Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Judge Jails Trump's Ex-Campaign Chairman: Trump Distance Himself; Cohen Signals Openness To Cooperating With Feds; Trump Wants Americans To Be Like North Koreans To Kim Kong-un. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired June 15, 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]

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Paul Manafort behind bars as Trump's legal team says he can challenge any subpoena from Mueller. What's the strategy? Plus, Rudy Giuliani calls Joe Biden a moron and mentally deficient idiot. What's this have to do with the Russia investigation Giuliani supposed to be in charge of? And using the bible to defend separating parents from their children, a member of Trump's evangelical counsel speaking out tonight to say it's wrong, he's our guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, the President lobbing a new grenade at Bob Mueller. Trump's legal team believes, tonight, they can challenge any subpoena by the special counsel. In order words, no one can force President Donald Trump to testify on obstruction of justice. Why?

Well, the President made it clear today. The Inspector General's report finding that the former FBI Director James Comey acted in an extraordinary insubordinate way. Well, that means Trump was justified in firing Comey and therefore, the whole special counsel investigation is moot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: You have a tremendous animosity. Now here's the good news. I did nothing wrong. There was no collusion, there was no obstruction. The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that. And I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. The big problem with this is that Trump himself has said clearly that this was not his reason for firing Comey. It had nothing to do with being insubordinate. In fact, he gave his reason on camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Well, one person watching all this particularly closely this evening is the President's former Campaign Chairman, Paul Manafort. He's actually in jail. Tonight he is. A judge revoked his bail today and sent him straight to jail.

Manafort is facing 25 charges in two federal courts. If convicted, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. He was under house arrest, wearing two ankle monitoring bracelets and yet, that does not appear to stop him from witness tampering according to Bob Mueller who accuses him of doing just that, while awaiting trial. So what does the President have to say about the charges facing his former campaign chairman who was always by his side, Paul Manafort?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I mean, I look at some of where were to go back 12 years, like Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign. But I feel so -- I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he 12 years ago? You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time. He worked for Ronald Reagan, he worked for Bob Dole. he worked for John McCain who was earned it. He worked for many other Republicans. He worked for me, what, 49 days or something, a very short period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, facts matter. Manafort did not work for the Trump campaign for 49 days. It was 144 days. That is a number. It is easy to check and when you do, you quickly discover that the President did not tell the truth when he threw that 49 days number out there.

And campaign era Trump did not try to minimize Manafort by saying he was a short timer or didn't have anything to do with the campaign all together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I brought in Paul Manafort as a total professional. Paul's done a great job. I brought Paul in because a very, very smart friend of mine who knew him very well, and said he is fantastic.

Paul Manafort has done a fantastic job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: A friend, fantastic, professional. And the thing is, campaign era Trump is telling the truth. Manafort did do a fantastic job for Trump and a crucial one. His job was to make sure Trump won the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Something even Trump's closest allies now admit was only accomplished thanks to Paul Manafort.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: I don't believe the President would have been nominated at the convention without Paul there. There was a lot of (inaudible) going on, a lot of things going on in the back rooms driven by Ted Cruz and other never Trumpers. And if it weren't for Paul Manafort, that convention would have been hairy and I think the President would have stood a chance of actually getting brokered right out of it. And Paul took charge of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That's of course former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo and Trump aide himself who was there.

OUTFRONT now, Evan Perez if Washington. And, Evan, I want to start with your breaking news here. The legal team when it comes to this, you know, saying no way to Mueller, feeling emboldened tonight.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. They really do because they feel emboldened because they believe that the Inspector General's report yesterday from the Justice Department provided them a lot of ammunition to argue that the President had every right. And, in fact, he should have fired James Comey, the FBI director.

[19:05:00] They say that according to the Inspector General report, it gives the FBI agents who are involved in being biased essentially against President, they say these agents and Comey himself get a lot of benefit of the doubt, so why shouldn't the President.

They believe that as a result of this Inspector General's report, they can argue to the special counsel that there is no obstruction inquiry. No reason for him to sit down with the special counsel because there's nothing to look at here.

BURNETT: Of course, obviously, you know, his own reasons were different and this goes beyond obstruction. But that's the argument they're making as you report. What about Paul Manafort, Evan? He's in jail tonight. What do we know about where he is? What he's doing?

PEREZ: Well, when we left the courthouse this afternoon, they were still waiting to figure out where to transfer him. We've learned, Erin, just in the past hour that one of the concerns the authorities have is his personal safety, frankly. It's typical here in Washington that after you sent to jail to await trial, is that they house you in the D.C. jail, but they can't do this in this case. So they're trying to figure out where to put him because of the real concern apparently for his personal safety.

And look, in court today after the proceedings were over and the judge really admonished him for his conduct, they put him -- they didn't put handcuffs on him. They let him out. He gave a half wave to his wife and his family members who were in court and then a few minutes later the marshals, US marshals came back into the courtroom with his wallet, his belt and his maroon tie that he was wearing, burgundy tie that he was wearing, and handed it to his family. And look, this is last time very well may be that he might be a free man because if he's found guilty of these charges as you said, he's facing a lifetime in prison.

BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty stunning and as you say, returning his tie, his belt, his wallet. When you say personal safety there, concern about from others or from himself, that is unclear?

PEREZ: From others. I mean, it's -- yes, it is from others, exactly.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Evan. And now, I want to go John Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel during Watergate, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and Seth Hettena, Author of "Trump/Russia: A Definitive History". Thanks to all.

Seth, let me start with you. Paul Manafort is in jail tonight. You heard, his tie, his wallet, his belt handed back to his family. How is he going to handle this, being in jail?

SETH HETTENA, AUTHOR, TRUMP/RUSSIA: A DEFINITIVE HISTORY: Not well. I don't think he's going to handle it well at all. This is a 68-year- old man who is used to a life of luxury, who is used to fine clothes and fine food and he's got an apartment in Trump tower.

This is not a -- this jail is not a good fit for Paul Manafort and I suspect it's going to be a hard wake up call tomorrow morning when he finds himself behind bars.

BURNETT: I mean, John, it's pretty incredible and stunning to think about this. This turn of fortunes, you know, for Paul Manafort. What happens to him now, does this make him flip? Is that still on the table?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I suspect that the prosecutors are hopeful that will happen. This will be a real shock for him tonight if he goes out into Montgomery County, to one of the county jails or Alexandria. Those are all awful places, I know because the number of the Watergate people were placed in them.

The reason they don't go to a D.C. jail, that is the true hell hole and people were physically injured and some of the Watergate burglars got into a row in that place. So, the government's got a problem. They also know that this man once told his according to his daughter, that he was suicidal. He threatened to take his life. So I assume that they're on watch for that as well.

BURNETT: I mean, April, it is stunning what is happening here. And, you know, as this happens, the president today, you heard him, dismissed Manafort, nothing to do with him or the campaign. Of course the facts are, he most certainly was a significant part of the campaign and, you know, we showed that.

But, you know, here they are together, right, to charge the convention here he is by Trump's side. Checking the podium the day Trump accepted the GOP accepted the GOP nomination. Again, Manafort prior to that at a campaign stop. Making sure the stage was set with his boss there, appearing with aide, Stephen Mueller. And of course, we know among so many meetings at Trump Tower meeting with the Russia lawyer, of course, Paul Manafort was there, which is at the center of the special counsel's investigation, April.

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes, right. It may have been 144 days but it was a critical and crucial time period for this Trump campaign. That was a time, I mean, many reporters like myself saw Manafort on the floor of the convention center in Cleveland. Not only that we see him on the floor, he was walking around, maneuvering, making sure things were in place.

BURNETT: Yes.

RYAN: He was the key to everything moving. But you have to also remember, this was the man who this President said he had not much to do with the campaign, but it was a critical time. But I'm also thinking about going back to some things you said about Manafort.

[19:10:01] When you go to prison or go to jail and they take your tie and they take your belt, they are concerned about suicide. So there is the problem as well. Excuse me I have a cold.

BURNETT: No, that's all right. But I mean, yes, I mean, this is a dire situation I think, you know, hard for anyone to understand. You know, none of us who have been in that position but just to imagine what you would be going through, and of course what could at stake here when you talk about the possibility of flipping and what he might know.

I mean, John, this comes as Trump was saying the Inspector General report discredits the entire investigation. Now, as we pointed out and Evan pointed out, the report does not discuss at all why Trump fired Comey, that he has nothing to do with it. Trump is in fact, himself, the only thing he said at that time, it was about Russia.

So does team Trump actually think this report is going to help them avoid an interview, avoid the President sitting down with the special counsel?

DEAN: Well, he assert that argument certainly isn't going to be brought by the Special Counsel's Office. They can't sell that in court either. There's absolutely no connection between the report and that argument. It would be a real reach even to go in and cherry pick to try to find and build that kind of argument.

This is for the base. This is for those who don't read reports like this and very few will read the full report. They'll read newspaper summaries at best or tweets or what have you. So this is just more hot air.

BURNETT: So, Seth, you know, they know, you know, team Trump, that this is really about the voters and impeachment, right? I mean, maybe they're not so -- they don't care about the special counsel, right, because as John points out, people aren't going to bother reading this report. So what matters is what they actually say, who cares about truth. I mean, Rudy Giuliani admitted as much to CNN. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP ATTORNEY: We're defending here. It is the public opinion because eventually, the decision here is going to be impeached/not impeached. Member of the Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents so a jury, as it should be, is the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Is that what they're doing in the IG report here, Seth, just saying hey, you know what, this is just a PR game, who cares about the facts of what the president said in the past. No one's going to check them.

HETTENA: Yes. I think you're right on. It's a PR strategy. It's not a legal strategy. You know, -- that they're fighting the game, they're anticipating ready and Giuliani's quote right there is very revealing. They're worried about impeachment. And he said it right there.

So this is basically an effort to taint the jury pool and the jury in this case is the Congress, Members of Congress who are going to be voting on whether to impeach Trump. The strategy is the same as the crooked Hillary strategy. It's the idea that you throw so much mud at the wall and you see what sticks.

And, you know, unfortunately, it's an effective strategy and let's see what happens. But that's what they're going for.

BURNETT: That seems to be the strategy certainly when it comes to Mueller. I mean, April, what is fear right now, among those close to the president, not just about Mueller but also about Manafort? I mean, they've got to be thinking about Manafort is in jail tonight. And again, that big question, does he know anything about this president?

RYAN: Yes. Well, there's always a concern that anyone who was in the intersection of this Trump world know something. And he was close enough to the kids, Donald Trump Jr., to the President, to know what was going on. And even, you know, Bannon, Steve Bannon.

Now, the issue is what does he know what will he tell? But you also heard Rudy Giuliani say things like, you know, pardons will clear this up. So you got to wonder what's going on here. And yes, the White House is always going to have a stance of strength saying that we've got this under control.

But in meantime, they're shaking in their boots to make sure that those who are under the scope do not tell anything.

BURNETT: Right. Thank you, all. And next, new signs tonight, Michael Cohen could be closer to flipping. Federal agents piecing together now his shredded documents, seize shredded documents in raid and literally have been putting them together with tape. Plus, the president with new praise for North Korea's vicious dictator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [19:14:20] BURNETT: Is that a joke or the truth? And the Trump administration, using the bible to defend separating children from their parents, member of Trump's evangelical counsel says that's wrong and he's OUTFRONT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, prosecutors in the Michael Cohen case of reconstructed 16 pages of shredded documents seize in the FBI raid on Cohen's home and office. This is Trump's former long time attorney is indicating to friends and family that he's willing to corporate with federal investigators.

Sources say, Cohen has been frustrated by the President's treatment of him, which has made him more open to working with investigators. Another source says Cohen's relationship with Trump is not what it once was.

Cohen, though, today did not hide today, he ventured out, facing the cameras.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael, are you going to cooperate with prosecutors? Are you concerned at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck, Mr. Cohen.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER DONALD TRUMP ATTORNEY: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, is that the guy that's going to jail?

COHEN: Awesome. Way to go, buddy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Harry Sandick, a former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Frank Bruni, Columnist for the New York Times.

Harry, let me start with you. Cohen, you know, apparently angry with the President, he's angry with Rudy Giuliani. He obviously is under an incredible amount of pressure. I mean, imagine walking down the street and someone yelling there's the guy going to jail. I mean -- but yet, we don't believe we are not reporting that he has met with prosecutors to actually formally discuss any sort of a deal. So what happens here?

HARRY SANDICK, FORMER ASSISTANT US ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think what happens is they're almost done with this privilege review from the search warrant. When those documents are ready for the government, they'll be in the best possible position to question Cohen, to test whether he's willing to tell the truth.

Cohen will also then know exactly what the government has about him. And he'll be in the best position to assess how strong the case is, whether he really needs to cooperate.

BURNETT: So, Frank, you know, President Trump was asked about Cohen this morning. These are the sorts of things that Michael Cohen sees and hears, right, when he's sitting there wondering if he's going to go to jail for the rest of his life and fighting the fight of his life. He hears things like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[19:20:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you worried that Michael Cohen might flip?

TRUMP: I did nothing wrong. You have to understand. This stuff would have come out a long time ago. I did nothing wrong. I did not anything wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he still you friend?

TRUMP: It's really nice. I always like Michael. I haven't spoken to Michael in a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he still your lawyer?

TRUMP: No, he's not my lawyer anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your personal lawyer, and not anymore

TRUMP: But I always like Michael and he's a good person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know if you're worried if he's going to cooperate with federal investigation?

TRUMP: No, I'm not worried because I did nothing wrong.,

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got it.

TRUMP: Nothing wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, Frank, a couple of things here. First, the President clearly distancing himself, right, and he wants to say he's a good guy but that after he's like, I haven't spoken to him in a long time. No, he's not my lawyer, you know, when asked if he still his friend.

These are the things Michael Cohen is seeing, the guy that he has basically given up his life for say about it.

FRANK BRUNI, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: He's not only seen that, Erin, he saw today that Paul Manafort is going to jail. And that's got a -- I mean, that's a stark reminder of where this could all end for him too.

You know, Donald Trump seemed very kind of cool and collected when Cohen's name was brought up today. But the thing we have to keep remember is of all the people who have kind of come onto the radar here, Michael Cohen was traveling the darkest byways of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump's life for a good long time.

And back when prosecutors, investigators raided Michael Cohen's office and home, I've never seen Donald Trump so spooked. That was the day he was with his cabinet and he described it all as an attack on the country. And I think that was your key and your clue to just how many secrets Michael Cohen possesses and just how afraid Donald Trump may need to be about Michael Cohen flipping and talking.

BURNETT: So, Harry, with the update of the materials seized, I was talking about the shredded documents, right? 60 pages of shredded of documents they've got one device, they're trying to get other devices that he would have had, 731 pages of communications from encrypted messaging apps.

Michael Cohen texts a lot, anyone in the media, we can all tell you that. What does this tell you about where they are in the case and the shredded documents? What could be the significance there?

BRUNI: It tells you that the government has virtually done with the reconstruction of what they recovered in the search warrant, even things that are hard to reconstruct like shredded documents or encrypted text messages.

They have these. They are now being shown to Cohen's lawyers as part of this privilege review. And once the Prevel edge review was done, which seems it's maybe ten days or two weeks away from being done, those will go to the government. At that point, it seems like a conversation would be an order.

BURNETT: And one quick point, I want to give you a chance to make about -- when we talk about Cohen looking at Paul Manafort as Paul raises, I mean, I'm sorry, as Frank raises, who's in jail tonight.

SANDICK: Yes.

BURNETT: You're saying that Manafort, 25 charges and the rest of his life in prison. If he does cooperates and flip, he has something to give, he may not go to jail at all. I mean, it could be that much to get out of jail free card.

SANDICK: That's right. A cooperating witness, it's totally up to the trial judge. And at the end the case, the trial judge compares that crimes that they have committed with the extent of cooperation. If you testify truthfully and you help the government convict someone, you could get no time at all.

BURNETT: I mean, that's pretty incredible when you think about that, Frank When you think about Michael Cohen looking at that. Michael Frank, you know, there's a report in the Wall Street Journal in 2009, Trump wanted Cohen out. They had some sort of a thing. He said he should be out. He's not a good fit. Not getting things done.

What's he doing here, Mr. Trump, demanded the Journal writes and message was relayed to Mr. Cohen, visibly upset. Mr. Cohen pushed back, I will try to prove myself, he replied. A person familiar with the matter said. Cohen stayed. Trump slashed his salary in half to $200,000 a year. And yet, Frank, this is a guy who kept saying years and years later how much he loved Trump and was loyal to him. What -- is he a glutton for punishment? I mean, what explains the loyalty?

BRUNI: Well, for a very long time, Donald Trump was Michael Cohen's ticket to a level of living both economically and in terms of kind of power in the circles he traveled in that he would never have been in that world but for Donald Trump. He wasn't a man who came from an extremely impressive background in terms of legal education, that sort of thing.

But Michael Cohen is not going get to go back to that life. He's not going to -- on the far side of this, he's no longer going to be talking about maybe running for mayor of New York, which he was doing at a time. He's not, you know, he's not going to have any of that to look forward to anymore.

And so, I think if the case against him, which they seem to be close to kind of finalizing, if the case against him is very, very strong, I'd be surprised if he didn't cooperate with investigators, provided of course that he has something to give them. We don't know a lot and we have no idea if what they want and what he has to give is significant.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, that's the thing, they then decide if it's useful to them enough to actually help the person alleviate sense. Thank you both. And next, President Trump has a history of praising dictators from Putin to Duterte. But is he talking it too far with Kim Jong-un. Let's hear what he said today.

[19:24:34] Plus, Rudy Giuliani attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, calling him a mentally deficient idiot, is Giulliani doing more harm than good for Trump?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: New tonight, Trump's dictator dream. The president today saying he wishes Americans treated him like North Koreans treat Kim Jong-un.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's the head of a country and I mean, he is the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, North Koreans do sit up at attention, they cheer, they adulate. Maybe that's because they know they could be kill or go to a labor camp. And maybe that's why Trump tried to backtrack a bit later, claiming it was just a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention when you speak?

TRUMP: I'm kidding. You don't understand. Wait, wait. Who you with? Who you with?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN.

TRUMP: You're with CNN?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, sarcasm. Well, according to the Washington Post, Trump expressed envy of Kim in order time too. The Post reports that after watching state-run North Korean TV, Trump marveled at how positive the female anchor was about Kim.

The report saying, quote, "He joked even the administration-friendly Fox News was not as lavish in its praise as the state-TV anchor. One of the people added and that maybe she could get a job on US television instead. OK.

As we know though, when you make jokes like this, there is a grain of truth in them as there is in most jokes because Trump's compliments of Kim this week have been consistent and frankly delivered very seriously.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He's a very talented man. He's got a great personality. He's a, you know, funny guy. He is a very smart guy. He's great negotiator. He loves his people. He loves his country.

His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor, they have a great fervor. He wants to do something great with his country. He wants to make his country great.

He wants to do what's right. He was really very gracious and i think we understand each other. Got along very well, we have a good chemistry. I think he trusts me and I trust him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Gordon Chang, author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes On the World and Mark Hertling, the former Army Commanding General for Europe in the Seventh Army, thank you very much.

Gordon, President Trump says he wishes Americans stood in attention for him like the North Koreans do for Kim Jong-un and then later when he was asked about it, said, "Oh, this is just a joke?" What was your reaction when you heard him say it first time?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: This is even more pernicious than most Americans think because every day that People's Daily issues a newspaper, they attack American's form of government. This is not Russian meddling in our democracy. This is an all-out assault on our democracy. And so at this particular time when we face an existential threat, no American president should be making jokes of this sort. You know, so far People's Daily, other state media have not used Trump's comments against democracy, but it's just a matter of time.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, you know as we say, General Hertling, in every joke is a grain of truth, especially when it is a joke that keeps being made frankly again and again by this president.

MARK HERTLING, FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL: Yeah, if that's a joke, then the president's comedic timing really sucks, Erin. Here's what I'll say, I'll echo what Gordon just said, this is an existential threat. And the president is not only heard by the American people that he serves, but he's heard around the world. When he says something like this and says it's a joke, truthfully I'm sort of tired of that excuse. I know his followers are going to say you have to take him literally versus seriously, well -- or the other way around, excuse me. I'm taking him both ways.

This is threatening to our democratic institutions and it's unfortunate. This is not the way we act. This is not who we are. We respect one another. We respect our citizens. I guess I wouldn't slouch all that much either if I was fearful of being shot by an anti- aircraft gun, but that's not who we are in the United States.

BURNETT: And Gordon, you know, what makes all these glowing compliments about Kim and not just whatever, he says they're jokes, right, but he obviously has said it multiple times, but, you know, all the things that "I was just playing" that were not jokes that were very clear. He's genuine, he's honorable, all those things he said. But you know what, seven months ago, he was saying it was a cult, that it was the worst place in the world and every, people would pay to leave to be slaves in other countries because North Korea was so horrible.

And let me just play a little bit of old Trump, let's call it and new Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. He wants to make his country great. North Korea is a country ruled as a cult. He loves his people. He loves his country. I mean this guy is a bad dude. He's got a great personality. He's, you know, a funny guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, we put that together because I think the juxtaposition says so much. What is going on?

CHANG: You know, I guess what the president is trying to do is trying to sort of play up to Kim Jung-on so he can get a deal. But the point is this doesn't work, because even if Kim really likes Trump, Kim operates in a system that does not permit him to reciprocate generosity or friendship or any of this. And what I think the real sin here is that Trump is, in addition to

the attack on democracy, the sin here is that he is trying to create an expectation, and if Kim actually thinks that Trump thinks this way, when Trump disappoints him which he'll have to because the interests are so irreconcilable, it just makes the inevitable down-spiral much worse that it had to be.

BURNETT: And I mean, you know, General Hertling, it is pretty incredible, he loves his people, he loves his country. I mean this guy is a bad dude, he's a funny guy. He's got a great personality. I mean it's bizarre to hear these things. It's one thing to sort of change your tone. It's another thing to say things that are so diametrically opposed to each other.

HERTLING: True. And Kim, I think, is more concerned about his reign than the love of his country, the family reign over North Korea. That's what causes him to do all the things that he does. It's to keep his power. And again, we have a system that doesn't require someone to keep power for life and pass it from generation to generation. It's a different system and we're a different people.

So yeah, I'm going to stick with that Kim is a very bad dude. He's done a lot of bad things toward his people. He does not love at least 120,000 of his people who he has incarcerated and he's killed hundreds of people that are certified by the United Nations. So I'm not sure I'd call him anything but a bad dude.

BURNETT: That's interesting, as you say, you know, we don't have rulers for life. Of course, President Trump is the one who said of President Xi of China, he is essentially president for life, that's pretty good. I suppose he was joking then, too.

Thank you both. I appreciate it.

HERTLING: Yeah.

BURNETT: And next, new details about what Trump said to the Prime Minister of Japan. Why he talked about sending Shinzo 25 million Mexicans. Plus new numbers tonight, more than 2,000 children separated from their parents at the Mexican border as the Trump administration has used again and again a very specific part of the Bible to justify this policy.

[19:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: New tonight, Rudy Giuliani unleashed again, calling Joe Biden a moron during an interview of the Huffington Post where he predicted President Trump would cruise to re-election victory. Giuliani saying, "Joe Biden is a moron. I'm calling Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot." I suppose that is in case anybody does not know what a moron is.

Out Front now, former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin and host of the Ben Ferguson Show, Ben Ferguson, I'm glad for the rudygiulianidictionary.com summary. Keith, jokes aside though, you know, this is -- it's nothing to do with the Russia investigation which of course is what Giuliani is supposed to be focusing on. And it's pretty childish and nasty.

Did he go too far?

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Of course it's too far, but there's no consequence of going too far with Donald Trump. Trump apparently clearly hired Rudy Giuliani to be his attack dog. He hired him to say all the horrible things he wants to say, but can't always get around to saying because there's no barrier to stop Trump from saying.

And even if he goes too far, what's the worst thing that's going to happen to him? Is he going to lose his job? No. He doesn't have a job. I mean he's got this tangential unofficial position.

[19:40:00]

Is anybody going to be upset in the Republican base? No, because he can do practically anything now and get away with it. Is Trump ever going to be held accountable? No, because he could get away with just about anything.

So what's the downside to just going off and saying any outrageous, outlandish thing you want to say if you're Rudy Giuliani?

BURNETT: I mean is that how he sees it, Ben? I mean is there any way that you would defend -- forget who the person you're talking about it, but Joe Biden is a moron. I'm calling Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot. Is that okay?

BEN FERGUSON; HOST OF THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW: Well, look, I hate to kill the narrative, but sometimes it's not Trump's fault.

BOYKIN: Trump hired the guy.

FERGUSON: Let's be honest about the history that has gone on between Biden, Biden was the guy who mocked the fact that Giuliani did a great job with 9/11 and said that basically he was so dumb and every sentence only had a noun -- I think it was an adverb in 9/11. So let's not act like this is some new riff because Donald Trump unleashed Giuliani. They have not gotten along years before Donald Trump was ever even thinking about getting into politics.

Look, this is -- this is a simple thing that happened. You had Giuliani that was asked a question about Joe Biden. He happily responded. You got two guys that love to talk trash with one another and I also think Giuliani is probably doing a little bit of bating here. I think he's trying to bate him into running for election.

BOYKIN: It's not just Biden though. It's not just Biden though. Giuliani is attacking everybody, (INAUDIBLE) Stormy Daniels, he's called her...

FERGUSON: And it's been working well for him. BOYKIN: Yeah, it's great when the president of the United States has a lawyer who's calling a person who the President has a sexual relationship with a whore, that's a wonderful thing. That debases the language, the rhetoric of our country.

FERGUSON: Let's be clear. I didn't say I endorse everything. My point is the president wanted an attack dog, yes. Giuliani is an attack dog, he absolutely is. And you know what, people may say, "Well, I don't like what Giuliani is saying right now," but it does seem politically to be pretty effective and people are obsessing over what Giuliani has been saying, which is helping to get a message out of what the White House is fighting back on this, not saying they're taking it every day.

BURNETT: Okay. I want to move on to another topic although I will say, of course, in the approval ratings, you know, Giuliani is rock bottom, but to your point, it may be hurting him, but helping Trump.

FERGUSON: Sure, it hurts (INAUDIBLE) but Trump.

BURNETT: I mean I'm not saying it is, I'm not saying you're wrong, Ben.

FERGUSON: Trump has gone up, yeah.

BURNETT: I'm just saying, you know, he's willing to take the hit. There's something coming up though right now that I want to share with all of you, the G7, you know all those pictures that came out, everyone sending their own angle and everybody is upset at Trump for what he did there.

Well, sources are reporting tonight, during sources -- I'm sorry, a conversation with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about migration problems. Trump said, "Shinzo, you don't have this problem, but I can send you 25 million Mexicans and you'll be out of office very soon."

Keith?

BOYKIN: This is an unbelievable statement. I can't even say it's unbelievable because it's what you'd expect from Donald Trump. Just think about what's happened this week. I mean he started out, he defended Russia. He attacked Canada. He alienated our allies in Europe. He saluted a North Korean general. He praised a communist dictator. He started a trade war with China. He had, his campaign chairman was jailed today. His foundation was sued. And now, he is on a record attacking Mexicans in a context of a conversation with the Japanese Prime Minister.

What else could possibly happen in one week for the American people to realize the Donald Trump circus has ruined our country and our country is off the rails. It needs to come back together.

BURNETT: Ben. Okay, Ben.

BOYKIN: If this happened in any of the administration, Republicans would be calling for impeachment.

FERGUSON: Okay, here's the thing. This is -- Keith, Keith, Keith.

BURNETT: Ben, Ben, Ben, let me just jump in here because he also was talking to Macron about terrorism and he said, "You must know about this, Emmanuel, because all the terrorists are in Paris."

FERGUSON: Yeah. Look, I think he is clearly referencing there's been an uptick of terrorist attacks including 170 people that were killed in one attack. You had dozens others that were run over by a truck attack in Paris.

BURNETT: Okay, don't defend all the terrorists are in Paris. You're way too smart of that, okay.

FERGUSON: There has been a lot of that.

BOYKIN: We had 600 people die in Las Vegas here. I mean 70 people shot for goodness sake.

FERGUSON: No, I'm not saying -- I'm saying, I'm saying, let's just be clear though, let's be clear there. Hold on, let's be clear, we don't know the exact words that Donald Trump said. Can I see a situation where they're talking about terrorism and he looks up and talking about Paris and explains there has been a significant number of terrorist attacks since 2015. Go look at the list. It's not a short list unfortunately.

So I'm sure the president could have looked at them and said look at all the terrorist attacks. Now, I also think that people can misquote the president or try to make him look bad by this and we don't know exactly how he worded it. So that should be clear about that.

BURNETT: But these are people Ben who are clearly close to him who are sharing this. I mean that is not an insignificant thing. His people are supposed to be like his loyal people.

FERGUSON: Again, look, I always say this, people that won't put their name, if people won't share their name, then I think they have an agenda and that's it. If they want to share something without their name next to it, so I always put an asterisk next to it. I don't know if they said it right. I don't know if they got it exactly right. And I'll leave it at that. And it also didn't leak out in the other countries, let's be clear about that as well.

BURNETT: Okay, quickly.

BOYKIN: Well the agenda apparently is to expose the president of the United States for the buffoon that he is. We have a president who has destroyed our relationships with other nations. And that --

[19:45:00]

FERGUSON: Then they shouldn't work around the president. But again, I don't know who these speakers are.

BOYKIN: -- well that's not a good thing for our country and you shouldn't be defending it.

FERGUSON: I agree with you. I don't like leakers. I think they're terrible, but I'll give you a great example the reason why people like the President.

BOYKIN: That's not what I was saying though.

FERGUSON: You look at what he said about the people in Mexico, the reality is the number one group of people that are coming in this country illegally statistically are people coming in from Mexico. The President was being truthful.

BOYKIN: But that's not what he said. He's --

FERGUSON: He's talking about (INAUDIBLE) 20 million people from Mexico. He didn't say that next quote.

BOYKIN: He's calling them rapists and murderers and drug dealers, (INAUDIBLE) but he did said that before and he's attacking them in the conversation with the Japanese Prime Minister as well.

FERGUSON: The reason why the people like the president right now is he's blunt and he's honest about what's going on. The number one --

BOYKIN: 42 percent approval rating.

BURNETT: Thank you both. Thank you both. To be continued. And next, more than 2,000 children separated from their parents at the Mexican border and the White House is not using policy to justify this or, you know, they're actually using the Bible.

A member of Trump's evangelical council said the president is wrong to do and he's Out Front next. And Trump launching new tariffs. China is now saying it is officially war.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:00]

BURNETT: Stunning new numbers from the Trump Administration tonight, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in six weeks, that's 2,000 kids and the six weeks we're talking about are mid-April up through the end of May.

Trump's so-called zero tolerance policy separates children from their parents while the adults are prosecuted for entering the United States illegally. And team Trump is using the Bible to justify the policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would say due to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can say that it is very Biblical to enforce the law, that is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Out Front now is Jentezen Franklin. He is the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel and a member of President Trump's evangelical advisory council and I appreciate your time, pastor. Thank you for coming on tonight.

I just wanted to read the exact wording from the Bible verse that Sessions cites, Romans 13, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Consequently whoever rebels the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."

Does this Bible verse justify this policy in the Trump Administration of separating families who are crossing the border illegally?

JENTEZEN FRANKLIN, SENIOR PASTOR OF FREE CHAPEL: Yeah. I just think that it's a very dangerous route to go when you begin to take selections of scriptures and say, you know, the Bible was written to justify political standings. The Bible was never written as a political roadmap. The Bible was written as a roadmap to salvation through Jesus Christ, to give people hope, to give people life eternal. And when we begin to take, with all due respect to Jeff Sessions, I know him, I've met him, I've talked with him, but he's wrong. He's wrong to take that scripture.

And the way that he said it bothered me a little bit, Erin. I felt like, you know, looking at him kind of smiling and this is a sensitive and very emotional, powerful issue that we're talking about. I'm a father of five children. I have grandchildren and we're all made in God's image according to -- if you're going to quote scripture, let's quote that one in Genesis 1 where we were made, all of us, regardless of the color of our skin, regardless of our economic standing and status, we're all made in the image of God and he loves us all the same.

BURNETT: You know, the verse is a controversial one and perhaps because of its reference to governing authorities, it has been used in the past. And it has been used specifically Pastor, as you know to justify things including slavery in the Civil War, apartheid in South Africa and even Nazi Germany under Hitler.

What I'm trying to understand is do you think Sessions, Sanders are unaware of what this verse has been used to justify, such horrific things like slavery and genocide?

FRANKLIN: Well, I would like to clarify because first of all, Jeff Sessions was wrong, but President Trump was right this morning when he released a statement saying that he denounced this practice, that it was a horrible thing, a terrible thing I think he said to see families ripped apart. I appreciate the president saying that. It's the right call. And the Bible is a pro-family book. It is trying to put families together, not rip them apart. And the problem is there're laws and I understand the Attorney General is there to enforce the law. So here's where my heart leans. As a pastor, I pastor people. I don't care if they're legal or illegal. I don't care where they came from. I'm going to pastor them and love them, but we did have to find the middle ground of somehow, you know, honoring the law of the land, but showing mercy to the immigrant.

BURNETT: Pastor, I'm just trying to understand, I understand, you know, you know policy well. Of course, you are a man of faith. The president it's a lot -- he has the choice to enforce it. So if he thinks it's a bad thing, he could stop it and he could stop it tomorrow, that is within his jurisdiction right now. And I understand you support what he said this morning, but I'm simply making that point, because you are on the president's evangelical advisory council and you have disagreed with him before. You have been very frank about your point of view.

When he made the comments about S-hole countries, here's what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKLIN: It was wrong what he said. I say that respectfully. There're no nations that are trash and I'm putting it kind what he said. There's no people in those nations that are worthless and trash of every kindred and of every tongue and of every nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Is the president losing your support, pastor?

[19:55:00]

FRANKLIN: No, not in the policies, not in the policies. And I don't see this as the issue and the stand that the president is taking quite frankly I heard him say today, come to the table. Let's really be honest a moment. Let's really be honest a moment. President Obama --

BURNETT: But he's using this as a bargaining chip, right? He could stop it right now, but he's saying, I won't stop it because Democrats, I want you to come do other things on immigration. So I'm going to allow the families to be separated in the meantime. I mean, pastor, that is what's happening. He does have the ability to stop it.

FRANKLIN: He doesn't have the ability to make law. Congress makes law and he's saying to the Democrats -- and with all due respect, this is not a criticism, President Obama had a filibuster proof Congress that he could have done something for two years on DACA and he didn't do anything, not because he's a bad person. You want to know why he didn't do anything? It's not a republican or a democratic issue. We got to stop the bipartisan politics of, it's time for Nancy Pelosi and Schumer and the Republicans, the President said, I'll sign it. He's told me. He's told others, I'll sign it if we'll get the border secure. I will take care and have a pathway of citizenship to those who are here.

BURNETT: All right, pastor, I appreciate your time and thank you so much.

FRANKLIN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the president tonight claiming he got along with world leaders at the G7 Summit. They all of course have said differently. What meeting was he in?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, war, China is accusing the U.S. of starting a trade war after the White House said it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion of Chinese goods. President Trump though says war or not, it's all China's fault.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The trade war was started many years ago by them and the United States lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're saying we're on the losing end of it?

TRUMP: Well no, there is no trade war, they've taken so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Throwing that word "war" around, China now retaliating, saying it's going to be slamming tariffs on American made goods and that's what a trade war is, it hurts a lot of people.

Jeff Zeleny is Out Front from the White House tonight. And Jeff, trade wars matter and they do hurt a lot of people. China obviously says you do to us, we will do back to you. Does the president care?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, he certainly does not have the ear or is not listening to some of his constituents. Frankly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, people who are conservative Republican groups are saying this is not a good idea at all because it will pass on increased prices to consumers. So there is definitely a sense, yes, the president has long talked about this, he campaigned on this. This is his view and it's certainly the view of some of the advisors who remain here at the White House.

But the question here is those Trump voters in those red states, it's not good. I noticed one headline today at the Des Moines Register, Iowa farmers take a $624 million hit in soybeans alone if this happens. So we will see if the president actually gets any feedback on this, but for now he's listening to those hardliners inside his White House.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. Jeff Zeleny.

ZELENY: Thank you.

BURNETT: And obviously all eyes on that trade war. Markets of course shrugging it off for now, Trump voters, we shall see. And thank you all so much for joining us. Have a great and safe weekend and don't forget you can watch Out Front anytime anywhere on CNNGo. AC360 with Anderson begins right now.