Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

GOP Spreads "Secret Society" Conspiracy Before Knowing the Facts; Top Republicans Releases New FBI Texts Appear to Show Officials Being Worried About Being Too Hard on Clinton; Trump Attorney Tells CNN He will Decide if President Talks to Mueller; Trump Proposes Path to Citizenship for 1.8M Undocumented Immigrants in Exchange for Border Wall, Other Security Measure; NYT: New WH Immigration Plan Drafted by John Kelly, Stephen Miller; Duckworth, 49, Would be First Sitting Senator to Give Birth. Aired 7-8pm ET

Aired January 25, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: -- what concerns him a lot. Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

So that's it for me. ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRON next, conspiracy run amok. The so- called secret society in FBI, a GOP conspiracy theory meant to discredit the Russia probe if the story completely unraveling tonight. Plus President Donald Trump's attorney says he is the one who will decide if Trump talks to Mueller and that no decision has been made. What happened when the President said, hey, he wants to testify under oath with Mueller in a sit down. And making history, the first seating senator expected to give birth while in office, she's about to turn 50. And Senator Tammy Duckworth is my guest tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, out of control, the Republican conspiracy theory that have "Secret Society" exists in the FBI is unraveling tonight. President Trump's allies in Congress were all too eager to embrace and spread publicly a story about two FBI officials who were having an affair texting about a secret society.

Here's the text between FBI Lawyer Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok. "Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should be the first meeting of the secret society."

Well, if you're not sure what exactly the two officials are talking about, you're not alone, because that lacked so much context. It did not, however, stop many Republicans from going hog wild about what they thought or hoped the text meant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: There's a text exchange between these two FBI agents, these two supposed to be objective fact centric FBI agents saying perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society. So, of course, I'm going to want to know what secret society are you talking about.

REP MATT GAETZ, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: The text messages between Strzok and Page, which you just mentioned in the intro of this segment, are very damming. It's not Republicans who created the theory of a secret society. That was Lisa Page's text message to her boyfriend Peter Strzok.

SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R) WISCONSIN: What this is all about is further evidence of corruption, more than bias, but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI and that secret society. We have an informant just talking about a group, they were holding secret meetings off-site.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. So it went on for several days. You know, Republicans talking about secret meetings off-site and secret societies. They obviously jumped onto this. They eagerly grabbed it. It discredits, of course, the FBI and Mueller's Russia investigation.

The headlines in conservative media also added fuel to this fire. As you can see there, secret society, secret societies, off-site meetings, informant.

OK. But then some more facts started to come in. And it turns out that secret society was a reference in a text when you heard about the calendars there to a gag gift of Vladimir Putin themed calendars. According to sources familiar with the exchange, it was sort of a joke they were making this text on the day after the election, joking about they did certainly they felt sad that Donald Trump had won and maybe they didn't want to give their calendars out and they were joking about a secret society. And now the same Republicans who were quick to talk about secret society being some massive thing in the FBI are now not so sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, this text message seems to be common about secret society was in jest. Do you agree that it appears to be it was a jest?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's sort of possibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And this from Congressman Trey Gowdy OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: One of the ones, you've talked about -- you quoted it as saying, "Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society." You didn't give any context. OK. What was the context? Did they elaborate? What are we talking about secret society?

GOWDY: Here are two bureau agents talking about a secret society. I don't have any -- I don't have a clue what they're talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: No clue what they're talking about. But that didn't stop some Republicans obviously from going out on TV to sell the story. So our elected officials are fueling conspiracies to protect the President before they had all the facts. And the President himself is not doing anything to stop the destruction of his own FBI's reputation of credibility and integrity, the top law enforcement agency in the United States.

Here is the President speaking with reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Do you trust the FBI? Do you trust the FBI?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're going to see, I mean, I am very disturbed, as is the general, as is everybody else that is intelligent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is OUTFRONT. So, Jessica, let's start with this the so-called secret society, which obviously has developed significantly from some off-site meeting that an informant was talking about. Republicans seem to still be fighting this battle.

[19:05:01] JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, you know, we've seen today, especially Senator Ron Johnson, he at least seems to be back peddling, but I think it's fair to say that Republicans have not backed off completely.

In fact Senator Ron Johnson when he was confronted he said it's possible that this was all just said in jest. But one thing that Senator Johnson isn't explaining is the fact that he's gone out in recent days saying that he has this informant who has told him that yes there was a secret meetings held off-site of high level officials. So he still hasn't explained that part of it.

And interestingly, Senator Claire McCaskill, she's the ranking Democrat of the Homeland Security Committee, she actually sent a letter today to Senator Johnson saying that she demands to know who this informant is. She wants more information. She says that these allegations from Senator Johnson are serious and potentially damaging.

So the damage has not been completely undone. And while Republicans have been walking this back a bit, they definitely haven't completely backed off. Erin?

BURNETT: No. And certainly it is. It's incredibly serious allegations. There are new texts coming out, and obviously they have -- if I have understand, Jessica, they have -- said they are going to locate the texts that were missing. The new texts that we have tonight are not among those. It's just text that we have not seen yet. And among those, one or more that could be incredibly damming when it comes to bias in the Clinton investigation.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, and that's the one that Senator Chuck Grassley of Judiciary Committee, he's pointing to first and foremost. So he just released this letter. Again, these text messages are trickling out from the second batch because reporters haven't been allowed to look at it, so we're depending on what comes out from Capitol Hill.

So this latest text that have been released in a letter from Senator Grassley, it says this, it says -- it's a text message from the FBI Attorney Lisa Page to Agent Peter Strzok and they talk about the Clinton e-mail investigation. And she sort of indicates to the Special Agent Strzok that he might want to tread lightly. She puts this way, she says one more thing, she might be our next president. The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she's going to remember or care that it was more DOJ than FBI? And Agent Strzok replies agreed.

So really Senator Grassley is pointing to this as potentially more evidence that there may have been some bias when it came to the Clinton e-mail investigation. Of course, Erin, these e-mails are all being put out there bit by bit, not in context. We have reached out to the lawyers for Agent Strzok as well as the FBI Attorney Lisa Page. We haven't heard back. But it does glean or it demands some more clarification. But on its face it does look somewhat damaging. Erin?

BURNETT: It certainly does. But we need all of these out there instead of this kind of when somebody who has one point of view finds what they think is a damming text put it out there, right? We just need them all.

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

BURNETT: Because people do need answers. This is the top law enforcement agency in this country.

Thank you so much, Jessica.

And I want to go now to Tim Naftali, presidential historian, Caitlin Huey-Burns, national political reporter for RealClearPolitics, and Chris Cillizza, our political editor-at-large.

OK. A lot to talk about here. Let's start though, Chris, with the secret society. We still don't know who the informant is or what the situation is with that but we know that there was this whole thing about this secret society and it turns out that even Republicans are now saying that yes, this was probably a joke. So this went to some hugely damaging thing about the FBI to a joke.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, you laid it out nicely, Erin. I mean let's remember, Ron Johnson is one of a hundred senators. He came out and said this indicates corruption at the highest level. And the -- this that he was talking about was an out of context snippet of an e-mail that used the word secret society. And the fact that an informant had allegedly told him that the FBI is conducting off-site secret meetings which to me big whop.

But he took those two things, no evidence I would say that the off- site meetings are at all connected even if there was a secret society to the secret society. And suddenly was out there proclaiming that there was corruption at the highest levels of the FBI. I mean it's irresponsible. It has nothing to do with being Republican or Democrat trying to protect Donald Trump or nay. It's irresponsible. He shouldn't be doing these kind of things because it makes it harder going forward when there are real issues.

And I think what Jessica talked about with the latest e-mail back and forth is actually a very serious legitimate issue saying go little easy on her, she might be the next president. But because we went through the secret society thing, you know, you do have to say, well, wait a minute, is this part of it? Is it the full context? What are we getting here?

BURNETT: Right, right. And then you clearly have someone coming out and making a big thing about something that didn't seem a big thing at all. But all the sudden when there is something important, it calls these people to question. And again, I just want to emphasize, this is the FBI, if there's something wrong people need to know.

[19:10:01] But it is the FBI. You don't just throw a charge around and throw mud for no reason at all, right? I mean that's the crucial thing.

Caitlin, let's talk about this text that we have here that Jessica that read. I'll read it again. This is the one released by Chuck Grassley with a few pages of texts around it but of course not anywhere near the full text list that they currently have. This text was sent, it looks like on the 25th of February of 2016 during the Clinton investigation of which of course Strzok was at the top of that.

"One more thing, she might be our president," writes Page, "the last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she's going to remember or care that it was more DOJ than FBI?" And the reply agreed. Certainly on the face of it, Caitlin, that is very damming. It certainly looks like they are afraid of angering and upsetting what they perceive will be the next president of the United States.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right. And because of those apparent biases, this is why both were let go from the Mueller probe. And that's important. We all can agree that the FBI is not above reproach here, right? Nobody wants to let any agency in the U.S. government go unchallenged.

But the issue here is the issue of credibility. And so it's one thing to acknowledge that there are perhaps these biases and that they have been dealt with. The Mueller investigation, the Mueller probe let these people go from the probe. It's another thing entirely to start grabbing things out of thin air without context, not only when you are a member of Congress, but when you are the chairman of the House -- sorry, of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. This is already an administration that has a credibility issue, not only with members of Congress but with the American public. And so when there are important issues like this it really undermines that credibility. And we've seen the President as well as his allies on Capitol Hill repeatedly try to undermine everything going on at the FBI when in fact the FBI is under the jurisdiction -- is part of this administration. I mean the new FBI Director was appointed by Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Right. Exactly. And you know, Tim, the thing here, when you look at the texts we're talking about related to Clinton campaign, the Clinton investigation, which on the face of it does appear to be quite damming, again, without the full context, but certainly on the face of it a little bit more clear than secret society. But they make this big deal about secret society and now they're sort of trying to back off it a little bit.

Here's Trey Gowdy and Ron Johnson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOWDY: I don't have a clue what they're talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This text message seems to be common about secret society was in jest. Do you agree that it appears to be -- it was in jest?

JOHNSON: Sort of possibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: How much, Tim, does this hurt their credibility?

TIM NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: Well, it's very damming. Let me -- let's step back a minute and remind viewers and ourselves that members of Congress have a power to determine if there's a secret society in the FBI. There are two oversight committees. Those oversight committees, if this were real, if this were an actual concern, they would be investigating it.

The president of the United States has the power to go and look at FBI records through Jeff Sessions. All of those powers exist. This is being litigated in the public because I think there's nothing behind it. If there was something really behind it there would be a congressional investigation and the White House will be collecting real documents. That's when you know something is real when there's an investigation. The fact that these people are throwing it around I think is more noise to undermine the credibility of the Mueller investigation.

The other thing I want to point out is that just because two FBI officers are having an affair doesn't mean the entire FBI is having an affair. Nor does the fact that these two are very chatty, boy that was some kind of romance.

BURNETT: Because certainly conducted over texts. NAFTALI: Yes. They got a lot of texting. But, look, just because they are doing it, do you know how big the FBI is? The idea that you would -- that you would attack the entire FBI because of two people who, by the way, were later moved out of their positions, that seems to me incredible. And it's a sign of the times. It's a sign of the president leading the way in personifying his dislike with the nature of an independent investigation. He's pointing out civil servants and trying to dam them. And that, by the way, is abuse of his power.

BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate all of you being with us very much. And we wait Senator Johnson telling us who is that informant because now the burden is completely on him to do that.

And next breaking news, Donald Trump's attorney says he'll decide if Trump talks to Robert Mueller. But the President said he would be happy to testify under oath.

[19:14:59] Plus more breaking news, the White House offering a pass to citizenship, promised 2 million people under Trump's new immigration plan. Wait until you hear what Trump wants in return.

And Stormy Daniels sit down interview, what's the porn star saying about the President tonight?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump's attorney stepping up and saying, no. He's talking about the special meeting with the special counsel Robert Mueller and the rest of the investigation. John Dowd, the attorney telling CNN he is the one to decide if the President will sit down for interview with the special counsel and that no decision has been made. The thing is, is the President last night sounded so excited he was eager to talk to Mueller and do it under oath. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to talk to Mueller?

Trump: I'm looking forward to it, actually.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to?

TRUMP: Yes, here's the story, just so you understand. There's been no collusion whatsoever. There's no obstruction whatsoever and I'm looking forward to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a date set?

TRUMP: So here's the story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a date set, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I don't know. No. I guess they're talking about two or three weeks, but I would love to do it. Again, I have to say, subject to my lawyers and all of that but I would love to do it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, chief political analyst Gloria Borger, former federal prosecutor Patrick Cutter and political correspondent, Sara Murray.

All right, Gloria, you talked to John Dowd, the personal attorney. And you know, you heard the President, he wanted to get all the credit, I'd love to do it two or three weeks, looking forward to it or subject to my lawyers and all that. And then shockingly, the lawyers come out and say, we'll decide. No decision has been made. You've talked to John Dowd. What else can you tell us?

[19:20:06] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think what's going on here, and we heard this from Ty Cobb at the White House last night after the President spoke and from John Dowd this evening. There is a shuffle brigade here. And what they're trying to do is kind of fix what the President said and say, wait, a minute, no decision has been made. It's up to the President's lawyers, as the President has kind of indicated.

And I think what the President was doing last night, quite honestly, was playing to the American public. And saying, look, I've got nothing to hide here. I would love to sit down and talk to the special counsel. And so he's the good cop. And let the lawyers be the bad cop.

And I think John Dowd clearly is saying no decisions have been made. And when decisions are made, it's going to be me, the President's attorney, who actually makes that decision. You might argue, however, that it could be Bob Mueller in the end who makes that decision. Because of course he could always subpoena the President.

BURNETT: Right. And that's the thing. He has got that ultimate right to do that.

BORGER: Yes.

BURNETT: I mean, Pat, let's just put yourself in John Dowd's shoes or Ty Cobb or any of these other presidential attorneys, would you let the president of the United States sit down, if you have the ability to make this choice, and meet with Bob Mueller in an interview or not?

PATRICK COTTER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Over my dead body. I would never let him be interviewed. Never. I would never let any client of mine be interviewed when I knew they were the target of the investigation. It makes no sense. Nothing good can come of it from the defendant's point of view. And there is a whole parade of horrible possibilities that happen when you let your client be interviewed by the government.

BURNETT: Like what, they'll catch him in perjury, on something else or what?

COTTER: Well, first and foremost, he may make statement, he may tell them things, he may give them new facts, he may make admissions to having done things that help their case. Beyond that, yes, he may make a false statement. Any false statement he makes, whether under oath or not under oath, could constitute a federal crime. Perjury if it's under oath, false statements if it's not under oath. And both of them could be obstructions of justice. So there's nothing good going to come from talking to the government.

BURNETT: So if Bob Mueller wants it, he may end up having to resort to a subpoena.

I mean, Sara, you know what's interesting and I think to Gloria's point, yesterday when the President said this it seemed to me sort of just a smart thing to do. You come out and say I have nothing to hide, I want to do it. I'm so eager to do it. You're going to get credit for that from your base and from plenty of other people, and then someone else over rules you. In fact, it sounds very similar to another promise the President made to release his tax returns. Everybody listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm looking forward to it, actually.

As far as my return, I want to file it.

I would like to do that and I'd like to do it as soon as possible.

At the right time I'll release them. I hope to release them. I'd like to release them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a date set, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I don't know. No, I guess they're talking two or three weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When are you going to release your tax returns?

TRUMP: Probably over the next few months.

I have to say, subject to my lawyers and all of that --

I have to ask my accounting people.

But I would love to do it.

I would love to give the tax returns.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty much an echo, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly sounds a little familiar. And remember his explanation about the tax returns as well, they were under audit and so my attorney said I shouldn't do that. My accounting said I shouldn't do that. No explanation as to why he couldn't release previous years.

But I think that this is sort of the president who is the salesman, who is the, you know, messenger at heart. And he feels like the message that he can deliver to make himself look very transparent is to say of course I would sit down with Bob Mueller. I have nothing to hide. There was no collusion. I would be happy to do that interview. But, you know, we'll see what the lawyers say.

And obviously, as Gloria pointed out, it's the lawyer's job to sort of play bad cop here say, you know, this is something we're considering but no decision has been made. Although I think Gloria made very smart point that ultimately this will be probably be Robert Mueller's decision not John Dowd.

BURNETT: That's right. He can ultimately make that choice.

Now, Gloria, you've also reported that Bob Muller has given Trump's lawyers a range of topics for an interview with the President. But is there anything that actually would require Bob Mueller to stick to a list of pre-agreed topics?

BORGER: No, no, there isn't. But I think these are people who have, according to my reporting, been dealing with each other in pretty good faith throughout the last few months. I mean the President's lawyers just put out a document today saying how many transparent they've been and how many -- how much -- many people have been interviewed and how much testimony they've handed over, how many documents they've handed over.

And I think what they're trying to get out of Mueller is the kind of a winnowed down sense of what an interview might look like. And so what Mueller was telling them were things we would all suspect, they want to know about the firing of James Comey.

[19:25:02] They want to know about the President making phone calls to intelligence officials, you know, saying can't you shut this thing down. The kinds of questions about obstruction that we've been talking about for months and less about collusion it seems to me.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

And next, more breaking news, the White House tonight saying it's giving major concessions on immigration. But what are they asking for in return? And Tammy Duckworth speaking out tonight, she's going to be the first U.S. senator in history to give birth while in office at the age of 50. And she is going to talk all about the importance of this moment in this country OUTFRONT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, take it or leave it, that's what the White House is offering Democrats tonight on immigration. It's a new plan they're putting on the table that gives 1.8 million people who were brought to the United States as children, that includes DREAMers and some who never actually registered as DREAMers, it gives them a path to citizenship. In exchange for that, the President wants $25 billion for the wall. And things like a limit on unskilled workers bringing members of their family into the United States.

According to "The New York Times", the immigration plan was drafted by immigration hard liners, Stephen Miller and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Pamela Brown is out front at the White House.

So, Pam, you were at the briefing. What else are you learning about the plan the White House is going to, you know, technically unveil over the next few days, but that they are describing as sort of take this or else?

BROWN: Yes, that's right, Erin.

[19:30:58] And the White House officials who spoke today are framing this or selling this immigration plan as basically a compromise that represents where the American public is on immigration saying that it has, "Dramatic concessions, pointing to the plan on DACA, which provide a pathway to citizenship over 12 years for 1.8 million people, those who are registered under DACA, and those who are not, who didn't register but would still be eligible for that." Of course, they would still have to meet the work and education requirements and have a clean history.

And essentially an exchange for that, Erin, the administration in this plan is asking for $25 billion to build the wall as well as new technology. The White House officials also talked today about significant investments and a northern border security. And also illegal loopholes which would essentially make it easier to deport undocumented immigrants.

As for the diversity lottery, White House officials here today said that that would be essentially ended and those visas would then be reallocated to family visas and those highly skilled immigration visas. Chain migration, when it came to that, the White House officials said essentially that the bill would cut all family based visa besides spouses and minor children.

And what that means is if you're U.S. citizen, you can no longer bring your parents over or siblings except for your spouse or minor children. This has been a point of contention among some Democrats who have already been outspoken about this plan tonight.

So the next step is for this to go to Capitol Hill. And the path from here is really fraught because you have a large divide here, Erin, between Democrats and Republicans on this issue of immigration.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you so much, Pamela. And as they float this plan out, well, it's definitely, let's say fraught, as Pam so aptly said.

OUTFRONT now, National Review editor, Rich Lowry and Democratic strategist, Maria Cardona.

All right. Maria, the White House is essentially saying we're compromising, take it or leave it. We're going to give you a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million people already in the United States, that includes declared DREAMers and undecleared people who would be DREAMers. So what do you say, take it or leave it? MARIA CARDONA, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I would say this "compromise" is a farce. Erin, the fact that they shared this proposal with the media before they even went to any legislators on the Hill who are the ones who are actually going to have to write the legislation and negotiate between Democrats and Republicans, to me indicates that they did not do this in good faith. That they did this to tease DREAMers, to tease activists with the pathway to citizenship by masking their anti-immigrant radical nativist immigration policies that they want to implement right behind that.

If we do this, this would slash legal immigration by 50%, which is the biggest change in immigration policy in over a hundred years. And it would fundamentally change the face of America and would fundamentally change the meaning of America, which is this great country that my parents brought me to when I was two and that so many immigrants have come here to change their lives, to make better lives for themselves and their children. It's a shame.

BURNETT: Rich, "The New York Times" summarizes it this way, they say Democrats, "Will have to accept a massive border wall and strict policies designed to block low-skilled immigrants from joining their families in America." One Democratic advocate told CNN, "This is the White House trying to get every item," I'm quoting, "of Stephen Miller's white supremacist wish list." This is a pretty big thing though. Policies designed to cut chain migration for low-skilled workers as if high-skilled workers, fine, we can have your families in but we don't want those low-skilled families in. Is that OK with you, Rich?

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: First of all, that's a ridiculous smear Stephen Miller. But, look, this proposal is a compromised. We're originally talking about codifying DACA, DACA is about 700,000 people. The administration is willing to go much bigger than that. They're willing to go 1.8 and say, yes, let's give these folks a path to citizenship. That is not easy concession for this White House to make.

And it says if we make concessions, you need to give us something. Not just, you know, a wall, but actually the authorities and the new resources for immigration agencies to actually if we catch people on the border to actually send them home. And if you don't support illegal immigration, you should be fine with that. And then they also want to change --

BURNETT: Rich, what about this overt, we want people who are skilled, but not people who aren't skilled?

LOWRY: I think it's absolutely common sense. Look, you would still have an element of family reunification, you'd be able to bring in your spouses and your minor children but this system is run out of control, where you let people in sometimes on visa lottery, almost kind of randomly, then they bring all their relatives. And then when they get their green cards, they get to bring all their relatives. So it's completely random.

[19:35:04] Other advanced countries do not do it this way. We have millions and millions and millions of people around the world want to come to this wonderful country. We can afford to be choosy. There's no reason we have to be stuck with an immigration system that is essentially written in the mid-20th century and the different world in time.

BURNETT: Right.

CARDONA: Look, there's no question that we need changes in immigration policy. But let's not change the fundamental values of what it means to be the United States of America. That's exactly what these policies would do. You talk about wanting to only let in high skilled workers, who do you think picks the vegetables and the fruits that end up on your plate? Who do you think makes the beds in the five star resorts that you go to and you stay? Who do you think buses your tables?

And from an economic standpoint, it's just down right stupid. You talk to any economist and any folks who understand what these numbers will mean for the future, we are a country that is getting older. We have the baby boom generation that is retiring at a huge rate. And the native born population is not keeping up in terms of birth rate. Where are we going to get the workers that we're going to need to be able to have other people retire with dignity? It makes no sense.

BURNETT: Rich, final word to you.

LOWRY: We have a lot of workers in this country both native and legal immigrants who are lower on the income skill and are struggling in this economy and they need higher wages. And the one way to ensure they don't get higher wages is to continually flood the labor market with low-skilled workers coming in from other countries.

CARDONA: That's not true.

LOWRY: That should stop. We should always have a humanitarian element of our immigration system, we should have some family reunification but it makes no sense to get out of our way to avoid getting the more talented people who can contribute the most immediately when they get here. That is just common sense.

CARDONA: We need both.

(CROSSTALK)

CARDONA: We need both. We need a balance. Not a white supremacist plan.

LOWRY: It's not white supremacist. That's absurd. If that's your best argument you are losing.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.

CARDONA: America will lose.

BURNETT: And next, helicopter pilot, war veteran, U.S. senator and now expected mother. Tammy Duckworth is OUTFRONT. And Stormy Daniels on camera and on the record about President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:41:06] BURNETT: New tonight, the porn star who once claimed she had a relationship with Donald Trump while he was married responding with a smirk to the allegations about their relationship and reports that she was paid off to keep quiet by President Trump's personal attorney just before the election. Here is Stormy Daniels on "Inside Edition".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM MORET, INSIDER EDITION CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Did you have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump? Did you have any relationship with Donald Trump?

STORMY DANIELS, PORN STAR WHO ALLEGEDLY HAD AN AFFAIR WITH TRUMP: Well, I think it's common, you know, by looking at photos that I've met him.

MORET: There are reports you've been paid $130,000 to be quiet? Have you been paid to keep quiet? Have you signed a nondisclosure agreement? I'm taking this that you can't say anything, is that accurate? I'm taking that as a yes?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, "Inside Edition's" Jim Murray who is conducting that interview with Stormy Daniels.

And, Jim, good to have you with me. I mean look, you tried every which way to get her to talk about, you know, the allegations of this affair with Donald Trump which of course she talked about a few years ago extensively in an interview, which is a polygraph test when was conducted with her. That kind of smirk to you, to me, frankly, was actually pretty direct answer. What did you make of her response?

MORET: Well, I tried. I tried every which way. It was a one hour interview and I kept circling back. And as the interview went along, she became stone faced but early on she would give me some nonverbal cues and I would try to read into them.

Look, the only thing that I really believe is we know she spoke before. Something happened between that 2011 interview and the interview she was about to give just prior to the election, and now. And there are reports that she was paid. She may have been threatened. She may have been told not to talk. But something clearly happened. And, look, she did talk about being afraid. She talked about how she's changed her life. How she's hired body guards but she would not answer. I do believe based upon reading the previous interview that something happened. I just don't think she can talk about it.

BURNETT: Right. And of course, you know, you don't sign a nondisclosure agreement unless there's something to disclose which obviously in prior interview with "In Touch Magazine: back in 2011, she did disclose something with great detail.

Now, we, Jim, caught up with a friend of Stormy Daniels, we asked her if she thought Stormy had been paid off to stay quiet. And I wanted to play for you her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was she paid? Do you know?

ALANA EVANS, STORMY DANIELS' FRIEND: So that's something I don't know about. Do I think there was an NDA? Absolutely. Because otherwise she would be talking just like me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And she had talked before. It is the silence now and the smirk now which is the change.

MORET: Well, you know, that woman Alana Evans was a former porn star, porn actress and a friend of Stormy's. I actually spoke with her last week and she told me that she was -- she ran into Stormy the day that she met Donald Trump, the day that Stormy met Donald Trump. And they had invited her to, in her words, party that night. She said that the phone kept ringing and at one point Donald Trump got on the phone and said come on let's party. And it was just Donald Trump and Stormy allegedly in this hotel room alone.

Stormy -- and Alana did not want to go. The next day, she saw Stormy and said what happened? And Alana's words to me were Stormy said he chased me around the room in his tighty-whities. This is what Stormy allegedly told Alana.

So, you know, Alana goes kind of bolstered the idea that there was a meeting and that there may have been some kind of (INAUDIBLE) whether anything happened. It's up for debate and who you want to believe but, you know, these pieces all seem to point to something happening.

BURNETT: They certainly do. Thank you very much, Jim Moret, who had a chance to sit down and you can see his whole interview in "Inside Edition". Jim thanks.

MORET: Pleasure to meet you and thanks, Erin.

[19:45:01] BURNETT: And next, Senator Tammy Duckworth, she's about to have a baby, she will just have turned 50 when she gives birth. And she has a message tonight for women and families about work, career, and families. She's my guest. And the President talking in code when he wants reporters to vamoose.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, delivering history. Senator Tammy Duckworth announcing she's pregnant with her second child. That will make the Democrat from Illinois the first sitting senator to give birth. She tweeted out the exciting news that she is due in late April, just weeks after her 50th birthday.

OUTFRONT with me now is Senator Tammy Duckworth. Obviously, it's a great milestone, this is kind of shocking it's taken this long to get here, but what does this milestone mean to you?

SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, WILL BECOME FIRST U.S. SENATOR TO GIVE BIRTH WHILE IN OFFICE: Well, for me, it makes me a better senator. Having my first daughter, Abigail, when I was a member of the House of Representatives really taught me a lot of things about what working families face across this country. And one of the things that I'm committed to is a universal family leave policy. And it's not just about working moms, it's about families and about keeping our country competitive on a global scale.

And so I think that having my daughter and now my second daughter is going to make me an even better senator and I can better serve my -- the people of Illinois and of this country.

BURNETT: I want to ask you about working leave and the President, but, you know, you mentioned Abigail, your older daughter, that you had her when you were in the House in 2014. You know, since then, you've been commuting weekly from Washington to Illinois to your home. And look, there's millions of families out there, including my own who know the challenges of juggling the demands of being working parents, but you are doing something many people can't even imagine.

[19:50:06] I mean I can't imagine. You're getting on a plane, you're commuting once or twice a week. How do you and your husband make it work?

DUCKWORTH: Like most working families, we cobble something together to be truly honest. It's tough. And mother -- my blessing is that my mother basically moved in with us in order to help us with this process. We have nannies, backup nannies, friends and of course my mom who lives with us and that really helps. My daughter actually had her united knowledge of plus number before she got her birth certificate. Because you can actually get it online within 24 hours but it takes the county a month to get you your birth certificate.

So, you know, she's a regular on the flight. She's earning miles herself. But really, you know, this is what working families do and you cobble some things together and you make it work. And I'm already finding that there are no policies in the Senate for maternity leave when it comes to senators. So I'll be working with some of our leaderships, Amy Klobuchar, Senator Klobuchar who is the ranking member on administration committee to see what we can do to try to make sure that we do set some policies for the Senate.

BURNETT: Right, I mean that's the thing. I know you were able to take 12 weeks when you were in the House. Now you have this giant question mark. I know you provide your own staff 12 weeks, but for yourself, this is completely uncharted water. On this issue of family leave, it is so crucial. It is actually one that this President has taken on back in September of 2016 on the campaign trail. He actually spoke specifically about the issue. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We can provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: The President also, Senator, put paid leave, six weeks of paid leave in his budget last May. Obviously, that budget did not go anywhere, but do you think he actually is committed to this issue?

DUCKWORTH: I have not seen him talk about this issue beyond the campaign trail. I think that we desperately need the minimum of six weeks family leave, but I think we need 12 weeks of family leave so that not only is it about parenting but so that if you have a family member who's ill that you can take the time to go take care of your family member as well. This makes our workers more competitive. They can do their jobs, they take care of their families. And I really see this as a national economic issue.

BURNETT: You, Senator, have been very open and very honest about the struggles, the difficult journey that you've had to grow your family. And I think in doing that, you have been so inspiring to so many. It is a personal issue and one that is affecting so many families now. What do you want people to learn from your journey who are watching who are thinking, gosh, I am moved and inspired by the fact that she's speaking out.

DUCKWORTH: Well, I want people to know that it is a journey, that it is a long process. My gynecologist at the V.A. facility actually, when I first started this over 10 years, we're trying to conceive my first child, so, you know, so many of us professional women give up our fertility for years in exchange for our profession and that needs to change.

And so, you know, at the she said it's not unusual for you to be, at the time, 42 years old and trying to conceive. And then she was with me and she says look, we doctors, and I did it myself. And unfortunately, that's what families are facing all over this country. And so I wanted to make sure that Americans understood that this is a journey, we can get there, we need to support families. BURNETT: And there can be, as your family is showing, a joyful outcome to it. And we are so happy for you and for the new path that you will now force this country to forge as you go through this in the Senate. Thank you, again, Senator Duckworth.

DUCKWORTH: Thank you so much. Be well.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on President Trump on his go- to phrase that means "get out."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:47] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump thanks the press over and over again, but he really means something quite different. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Let's all be thankful that there's a nice way to say scram demonstrated by the President in Davos, Switzerland.

TRUMP: That the money is on the table. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you taking the money right now? Are you taking the money now?

(CROSSTALK)

MOOS (voice-over): Remember when thank you --

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

MOOS: -- was an expression of gratitude? Now it's more attitude.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone.

TRUMP: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

MOOS (on camera): Translation? Thank you, get out.

(voice-over): At a recent Cabinet meeting --

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you meet with Kim Jong-un?

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

MOOS: It took President Trump eight thank yous to get rid of the press. Though sometimes when his own people are thanking everyone out, it's the President who can't stop answering --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I didn't, but I'm not at all concerned. Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. Please exit.

MOOS: In a second, you'll see a White House aide in black try to get the reporter in orange to button it.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are you concerned about what the attorney general told the special counsel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone. Please exit. Thanks, everyone.

MOOS: At one recent photo op, the President got fed up with thank yous.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just Caucasian or white countries, sir, or do you want people to come in from other parts of the world, whether people of color?

TRUMP: Out.

MOOS: Out, he told CNN's Jim Acosta.

(on camera): The worst is when you get your very own thank you with your name attached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Jeanie.

TRUMP: Out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jim, thank you.

MOOS (voice-over): Sometimes it's a wonder they bother with a euphemistic thanks when the press is in the Oval Office endangering table lamps.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Easy, fellas. Easy.

MOOS: At least the press can't call this job thankless.

TRUMP: You guys are getting worse.

MOOS: Thanks.

TRUMP: Thank you all very much. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you all. Thanks, everyone.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

TRUMP: Out.

MOOS: -- New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Out. Thanks for joining us.

[20:05:01] Don't forger, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere, you just have to go to CNNGo.

"AC360" with Anderson begins right now.