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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump on N.K.:" I Don't Need To Prepare"; Pompeo: Giuliani "Doesn't Speak for the Administration"; Fox News Host Sets Sights on Sessions Job; Bill Clinton on His Lewinsky Comments: Not My Finest Hour. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 7, 2018 - 19:00   ET

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


19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: -- thank you very much. Cuomo Prime Time, tonight, 9p.m. Eastern. Once again, Bernie Sanders among his guests.

That's it for me. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, winging it. President Trump says he doesn't need to prepare for a summit with Kim Jong-un. Is it all about attitude?

And it's getting ugly. An all-out war of words tonight between Trump and the president of France just before they meet face to face. What happened to that love affair?

Plus, Rudy Giuliani says he knows what Melania Trump thinks about Stormy Daniels, but tonight the first lady slams back.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Trump says he's winging it. President Trump boasting that he doesn't need to prepare for his historic summit with Kim Jong-un because he says it's all about his attitude.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing to prepare for the summit with North Korea?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE United States: I think I'm very well prepared. I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude, it's about willingness to get things done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Vintage Trump. He prides himself on going with his gut, on winging it. It is something he loves to brag about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I like being off the cuff. You don't mind if I go off script a little bit because, you know, it's sort of boring.

This was going to be my remarks. It would have taken about two minutes but what the hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, this worked on a campaign trail, OK, for sure it did. But can it work on the international stage when peace versus nuclear war is on the line? I mean, the stakes could not be higher, and the man at the forefront, of all of these preparations such that they are, the secretary of state Mike Pompeo knows it. He has met with Kim twice in the past two months, and today he stepped up for the White House podium to do something that no secretary of state should ever have to do. To assure the American public that the president of the United States is prepared for the biggest moment of his presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: So, over months and months, days and days, President Trump has been receiving briefings on this issue about the military aspects of it, the commercial, economic aspects of it, the history of the relationship. And in the past few months there have been near daily briefings, including today, where we have been providing the president all the information that he needs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: It is unprecedented to have to defend the president on something so basic as basic preparation. And that is Pompeo saying the president has been, quote, receiving briefings. I mean, Trump may be getting tons of the military, commercial, economic briefings Pompeo is talking about, but is he paying attention?

The Washington Post recently reported that for much of the past year, the president rarely, if ever, read the classified intelligence briefings that he gets nearly every day. It is a major break with presidential tradition. And there is one thing we know, is that the president needs to be prepared for this because the details matter. There is a long and complicated history of lies and deception from North Korea. This is not the first time North Korea has even promised denuclearization.

Take 2005. Kim Jong-un's father promising he was, quote, committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons. Thirteen months later, he launched North Korea's first nuclear test. And then there was June 2008, North Korea inviting experts and journalists from around the globe including CNN, to witness this destruction of a nuclear tower -- cooling tower, I'm sorry, at a nuclear plant. Guess what? It was about a year later, North Korea conducted its second nuclear test.

That's the precedent. And the pomp and circumstance around supposedly destroying nuclear capacity is exactly what we're seeing now. Remember what CNN witnessed two weeks ago at North Korea's declared nuclear test site, build as major destruction, an exercise of transparency and good faith? And look, as we've come into this summit, the president has been applauding Kim for just that, his transparency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Kim Jong-un, who has been very open and very straightforward so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Giving Kim credit for being open and straightforward. By the way, U.S. intelligence now says that that blast at the nuclear test site may have been pure propaganda.

Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT live at the White House tonight. And Jeff, look, this is a crucial question, it's not just a small thing. How prepared is the president?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that is the central question here. And when the president said that earlier today in the Oval Office that he's not prepared, it's more attitude, I talked to a couple White House advisers after that and they said, well, actually, we've been giving the president briefings. He's been watching this.

And it's -- you know, it's a briefing the way that the president likes to get briefed. He's been watching charts, seeing graphs of North Korea's nuclear program. That is the central question here, getting the president to understand what Kim Jong-un knows about his nuclear program.

And am told by advisers, they believe the president is much more steeped in this than he actually let on today.

[19:05:01] He wants this to be seen as the art of the deal, you know, diplomacy style here. But the question is -- he is a bit distracted going into the G7 tomorrow in Canada. We're trying to get it back on track. He's flying a long flight of course from Canada to Singapore, so there are briefings scheduled on that flight.

But, Erin, I think the question essentially is, the president wants this to work out so much, is he going to have the ability to walk away as he said he would? He said, if they do not want to deal or Kim does not want to deal, he will walk away.

I was in the Rose Garden press conference earlier this afternoon, Erin, and the president clearly stated he wants that friendly talks with Kim Jong-un. Much friendlier than the allies he's seeing over the weekend in Canada.

BURNETT: Wow.

ZELENY: So the question here is, does the U.S. have the same definition as denuclearize as Kim has, and will a handshake be enough? But the president said it's not a photo op, he wants a serious meeting. I think he's taking this more serious than he let on earlier today, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.

ZELENY: Sure.

BURNETT: And I want to go now to Bruce Klingner, the former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea, Gloria Borger, chief political analyst, and Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks, the former senior intelligence officer on Korea.

Gloria, winging it, you know, is Trump's style. It has worked for him.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

BURNETT: And he loves to brag about it, you know, the way some people maybe might brag about not studying for a test when they did. But, this is an unprecedented moment in history, right. It sounds from what Pompeo is trying to say and what Jeff is reporting that maybe Trump is doing a little of prepare -- pretending here about not preparing.

Do you think that's the case? And why does he feel the need to pretend that he's not doing his job?

BORGER: Well, this isn't a president, first of all, who sits through hours-long briefings and discussions. And I think what Pompeo is probably doing is it every opportunity, he tries to brief him a little bit at a time which is the way the president seems to like these things done and kind of bite size perhaps.

But I also think there's a larger issue here, Erin, and that is it's about the president's ego. It's about the president's constant sense that he can do things that no one else has done, that former presidents have not been able to do. And I'm reminded of what he said at the convention. Remember when he said I alone can fix it?

BURNETT: Yes. Yes.

BORGER: And this is the sort of president's attitude which is, where others have failed, I can come in, and I can win, and I can succeed. And so I think that's the message that he's trying to send to the American people.

BURNETT: And Bruce, you know, to Gloria's point, you know, he continued, he went on today about how he doesn't need to prepare, and here's more of what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This isn't a question of preparation, it's a question of whether or not people want it to happen, and we'll know that very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Bruce, you dealt with all of this, right? We saw in 2005, very detailed promises made and broken. 2008, detailed promises made, detailed promises broken. And those are just two of several examples. Is this really as simple as preparation doesn't matter, if you want it to happen it happens, and if not, it doesn't?

BRUCE KLINGNER, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIVISION CHIEF FOR KOREA: Well, really, the underlying factor in the eight previous agreements that the International Community had with North Korea which all failed was that North Korea cheated. They didn't abide by the commitment. So, whether you're studying -- you know, doing a late night study session or winging it, the main factor is whether North Korea has changed.

Now, Secretary Pompeo said today that the two sides have come closer on a common interpretation of denuclearization, but he didn't want to define the details of that. And that really is the important thing, because as you point out, the details are important. North Korea has a different definition of denuclearization, even what the Korean peninsula is. They include strategic bombers on Guam as being part of the Korean Peninsula because it impacts or influences that.

So, we really need clearly delineated text and verification.

BURNETT: Right. Which is obviously not something that would be done at a summit like this, but, you know, there's just so much at stake here when you come out of it, what you say you're going to get.

I mean, General Marks, you know, during the debates in 2016, you know, we all remember that moment, (INAUDIBLE), Trump appeared to not even know what the nuclear triad was which is the three ways that the United States can launch nuclear weapons. And in the debate when Hewitt asked this question a second time, because Trump had given a long and rambling and unclear answer the first time, here's what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUGH HEWITT, HOST, SALEM RADIO NETWORK: Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? Because I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him.

TRUMP: I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: What do you think, general? Is this negotiation with North Korea just about wanting it as Trump says, right? Or do details -- this is just an example of one moment at that time he did not seem to know. Do details matter?

RET. MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, details do matter. I mean, of course we know that. I don't know that this is an either/or type of a conversation.

[19:10:00] Clearly, whether the president's prepared or not, I would certainly hope he's prepared walking into this, but I'm crossing my fingers when I say hope. There's no evidence to the contrary that he's not prepared, there is no evidence that he's going to walk in there and totally wing it.

The issue is -- and it's already been discussed. North Korea has been in place for 70-plus years. They never told the truth. They continually lie. My concern about this is that North Korea could sign up for everything to include denuclearization.

BURNETT: Right.

MARKS: And whatever the modalities look like because they're going to play a long game. They know that President Trump will be out of office in two years or six years, and that there will be an opportunity for them to obfuscate and to skirt through the process that Bruce has described very, very specifically.

This takes time. You got to have all these specifics in place. Now clearly the president and Kim --

BURNETT: Yes.

MARKS: -- are not going to agree to those --

BURNETT: And --

MARKS: -- but this process has to lead us to something they have given us plenty of opportunity to observe that they don't tell the truth, and this could be very prob -- it will be very problematic.

BURNETT: And then Gloria, on top of all of this, enter Rudy Giuliani because of course enter Rudy Giuliani. (INAUDIBLE) the saga in which we all now live. Pompeo had to do some cleanup with regards to Rudy who just came out and said this about Kim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: Well, Kim Jong-un got back on his hands and knees and begged for it, which is exactly the position you want to put him in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. So you grimace, you winch, you laugh, I don't know what one's reaction to that is this. But, nonetheless, it's hugely insulting, right, and Kim had threatened to call off the summit when he felt insulted by the vice president would never say something as whatever inappropriate as that was.

So Pompeo was asked about it today and here's what he said, Gloria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POMPEO: I took him as being in a small room and not being serious about the comments. I think he was a bit in jest. And -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you it jeopardize the summit or?

POMPEO: We're moving forward. We're focused on the important things. I know Rudy doesn't speak for the administration when it comes to this negotiation and this set of issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Ouch. Gloria, how much of a problem is Rudy creating?

It could create a problem if Pompeo hadn't just distance himself from him. It's one thing to distance yourself from remarks made by the vice president or by your national security adviser. It's a little more difficult.

Rudy Giuliani is involved in the Russia investigation and not North Korea. I mean, the only question I would have if I were over in North Korea is, is Rudy Giuliani getting this from the president with whom he speaks quite frequently. But Pompeo did a good job, I think, trying to just kind of just say, well, he's over there, and he doesn't speak for us, and, you know, he ought to stick to his knitting. And I think he was sending a message to Rudy as well which is to stop, be quiet here.

BURNETT: Yes, and as we will talk later on this show, not the only person in the administration to slam Rudy today.

BORGER: Right.

BURNETT: Bruce, you know, we've all been told, right, at some point in negotiation in our lives that the ultimate leverage is your willingness to walk away. And it is something Trump threatens repeatedly to do to Kim Jong-un. Here he is just today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: All I can say is I am totally prepared to walk away. I did it once before. You to be able to walk away.

BURNETT: So Bruce, is it really that simple once you get to Singapore? I mean, if he does that, what it will cause to the U.S be?

KLINGNER: Well, you have to ensure that you do get a good deal and that you're either willing to, you know, continue with negotiations to ensure you get the right deal or walk away. But what you need to do is if you either walk away or take a pause is to not only maintain maximum pressure and it's not been maximum. There's a lot of things we're pulling our punches on.

BURNETT: Yes.

KLINGNER: But then you have to increase the pressure and when the president last week said he has hundreds of North Korean entities that he's holding back on sanction, I think that's the wrong message. And also there were reports that the Treasury Department had three dozen Chinese and Russian entities that we're holding back on sanctions and targeted financial measures which the often case is it's enforcing U.S. law.

You don't want to hold back if you have evidence against those violating our laws.

BURNETT: And General Marks, I mean -- but here's the thing, you know, the president, you know, he said he was canceling the summit and then he didn't. Does he really now have the power to walk away? Or is he the boy who cried wolf?

MARKS: Well, he can certainly walk away but the challenge with that is, that we have got into the sausage making is beyond any recollection that I have seen before. And that just makes it very, very difficult. I mean, how do you have confidence when you kind of lift the veil and you peer into the all the intro seemed kind of intricacies of trying to get a summit together. And everybody goes, oh my goodness, there's a lot of moving parts here. And they you -- you have no confidence that this thing will take place.

That's the challenge about walking away.

[19:15:01] BURNETT: All right, thank you, all.

And next, breaking news. Trump and the French president in a war of words tonight. So it's love with North Korea and a war of words with France. What happened to this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He is perfect. So it is really great to be with you and you're a special friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, those days are over.

Plus, Jeanine Pirro of Fox News reportedly wants a big job in the Trump administration, and wait until you hear what it is.

Plus, is Mike Pence, a president's mini me?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, a Fox News host setting her sights on Jeff Sessions' job as attorney general. Politico reporting tonight that conservative host Jeanine Pirro, a former prosecutor and judge has told aides to the president that she wants to replace Sessions. And Politico reports Trump has, quote, dangled the possibility of giving her a top appointment.

Trump and Pirro go back decades. She's one of the most loyal Trump defenders on television. The White House declined to comment to Politico. And Pirro didn't respond to their requests for comment.

OUTFRONT now, Democratic congresswoman from Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee. She sits on the House Judiciary committee, so obviously this very relevant to you. Congresswoman, your reaction? REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, why not give a global reaction, and that is first to proclaim that we do not have a monarch or a monarchy.

[19:20:05] And we do not have a government that is guided by the principle of above the rule of law. In that instance, let me calmly say I have no knowledge of the credentials of this candidate from Fox News, but I do know I have a trail of statements that would make her patently unqualified for any position in the U.S. Department of Justice.

That is the independent arbiter even though it is an appointment by the president, it is an independent arbiter of justice in America. It is the checks and balances that the people of the United States looks to along with the United States Congress to maintain a following of the law. Statutory law, constitutional law, and the law created by the courts.

I would be very saddened to know that we might have an appointee that would be manipulated by political forces in making very important decisions.

BURNETT: Well, here's what we know, you know, when you talk about things she said. She's a loyal defender of the president. She loves to slam Jeff Sessions and the Russia probe. Here's a few examples.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, "JUSTICE WITH JUDGE JEANINE": There is a cleansing needed in our FBI and Department of Justice. Special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller must be fired immediately. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must be fired immediately.

The single most dangerous person to the agenda of President Trump, the Republican Party and ultimately to all Americans, is the attorney general of the United States himself, Jeff Sessions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, that's loyalty, Congresswoman. I mean, Politico is reporting a former administration official said Trump was sort of dangling a big appointment to flatter her more than anything else, but we do know the president has, of course, hired a number of other friends and television faces, Larry Kudlow, John Bolton among them. Do you think he could seriously entertain Pirro as attorney general or anything else?

JACKSON LEE: Well, Erin, if I might say, those comments have literally taken my breath away. What I do know is that the president gets in front of any confirmation process, he gets in front of any counsel from the variety of staff that might have insight onto appointees, and he appoints before he confirms or before he determines that the person is qualified.

My breath was taken away because I don't agree with the policies of General Sessions. I happen to believe in immigration reform and comprehensive criminal justice reform and many other issues, the voting rights. But I do believe that he is far from the most dangerous person in the United States.

BURNETT: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: And certainly anyone who makes that statement about any attorney general or any person where it is without fact, certainly a terrorist would be warned to that kind of comment, but that is not the case here. I would be suspect on them even dangling a position in this very independent agency that must protect the laws and the constitution of the United States.

BURNETT: And as you, the judiciary committee obviously focus on this issue, you mention justice, pardons. I want to turn to that because you have written a letter along with your fellow Democrats on the committee asking to the White House counsel Don McGahn asking for information about how the president the committee how the president has been using his pardon power. Of course he's not been going through the Department of Justice as is the usual way to do that.

What are you worried about?

JACKSON LEE: What I'm worrying about is the abuse and the use of the pardon power to signal to others who are presently engaged in the Mueller investigation and to defang the Mueller investigation, if you will, by getting rid of any of the targets by way of giving them a pardon. The other is that it is important -- again, let me use the term checks and balances. I think no matter what political philosophy you have, the American people have a sense that we should have oversight, in quotes, over each other in government. We should be knowing what's going on.

And when a president says that they have a single pardon power and they, you know, like use it for themselves, we ask the White House counsel to give us the train of conversation, documents --

BURNETT: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: -- where he engaged with the president or educated the president about power and the power of the pardon so that we can provide oversight on behalf of the American people. We cannot have a reckless runaway concept of pardon by -- how should I say it -- by whim and will. Even though I supported the commutation of the sentencing of this young lady that was undeserving of a life sentence, and I hope that we can get into a discussion, Erin, of sentencing reduction.

BURNETT: So let me ask you one thing before we go, Congresswoman. The former President Bill Clinton has been under fire this week, you know. He said he didn't owe Monica Lewinsky a personal apology for how he handled himself. He's been saying look (INAUDIBLE) but I gave a public one.

[19:25:01] He's been trying to do damage control. Let's me just play how it's gone down. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever apologize to her?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE United States: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've apologized to her?

CLINTON: I've apologized to everybody in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you didn't apologize to her?

CLINTON: I have not talked to her. The truth is the hubbub was I got hot under the collar because of the way the questions were asked.

And I was mad at me.

STEPHEN COLBERT, TELEVISION HOST: Well, you said in the interview that you did apologize.

CLINTON: Here's what I want to say. It wasn't my finest hour.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Congresswoman, what do you make of this, that he's, you know, saying, look, I didn't apologize to her personally and I don't need to?

JACKSON LEE: I don't know if I heard that. I was here during that period. In fact, I was on the impeachment committee, and it was a very, if you will, difficult time for America.

BURNETT: Yes.

JACKSON LEE: I do remember the open apology. It was -- we were living it as it was occurring. I don't think, Erin, that the story is over. I don't think the story or the door is closed for any interaction to comment further by someone who is sincere and wants to correct the record. What I would say is that it was a time when emotions were raw, there was an impeachment proceeding as indicated by the president. He was indicted by the House. That is an impeachment.

And so at that time you would have to raise the question as whether or not anything more was appropriate even though it could have been appropriate. So here's my view. I don't think it has ended. I think that there will be an opportunity for reconciliation and that would be the appropriate tone that I would think that he and this conversation with his family would have.

BURNETT: OK, so what you're saying is you understand why it didn't happen at the time. Obviously a lot of time has gone by, right, decades. So as to why he's never chosen to do it in that time, look, maybe the MeToo I think we all have to admit has forced him back to the forefront, its made him have to think about it again.

You're saying it's not too late. It could and should still happen. JACKSON LEE: That's what I think and I think it might in fact do so because I think we know the hearts of both Clintons, and I do believe that they want to do the right thing when they can do so.

BURNETT: All right, thank --

JACKSON LEE: And reconciliation is always a possibility for anyone at any time.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman, thank you so very much. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, I appreciate your time.

JACKSON LEE: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: And next, Rudy Giuliani judging Stormy Daniels. But what about this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And you want to be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 40th anniversary playmate.

TRUMP: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus breaking news, Trump and Macron now in a war of words tonight. Threats and angry accusations for one of America's greatest allies. And they meet tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:31:14] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Tonight, Melania Trump giving Rudy Giuliani a smackdown. Now, this one is actually -- it's kind of amazing. You know, the president's lawyer is in hot water for, among several things, weighing in on the president's first lady's opinion on her husband's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: She believes in her husband. She knows it's not true. I don't think there's a slight suspicion that it's true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, whatever, but tonight, Mrs. Trump's communications director was asked about it and responded, quote, I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani.

She could have said, no comment, but no, you got to, you know, get all of the sharks swirling around in this White House in just moments ago. Giuliani responded to that, telling our Dana Bash that actually, OK, he's never talked to Melania about Stormy Daniels but he still stands by what he said, saying, quote, yes, I believe she knows him well enough to know this one is -- what's the word, fakakta?

Do I need to translate?

OK. OUTFRONT now, former Republican candidate for New York governor and friend of Donald Trump and Rudy, Rob Astorino.

Right now, you're not in between two people at war, but anyone else, yes.

And national affairs correspondent for "The Nation", Joan Walsh.

JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Not a friend of Rudy.

BURNETT: Not a friend of Rudy, not a supporter of the president.

OK. This is a slap from the first lady.

WALSH: Oh my god.

BURNETT: I mean, you could have just said no comment, but you've got to slam the guy who right now is your husband's kind of --

WALSH: Lawyer, close friend, fixer, messer-upper. I mean, he's everything, really. I could not have loved this more when I saw it. I'm sorry, I'm petty.

But go, Mrs. Trump. Go, first lady. Go, her staff. I mean, she manages to insult, and as he deserved, her husband's attorney, she manages to actually cast some question on whether she has spoken to him and whether she does believe him. I mean, if she was like, yes, of course I believe my husband, I don't think that she would have had someone step out here and smack Giuliani quite that way.

I don't want to go too far. That's not what she said, but that's what I took from it.

BURNETT: I mean, it was a strange response, Rob.

ROB ASTORINO, FRIEND OF DONALD TRUMP AND RUDY GIULIANI: It was a strange response, but she didn't say, I don't believe. So, she's not saying I know for a fact. She was kind of speaking on her own.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Come on, do you really think her chief spokesperson comes out and says, I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever spoken about her feelings without checking in with her boss?

ASTORINO: Honestly, that's an imposition.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

ASTORINO: Rudy swims in three different lanes in the pool, right? He's outside counsel for the president, so on the Russia-gate, he speaks and should speak affirmatively. Then he's a 30-year friend of the New Yorker, so he speaks as trying to help his friend.

And then he's Rudy.

(LAUGHTER)

ASTORINO: You know, he's always used to having a microphone for his opinion, as a presidential candidate, a mayor. Just, you know, Rudy.

BURNETT: OK. So, Rudy is doubling down on what he said about Stormy Daniels today. So, let me just play part of what he said. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The business you were in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility any weight. She has no reputation. If you're going to sell your body for money, you just don't have a reputation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: My biggest defense is what about the people who are low enough to pay people who do that? I mean, you know, if you're going to say one is low, the other is low, too, if that's your point of view. He's sticking by that, telling Dana Bash, if you're involved in this sort of slimy business that says something about how far you'll go to make money, our real point about her is she's not just generally uncredible, she's uncredible from the point of view of wanting to get money.

[19:35:00] She's a con artist.

WALSH: First of all, who wants money more than Donald Trump? I mean, he's pretty much on the record saying that. Who has like declared bankruptcy and stiffed his creditors? Donald Trump. Who has appeared in a soft porn Playboy movie? Donald Trump.

ASTORINO: I was waiting for --

WALSH: I mean, come on. And I'm sorry, since Rudy went there, I think we are allowed to bring in the fact that he and his client have six wives between them. Rudy is exiting his third marriage. They are both known for cheating on their wives.

How dare he raise a woman's credibility and based on what she does sexually that neither of them has standing to judge, Stormy Daniels, or any other woman, for that matter.

BURNETT: All right. So, let's get to the -- you know, if it's so low to be in this business and so uncredible, Rob, what about the other people in the business, like Donald Trump?

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Well, it's a soft core -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, REALITY STAR: And you want to be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fortieth anniversary playmate.

TRUMP: Good. And what qualifications would you say you have?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that it's not just beauty. I think it's an attitude. I think it has a lot to do with personality and an attitude. I think Playboy really represents that, and I believe that I have that, that I have what it takes to represent them.

TRUMP: I think you have what it takes, too. And I think everyone in this room thinks you have what it takes also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He's been on the cover of playboy.

ASTORINO: First of all, he knows people got Playboy for the great articles, right? And so, he was hired by Playboy, I think, for publicity.

BURNETT: Does it take great nerve to say, somebody who's on the porn business as a woman is uncredible, but a man who has a part in a movie and is on the cover of Playboy, oh, he is --

WALSH: And has allegedly dated Playboy model --

BURNETT: He gets to be the president.

ASTORINO: This is not new, though. This came out in October of 2016. So, this is not new news that he was behind -- he actually was backstage with Melania who he was dating at the time. But he was backstage when the cameras were there.

So, this is not, you know, Donald Trump naked in a soft porn. That's not what we're talking here. Let's clarify that, though.

BURNETT: Not, to appear in a movie, would you appear in a movie like that in any role?

WALSH: Yes, Rob?

ASTORINO: How much? No, no, I would not. I would not.

But you know what? Look, again, I get back to this point. I think the left, and to some extent the media, they're using Stephanie Clifford -- let's not objectify her as a porn star, Stephanie Clifford, they're using her because she's the perfect tool because she's the resistance, she's the front of the resistance.

But you know what? They're going to leave her on the side of the road when they're done with her. WALSH: Just quickly, I would disagree with you. I think Rudy brings

her up because she's useful to Donald Trump. I think she's a distraction from the Mueller probe. She's a distraction from things --

(CROSSTALK)

ASTORINO: His numbers are going up and it's because of the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: His numbers have dipped again, come on. Look at the trend line.

ASTORINO: They're up to 45 and they're getting higher and higher -- his numbers are going up, not down.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both.

WALSH: We'll see.

BURNETT: And next, breaking news, President Trump escalating what is quickly becoming a drag down fight with one of America's top allies, and the president's bizarre recollection of Hurricane Harvey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane. That didn't work out too well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Did they? Well, so, we're going to go to one of the officials on the ground in Texas during the hurricane to find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:42:08] BURNETT: Breaking news: hours before the G7, French President Emmanuel Macron and President Trump in a war of words, the French president tweeting: The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be.

It's a big threat coming from a major ally. And Trump is now punching back, sort of in the same style.

Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create nonmonetary barriers.

Now, keep in mind, you know, six weeks ago, remember, the love fest, all the kissing and the tree planting? All right. You know, all lightness aside, this is obviously hugely significant.

"Washington Post" columnist and CNN political commentator Catherine Rampell joins me first here. And, look, this is pretty stunning. They're doing this on Twitter,

sort of a Mr. President, Mr. President. I mean, this passive aggressive childishness that Twitter brings out and so many people --

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would say aggressive, not passive aggressive in this case, that's for sure.

BURNETT: But what does this mean, that Macron is threatening to do an agreement without Trump?

RAMPELL: Well, actually, we already saw a version of this a few days ago. So, the G7 summit has been ongoing, and there was a meeting with the finance ministers. And they released their communique, and it was to my knowledge the first communique that actually specifically singled out a country, a member of that group, for rebuke, and it was the United States.

So, that was the -- that was the event that Secretary Steve Mnuchin was at and that he came back from it and relayed the displeasure of his, you know, counterparts from these other countries. But what they basically said in that case was, yes, we're really upset, we're disappointed with the United States, so this is really not so out of character based on what we've seen so far in these meetings.

BURNETT: And you have Trump getting ready for the summit in North Korea, talking about having about a possible meeting with Putin, having this really nasty station frankly with Canada, Mexico, the U.K., France, Germany, anybody relate to do these tariffs, it's obviously very significant. Here's Trump just a few weeks ago talking about Macron.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He is perfect. It is really great to be with you and you're a special friend.

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Thank you.

TRUMP: I like him a lot.

I believe France will be taken to new heights under this president. He's going to be an outstanding president, one of your great presidents, and it's an honor to call you my friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Look, Trump loves the superlatives, but perfect, special, great, outstanding, and now it's just nasty.

RAMPELL: Well, it's nasty because Trump has done a relatively nasty thing economically speaking and potentially militarily speaking in the sense that these are our military allies and we have turned on them. These are economic allies, and we have turned on them.

So, of course, when Trump thought that he was going to break out the big guns and have these tariffs and have all these other countries grovel at his fight saying, oh, please, take these tariffs away, we'll do whatever you say, they didn't and instead they retaliated. Of course, he turned on them, too.

[19:45:00] BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And you know, it's America's allies, of course, are extremely angry with Trump's stance on trade. But it's not just his allies, it's -- well, I don't know what they are. The GOP?

Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump accused of starting a trade war with America's closest allies, that criticism not coming from Democrats but from his own party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's face it. We're now in the opening paths to trade war.

NOBLES: One by one, Republicans told us they have serious concerns that Trump's hard line on trade could ultimately backfire.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: For the best economy that we've had in decades and decades, and now we have something to interrupt that.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: This is more or less an unguided missile because a retaliation can occur in other sectors that really hurt the United States economy.

NOBLES: Others like Senator Lindsey Graham saying there's simply not enough information coming out of the White House.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What's the end game with the White House? What's your plan? How do we get there? I don't want to undercut his position, but I would like to know how this movie ends.

TRUMP: We think we're going to have tremendous success.

NOBLES: Many questions centering around the fact that Trump is hitting America's closest friends the hardest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our allies are scratching their head saying, what's going on?

NOBLES: Meanwhile, a country the president talked tough about during the campaign --

TRUMP: China, which has been ripping us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country --

NOBLES: -- is a beneficiary of a major trade deal. The decision to settle with telecommunications giant ZTE despite direct calls from Republicans not to reward a company that's susceptible to espionage.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R), NEBRASKA: Will you please raise your hand if you would use products or services from Huawei or ZTE? None of you would.

Raise your hands if you recommend that private citizens use Huawei or ZTE products or services? None of you, again, are raising your hand. Thank you for that.

NOBLES: This making the ZTE deal and helping China all the more confusing to Republicans.

CORNYN: China has been stealing as much intellectual property as it can.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBLES: And Senator Bob Corker has offered up an amendment on the current Defense Authorization Bill that would limit the president's power to unilaterally impose tariffs like this. And, Erin, it does have some Republican support. But leadership has made it clear it likely won't pass, meaning the decision to implement these tariffs will be all up to President Trump -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Ryan.

And next, President Trump has an odd explanation for why so many Hurricane Harvey victims needed to be rescued. So is there any truth to it? We fact-check.

And Mike Pence, the copycat. Just watch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:26] BURNETT: New tonight, President Trump under fire for suggesting the Coast Guard was busy rescuing people who went out on their boats to watch the storm during Hurricane Harvey. It's a huge and if true extremely disturbing allegation.

Here's exactly what he said during a meeting at FEMA headquarters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I also want to recognize the Coast Guard, our other military services. I have to tell you, the Coast Guard saved 16,000 people. The brand of the Coast Guard has been something incredible, what's happened. Saved 16,000 people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is.

People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane. That didn't work out too well. That didn't work out too well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So, did people go out on their boats to watch the hurricane, putting rescuers and first responders' lives at risk? Texas officials, including the Republican governor, say they're not aware of any such thing.

OUTFRONT now, the Harris County sheriff, Ed Gonzalez. And, Sheriff Gonzalez, thank you very much for your time.

Look, you were there. You were on the ground during Hurricane Harvey. Do you know what the president is talking about?

SHERIFF ED GONZALEZ, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: I do not. I think that the president's lack of basic understanding of the challenges that we face from Harvey is staggering. And I think we're getting a taste of what our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico must feel when the president's comments don't align with the reality on the ground.

BURNETT: I mean, I guess, I'm trying to understand, you know, how an allegation like this could be made, without any basis in fact. You know, you're saying you don't know anything about it. Others in Texas are concurring with you.

Look, the president was in constant contact with officials in Texas during the hurricane, after the hurricane. I mean, is it possible someone told him about this happening and it was in an area you weren't in? You know, I'm just trying to you said if it's possible this occurred in any way.

GONZALEZ: Well, I suppose that he could have heard it anecdotally from someone, but it would have been very isolated. And we definitely relied on the efforts of many, including the Coast Guard, as he mentioned, but also civilian rescues were significant. And so, it was all hands on deck and no one took a leisure approach to this. And it's something that we take very seriously, having had numerous experiences with hurricanes and other severe weather events.

BURNETT: And the Coast Guard, of course, as hold PolitiFact, they said they rescued 12,000 people, mostly from urban rooftops during all of the hurricanes last year combined. So that would be Texas and Florida, 12,000, not the 16,000 number by the Coast Guard that the president referenced more than once, as you just heard.

Why do you think that he said something about, you know, people being so reckless, frankly, that seems to be false? I mean, where do you think he could have gotten the idea?

GONZALEZ: I'm not sure where he did, but the stakes are high and I'm concerned that his basic lack of understanding of what occurred here could harm his administration's ability to help suffering Americans that are depending on assistance. So I hope that we can make sure that he gets the accurate information going forward, so that we can make sure that he's aware of what's happening and the help that we still need down here. Many fellow Texans are still recovering.

BURNETT: So are you looking into this at all? Or how are you trying to communicate with him to try to explain to him that he's factually incorrect?

GONZALEZ: Well, no, we haven't reached out. We hope that, you know, he'll get the information and the correct information going forward. And as I reference that, if he doesn't, that I would be happy to invite him to ride out the next hurricane on a John boat in Galveston Bay next time one approaches again, because this is definitely a very serious matter, and we want all Texans and everyone to be aware of how to properly prepare for these events.

And again, we did not see any signs of any gawkers. Everybody was assisting, lending their resources and boats. And civilian rescues, including help from groups such as the Cajun navy and others were, again, just instrumental in making sure that recover we recover as quickly as possible.

BURNETT: All right. Sheriff Gonzalez, I appreciate your time very much. Thank you.

GONZALEZ: Thank you.

BURNETT: Next, Jeanne Moos proving that imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:56] BURNETT: Tonight, one thing is obvious. The vice president is in sync with his commander in chief. Here's genie.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, we present you synchronized water bottle stashing.

First, the president ditched his, then the vice president followed suit. In no time, the internet bottled and preserved the moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a plan for the whole community. It's a plan that I would like --

MOOS: It happened at a FEMA briefing on hurricane season. It was at the response coordination center, noted one eagle eye. And, boy, were these two coordinating their response.

As one Twitter user reminisced, didn't you ever play that game as a kid where you mirror everything your sibling or friend does until they wallop you? The one who got walloped here was Vice President Pence, by Jimmy Kimmel.

JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT TV HOST: It's like Trumpy-see, Trumpy-do. He's for sure a west world robot, right?

MOOS: The VP has perfected the adoring gaze and has been known to pick up on the president's gestures. Get the point?

The point of getting rid of the water bottles was probably to make for a neither photo op. Now you see the bottle, now you don't.

It seems like the president's relationship with water runs hot and cold.

His watery antics are always going viral, from his dainty swig to his two-handed sip. And then there's the president's odd habit of moving things, anything,

a few inches here, a few inches there. But this time, out of sight, complete with the sight of Vice President Pence mimicking the move. Flunky-see, flunky-do was someone's meme take on the moment.

A more charitable one, who the heck was under the table that was so thirsty? One guess, little Marco Rubio.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MOOS: And thank you for joining us. Don't forget, you can always get to OUTFRONT anytime. Just go to CNN Go.

"AC 360" with Anderson begins right now.