behavior. And he proved it by settling these cases. If he was innocent, why wouldn't he stand up and fight for it. He says all because of his children and whatever.

Listen, who pays $32 million because of, you know, I want to make sure nobody really uses this as a smear campaign. And that's an insane about of money, really.

BROWN: $32 million.

All right, Bill, Jean, thank you so much.

And coming up on this Saturday, the President gives himself a ten out of ten on the Puerto Rico hurricane response. But with power and clean water still hard to come by, what do people on the ground think?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump says that the government deserves a ten grade for the performance. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)


[19:40:59] BROWN: One month after hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, President Trump is giving his administration a ten out of ten for its storm response. But here's the thing. Roughly three million Americans still don't have power there. Roughly one million don't have clean water. And for many, it seems like the storm just hit yesterday for the level of destruction still plaguing the island.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins me from San Juan where there is also a concern about schools and when they will be able to reopen.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, think about it. Many of the students on this island, most of them U.S. citizen, haven't been in the classroom since September 18th. It is almost five weeks now. Many of the students I spoken to, they are not just bored tonight. They are frustrated. They are growing more anxious by the day and waiting to get back into a classroom again. So they can essentially try to distract themselves from the reality of living on this devastated island.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): This schoolyard should be bustling with activity at the height of the fall semester. Not today. Not since hurricane Maria threatened and later devastated Puerto Rico. Like the Island's other 1100 public schools, the doors to this high school have been closed since September 18th. Today, the only signs of life are on the other end of the campus.

Room 204 serves as (INAUDIBLE) a temporary home. This 52-year-old grandmother of 11 tells me one woman to another, she lost her house and everything in it. Her grandson, (INAUDIBLE) led us up the mountain side to show us what's left of his family's homes.

There isn't much else he can do these days like most of the students on this island. A return to class may provide a welcome escape from reality. He says the first thing he will do when he gets back to class is hug his friends. He doesn't know that will be as long as displaced families like his using schools as shelter, classes can't resume. The department of education announced Friday that some schools would reopen on Tuesday, but teaches at this school say that won't happen here.

We have a lot of work to do, says (INAUDIBLE), a drama teacher, anxious to welcome her high schoolers back to class. While there is optimism, there is no real-time line for when students will walk down these halls again. Even if displaced families are resettled, there are still plenty of obstacles.

Classrooms are in disrepair, roads are nearly impassable because of mudslides and there is still no running water in the town, leaving families to struggle to survive.

Like Rita says, she is staying strong and wants to see her grandchildren back in a classroom. Just not this one.


SANDOVAL: And tonight, at least 74 public schools throughout Puerto Rico are still being used as shelters like you just saw there, Pamela. As for the schools that are expected to open come Tuesday, most are on the west end and here in the city of San Juan.

BROWN: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you for bringing us the latest there from Puerto Rico. Such an important story to continue to follow.

And coming up, a new report on President Trump's net worth and it may put a dent in this famous boast.


TRUMP: I'm really rich. I'll share that next time. By the way, I'm not even saying that in a brag, that's the kind of mindset. That's the kind of thinking you need for this country.




[19:49:09] TRUMP: I'm really rich. I'm very rich. I'm much richer than anybody ever dreamed. Nobody knows how rich I am.


BROWN: All right. So President Trump has a rich vocabulary when it comes to counting his wealth. But according to Forbes magazine, his net worth has actually taken a hit since he took office.

So let's be clear, he is still rich. Last year, it was estimated at $3.7 billion. Now he is down to $3.1 billion. The change means Trump has fallen 92 spot from the Forbes 400 list of richest American to ranked 248th.

The same day the list came out, Trump tweeted this. So much fake news being put in dying magazines and newspapers, fiction writers.

All right, joining me now is Forbes associate editor Dan Alexander to talk about this.

So it seems that the President doesn't like to see him dropping on list. What's behind it? Why has his net worth fallen?

[19:50:03] DAN ALEXANDER, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, FORBES: Well, you know, the biggest this is that the majority of Donald Trump's net worth is wrapped up in New York City real estate. So although he has tentacles in licensing deals and all of that all over the world, most of it still is midtown Manhattan real estate. And that marker right now is struggling. That's a market that is famous for retail. And Amazon has just crushed in retail. That is driving down the wrench (ph) and therefore also the values of the real estate properties in the area in which he has the most.

BROWN: I'm just curious, how long did it take you, to figure this out when it comes to someone like Donald Trump?

ALEXANDER: Yes. And we spent more time on Donald Trump's out of this than anyone else. And that is because Donald Trump is the most important evaluation that do. So for about last two and a half months, you know, I have been going through hundreds and hundreds of pages in documents. And you know, we have spoken to probably every over 80 different sources in golf and the real estate and everything that he touches.

So it is a big endeavor, but in the end, we feel confident with the number.

BROWN: Because you have to figure out how much he owns, how much of a stake he has in each venture and then how much it's worth, right?

ALEXANDER: Yes, that's exactly it. But you have got to figure out what the assets are, how much of each asset he owns and what the assets are worth. One you figure all those out and you could just add them and it is a simple addition problem.

BROWN: And the fact that he isn't release his tax returns that didn't hinder the process?

ALEXANDER: You know, it would be nice to see him, of course. I love this deal. But right now we can still do a very, you know, thorough valuation even without the tax returns. This tell you more about income. And what matters most for net worth is what the assets are.

BROWN: So I understand at Forbes you have something called the Trump rule that has been around for several decades. Explain.

ALEXANDER: Well, so this is sort of an old joke, you know. It's not something we actually do. But decades ago, you know, we used to joke but when Donald Trump would tell us what he is worth then you divide it by three and then you end up about where he is. And so, we always joke about this and say how ridiculous it is. But it is actually funny. You will remember at the beginning of his campaign, he said, you know, I'm worth $10 billion in all caps. And now we have him at $3.1 billion.

So if you do the math, it is really -- it turns out to be not very different than this old rule that we established back in the 80s.

BROWN: Right. There you go. That's actually fascinating. By the way, that's still a lot of money. But we know that the President tweeted. I said this earlier at the beginning of the segment about dying magazines on the same day your story came out. Have you had any direct reaction from the White House?

ALEXANDER: No. We had, you know, a call from Trump organization shortly after it came out. It was really interesting. They wanted to know a couple of particulars about how we had come to calculations on two specific buildings. It just showed that they really do care about this, you I mean. That they were asking very minute details but nothing directly from the White House. We have of course heard from other Trump supporters and people who are against Trump and depending on --

BROWN: Do you they think (INAUDIBLE).


BROWN: So did the Trump organization reached out? Because what they had it something value that as was different than what Forbes said or they just --.

ALEXANDER: So they didn't express any disagreement with the number. They just wanted to reiterate how they got to a certain one. We had spent a lot of time going through everything with them before the numbers came out. And they just wanted to be clear on one of the calculations.

BROWN: Dan Alexander, thanks for doing that for us and coming on the show.

Coming up, Jeanne Moos on the tail of two Renoirs. Trump has one but is it a fake?


[19:57:33] BROWN: And finally this hour, when fake news meets fine art, courtesy of President Trump.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forget about fake news. We are talking about fake art. This is that really a Renoir in the President's Trump tower apartment, visible in the background as Melania didn't an interview.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What annoys him? What he has mad about? What does he like?


MOOS: That's what when Tim O'Brien was writing his the book, "Trump Nation, the art of being the Donald," the Renoir was hanging in Trump's plane.

TRUMP: And I asked him about the painting and Donald said that's an original Renoir. And I said no, it's not, Donald. And he said that's the original. That's an original Renoir. I said, Donald, it's not. I grew up in Chicago. That Renoir is called two sisters on a terrace and it's hanging on a wall at the art institute of Chicago. MOOS: The art institute confirms it's been there since it was donated

by this art collector in 1933. The institute told the "Chicago Tribune." We are satisfied that our now the President's Renoir is being referenced in quotes being called a fake in various languages, the butt of jokes. His is signed by war. So it is all good. Next thing, you know, the painting was popping all over.

Hey, I have one two (INAUDIBLE) at the gift shop in (INAUDIBLE) institute of Chicago. Before the election, two sisters on a terrace hovered over a "60 MINUTES" interview.

TRUMP: He is entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.

MOOS: Their eyes one poster, without a doubt Trump bought a forgery but the master huckster can never admit he was swindled.

Biographer Kimmel Brian had a different take.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He believes his own lies.

MOOS: Remember the bogus magazine discovered on the wall of Trump as golf clubs. Someone tweeted about the painting. Was it hanging next to his fake "Time" magazine cover? It is now. Somebody has been framed!

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


[19:59:44] BROWN: And you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday. I'm Pamela Brown in for Ana Cabrera.

Take a look here. You are looking at some live pictures from Texas A&M where just a few minutes from now we will witness a meeting of the most exclusive club in the world. Any minute now, all five living former Presidents will be on one stage to raise money for hurricane relief. You just saw Barbara Bush there in the video, President Trump will be noticeably absent, though. But he did record a video message that will play during the concert.