Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Report: Trump Takes "Exclusive Time" To Tweet, Watch TV; Author: Trump's Top Advisers Told People To Cooperate For Book; Trump Won't Receive Psychiatric Exam During Physical. Aired 7-8pm ET
Aired January 8, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:02] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- in THE SITUATION ROOM. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, Trumps alternate universe. Questions about his fitness for office and how is he spending his time. You won't believe what they were saying tonight.
Plus, with talk of the President's mental fitness going louder. Tonight, two prominent doctors weigh in, they are my guest OutFront. And Special Counsel Bob Mueller, will he interview Trump now on the Russia investigation? And can Trump's attorneys control at all what Mueller asks? Let's go OutFront.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, shameless plug. The President speaking out today after spending a weekend fending off questions about his own mental state, questions that he, literacy (ph) too by tweeting that he is a, quote, very stable genius. Hitting the road today, the President had this message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The President's grandstanding and self-promotion, they are coming as he's calling friends and allies and telling them to choose, him or Steve Bannon. Bannon, of course, is a central voice in the bombshell book that has put Trump's mental state front and center. And Republicans are now standing up for their man, even his fiercest GOP critics now doing complete about faces.
So, I just have to show you because it's pretty incredible, right. Let's just start with the Tennessee Senator Bob Corker. He is traveling with Trump today. He was on board Air Force One. And sources tell CNN Corker has repaired his relationship with Trump, a relationship that was frankly doomed that Corker spoke his mind and said what he really thought about Trump's state of mind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The President has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. Corker then said on Twitter, and I quote in part, "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center". All right, so that's Corker.
Then there's Senator Lindsey Graham. During the 2016 campaign, Graham and Trump were frequently at each other's throats. Let me just play for you what Senator Graham had to say about our now commander in chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think he's a kook. I think he's crazy. I think he's unfit for office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So now in the wake of Wolff's book, Graham, put up or -- well, he's made a choice and he has done an about face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I've enjoyed working with him. I don't think he's crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I think he's crazy, I don't think he's crazy, OK. Trump's fiercest critics seem to be living in an alter universe. And we say that because it's when where their own convictions and words seem to no longer apply. Instead, they are living in the universe of Trump's closest aides like White House aide Stephen Miller. Here he is on CNN.
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The reality is, is the President is a political genius who won against a field of 17 incredibly talented people, who took down the Bush dynasty, who took down the Clinton dynasty, who took down the entire media complex. What I've seen with him traveling to meet dozens of foreign leaders with his incredible work --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: OK, you're not answering the questions. I understand --
MILLER: You have 24 hours a day of anti-Trump material --
TAPPER: Stephen --
MILLER: And you're not going to give three minutes for the American people -- TAPPER: I get it.
MILLER: -- the real experience of Donald Trump.
TAPPER: There's one viewer that you care about right now and you're being obsequious and you're being a factotum in order to please him, OK. And I think I've wasted enough of my viewers' time. Thank you, Stephen.
BURNETT: And the interview ended there. And last but not least, there is the ever loyal Vice President. Pence earlier today attacking the new Michael Wolff book, "Fire and Fury" and defending his boss's work ethic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Excerpts that I've heard reported bear absolutely no resemblance to the President that I spend three, four, five hours a day with every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, this comes as the news site Axios has obtained copies of Trump's private schedules. Trump is taking executive time from 8 to 11:00 a.m. each day. Time spent watching TV, tweeting, talking on the phone. A normal day. But according to Axios, that includes a meeting with his chief of staff, lunch, more executive time, meeting with his national security adviser, more executive time and a day that often ends just after 4:00.
Kaitlan Collins is OutFront tonight in Atlanta where the President is tonight. And Kaitlan, the President is angry and the White House is fighting back on the schedules which Axios obtained.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, they certainly are pushing back and pushing back hard on this, Erin, at the idea that the President has anything resembling a light schedule on his hands this week after Axios reported that he has these large chunks of what they call executive time in the morning. Because as we know from seeing his public schedule that they released to the media that he is usually gets into the Oval Office about 11:00 a.m. for his intelligence briefing.
[19:05:06] But according to Axios, his private schedule has executive time sprinkled throughout the day for the President. So the White House is pushing back on this saying that this is a ludicrous idea that he is not working hard. And then he actually has a yeoman like work schedule going on.
But we often know that when he spends his time in the morning when the White House says he's calling lawmakers, his cabinet secretaries and whatnot, that he's also often on Twitter and tweeting about what's on television. Now it's another thing the White House has often pushed to back on is this notion that the President spends several hours a day watching television as The New York Times reported back in December. And though the President himself says he doesn't watch much TV, you'll often find him tweeting something just minutes after it's aired on television.
But, Erin, all of this comes after the White House is pushing back against those revelations in that book by Michael Wolff questioning the President's mental fitness and if he even wants to be in office. And this has certainly been a week with the White House on defense with Vice President Mike Pence as you just heard from him there, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Kaitlan.
And OutFront now, Joshua Green, author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency." April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and here on set Tim Naftali, Presidential Historian and Former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library. Josh, let me start with you tonight. Senator Corker and Senator Graham, let's just put it this way, they have said what they really think. So why are they kowtowing and acting like they're in an alternate universe now?
JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN: STEVE BANNON, DONALD TRUMP AND THE STORMING OF THE PRESIDENCY": For influence. That's the bottom line. I mean, what we know about Trump, is that if you want to influence him, you need to ingratiate yourself into his good graces. And there's no better example of that than the kind of toadying sycophancy way we saw in that Stephen Miller piece. Miller was on here to talk about what a great President, what a great man Donald Trump is. We know that Trump loves that sort of behavior because he tweeted about it afterward.
GREEN: What all of these people have figured out is that if you want to have that influence, you have to say nice things about Trump, then he'll let you into his orbit and then you can influence him. And both Graham and Corker have major bills, major issues that they're worried about that they are trying to get the President to come over to their side on and this is the way to do it.
BURNETT: Tim, it's pretty stunning. They've obviously decided he's there to stay.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes.
BURNETT: So who cares whether they think he's crazy in Lindsey Graham's terms or a child who's unstable in the words of Bob Corker.
NAFTALI: The question you have to ask watching this behavior is, first of all, what about these gentlemen's self-respect and what about their legacy? Does Bob Corker want to leave the Senate being viewed as a toady? How can we measure the effect of this sycophancy? To what extent will their influence really shake the President in 2018?
They're making a huge risk. They're taking a huge risk in acting this way. And I can't imagine that it's a good deal for them. BURNETT: Well, I'd venture to say zero because he'll remember what they said before, happy to take the sycophancy. The punching of the face or stabbing the back will come. I mean, April, the central argument in the book about Trump's instability does ring true to many reporters, to many who know him. The author, though, is standing by something very specific, right? His claims that 100 percent of the people around Trump think he's crazy.
He says White House claims that the book is made up are simply lies. Here he is with Don Lemon, an interview that's going to air full tonight on Don Show. But I wanted to play this important clip, April.
MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "FIRE AND FURY: INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE": This was not a secret. Everybody was told to speak to me.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And in the book you say Bannon told people to cooperate?
WOLFF: Bannon told people to cooperate. Sean Spicer told people to cooperate. Kellyanne Conway told people to cooperate. Hope Hicks.
LEMON: So then why they say it's fake?
WOLFF: Because they're liars. This is -- what are you talking about? This is Donald Trump. This is what he does. Day after day after day after day, incident after incident after incident he doesn't tell the truth because he doesn't know what the truth is.
BURNETT: April, who is winning right now? Trump, who's making these calls and getting all of these -- you know, the brave critics in the Republican Party even to come out? I take Jeff Flake off that list. He's the only one who has not caved, or Wolff?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Definitely not the American public, because this is very ugly. What we do know is the fact that this White House is vehemently going after this man who had access. And why are they doing it? That's the question.
I mean, it depends upon who you're talking to. If it's someone who never really cared for Trump and they're in trouble, they're going to think that Wolff is winning. But if it's someone who believes in this President like many of his base are still believing in him, it's another leftist issue.
But what I believe is the Trump card, if you will, for Wolff. He says he's got tapes. He's got to let those tapes out.
RYAN: He's got to back it up. Because they're going to continue to come after him and all he has now is those tapes. All -- is credibility. I mean, he's giving receipts, they said this, they said that.
[19:10:09] And you know Steve Bannon has come out, and said I'm sorry. He's apologized. But he needs to back it up even stronger to make proof positive that this is what happened.
BURNETT: Right. And of course, apologized to Don Jr. in specific, not Ivanka who he called dumb as a brick and many others, just to make that point, right? That he signaled only to Don Jr.
Tim, I just want to play a little bit more of what the President said in Nashville when he said that it was great he had given people the privilege of voting for him. Here's a little bit of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege. The other choice wasn't going to work out too well for the farmers, I hate to -- or the miners, or anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Classic Trump?
NAFTALI: Classic Trump. I mean, this is, after all, the man, and let's not forget in Cleveland, he stood out there and he said, you know, we have all of these problems. I alone can fix them. He has made it clear from the beginning as a candidate, now as President, that his ego has no bounds and it's just natural that he's going to respond to criticism by doubling down and saying you are all so lucky. You don't realize it yet.
Here is his problem, it's not working. If you look at his public approval rating, it is lower than it was during the campaign. He is doing a better job of selling Michael Wolff's book than his own presidency.
BURNETT: Well, he's done a stupendous job of selling Michael Wolff's book. One of the great best sellers here on record. Josh, you know, the thing about the schedule is obviously very important, right, and he's very upset about that, right? The Axios reporting starts his day later, ending it earlier, fewer official meetings, right, lots of executive time and there are only a couple of scheduled meetings. Gets down around 11:00 in the morning and off in the day in terms of the scheduled day is done right around 4:00.
Hogan Gidley, the White House Spokesperson called questions about Trump's schedule ludicrous. He's the one who said Trump exhibits, quote, yeoman like work. What's your take on this, Josh, schedule?
GREEN: Well, look, it's a pretty open secret that Trump doesn't actually enjoy the job of being President. He may like being President. He may like the adulation and the fact he can go out and kind of basking his own narcissism like he was at that Tennessee rally. But he doesn't like meetings, and briefings, and having to make tough decisions. And, you know, doing the kind of executive managerial duties that are the bulk of a president's job. And so it sounds like he's really just decided not to do them very much. And so he's adopted these kind of bankers' hours where, you know, he can spend the morning hours watching Fox News, and tweeting, you know, show up for four or five hours during the day, and, you know, and then break off at 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and go back to what he really enjoys doing, I think which is keeping up with cable news.
BURNETT: Right. And April, you know, I mean, I've spent a lot of time with Trump in his office over the years. He keeps the door open. He likes to call people about random things and conference people in. He likes to gossip. That's the way he's been for a long time.
RYAN: You have to remember when you are president there is a bubble and they do want to have a semblance of normalcy that gossip is really something that they don't have, but this President really wants to hear it. That's why that cellphone is so intricate and important for him.
But I'm going to say this to you, Erin, as well. Knowing for a fact George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the latest that they would come into the Oval Office would be about 8:30 in the morning because that is the time, early in the morning is when they would get their senior staff briefings about what happened the night before, what's happening that day, and what's happening, period. So this President has done something differently, particularly when it comes to the last two presidents. 8:30 versus 11:00.
BURNETT: OK. And of course, it raises a question what happens in that time, who is making decisions. Is it him? Is it someone else? A lot of questions raised from that. Thank you all three so very much.
And don't miss Don Lemon's full interview with the author of "Fire and Fury." You can see it Michael Wolff on CNN Tonight with Don at 10:00 Eastern.
And OutFront next, the White House saying President Trump's physical exam does not include -- will not include this week a psychiatric exam. I'll speak to two prominent doctors next.
Plus, the whisper campaign over the 25th Amendment is growing louder tonight. Who decides if a president is fit or not to hold the office and could this be America's next commander in chief?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, AMERICAN MEDIA PROPRIETOR: A new day is on the horizon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:18:25] BURNETT: New tonight, the White House saying President Trump will not receive a psychiatric exam during his upcoming physical this week. The checkup coming amid new questions about whether the President is mentally fit. An explosive tell-all book claims people around the President questions his fitness for office.
OutFront now, Dr. John Gartner, he's a psychologist and contributor to the book, "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrist and Mental Health Experts Assess a President." And Dr. Allen Frances, Author of "Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump." All right, thanks so much to both of you.
Dr. Gartner, let me start with you. Is it fair for people who have not treated the President personally to suggest that he is not mentally fit to hold the Office of President?
DR. JOHN GARTNER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, what we've learned from Michael Wolff is that the people who interact with him daily, up close, 100 percent of them think that he's psychologically unfit and they discuss the 25th Amendment on a daily basis. I think it's a scandal that Donald Trump is not going to receive a neuropsychological exam during his presidential fitness test.
There is strong evidence to believe that he is developing dementia in terms of his diminished vocabulary, his diminished quality of thought, his inability to even complete a sentence. This is a matter of national security. Why would we only look at his blood pressure and not look at what may be a degenerative, a neurological disorder that we're seeing clear signs of, separate from the issue of whether he has a personality disorder, which I know Dr. Francis and I will debate. We are looking at hard signs of medical, physical, cognitive deterioration. Why wouldn't we test for those things?
[19:20:08] BURNETT: OK. So, I just want to point out, you know, look, we at CNN have not verified that claim in the book, you know, that he's repeating himself or not recognizing people. You know, Newt Gingrich told reporters, presidents get good lines and they repeat them. And it sounds to many, Dr. Gartner, that the President on the -- you know, he never finished a sentence because his thought, maybe his mind was so quick and moved onto the next thing, right?
I mean, you know, back to the point -- dementia is a very, very serious charge to put out there.
GARTNER: There's a simple answer, if we compare his verbal productions now to what they were like 10 years ago, it's like two different people. The level of deterioration in his vocabulary and the quality of his thought is dramatic. So we have to compare people to their own baseline and we're seeing dramatic cognitive deterioration and we're not even inquiring whether this might be the expression of something much more serious and dangerous.
BURNETT: But just to be clear, Dr. Gartner, you have not treated him or met him?
GARTNER: No, but the people who do work with him on a daily basis are concerned and alarmed about this.
BURNETT: All right. So Dr. Frances, you think it's not only wrong but dangerous to try to be diagnosing this President. Why?
DR. ALLEN FRANCES, AUTHOR, "TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN SANITY: A PSYCHIATRIST ANALYZES THE AGE OF TRUMP": Well, I think that Dr. Gartner's motives are laudable. Who want to spoil brat with a finger on a nuclear button. But his methods are misguided. And what he doesn't know about psychiatric diagnosis is a lot.
I think that the issue of Donald Trump's unfitness for president is completely without controversy except among his most avid supporters. He is the most unfit person to have in this office that I could possibly imagine. But it's an insult to the mentally ill to say that the reason he shouldn't be in office is mental illness. He's a bad person, he's an ignorant person, he's impulsive, he's been like this his entire life.
And to think that the people who America elected to office will be removed because of a psychiatric opinion is absolutely ridiculous. There's no chance in the world that he'll be removed under the 25th Amendment.
BURNETT: So --
FRANCES: And it's dangerous to do this because it distracts from the political work of the Congress, of we the people, of the press in containing the spoil brat.
BURNETT: Dr. Gartner?
GARTNER: Well, I don't want to really get bogged down in the fine points of diagnosis, though I disagree with Al Frances. And if we had time I could dispute it point by point. For example, his argument that Donald Trump doesn't show distress or dysfunction, I think we can -- we've got lots of data to show that's incorrect.
But the bottom line is we're in agreement that he is unfit. We're in agreement that that is a danger. That every man, woman and child in the world is at risk of dying because this man is so woefully unfit. And he is unraveling. He is deteriorating according to his closest aides and supporters.
So whether you want to get bogged down in the fine points of diagnosis or not, the big picture is he's unfit, he's deteriorating and if we can't do a diagnosis from a distance, then for God's sake, let's do one up front and have a real evaluation.
BURNETT: So Dr. Frances, I would assume, do you agree with Dr. Gartner, you know, his words that it's a scandal? That President Trump is not getting a psychiatric evaluation?
FRANCES: It's ridiculous to think that a psychiatrist would remove Donald Trump from office. In thinking that, Dr. Gartner is reducing the responsibility of our Congress, which right today should be establishing a protocol on nuclear warfare that keeps Donald Trump from pressing the button in an early morning fit of anger.
The Congress has the control Trump. The courts have to. The press has to and we have to in 2018. We should not be so obsessed with Trump's latest motivation or in psychiatric diagnoses that we neglect our duty to tame him and to remove him from office for the usual electoral means.
BURNETT: Dr. Gartner, someone who talks to Trump told me, you know, he still listen for 30 seconds, now he listens for 10. But their interpretation of the reason was not mental illness, it was -- his ego has grown. He has become so confident in his own decision making that he doesn't feel the need to listen to anybody. Is it possible that it's more that than a mental deterioration as you described?
GARTNER: Well, I think it's both. Malignant narcissists become inflamed with their grandiosity when they've achieved success. And they think they -- he thinks he knows more about everything than everybody. That's his personality disorder, that's his grandiosity.
But what I'm talking about is not an evaluation by a psychiatrist. I'm talking about an evaluation by a neurologist. I'm saying that this person may have Alzheimer's disorder. And a neurologist should give him a neuropsychiatric battery, this is a physical disorder. We have tests and procedures for testing it and why the heck are we giving him a physical exam and looking at his blood sugar and not looking at his cognitive function?
[19:25:12] BURNETT: So Dr. Frances, can I ask you a question just -- you know, separate from the fact that neither of you have treated him and to speculate on his mental health, you know, in your view would be inappropriate. But do you think it would be appropriate that every president would have a test for something like Alzheimer's since there is tests that can be done for plague in the brain or something like that. Just -- as a general rule, not just about this president, any president.
FRANCES: Yes, I wouldn't mind that. Woodrow Wilson certainly suffered from mental deterioration after a stroke and his wife ran the country for two years. But I think that the efforts to focus attention on this, this is the point that Trump was an idiot at 25, and idiot at 35, at 45, 55. The American people elected an idiot.
We shouldn't be assuming that psychiatrist will get him out of office. We elected him. We have him now. Get him out of office and get the people supporting him out of the office through the electoral caucus.
BURNETT: All right.
FRANCES: And 2018 is the opportunity for.
BURNETT: Thank you both very much.
GARTNER: I agree.
BURNETT: Thank you both very much, on that note of agreement.
And next Trump versus Oprah, were talking 2020. He says, bring it on. Political watchers are saying, don't rule her out.
And showdown. Bob Mueller preparing for a possible interview with President Trump. Already, Trump's lawyers want to limit it.
BURNETT: Tonight, buzz building about Oprah 2020 after her Golden Globe speech last night. Two of the media mogul's close friends telling CNN as quote -- as she is, quote, I'm sorry, actively thinking about running for president. And those same sources adding that some of her confidants have privately urged her to run.
So, what would a race featuring Oprah versus Trump? Talk about an alternative universe. What would that look like?
Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.
OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA MOGUL: The new day is on the horizon!
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESAPONDENT (voice-over): Acceptance speech or campaign kickoff? Make no mistake about it, Oprah Winfrey is thinking about running for president.
Two sources close to the media icon say she's been having conversations about this for months with some in her inner circle urging her to run.
Winfrey's speech about the Me Too Movement almost sounded like a stump speech.
WINFREY: Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.
STELTER: Winfrey's long time partner Stedman Graham was asked by an "L.A. Times" reporter if Oprah would run. His response: It's up to the people. She would absolutely do it.
She already has Hollywood's vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there's only one person whose name is a verb, adjective and a feeling. And that is Oprah.
STELTER: Does the rest of the country agree?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know her political thoughts, frankly.
STELTER: In 2015, Trump praised Winfrey.
TRUMP: She's a friend of mine. She's a great person.
STELTER: Both Trump and Winfrey are rich and famous. "Forbes" says Trump is worth $3.1 billion, Winfrey $2.8 billion. And both know how to put on a show.
But that's where the similarities stop. She is seen as liberal. He is conservative. She is America's generous aunt. And he is America's testy uncle. TRUMP: Your' fired.
STELTER: He is 71. She is 63.
WINFREY: Oh, that is god.
STELTER: She has a show about spirituality. He readily talks about religion.
TRUMP: Two Corinthians, right? Two Corinthians --
STELTER: She promotes Weightwatchers. He loves McDonald's.
She got her start as a reporter.
He attacks the media.
TRUMP: It's time to expose the crooked media.
STELTER: She has a famous book club.
TRUMP: The joy you're going to have reading this for the first time.
STELTER: And he reportedly does not have time for books.
TRUMP: I read areas, I'll read chapters. I just -- I don't have the time.
STELTER: Where Trump's brand is divisive, embracing voter anger, Winfrey promotes civility and unity.
WINFREY: By the time of the next presidential election, are we more likely to come together.
STELTER: Winfrey sometimes shoots down 2020 talk.
STEPHEN COLBERT, TV HOST: Is there any chance you'll run for office?
STELTER: But other times, she stokes the speculation.
WINFREY: I thought, oh, gee, I don't have the experience. I don't know enough. I don't know. And now, I'm thinking, oh.
STELTER: She has the platform. National TV shows and 41 million Twitter followers. That's almost as many as Trump.
She also has a presidential friend, Barack Obama.
It's unclear if the two of them have talked about an Oprah ticket but, hey, it's too bad Trump doesn't need a V.P. because this is what he said in 1999.
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: Do you have a vice presidential candidate in mind? TRUMP: Well, I really haven't gotten quite there yet.
KING: But --
TRUMP: Oprah. I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice.
STELTER: And new tonight, Erin, I have a third source, a third friend of Oprah's saying she is being courted by her colleagues, by her confidants, to think about running. And that she's taking this seriously, she's listening, taking it all in. She's definitely not ruling at a run, saying she's going to do it, but she's not ruling it out either.
BURNETT: Right, she's listening, as, of course, a good interviewer would do, right.
STELTER: That's right. One the comments from this source was, I don't know what she'll do. She doesn't know what she'll do, but this is a long game. We haven't even gotten to the midterm elections yet.
BURNETT: That's right. Right. And about 16 months before in the equivalent Trump declared.
STELTER: That's right.
BURNETT: So, it's a long time here to ask a lot of questions.
STELTER: I think she's enjoying this today. I was told she was surprised by just how much reaction there was to the speech.
BURNETT: Yes, yes.
All right. Brian, thank you very much.
And now, the former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller, and former executive director for the Congressional Black Caucus, Angela Rye.
Jason, Oprah 2020, clearly something many desperately want. Just look at today.
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it was a fantastic speech last night. And I've got to give Oprah a lot of credit for that. But ultimately, I don't think that she ends up running in 2020, because right now, everybody loves Oprah. She's someone who is almost I'm sure her favorables are in 80 percent to 90 percent.
But as soon as she were to run for office, then half the country isn't a fan of hers. And also, a lot of the sharpest criticism will probably come from Democrats who would be running in a primary against her.
But two really important takeaways, Erin, I think form last night. Number one, the strong rebuke Democrats have for Secretary Clinton, because they never clapped like that for Secretary Clinton. It shows how much Democrats wanted someone they could be excited about in 2016.
MILLER: And as we look ahead to 2020, it's a rejection of the current field, whether it be Kirsten Gillibrand or Elizabeth Warren or George Clooney or Mark Cuban or Mark Zuckerberg, or everyone in the Hollywood set who wants to run, because Democrats are so quick --
BURNETT: But you're basing your whole -- your whole hope here, Jason, on that she won't run but if she does, formidable.
[19:35:04] MILLER: And what she'll find out is that Hollywood is not an early primary state. And the road to nomination goes through Des Moines, in Manchester, in Columbia, South Carolina. It's a long, tough road.
And one thing we learned from President Obama back in '08, is he really was a street fighter. We saw what he did to Secretary Clinton in the debates where he essentially chopped her up. And what we don't know is if Oprah has that side.
And so, it's a lot different to go out there and give some -- give a really strong speech which, again, she gave a fantastic speech last night. It's another thing to go out there against the leader like President Trump who at this point will have this fantastic economic record and then that's where the -- it's going to get a lot tougher.
BURNETT: Angela, Oprah --
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me respond. OK, sorry, Erin, go ahead.
BURNETT: No. Go ahead, Angela.
RYE: Sure. Jason, I appreciate your critique. I think one thing that I point out to you is that Oprah certainly has a formidable record, not just as a potential candidate but just as a human being. She is what I would absolutely say is a true definition of a global citizen. This is the most philanthropic woman in Hollywood. She is a billionaire and that's actually really proven. She doesn't have to lie about her money.
This is someone who doesn't have an enemy in the world. So there shouldn't be a Republican negative thing to say, a Green Party negative thing to say, a libertarian person with a negative thing to say about Oprah, period, like again, your candidate before he was or now your president, before he was even running for office even talked about Oprah. So, you know, we can go around talking about how unqualified she is. But I would certainly say given the many ways in which she's impacted, not just the country but the world --
BURNETT: Well, certainly, to your point, she's as qualified as Donald Trump was when he ran. No political experience.
RYE: More than.
BURNETT: And running a big business and billionaire. At the very least, she would be coming in the way he was prior to his victory.
Angela, she also sounded frankly very political in some of the things last night when she talked about the press and things that are happening. And I just want to play a brief clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: We all know that the press is under siege these days, but we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice, to tyrants and victims and secrets and lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Press under siege, tyrants, secrets, and lies? Is she talking Trump, Angela?
RYE: I think she's talking truth. So, it just so happens that Donald Trump fits the bill. He regularly attacks the news media almost every day on Twitter. There has been lie after lie. I mean, you can go to PolitiFact, for that, you can go to newspapers for that, you can come to this station for that.
Lie after lie, is there's not attack here. She's just pointing out the truth, the obvious that everyone in that room and everyone watching knows, this is an administration that struggles with the truth. This is an administration that struggles with transparency frankly and this is an administration that is threatened by the press, which is why Donald Trump would have to do a presser remotely even though he was 15 feet away from the press room.
MILLER: But, Erin, ultimately -- right. But ultimately elections become about match-ups. And that's where you can't go to the absolute platitudes of saying, hey, look under your seat, everyone just won a Ford Focus. You have to talk about actual real deal economic plans.
And so, as we've seen from the president where he's gone and cut taxes, once in a generation accomplishment, where does Oprah stand on taxes? Is she going to want to increase them? Where does she stand on certain law and order issues? Or we talk about the international stage, as we've seen with President Trump with hammering ISIS almost into the ground. These are important candidate versus candidate matchup as we see across the board. Ultimately, I think Oprah will choose to be popular and keep that aspect. And, you know, I think as soon as, like I said before, as soon as Democrats realized the Hollywood isn't an early primary state and probably get someone better, whether it'd be Clooney, Zuckerberg or someone from Hollywood, I think they're probably going to be better off for it.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, what would Donald Trump tell Robert Mueller under oath? The truth?
And if you believe that new book, even Trump's aides are talking about the 25th Amendment, so here's the question. What is it and how likely is it that the 25th Amendment could be invoked?
[19:43:16] BURNETT: Breaking news: President Trump's legal team preparing for special counsel Robert Mueller to request an interview with Trump. And sources tell CNN the president's lawyers are looking to limit the parameters of what the interview would cover. Trump's lawyers also reportedly looking into whether the interview would be in person, or if there is a way that they can just provide a written statement.
OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Denny Heck, a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman Heck, I appreciate your time.
So, let's just start with the reporting we have here. Mueller looking at an interview. Trump's lawyers are looking into how they could limit the scope of that interview, including this crucial, crucial point, whether it needs to be under oath and whether it can be recorded.
What's your reaction to those two limitations that they would like?
REP. DENNY HECK (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, my reaction to the whole question, Erin, and thank you for having me on, is in Bob Mueller I trust. Thus far during his seven-plus months of conducting this investigation, he's done so with the utmost of professional standards and I trust that he will take this next step in the way that serves our national interests in every regard. So, I have a lot of faith in Director Mueller.
BURNETT: A lot of faith in Director Mueller, but when the Trump team is considering -- you know, they want to know whether it has to be under oath, what does that say to you?
HECK: Well, I -- Erin, throughout the past year we have been treated to kind of this nonstop periodic revelation of new information and they keep moving the goalposts on what is being represented here. I don't -- I don't -- I'm not surprised in the slightest bit that there is some push back on this. But again, I have a lot of confidence in Bob Mueller. He's going to
get at the truth and frankly I think we'll get the truth whether the president should just cooperate or not.
BURNETT: Whatever deals he makes, you know, if he doesn't get the interview and it's written, you're confident he'll get what he needs to get?
[19:45:06] HECK: Yes. He's earned our confidence, Erin. He's earned our confidence.
BURNETT: Do you think the president has anything -- he himself, the president -- to say about possible collusion with Russia?
HECK: Well, he's done nothing but say for the last year that there was no collusion with Russia and the interference in our election. As a matter of fact, he seems to be taking the tact that if he says it often enough, it becomes truth. But in fact, collusion has been hiding in plain sight here. Whether it was the Trump Tower meeting last June, or a year ago June, or whether it was the e-mail communication with Wikipics (ph) -- Wikipedia or WikiLeaks. I get it --
HECK: The fact of the matter is that there was collusion and that's been firmly established. I don't even think that's arguable at this point.
BURNETT: So, the president, I also want to ask you about this bipartisan meeting on immigration he has tomorrow. It's a crucial thing. It's the next big agenda.
Eight hundred thousand young people in this country are affected by DACA, right, the DREAMers Act, and he says he'll protect them. He'll do that for Democrats if you guys fund his border wall. He has asked for a total of about $30 plus billion for a wall and additional security measures.
Will you give that to him to get 800,000 people in this country the right to stay?
HECK: I think there are two very important reasons why we ought to deal with the DREAMers too much longer, Erin. The first of which is the human story, that these people are living in abject fear and under the shadow of being returned to a country that they have no recollection of, and that they do not identify with.
And the second is, it's in our best economic interest to deal with this.
But, look, Erin --
BURNETT: But will you make that deal?
HECK: Erin, now is the time for accountability. From the time he rode down that escalator in Trump Tower and announced his candidacy right up to and after his election to the presidency, he said on an almost daily basis, we're going to build the wall and Mexico's going to pay for it.
We ought not to let him off the hook of that promise which he made not once, not twice, but in an infinite number of times during his campaign.
BURNETT: All right. I'll give you that although I want to point out you didn't directly answer my question.
HECK: Let me deal with it, Erin.
BURNETT: Right. Will you make that deal?
HECK: Democrats will make a deal on increased border security. Now, whether or not that includes a wall is highly suspect. What we ought to do is be smart about this. And we ought to have improved border security, but that can take a lot of forms.
The fact of the matter is Donald Trump said an infinite number of times, Mexico would pay for this wall. And now he's gone back on that promise, like he has a lot of others.
BURNETT: Before we go, Oprah? What do you say?
HECK: I'm going to tell you a quick story. As it turns out, my wife and I are the adoptive parents of two sons, both at birth. The younger one happens to be African-American and I can remember vividly and as though it was yesterday when the little guy was about 4 or 5 years old we were watching a Seattle Mariner game and future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. came to bat.
At this point, my son had no self-awareness of the difference of his racial heritage versus his parents. I will remember he looked down at his arm and he caressed it and he said, he has the same color skip I do.
And, frankly, Erin, I cried. I cried because his first self-awareness was associated with a positive role model like Ken Griffey Jr.
Now, fast forward two decades. I have by that son a 3-year-old granddaughter and I can well imagine the impact it would have on her as a human being if Oprah did run and if Oprah were elected, the message to her would be anything is possible no matter who you are in this country, no matter what the color of your skin.
BURNETT: Congressman Heck, thank you.
HECK: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And next, could President Trump be bounced from office using the 25th Amendment? A lot of people are asking it. Howe does it work? The answer. And Jeanne Moos on Trump and time management.
[19:52:08] BURNETT: Tonight, calls growing among Democrats and some Republicans critics to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. That would mean Trump is ruled physically or mentally incapable of performing the duties as president. It is an amendment that the author of that new bombshell book on Trump claims is brought up frequently by some of Trump's own aides in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "FIRE AND FURY: INSIDE THE TRUMP WHITE HOUSE: There are many moments in which the 25th Amendment has come up. The 25th Amendment in which gives the cabinet the ability to remove the president. And they don't say the cabinet is going to remove the president. But they do say things like, well, this is a little 25th Amendment here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
So, Tom, this is now become the big question, right? What exactly would have to happen to invoke the 25th Amendment in this country?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot. The 25th Amendment is a tool that was put in place if a president becomes utterly incapacitated. He has a stroke or an injury or an illness or he is howling at the moon crazy.
If that happens, this is what would follow. The vice president and the majority of the cabinet would have to send a written notice to congress. This is a written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. There's some leeway there. It could be done by a committee pointed by Congress or maybe by some other government officials, but that's the general outline.
If that happens and Congress gets that note, immediately, the vice president would be put in charge over at the White House.
But it's not over, because if the president is not out of his head, he can send another notice that says no inability exists, then he's back in office and the lawyers and the laws are brandished at ten paces and the fight is on, Erin.
BURNETT: Which I mean, OK. So right there, you put the bar pretty incredibly high, because you would imagine, especially on a mental basis, anybody who is unfit would often say that they are fit, and certainly, this didn't happen with Reagan who obviously toward end of his tenure was suffering from Alzheimer's.
So, let's just say president comes back and fights back and says I'm fine, but the vice president and the cabinet disagree. So, how does this play out?
FOREMAN: Yes. Well, then it goes to Congress. And in Congress, it's got another high bar. You have to have two-thirds of all the people in the House and in the Senate saying the president needs to be removed from his job. And you don't have to be very good at math would know the Republicans hold majorities in both the House and the Senate, and a lot of Republicans standing behind this president, day in and day out, that is not very likely to happen. Unless you have some extraordinary event out there, some of the cataclysm we haven't even talked about yet.
If you think the 25th Amendment is going to push this president out, you may be the one who needs your head examined -- Erin.
BURNETT: It certainly sounds that way, because, look, even if you have Democrats win Congress, maybe if they win the Senate.
[19:55:02] And that is a slim possibility -- they're not going to get two-thirds.
FOREMAN: Two-thirds? That's a lot.
BURNETT: No way.
All right. Thank you very much.
Next, Jeanne Moos on Trump's support of shrinking work day. Aides call it his executive time.
BURNETT: When you're the chief executive of the United States, does down time between executive time?
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Time for something new in the White House --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Executive time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quote/unquote, executive time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love the new euphemism for TV watching as executive time.
MOOS: In no time the new time was plastered on a t-shirt because of a scoop by the Website "Axios".
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's schedule has been secretly shrinking.
MOOS: He's reportedly not coming to the office, the Oval Office, until 11:00 a.m. The White House calls it executive time. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It says that it's in the Oval Office, but that's
not true. He is actually in the residence watching TV, making phone calls, tweeting.
MOOS: How executive time flies to Twitter. I'm going to start calling my naps executive time. Here's Zoe taking some executive time. How we spend our executive time, tweeted Comedy Central.
Executive time sounds like something your dad says as he heads into the bathroom with a stack of magazines and newspapers. Voila, the executive time machine.
The White House press secretary countered saying: The president is one of the hardest workers I've ever seen and puts in long hours and long days nearly every day of the week all year long.
Remember the days when candidate Trump was dissing Hillary for a lack of energy?
TRUMP: She doesn't have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.
MOOS: It takes stamina just to say stamina.
Hey, if it were not for executive time, maybe we wouldn't have gems like that stable genius tweet. A very stable genius at that, is how the president described himself.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think this. If he doesn't call himself a genius, nobody else will.
BURNETT: Then he found the genius in the stable to be Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. #stablegeniusgetshisdailybriefing.
But even a stable genius likes to kickback and enjoy some executive time.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: Thank you for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.