Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

CNN Exclusive; Undisclosed E-Mails Show Follow-Up After Don Jr. Meeting With Russians At Trump Tower; FBI Director Defends Agency After Trump's Attacks; Rep. Trent Franks To Resign, Says He Discussed Surrogacy With Two Female Staffers. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired December 7, 2017 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[19:00:01] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- that critically important day and for all of them who saved the world during World War II. That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.

KATE BOLDUAN, OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, breaking news. New evidence showing there was follow-up communication about the Trump Tower meeting, despite Donald Trump Jr.'s public statements to the contrary. What really happens behind closed doors?

Plus, another member of Congress, Trent Franks announcing tonight he is resigning. What he admit to discussing with two female staffers that made them feel uncomfortable.

And Al Franken says stepping down, what Republicans do now about Roy Moore. Let's go OutFront.

Good evening, I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, breaking news. Exclusive new CNN reporting raising questions about the Donald Trump Jr. meeting at Trump Tower. CNN has learned that there were multiple e-mails following up on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting from the British publicist who set up the meeting.

Trump Jr. has said that he did not follow-up on that controversial meeting, but now we are learning someone did. Rob Goldstone, the publicist who arranged that meeting sent a follow-up e-mails to another meeting participant and the member of Trump's inner circle.

Multiple sources tell CNN, in one e-mail dated June 14, 2016, that's five days after the Trump Tower meeting, Goldstone forwarded a CNN story on Russia's hacking of DNC e-mails to his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting along with Trump Jr. of course. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort describing the news in the e-mail as eerily weird, given what they discussed at Trump Tower.

But another sources participants have said DNC hacking was not brought up at the meeting, which brings us to a central question, once again. What exactly was discussed at that Trump Tower meeting? Trump Jr. has four months contended that after being promised he'd get dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, which actually means sanctions.

And he also insisted, there was no follow-up to the meeting. Here is Trump Jr. after the fact referring to that British publicist, Rob Goldstone who arranged it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There wasn't really follow-up because there was nothing there to follow-up. You know, as we were walking out, he said, listen, I'm sorry for that. I think what happened, he sort of do stuff, he built up.

There was some puffery to the e-mail, perhaps to get the meeting, to make it happen. And, you know, in the end, there was probably some bait and switch about what it was really supposed to be about. And so, you know, there is nothing there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: There's nothing there. This news comes a day after Trump Jr. testified for some seven hours before the house Intelligence Committee. He told lawmakers he did not talk to his father directly about how to respond to the news reports of the Trump Tower meeting.

Instead, he says he spoke with top Trump aide Hope Hicks who is almost always by in the Presidents side. And Trump Jr. also claimed attorney-client privilege on those conversations with his father.

Congresswoman, Jackie Speier who was on the committee of course and was act yesterday's meeting with Don Jr. told Erin Burnett, the President's son had a lot of trouble answering a number of questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: He has a very serious case of amnesia and he was pretty nonresponsive on a lot of issues that, frankly, you would have a recollection of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So those follow-up e-mails raised during Don Jr.'s interview were discovered by congressional investigators. None of them were sent directly to Trump Jr.

Manu Raju is OutFront tonight on Capitol Hill. Manu, another amazing wrinkle, this appears to contradict what Trump Jr. has said in public.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, no question about it. The message in public all along has been -- that this has been a meeting that was primarily focused on Russian adoptions and afterward, there was going nothing to it. There was no follow-up. No communications after that.

But we do now know from our reporting that there were e-mails sent by Rob Goldstone to senior White House aide after this meeting to discuss the creation of a social media site. As well as an e-mail that Rob Goldstone sent to a Russian who has attended the meeting about the DNC hack five days after that occurred, saying it was eerily weird that this story has just broke about the DNC hack give that they had just met five days earlier.

Now, one source familiar with the matter down played the e-mail about the DNC hacks. Look, it was just because going into the meeting, they were promised some dirt from the Russians. But that clearly did not happen at the meeting.

And one the attorneys, one of the Russians at the meeting, said that they did not view the hacking -- it was not discussed at the meeting. But, Kate, these e-mails raising new questions about what exactly was discussed at the meeting is one reason why this meeting has been under investigation for so long on Capitol Hill, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It seems like it was long established kind of finally what had been discussed, but now, not so much. What of this push to get candidate Trump to create some kind of a page on a Russian social media networking site.

[19:05:10] RAJU: Yes. After that Trump Tower meeting, Rob Goldstone sent an e-mail to Dan Scavino, who is one of President Trump's closest aide, the most close campaign aide during the campaign season. And said that we should create a page under this Russian social media site, VK, which is similar to American Facebook. And said that we should do this for candidate Trump as a way to court Russian Americans. And he said that, quote, Don and Paul are on board with the idea, meaning Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort.

Now, with uncertain exactly how Scavino responded to this. The White House declined to comment for this report, but it did show an effort by Rob Goldstone to continue to try to push this idea.

Now one source familiar to me have said he was just thought it was a cute marketing idea and was trying to do it for a friend who worked it on that social media site, VK. But we'll see what the lawmakers say when they interview Rob Goldstone as soon as next week on Capitol Hill. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Regardless, there were follow-ups on it. Great to see you, Manu. Thank you so much.

OutFront now Former Ethics Lawyer for President George W. Bush, Richard Painter is here. Former Federal Prosecutor, Patrick Cotter, and CNN Politics Editor At Large, Chris Cillizza. Richard, now multiple follow-up e-mails after the Trump Tower meeting. It's the first indication there was any follow-up at all. How significant is this, in your mind?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER W.H. ETHICS LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, to first proof that there was follow-up. Many people suspected there was all along because that meeting was about the Russians delivering the dirt on Hillary Clinton and wanting the sanctions lifted. This whole baby adoption thing or the adoption issue has to do with the sanctions piece of it. And that was clearly the quit pro quo going into the meeting and that was articulated in the e-mails setting up being (ph). So I'm not surprised to see there are some follow-up there. Goldstone is working for the Russians. They are his clients and he's following up with the Trump people.

And all sorts of ideas there are being explored about social media. We find out of course social media that playing a significant role in this election. So the pieces are starting to fall into place. But as the picture that we pretty much knew we had to begin with. This is collaboration, without a doubt. Whether it's legal or not is something that Bob Mueller is going to have to find out. But it was collaboration with the Russians.

BOLDUAN: And Patrick, I mean, I feel like I have to say, and there's more. I mean, President Trump and everyone connected to him have said as often as, you know, of course they could, but there's no evidence of collusion or conspiracy here, no matter what. But now, also coming out in our reporting is one of these newly released e-mails between somebody who was at the meeting and his son raises the question of just that.

The son e-mailing asking why Don Jr. would release the e-mails that led up to this meeting. That was the first news we all were reporting on and asking this, why was he admitting collusion. We don't know the context of it of course, but if they saw it back then, what does this mean for team Trump now?

PATRICK COTTER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think every piece of evidence that establishes a connection between team Trump and the Russians gives the prosecutors, the investigators another place to look, another point of entry into these witnesses to try and get the substance of the communications to see, were they, in fact, exchanging negative research, dirt, on Hillary Clinton, in exchange for lifting of sanctions. And that, of course, would be -- would amount to criminal acts because it violates U.S. law for foreign nationals to provide things of value like negative research to influence a federal investigation.

BOLDUAN: That's the thing that we haven't seen quite yet, right? The actual dirt that they were --

COTTER: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- looking to serving (ph) up. So Chris, the White House keeps saying that this is over and it meant nothing. But this doesn't seem to be going away. I mean, if anything now, it's back again with new details.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. No, it's not going away. And it feels like, Kate, that that June, 2016 meeting is the hub of the wheel or the hub of one of the wheels. There's a lot going into the Mueller investigation.

The problem here is that they've tried -- the Trump White House, have tried to paint that meeting as sort of a one-off as anomalous. As, you know, it happened -- it was misunderstanding that, you know, maybe Goldstone as Don Jr. said, Goldstone sort of, you know, talked it up more than it really was. And nobody ever thought about it again.

The problem with the follow-up e-mail suggests that at least some people in the Trump organization thought of it again. We don't know in what context and what specifically they were talking about. But it makes it harder to believe that this was just sort of a blip on the radar that never mattered.

[19:10:05] I'll also say, you know, we just keep finding more about the meeting in its aftermath.

BOLDUAN: That's the thing. Why isn't it all out there by this point?

CILLIZZA: It's kind of like, you know, if you're going to -- if this was Don Jr., well, you know, it did happen and this is all that happened, the end, OK. But we've gotten six different versions of what happened, each slightly more revealing and slightly more fulsome regarding the connections. Again, there may be nothing at the end of that road. But it suggests you have to go down that road.

BOLDUAN: Richard, let me play again for you what Donald Trump Jr. told Fox News right after the initial story broke about all this. Listen

to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP JR.: There wasn't really follow-up because there's nothing there to follow-up. You know, as we were walking out, he said, listen, I'm sorry for that. I think what happened, he sort of do stuff, he built up.

There was some puffery to the e-mail, perhaps to get the meeting, to make it happen. And, you know, in the end, there was probably some bait and switch about what it was really supposed to be about. And so, you know, there is nothing there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: I mean, and sources say that he was not set directly, those follow-up e-mails, Richard. Do you think that he had some -- do you think he had something to cover here? Do you believe it?

PAINTER: No, I don't believe it at all. The meeting was about swapping dirt on Hillary Clinton for a promise to release the sanctions. We know they dumped a lot of dirt on Hillary Clinton and also General Flynn and others were pushing hard to release the sanctions.

So, this is just one more piece in the puzzle. They had a lot of meetings with the Russians that everyone seems to forget about. And Donald Trump Jr. is not the only one who seems to forget about, a very convenient amnesia, a lot of meetings with the Russians.

They keep coming up. And nobody is telling the truth about them. There are five or six different stories about each and every meeting. They have this adoption story which is complete rubbish. And that kind of the top people from the Trump campaign meet with the Russians to talk about adoptions. We all knew that.

So I don't believe any of it. And I don't think the American people do. We are not given the straight scoop.

BOLDUAN: Patrick, Don Jr. is not part of the administration. Obviously, he was a part of the campaign and the transition. Do you see him being in real trouble here?

COTTER: Yes. If it were to be proven, and it has not, but if it were proven that anyone connected with the campaign had solicited, received or asked for, in any way, something of value from foreign nationals, that would be a violation of the law. He was clearly connected to the campaign. So I think he clearly falls under the statute.

So if I was his attorney, I would tell him, you have criminal exposure. That's not to say that I'm assuming he is guilty, but I am saying he certainly would fall within the target range of the investigators.

BOLDUAN: And if they didn't have it already, you can be sure Bob Mueller's team is pretty interested in this today. Thanks guys, I really appreciate it.

OutFront next, the President insulting the FBI saying it's in, quote, tatters. The head of the FBI responds. Plus, Al Franken stepping down today. So now what for Roy Moore? Have the Democrats backed the Republicans now in a corner?

And apocalyptic video gone viral. A man risking his life to save a rabbit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:17:07] BOLDUAN: Breaking news. Previously, undisclosed e-mails about the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Follow-ups no one has known about until now.

Remember how this all played out. First, Don Jr. said it was about adoptions, of course, which we know means sanctions. Then the original e-mails which promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Now, a new e-mail from the publicist who set up the meeting, to senior Trump aide, Dan Scavino, adds another layer, pushing him to set up a page for candidate Trump on a Russian social networking website.

According to the e-mail, quote, Don and Paul, meaning, Don Jr. and campaign chairman Paul Manafort who were up the meeting were on board with the idea. And there's more.

OutFront tonight, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler. Congressman, thank you so much for coming on.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So all this new information coming out about what happened possibly behind the closed doors of that Trump Tower meeting, what does this all add up to for you?

NADLER: Well, it adds up to more evidence that the Trump campaign was working with the Russians and was colluding with the Russians to help in the campaign. I mean, it's part of a pattern. What these particularly e-mails mean, I don't know yet. But it's part of the pattern.

Everybody lies. We didn't have any contact with the Russians. Well, maybe a little contact. Well, maybe a lot of contact. Well, only with -- only talking about adoptions, well, actually talking about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton. Well, actually talking about other things.

This will come out. The special prosecutor will bring this out and the -- I think the walls are beginning to close in on the President.

BOLDUAN: We will see. I mean, lawmakers, House lawmakers asked Trump Jr. about the follow-up contacts just yesterday and he said that he couldn't recall. But also according to sources we're now learning, none of these newly release e-mails we're talking about were sent directly to him. Do you think it is possible he really didn't know anything about it?

NADLER: I don't know. It's possible, but unlikely. I mean, you know, there's a pattern here. Attorney General Sessions came before the Judiciary Committee last week and said the words, I don't recall, 114 times.

Trump Jr. goes before the committees saying he doesn't recall a lot of things. A lot of people don't recall a lot of things, which is -- either they lie or they don't recall, which is indication that some -- really things that won't stand the light of day we're going on. And we'll find them out. The special prosecutor will find them out.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about today. Your committee questioned the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and he responded publicly for the first time to the President's attack from the weekend. That the FBI's reputation was, quote unquote, in tatters and also the worst in history. Here is what Wray told you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Congressman, there is no shortage of opinions out there. What I can tell you is that the FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:20:14] BOLDUAN: You'd said he needed to speak up and stand-up to the President in your opening. Were you satisfied with his response?

NADLER: I think his response was very, very good. And I think what we're seeing here is a pattern from the White House, from Fox News, from the Republicans on the committee, from others, trying to divert attention from the gathering information implicating that the Trump campaign and collusion with the Russians. And trying to divert attention and scapegoat institutions to say that you can't believe the press, you can't believe the FBI, you can't believe the special prosecutor.

Everybody's bias and the President directs this attack. And it's clearly aimed at the assumption that when -- that the special prosecutor and others will come out with evidence, with -- let's say will publicize that the President and his campaign were colluding with the Russians or doing other illegal things. And they are trying to discredit all institutions of American law enforcement and the press now so that people won't believe it.

And in so doing, they are undermining the supports of our Democratic system. And that is very, very dangerous.

BOLDUAN: You know, the White House was asked today about Wray's response. And we played a portion right there. And the Press Secretary had said that actually there's no discrepancy between what Wray said to you guys on the committee and what the President had tweeted saying that the President's issues are with the, quote unquote, political leaders in the FBI and the former Director Comey. Do you see it that way?

NADLER: No. The President said that the FBI's reputation is in tatters. That it's all biased. That many of the agents are biased. No. His problem is not just with Comey.

His problem is with Comey because Comey seems to be telling -- told the truth and refused his directions to stop investigating Mike Flynn and now we know why. And anyone who is carrying on this investigation, honestly, is in the cross hairs to the President and his propaganda.

BOLDUAN: The FBI did acknowledge, over the weekend, that one of its chief counter intelligence experts though serving on Mueller's team was removed over the summer, of course, after an investigation found that he sent text messages that could be perceived as having anti- Trump bias. Does the White House have a right, though, to be concerned with that news coming out?

NADLER: I don't think so. I mean, the fact of the matter is that any FBI agent or anybody has a right to a political opinion. Apparently, this FBI agent wrote his political opinion to a woman he was having an affair with. I think he was then demoted and taken off the investigation, which I suspect was an overreaction. Because no one is alleged he did anything unfair or biased. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, privately.

BOLDUAN: And Christopher Wray said it depend on the situation if it should be a fireable offense when asked directly if agents are allowed to have their own political opinion.

Congressman, thanks so much for coming on. I appreciate it. And all be it very well. It's a very beautiful music behind you. Thanks for battling that as well. Thank you.

NADLER: It's quite, welcome.

BOLDUAN: OutFront next, breaking news. Republican Congressman Trent Franks suddenly says he is resigning. It really comes out at nowhere. What he discussed with two female staffers that's now raising alarms.

Plus, the uproar of President Trump's expected appearing to the opening of a civil rights museum. Now, a top Civil Rights icon Congressman John Lewis says he won't go if Trump does.

And Roy Moore, taking whole chapters from the Donald Trump playbook as the Alabama Senate election nears. Is this the new GOP strategy?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:27:32] BOLDUAN: Breaking news, a surprise resignation in Congress tonight. Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona calling it quits. In a statement, he explains it this way, "I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making them feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my decision of this option and process in the workplace caused distress." Surrogacy, the House Ethics Committee said it is investigating this.

Sunlen Serfaty is OutFront now. So Sunlen, this is really surprising, and a really stunning statement. What more are you learning?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is, Kate. And I have to preface that we are still learning many details by the hour. We still clearly don't have the full story, yet. What we do know is, yes, the congressman is resigning, at least part of it, at this point, seem to centers around a conversation that he had with at least two female staffers about in his office about surrogacy.

Now, he released a statement just in the last hour denying any sort of wrong doing. He says he never physically intimidated, coerced or had any attempted -- or attempted to have any sexual contact with any members of his staff. And then he goes on to explain that he and his wife have long struggled with infertility. And that's something that potentially could have come up in conversations about surrogacy within his office and he says he certainly didn't mean to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

That said, the Ethics Committee and the House was moving in on an investigation with him. They released a statement moments before saying that they were looking to determine whether Representative Trent Franks engaged in contact that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.

And notable that tonight, just a few minutes ago, we heard from the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. He called these allegations credible, in a statement. And he says he advised Franks to resign last week after finding the allegations to be serious and requiring action.

So I think we can all say there's a lot more we have to learn about this incident. But just remarkable for the fact that this is also, of course, happening the same day that we saw Senator Franken resign and the same week where Congressman John Conyers resigned.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Paul Ryan and Trent Franks paint somewhat different pictures in their statements that they're putting out line (ph).

SERFATY: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Sunlen, thanks so much.

OutFront now, Republican Congresswoman, Mia Love of Utah. Congresswoman, thanks so much for coming in.

REP. MIA LOVE (R), UTAH: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: What is your reaction to this news about Congressman Franks?

LOVE: I think it's disheartening. I mean, as we hear about all of these situations, you know, every single one is different. I hope people are given the ability to have due process.

But, you know, there's a culture that has to change, not just in Washington, but everywhere. I mean, we can talk about these different situations, but we have got to start having -- getting comfortable having uncomfortable conversations in the workplace and at home, and talking about what's appropriate and what's inappropriate and stop this behavior from happening. There is just way too much and it's a culture that's been going on for way too long.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Do you think he made the right choice?

LOVE: I think that anyone who feels like they have done something wrong should voluntarily resign. I really do. And I think that members of Congress should hold themselves to a higher standard.

You know, it's one thing -- we are out there, we're talking about policy, we're talking about what's good for America. And I think that we need to be examples of appropriate behavior, at the very least. To me, that's a very low bar.

So, as far as I'm concerned, if anybody feels like they have done something wrong, they should voluntarily resign instead of waiting for a situation to come up where it would potentially hurt the institution and be the People's House.

BOLDUAN: And that actually raises some important questions about some other members of Congress in your party. Republicans, like Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Texas, he settled a sexual harassment allegation with $84,000 of taxpayer -- allegations by a former staffer, $84,000 was paid out with taxpayer money for that. The House Ethics Committee announced tonight they are investigating him, too. I mean, I have heard no calls for him to resign, should he?

LOVE: Well, I -- you know, again, this is -- this is a culture of behavior. I don't think he thinks he's done anything wrong. But the fact is someone got paid off.

BOLDUAN: A lot of these guys don't.

LOVE: Somebody and it was -- what's really frustrating to me is the money was used, it's taxpayer dollars that was used, which is why I introduced the bill, the STOP Act, which is Stop Taxpayer Obligation to Perpetrators of Sexual Harassment.

I mean, again, this is something that, to me, shouldn't have been in place at all. We are using taxpayer dollars to settle these cases.

BOLDUAN: So, should Farenthold resign?

LOVE: I think that he should voluntarily resign, because we -- I believe we hold -- we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. And where he may not feel his behavior was inappropriate, obviously somebody did. Obviously, people felt uncomfortable.

And so, I just -- I think we need to make sure we evaluate ourselves. Again, this is about getting people to take responsibility for what they do and changing the culture that's in Washington.

BOLDUAN: And, Congresswoman, you were one of the first people to actually call for him to resign. So, I just want to make sure folks are actually noting that this evening that you did.

Al Franken, of course, resigned -- announced his resignation today. And when announcing that he is resigning, he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, do Democrats have the upper hand, the moral high ground here?

LOVE: Oh, I don't know about that. I mean, this is certainly going to be -- again, this is all of these situations are so incredibly different. And we're not going to be able to analyze, litigate, judge and sentence in a seven-minute segment on a Thursday show.

BOLDUAN: I know, but I heard you say that same line to Chris Wallace about a Sunday show. So, at this moment in time, does -- do Democrats have a moral high ground? Al Franken said that what he -- he denies the allegations against him. He's out. John Conyers, he is out. Blake Farenthold, though, you called for him to resign, he's in. And Roy Moore may win and join the Senate.

LOVE: Moral high ground. I mean, this is not a left/right issue. This is what's right and wrong.

I mean, I have two girls that I'm raising. So, this is -- to me, this is not a left/right issue. This is about us, all us members of Congress that have to be able to make sure that people have a voice and we have to stop this behavior, not just about going after individual people but stop these things from happening in the future.

So, this is not a right or left issue.

BOLDUAN: Unfortunately --

LOVE: I mean, this is -- this is -- I'm, you know, I'm a Republican member in the Congressional Black Caucus and we feel the same way about, you know, making sure that we're protecting the rights of women. So -- and anyone, by the way, in the workplace who feels they have been harassed or who are uncomfortable. So --

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, I hear you, but, unfortunately, this is looked through from a political lens when it involves any politician, which is this is a different -- always a different situation.

But you mentioned the Congressional Black Caucus. Let me ask this. Civil rights icon John Lewis announced today that he is skipping the opening of a new Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi this weekend because the president is going.

[19:35:06] In response to that announcement, the White House issued a statement and this is what they said. They said that we think that these members of Congress, we find it unfortunate these members of Congress wouldn't join the president in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history.

What's your reaction to this, considering that John Lewis is one of those civil rights leaders?

LOVE: Well, I have a lot of respect for John Lewis. I know him as a great man who comes to me every day and says hello and asks me how my children are. I mean, we may not have the same views on every single policy, but I know that he cares about people and he feels very deeply about this issue.

But I think if anybody should be going to Civil Rights Museums and to learn about the suffering and, I would say the triumph of black Americans, it should be the White House. And I think that we should welcome that type of participation. But then again, these are my opinions. And everyone is entitled to how they feel.

And I'm not going to tell Congressman John Lewis how to behave. He's really well-respected and I do think --

BOLDUAN: What do you make of the White House statement, though? Do you think they not -- they don't understand that John Lewis fought for civil rights and is a civil rights leader?

LOVE: I think they -- I think they understand that. And I think -- again, I think it's right for them -- for the White House to go. I think they should be going to these events.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

LOVE: Thank you. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, an angry Al Franken saying he is resigning from the Senate and trying to take down President Trump on his way out.

And, Roy Moore, sounding more and more like Donald Trump. Is that a blueprint for victory? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:40:45] BOLDUAN: New tonight, President Trump turns a deaf ear to allegations of sexual harassment on the day Senator Al Franken announced his resignation and slammed the president. President Trump had little to say, refusing to take questions about it when asked by our Jim Acosta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESONDENT: Mr. President, any comment when Senator Al Franken, he makes some comments about you earlier today, sir?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't hear them. Sorry.

ACOSTA: Do you have a comment on sexual harassment in this country and what the message should be, sir?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That's today. Of course, the president has had no problem weighing in on Franken's allegations before today. And tonight, Republicans are not jumping for joy over Franken's resignation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Imagine being accused by someone whose name you didn't know, of something that supposedly happened more than a decade ago? How would you respond? How could you respond? What if you were innocent? And what if nobody cared?

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, "THE INGRAHAM ANGLE": They have determined that it's worth sacrificing Franken, just like they did John Conyers, throw him overboard to save the political Titanic that is their party.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: What you saw today was a lynch mob. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT right now, Ben Ferguson, conservative radio host, and Alice Stewart, former communications director for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign.

Great to see you both.

Ben, a bad day for Al Franken, yes. But is this in some way a worse day for maybe Roy Moore? I mean, Republicans don't seem to be celebrating. Is that because they understand this is bad for them?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I don't think it's that at all. I think what you see here is this is a bad day for anyone that has basically done something inappropriate towards women. It doesn't matter if you're a former congressman like Harold Ford Jr., that lost his job on Wall Street, or if you're Al Franken, or if you're congressman from Arizona. I don't think today is the day that you jump up and celebrate, either. I think it's a day when you realize that people's stories are coming out.

We should all be excited about that, but I also think you have to be a little bit cautious because you don't want someone to be wrongfully accused and ruin their life, their career, their family, their name. I think today is just a sad day. It's a sad day that this many people were able to do what they were able to do for this many years and still stay in these positions of power. And that's why you don't see a lot of people getting excited about Al Franken because it's not an exciting story. We shouldn't be excited about this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, but I mean, politically speaking, let's not pretend like everyone's Pollyanna on this. Political speaking, everyone makes, on Capitol Hill, makes a political calculation on how these things play out and how they're going to affect the party.

I mean, Alice, Donald Trump made a calculation. President Trump is supporting Roy Moore. The RNC is transferring money back into the race.

How does that help the party?

ALICE STEWART, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TED CRUZ CAMPAIGN: Well, it helps them if it looks like we are well on the way to another Republican vote in the Senate here. Look, from the president's standpoint, those who live in glass houses, White Houses shouldn't be throwing stones. And that's why he's not pushing back so much on these allegations.

In my view, I agree with what the congressman said --

BOLDUAN: He had before, the Frankenstein tweet.

STEWART: In terms of Roy Moore.

BOLDUAN: OK. STEWART: Look, I agree with what Congresswoman Love said. I think if you are a member of Congress or the Senate and you believe you did something wrong, you should absolutely step down.

I believe, as a Republican, the women that came out with these allegations against Roy Moore, I believe them. And I believe it would be better for the principles and the integrity of the Republican Party for him to step down as opposed to a political outcome.

However, Roy Moore doesn't think he did anything wrong. He is going to clearly put his heels in this sand. He is going to push back. The campaign has done a good job of making this not about these allegations, but about pushing back on fake news, pushing back on the Democrats, pushing back on the Republican establishment.

And he's in a good spot right now. Real Clear Politics has him up over two points. So, he has shot to win this regardless of what he did.

FERGUSON: He's probably going to win.

STEWART: Ben, the White House was asked today about the different ways, the different ways that Republicans and Democrats, so far, have been dealing with these accusations, their reactions to them. They have been different so far. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The differences in the way to two parties are handling these accusations of sexual misconduct?

[19:45:04] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that some of that would be left to the party leadership. I'm not sure if there's a specific question in there on the differences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: There are differences on how Republicans and Democrats reacted to this. I mean, Chuck Schumer, all the Democrats out to push Franken to resign.

FERGUSON: Yes, but --

BOLDUAN: Then you got Trump endorsing him saying, essentially, it doesn't matter, as long as we get a Republican vote in Congress.

FERGUSON: Look, let me tell you what the voters in Alabama, where my radio show is carried have said to me. They say, look, Roy Moore doesn't represent my values, but he does represent my interest in Washington. I'm not going to vote for someone that is going to go against my interest.

And I think that's probably why you are going to see him win in Alabama because a lot of voters said the Democrat does not represent my interest or my values. One issue that a lot of them talked about is the issue of abortion. And there's a difference between the two men. And that's they say that that they feel comfortable voting for him, that's why I think he is probably going to win.

I do think that the RNC, though, made a big mistake. And this is about the moral high ground here. When you pull funding from a candidate, you don't give it back to him because you think he is about to win. If you are doing the right thing, then I think you stick with it. And I think they made a mistake with reinstating this funding for Roy Moore. And I think it puts them in an awkward situation.

But ultimately, I think they think, look, this is a guy who is going to represent our interest, maybe not our values in Washington. I personally disagree with that. I don't think Roy Moore should be in the Senate in Washington, D.C., and I don't think Al Franken or any of these other people that are getting in trouble should be there either.

But the citizens, they know everything in Alabama. They got to make that decision moving forward. And it's bigger than Washington. It's only people in Alabama --

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Alice. Go ahead.

STEWART: I think what's important, we have been talking about this so much ever since this came to light. But as Ben said, the people in Alabama, I used to work as a reporter in Alabama. They listen to their local news, they listen to the folks down at the coffee shop, they are listening to Governor Ivey, who is also telling them that we shouldn't let Washington tell us how to vote and even the elected officials in Alabama.

Now that they see he is going to win, they are not going to go out and speak out against him. They don't want it to haunt them. So, they are listening to the people in the state of Alabama saying, we are not going to be influenced. We're not going to be swayed. You cannot take our vote away and you heard Steve Bannon --

BOLDUAN: But you should listen to Steve Bannon when he comes to town because he is definitely not a product of Washington.

(LAUGHTER)

STEWART: They are going to make up their own mind. They won't be influenced by this.

BOLDUAN: I mean, we've got to say, the voters will decide. But we'll see what happens. They could be moving to kick him out once he does get there. But again, so much can change when someone wins.

Thanks, guys.

FERGUSON: A lot.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you.

STEWART: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, Roy Moore, as we've been discussing, making no apologies and taking campaign cues now from Donald Trump. Is that the way to win in Alabama?

And the incredible video everyone is talking about, including Jeanne Moos.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:51:51] BOLDUAN: New tonight, just five days until the special election in Alabama, Republican Roy Moore rocked by sexual misconduct allegations. He is holding a, quote/unquote, drain the swamp rally. Sound familiar?

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roy Moore pulling out all the stops in the final days before the Alabama election for U.S. Senate. His campaign announcing an election eve "drain the swamp" rally Monday night.

The phrase might ring a political bell.

TRUMP: It is time to drain the damn swamp.

CARROLL: It was a rallying cry for then-candidate Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

TURMP: We are going to drain the swamp.

CARROLL: It's not the only page Moore seems to be taking from the Trump campaign playbook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drain the swamp, send McConnell a message.

CARROLL: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a familiar target, Moore like Trump has portrayed himself as candidate bucking the system and GOP establishment, and in doing so, he's called out figures in his own party.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: This is effort by Mitch McConnell and his cronies to steal the election from people of Alabama.

CARROLL: There are echoes of candidate Trump also targeting other Republicans.

TRUMP: Wouldn't you think that Paul Ryan would call in and say, good going? But there's a whole sinister deal going on.

CARROLL: When allegations of sexual assaults surfaced in campaign.

TRUMP: Lies, lies, lies.

CARROLL: Both men strongly denied the allegations.

MOORE: These allegations are completely false. They're malicious. Specifically, I do not know any of these women.

CARROLL: Trump even opting to insult one of his accusers.

MOORE: Believe me, she would not be my first choice.

CARROLL: Moore wants voters' attention focused on getting to the polls. He raised a red flag about what his campaign called potential voter fraud. The Moore campaign sent a letter to the Alabama secretary of state of what they say are problems with a tiny handle of sample ballots favoring his opponent.

A probate judge tells CNN he found about 15 sample ballots improperly marked and threw them out. Trump also often spoke about voter fraud, falsely tweeted: I won the popular vote if you deduct millions of people who voted illegally. No evidence of millions of illegal votes has ever been found. Trump's attacks on the media during his presidency and his campaign all too familiar.

TRUMP: The world's most dishonest people, the media.

CARROLL: Trump called the investigation into whether anyone from his campaign colluded with the Russians fake news as well. Perhaps no surprise, more drew a comparison between reports about Russia and reports about the sexual assault allegations he now faces.

MOORE: There's no different than when "The Washington Post" brought out the Russian investigation, people of this country want movement. They don't want false attacks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: Well, the bottom line, Trump's campaign strategy worked, Moore's campaign is betting it will work for him as well.

[19:55:02] We did reach out to Moore folks to find out if they were inspired by Trump campaign. They did not get back to us.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure the answer is yes.

Great to see you, Jason. Thanks so much.

CARROLL: You too.

OUTFRONT next, the man who put his life on the line to save a rabbit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Man saves rabbit, in a wildfire. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Instead of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, he pulled one out of a California wildfire that happened on Highway 1, when this unidentified man got out of his car to try to rescue a panicked rabbit.

The man seemed to panic, frantically gesturing as he watched the bunny heading into the flames, practically begging it to come to him.

Finally getting down on his knees and reaching for wild rabbit, at last managing to scoop it up.

The accolades on social media started breeding like rabbits. And just like that, my faith in humanity is restored, read a typical tweet. From zero to crying in 0.2 seconds, read another.

Some tweeted on behalf of their pets. Our bunny and kitty approve of this young man.

There was the occasional naysayer, wild animals do not need to be saved from fires, argued a writer for "Slate", saying the man could have been injured as well as anyone who had to come to his rescue.

But most paid tribute. Bunnies need heroes too. They have one in this man.

Adding to the halo around this guy is the fact that he declined a photographer's request for an on-camera interview.

As one poster put it, and he didn't want to be on camera in L.A.? Obviously, this is Jesus himself in shorts and a hoodie.

Take it from Jefferson Airplane --

(MUSIC)

MOOS: But he didn't fall, he just walked away from the flames holding the bunny, destination unknown. Leaving this video of rabbit saved from wildfire to spread like one.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: I still can't believe a guy did that. Amazing.

Thanks so much for joining us, everybody. "AC360" starts right now.