Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Mueller Indicts 12 Russian Agents Ahead Of Trump-Putin Summit; 12 Russians Indicted; White House Rejects Calls To Cancel Putin Summit; Roger Stone Appears To Be Unnamed Person In Mueller Indictment. Aired 7-8pm ET

Aired July 13, 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: "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, 12 Russians indicted. Nearly 200 charges against 32 individuals in the Mueller probe so far. Is the so-called witch hunt finding real witches?

Plus the focus on Roger Stone intensifying. Tonight, the Trump confidant appears to be the unnamed individual in today's indictment. Stone's long time associate, Sam Nunberg, is my guest.

Plus sorry is the hardest word for the President. So, was his apology to Theresa May sincere? Let's go OutFront.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight the breaking news, it's on. The White House says President Trump's one-on-one with the Russian President Vladimir Putin is going ahead despite a lot of calls to cancel it. Those calls are coming after the Special Counsel Bob Mueller indicted 12 Russians from Putin's own government including Russian military officers.

Think about that, Russian military officers, who, according to a 29- page indictment we got today conducted large scale operations to interfere with the U.S. presidential election of 2016, hacking Democrat e-mails in computer networks and stealing the information -- you're ready for this -- of about 500,000 American voters. Then methodically releasing the e-mails of the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Now, when you look at all of these together, where are we on this? We now have the total charges in this investigation, Mueller's investigation at 191 against 32 individuals and three companies. These indictments driving a stake through the heart of the President's biggest talking point, that the Russian investigation is a hoax, a ruse, and to quote Trump's favorite word, a mere witch hunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would call it the witch hunt. I would call it the rigged witch hunt. It's a total witch hunt. It's a Democrat hoax.

They have this witch hunt. That was a Democrat hoax. It's a witch hunt. Phony witch hunts. I think it was a hoax. It's like a witch hunt. It's a like a witch hunt.

This is hoax. The witch hunt continues. I call it the Russian hoax, one of it great hoaxes. The entire thing has been a witch hunt. But it is one great hoax. This is pure and simple witch hunt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: One hundred and ninety-one charges is no witch hunt. And the White House now is saying, well, OK, but the Trump campaign is exonerated. They put out a statement today and they wrote in part, "Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone in the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along."

OK. Well, the White House keep in mind and just look at this. And there's a lot of issues with this, but in particular referring to the hacking as alleged, that is not the word that Trump's own team has used when it comes to Russian hacking. In fact, his own intelligence chiefs have said definitively Russia hacked the election and Russia is doing it again now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE ROGERS, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR: I participated in that 2017 work. I stood by it then and standby it now and I agree with Director Pompeo this is not going to change or stop.

ROBERT ASHLEY, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: Yes, it is not going to change nor it is not going to stop.

DAN COATES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Throughout the entire community we have not seen any evidence of any significant change from last year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And by the way, when they say it's consistent with what they've been saying all the way along, it is far from consistent with what the President of the United States has been saying all along. In case you forgot, here you go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they're trying to tarnish me with Russia. I'll go along with Russia. Could have been China, could have been a lot of different groups. But also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. Not maybe there is no hacking, there was hacking. And this is a definitive thing, this is not a question. And by the way, no, it was not a random 400-pound guy.

Evan Perez is OutFront. And Evan, you know, the White House coming out and saying that this exonerates the President, does it?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It does not, Erin. And it doesn't exonerate the campaign, people inside the campaign. This is an investigation that is still ongoing. It's not over by a long shot.

And keep in mind these were charges that were brought against 12 Russian military intelligence officers. It's got their names, it's got their rank. It's got the unit that they were working for. And these are charges that were approved by a Republican appointee of Donald Trump, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the man who's overseeing this investigation. And today he said that this investigation is now going to be moving over from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller to the head of the national security division of the Justice Department, the prosecutors who run national security prosecutions.

[19:05:02] And guess what? That person was nominated and approved by Donald Trump. So these are his own nominees now who are putting a lie really to the claims that you keep hearing from the White House that this is alleged, that this may or may not be Russians. It makes it clear here as the President gets ready for his summit meeting with the Russian leader that there are specifics in this indictment showing exactly who did it, who approved it, and the President really has all the information he needs to be able to confront Vladimir Putin if he wants to.

BURNETT: Right. And I guess, you know, the operative term, Evan, to what you're saying is if he wants to. I know you're also learning tonight that U.S. intelligence officials have gotten some more intelligence on some of the Russians named in these indictments. What have you learned?

PEREZ: Right. One of the things that comes through in this indictment is the level of penetration that the FBI and the intelligence services had on the Russians. They know their names. They know exactly who they were and they have their rank. They also had clearly their access to their communications.

And one of the things that we've learned is that the intelligence community had been able to collect intelligence including them celebrating and congratulating each other not only for the operation that they had carried out but also after it in their view had been successful in helping to elect Donald Trump, they were celebrating that fact. So, look, the idea that the Russians had a clear preference for President Trump and they were trying to hurt Hillary Clinton, that much is clear. And the intelligence keeps coming in to bolster that.

BURNETT: All right, Evan Perez, thank you very much for breaking all of these.

And I want to go now to our Chief Political Correspondent Gloria Borger, along with former CIA Operative Bob Baer and the former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security Carrie Cordero. So Carrie, you know, when it comes out, you know, late this morning, OK, there's going to be an announcement from Rod Rosenstein. Obviously like everything else in the Special Counsel it didn't leak before, nobody saw it coming. How significant are these indictments? What does it tell you about where Mueller is?

CARRIE CORDERO, FMR. COUNSEL TO THE U.S. ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NATIONAL SECURITY: This indictment obviously is a major step in the Special Counsel's investigation and the counter intelligence and then prosecution of the individuals responsible for hacking the DNC, accessing and hacking the Hillary Clinton's campaign and trying to influence the 2016 election. So I think this is a major step. It's significant as a national security matter and as a criminal prosecution matter that the Department of Justice named 12 Russian military intelligence officers.

As you've pointed out, this was not some side operation by some backwater entity in the Russian government. This was a major military intelligence activity that was directed at the American elections and American democracy. And what Rod Rosenstein made clear today, what the Director of National Intelligence Coates has said and all national security leaders in the government have said is that this activity was not limited to the 2016 election. But they are really showing the scope of what is an ongoing threat from a national security perspective.

BURNETT: And yet, Gloria, the White House response today was to try to again dismiss the whole thing, right? "Today's charges," here's their quote, "include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all the way along." Of course, obviously it's not consistent at all with what the President has said. But what about this, we're all in the clear argument that they're making, Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, that's ridiculous. There is no we're all in the clear argument. I mean, Rod Rosenstein chose his words very carefully. He said there's no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. And then he went onto say the Special Counsel's investigation is ongoing.

What we are seeing is a very carefully planned rollout. You know, we had the first tranche of indictments of Russians, now a second one, a very high ranking officials who could not have done any of these without the permission of Vladimir Putin, of course. And the second thing I want to say about the White House statement is that where was the President congratulating the Justice Department for some astonishing forensics here, investigating our election and the hacking into our democracy by the Russians? I mean, that was nowhere in this.

And where was the President also saying that this cannot stand, this is war, a declaration of war against our democracy. The only Republican I heard today who say that outright was of course John McCain who did that in a statement. But, you know, to me it's just what Donald Trump wanted.

[19:10:05] He sees what's right in front of his nose and he still sees this as a threat to delegitimize him. I mean, if the hacking had been done on Donald Trump rather than on Hillary Clinton, we might be hearing a different story. Who knows?

BURNETT: Well, certainly at 130 plus charges I think there's no question you'd be hearing a different story.

BORGER: Yes.

BURNETT: I just like to keep going that number out there so people watching understand.

BORGER: Yes.

BURNETT: You know, when you say witch hunt, where's this investigation going? A hundred and thirty-two charges of more than 30 companies, three Americans so far. I mean, it's pretty stunning the scope of the Mueller investigation.

And Bob you just heard Evan Perez say that U.S. intelligence actually found some of these indicted Russians, right? These are senior military officers were actually celebrating their success after Trump won, which is pretty stunning evidence about what they did and what they thought they accomplished in the election.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, Erin, in this intelligence you don't get any better than this. Look at it this way, the intelligence we have against Russia on the meddling is better than we had against Bin Laden on 9/11. I say that categorically.

And also they clearly know a lot more than they're telling. If they know the Russians were congratulating each other undoubtedly that was on telephone intercepts. It corroborates the indictments, they've got the names, Russia attacked us in 2016 and this President is not acknowledging it.

You know what really bothers me, Erin, is that he is encouraging the Russians to do this in a speech, which tells me, frankly, we are getting so much closer to a conspiracy than I thought we'd ever get. I mean, this is bombshell, and again I say the intelligence is brilliant.

BORGER: You know, and Erin, let me just point out.

BURNETT: All right. So I want to ask you because -- OK, go ahead, Gloria, yes.

BORGER: And one thing I want to point out in this indictment, and I recommend everyone to read it because it reads like a novel. And, you know, one thing that was pointed out in this indictment was on July 27th when the President came out during the Democratic convention, you remember this, he said to the Russians publicly if you have any of those 30,000 e-mails of Hillary Clinton let them out. And we learned in this indictment that's exactly what they did. They started spear fishing that day and started following --

BURNETT: Let me just --

BORGER: Yes, go ahead. BURNETT: You're absolutely right, Gloria because you and Bob raise it. I actually want to play it because when you're referring to the speech, right?

BORGER: Yes.

BURNETT: The Russians actually tried to hack Hillary Clinton's office, e-mail account on the exact same day that the now President but obviously then the candidate Trump, got on stage and said this. I want to play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, you know, Gloria says the same day, Carrie, it was, and it was just a few hours after he did that. The Russians literally started to spear fish at the Clinton campaign. I mean that is pretty incredible, isn't it?

CORDERO: Well, it is. And, you know, at the time it was, Erin. As someone who worked with the intelligence community for many years during the course of the summer of 2016 that clip was one example and a very strong example when he called on Russia to actually hack his opponent's e-mails and find the old e-mails. But what happened was over the course of the summer, he frequently was lauding WikiLeaks which is affiliated with Russian intelligence according to the intelligence community and he continually made statements along these lines.

And as someone who works in counter intelligence issues, that was so surprising to anybody in the national security community at the time. And so what this new indictment today does is it actually gives us some specifics to look at now and to understand what investigators have uncovered that not only was he making that call for them to do something on that day but then they actually went and tried to do something about it.

BURNETT: I mean, Bob, that is pretty stunning, right? I mean, the President later said he was joking, OK, but -- I mean, obviously the Russians did not take it that way. I mean, they were listening back carefully and with hours were doing it?

BAER: Well not only that, they're communicating with Roger Stone, an advisor to the campaign saying, hey, do we do good on this? I mean, they were looking for recognition on the hacking. Trump says go ahead hack, the Russians hack and they said is this good. And clearly Russia wanted to be rewarded for interfering in our elections.

I just don't understand how the President of the United States has security clearance. Because if any federal employee were caught in something like this, they would be pulled immediately. BORGER: You know, it's interesting the indictment itself does not mention Donald Trump's appearance that day, saying to the Russians come on go hack us. It doesn't mention it at all.

[19:15:06] BURNETT: It doesn't and that's what's crucial. There are some things that are in there that are unnamed that could be very crucial to where we're headed.

Thank you all so very much. One of them is the man Bob just mentioned, Roger Stone. Is he the unnamed person in the indictment who communicated with the Russians as Bob was just describing? Sam Nunberg, you know him, the man who says Stone was his mentor, is my guest.

Plus, why is the President still joking about confronting Putin about Russia?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't think you'll have any, gee, I did it, I did it, you got me. There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And then the President's obsession with the British royal family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Breaking news, Roger Stone denying tonight that he is the unnamed person in Mueller's new indictment of Russians who hacked the 2016 election. Now, the indictment mentions an unnamed person and three online conversations that this person had with Russians. You know, one of them according to the indictment, this is how they describe it. "On or about August 15th, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, quote, thank you for writing back, do you find anything interesting in the docs I posted?"

And then there were other conversations which they detailed further in September and October. And the reason everyone believes that this person they are referring to is Trump's long time friend and adviser Roger Stone.

[19:20:10] Well, it's that Stone had the exact same exchanges that are mentioned in the indictment on the exact same date mentioned with Guccifer 2.0. And I'm going to show them to you. You can say how do you have them, how do you know? I have them because Roger Stone himself released them in March of last year. He did so about six months after the exchanges happened, a month after saying he didn't recall them, and finally two days after the smoking gun website wrote an article about those same messages. So then he put them out there. Now we see them almost word for word in the indictment but of course Stone not mentioned by name. I want to go now OutFront to former Trump campaign aide. Roger Stone was his mentor. He is Sam Nunberg. And Sam, I'm really glad to have you back. Thanks so much. So, Roger Stone told CNN today, Sam, that he doesn't believe that he is the unnamed person in the indictment who had these conversations with Guccifer 2.0. What do you think?

SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: Well, I think if you pointed to that I'm not sure if Roger had reviewed the indictment but I'll agree with you. I think that they're referencing Roger. With that said, Erin, it's a very important point that I said is when I communicated with Roger about this, Roger had told me that he met with Assange and I believed him at the time.

I asked him if Assange had information on Benghazi because I thought that that was an issue that could be used against Hillary particularly at the debates. Roger said, no, it was going to be information about the Clinton foundation. I never spoke to him about Guccifer.

And what I would also say is when I had these arguments with Roger worried about him saying do not publicly associate with these people, Roger would argue with me and he believed and I truly think he believed that it wasn't the Russians that did the hacking. So it goes more into his mens rea and his intent, but we'll find out because I think Roger Stone is a critical piece, Erin, for Bob Mueller who wants to get a major return on investment on Special Counsel. He's spending a lot of money, and Roger is a critical piece for him to make the argument for an impeachment of Donald Trump.

BURNETT: I mean, and I think Sam, you're making an important point. You're saying, OK, but he didn't know Guccifer was Russian. I mean, you know, when Stone today said it's not him, you know, again, despite the fact that the dates and everything match up, put that aside for a second, Sam. He says the reason in the campaign, in the indictment, I'm sorry, it said "The conspirators posing as Guccifer 2.0 wrote to a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump."

Stone says that can't be me because I wasn't in regular contact with members of the Trump campaign. Now you obviously were a member of the Trump campaign. He wasn't in regular with you. In terms of an excuse for that not being him, that doesn't add up to anybody. Does that to you?

NUNBERG: Well, it actually does and I'll tell you why. Because, remember, I was fired six weeks into the campaign. We had this discussion on your show how I felt very badly treated.

BURNETT: Yes.

NUNBERG: And Roger definitely, I would assume, had contact when Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were running the campaign. I don't know how much contact he had with the campaign when Steve Bannon took it over. I would assume it wasn't as much contact as that.

And the other thing I think it's critical, I just want to point out in Roger's defense is Roger never spoke to me about foreknowledge of anything having to do with Podesta. So everybody always wants to talk about the famous Podesta tweet, right? Where he says it's going to be Podesta's time in the barrel. And that completely coordinate -- it follows Roger's explanation about the daily collar, article he wrote on the Podesta's. But that's really neither here not there.

So I don't know how much contact he would have had with Steve Bannon when he was running the campaign. But Paul was --

BURNETT: But he had contact with Trump, right, over -- I mean, obviously I know you did (INAUDIBLE) he had regular contact with Trump.

NUNBERG: I would assume they spoke irregularly towards the end because the President was campaigning and he had a very packed schedule. Once again I don't know. I can tell you I didn't speak to the President for a very long time in between that and the transition. But I think there's another point that we discuss that I just want to bring up.

I find the release of this indictment today as very selective and I think it's somewhat inappropriate considering that the President will be meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday, and it goes to an argument that people on both sides of the aisle have about these Special Counsels really affecting foreign policy.

BURNETT: I'm curious, though, as to why, I mean, the Russians came out. To your point, Sam, they came out today said the point of this coming from the Special Counsel today was to, quote, spoil the atmosphere before the summit. But if you're the president of the United States and now you're up to 191 charges most of them against Russians, wouldn't you want to know about it right before you meet with Vladimir Putin? Isn't that information that he should want to have that would help him before the summit?

[19:25:03] NUNBERG: Well, I think he could have been briefed on this. And I think when Rosenstein briefed the White House, the White House was put in a very uneasy situation because how could they possibly tell Rosenstein we'd like you to delay this until after the President meets with Putin? With that said, the President I think would be very well served for himself if he confronts Putin on this publicly in the press conference after the meeting like Macron did.

Putin remember -- I mean, National Security Advisor Bolton said that when he met with Putin, Putin somewhat admitted that it wasn't the Russian government. He said it could have been the Russians. I think it would be good for the President is he just says, look, I believe the intelligence. And let's move because, Erin, he does have other critical issues to talk about, North Korea, Syria, Iran.

Russia is very --

BURNETT: He does, right? If he would just come out and say Russia did this, which is would be pretty easy to say because it would mimic with what every single intelligence chief he has already said might make some of these go away. But, you know, look, I'm not trying to have a policy conversation here with you fully, Sam. I guess the other question is when you have this indictment, right, you and I are talking about, OK, it's pretty clear they're referring to Roger Stone. Why do you think Mueller went into the detail that he did, right? Mentioning Stone's contacts with Guccifer, going through these exchanges which he know full well we would all be able to cross check, right?

NUNBERG: Right.

BURNETT: That Stone had already them. Is he doing it in the indictment to put pressure on Stone or someone around him to flip? What do you think the reason is?

NUNBERG: Well, I think that he -- I think Roger is a target of this investigation, and he's a critical piece in the narrative that Special Counsel Mueller has to build in order to impeach the President. I think today this indictment really shows why the mid-terms are going to be critical, but essentially Donald Trump's fist reelect as Steve Bannon has frequently said. Because if Nancy Pelosi has a one-seat majority, circumstantial evidence like this, building a conspiracy, not direct, circumstance substantial evidence is going to be good enough, trust me, for the Democrats to impeach a sitting president and then send it to the Senate which would bog down President Trump in the second half of his first term. So that's why I think the mid-terms are really going to decide where the course of the President's first term here.

BURNETT: So, let me just ask you, because, you know, you're careful, Sam, to say OK you believe it Sam but you're not being nasty about him. And most recently he was nasty about you on Twitter. He referred to you an incredibly personal and denigrating man or in which he then added -- he called you a psycho and a lying a-hole, OK? You obviously are not speaking about him in that way tonight. When's the last time you spoke to Roger Stone and what's your relationship with him now?

NUNBERG: I spoke to Roger on the phone, it would be the Saturday. So remember we did our interview let's say on Monday, it was that Saturday I spoke and that's the last time I spoke --

BURNETT: The Saturday after?

NUNBERG: No, no, no. The Saturday before my grand jury appearance the following Friday. And I had an e-mail exchange that's been telling him I liked his book and also he said -- I gave a quote and he said something thank you for this, for the quote. But look, I think he was also insulted because I can't talk to him for his own benefit. Why, Erin?

You see Paul Manafort's in jail? That's why I won't talk to Roger. I'm trying to help Roger. Do that. And I understand he's under a lot of stress. I don't take these things personally when people attack me because I attack people very, you know, I throw it out, too. So if I'm going to take it so personally coming from a guy like me who throws this stuff out, too, it'd be a little hypocritical. It kind of like just cross it off this longer (ph).

BURNETT: So Sam, Roger is going to do an interview later tonight here on this network. Do you have a message for him?

NUNBERG: You know, continue to please listen to your attorneys and I think at the end he'll be vindicated. But stay strong.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Sam, thank you very much.

NUNBERG: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Good to have you back.

NUNBERG: Thank you.

BURNETT: All right, next, John McCain calling on Trump to cancel his meeting with Putin unless he's ready to hold him accountable. OK, is Trump going to do it?

Plus, why is President Trump apologizing for something that he then made very clear that he said he did not do?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:33:15] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Breaking news, growing calls tonight from both parties for President Trump to cancel his one-on-one summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Of course, it's scheduled for about 48 hours from now, for Monday. Following the announcement today, of course, the indictment of 12 Russians as part of the Russia-Mueller probe.

Senator John McCain came out and said, quote, if President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.

And Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying, quote, glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.

Our Jeff Zeleny has been traveling with the president, does on NATO, in London, in Scotland, and then, of course, Helsinki.

And, Jeff, the White House says, forget it, we are going ahead. The president is even making jokes about Russian meddling today, right?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, what else officials aren't telling us tonight, they have no plans of canceling this summit, of course, and that was no surprise. But what was a surprise was that press conference the president held earlier today with Prime Minister Theresa May. He already knew at that point that the indictments were coming down.

We, of course, did not but he was briefed earlier in the week by the deputy attorney general about these specific indictments. So, with that in mind, listen to what the president said about election meddling here today in the U.K.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know you'll ask will we be talking about meddling, and I will absolutely bring that up. I don't think you'll have any, gee, I did it, I did it, you got me. There won't be a Perry Mason here, I don't think. But you never know what happens, right? But I will absolutely firmly ask the question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: And, Erin, at this point, it's not about the president asking Vladimir Putin if he did meddle in the election.

[19:35:00] That is a fact that's been stipulated to by U.S. intelligence agencies, by people on both sides, virtually by everyone except the White House. So, there's a question what is he going to do about it or hold him accountable about it.

So, the president is planning, of course, to go to Helsinki on Monday. Vladimir Putin is getting more out of this than the president is because he is getting the world stage with President Trump there in Helsinki. But leaders of both parties as you said are criticizing the president.

The question is, will it change the itinerary at all? Will the president still go ahead with that one-on-one meeting without aides in the room? The White House is not saying if that's changed yet. But we're keeping an eye on that as the weekend progresses.

The president, of course, in Scotland at his golf resort, going to Helsinki on Monday -- Erin.

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

As Jeff points out, there is not just a meeting itself occurring, but the way the president has said it's going to be occurring, which is just him and Putin and translators and no other staff.

All right. Now, let's bring in our global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. She's a staff writer for "The New Yorker" also. And our contributor, Norm Eisen, former ambassador to the Czech Republic.

Thanks very much to both.

Norm, this meeting between Trump and Putin, obviously you hear criticism from Schumer, you hear from McCain. Should it go ahead?

NORMAN EISEN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC: It should not, Erin. It's -- as if your neighbor came over, robbed your house, burned it down and then the next day you go have a meal with him at the diner. These are very serious charges backed by overwhelming evidence today, on top of much that has come before, as you've noted, over 130 charges. 35 people or companies indicted, five guilty pleas.

We know Russia attacked our democracy, and the president should confront Vladimir Putin at a time and place of his choosing. This should be called off. BURNETT: Susan, you know, we have 191 charges now in this

investigation and a president who thus far publicly has only called it a witch hunt, questioned whether Russia did it or whether it was a 400-pound fat guy or said it could have been anybody. Is that going to suddenly change, he's going to come out and take it on?

SUSAN GLASSER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Look, he repeated this was a rigged witch hunt earlier today in that press conference that Jeff Zeleny referenced. And remember, this was -- this was as brazen as it gets from President Trump because he already knew about these indictments. He had been briefed by the Justice Department before he left for that trip to Europe.

So, in that sense, we already his answer to the demands from Democrats on Capitol Hill, from Senator John McCain to cancel the summit. Why would he cancel the summit based on new information that actually is information he already had?

I think it's important for people to remember that this summit was called by Donald Trump. He actually invited President Putin to have this meeting back in March in that famous do not congratulate phone call. Again, there's always been a mystery to it. What is the summit supposed to be about?

Even today in that long rambling answer at his press conference, President Trump couldn't say. He mentioned nuclear arms control, in an offhand way Syria, Iran. It's not clear. And I feel like Bob Mueller just gave us an agenda for the summit meeting. Whether President Trump will do anything with it or not is really the question.

BURNETT: I mean, certainly 191 charges, 32 people, we've got an agenda. Not that he needed more of them today in order to get there. But to Susan's point, you got it.

And the president today said, OK, I'm going to bring it up. And you heard a little bit, because Jeff Zeleny played it, but I want to play a little bit more of what he said to give people a sense of how flippant the response was.

Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will, of course, ask your favorite question about meddling. I will be asking that question again. Again, he may deny it. I mean, it's one of those things. All I can say is did you and don't do it again, but he may deny it. I mean, you will be the first to know, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And, Norm, let me be clear, I said today, I misspoke, that was obviously the NATO summit the other day. It was this week but it wasn't post the charges.

But the point here is, all I can say is, did you and don't do it again. Is that how a president of the United States would bring this up with Vladimir Putin?

EISEN: Absolutely not, Erin. And it's very important to note the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, briefed the president before he went to the NATO summit. So when he did that in the offhanded way, he was already on notice that this was coming.

Look, if he insists -- a normal president would cancel this summit if this came out. If the president insists ongoing, he needs to do more than in his flippant offhand way says, well, I'll ask him, I won't get a Perry Mason moment. He needs to say, I want you to turn over these criminals.

[19:40:02] Of course, we know Putin won't do it, but the demand is important.

He needs to say we have sanctions, there are going to be more sanctions. He needs to put some teeth into this. The truth of the matter is, particularly with nobody there besides the translator, he's probably going to give Putin a wink and say, like he did in those press conferences, gee, my mom made me bring this up, please don't do it anymore.

This is not a time for questions. It's a time for questions. It's a time for consequences.

BURNETT: So, Susan, I mean, to this point, right, in November, you know, when he had talked to Putin, he told reporters and I quote, every time he sees me, Trump is referring to Putin here, I didn't do that. And I believe. I really believe when he tells me that he means it.

I mean, that in itself is a stunning thing. But I give that to give viewers a little bit of context, that when he says he's going to bring it up, this is what has happened when he's, quote-unquote, brought it up before, an attack on this country's democracy.

GLASSER: Well, you know, Erin, I'm really glad you're mentioning that, because it seems to me what's so extraordinary about this summit and about the utter lack of a normal and meaningful foreign policy and national security process in the Trump administration. So, this summit as I said before, it's about nothing. It was conceived and executed in the space of a couple of weeks. They only set the date for this a couple of weeks ago.

Normally, a summit like this would be take months or even years to prepare. There would be policy deliverables, there would be an entire infrastructure of our government figuring what it is we're hoping to get out of this meeting.

Instead, the president has chosen to do something that no other president to do. So then to talk about any other president would cancel this meeting, no other president in the history of the United States would have a meeting like this with President Putin under these circumstances.

So, the idea that president Trump is going to get in a verbal sparring match with Putin, you know, what's the point of that?

BURNETT: Yes, I mean, it's pretty stunning when you think about Kim Jong-un, OK, you've got the concept of the summit. But with Putin, a person the president can talk to on the phone, there's a lot of opportunities to talk to Putin that don't require the, quote-unquote, summit treatment.

Thank you both so very much. Appreciate it.

And next, it's something we rarely hear from President Trump. I mean, he has said this himself, the fact we never hear it. It is so rare, and today, we actually heard an apology. I mean, sort of.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She's a total professional because when I saw her this morning, I said I want to apologize because I said such good things about you. She said, don't worry, it's only the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, it is the royal pomp and circumstance that Trump so deeply craves and loves, only did this fan of the royals mess up the protocol?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:46:51] BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump says sorry, sort of, right? I guess when it comes to sorry some things are relative. OK. Here he is doing damage control after some pretty intense criticism of the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She's a total professional because when I saw her this morning I said I want to apologize because I said such good things about you. She said don't worry, it's only the press.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK, let's just again facts always matter here. The reason this all happened here is because he did an interview which was on tape and in that, he himself slammed the British prime minister to the Rupert Murdoch-owned "Sun" newspaper. So let's play the tape.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn't agree, she didn't listen to me. I think the deal that she's striking is not what the people voted on. It's a much different deal than the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right. OUTFRONT now Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, and host of the "Ben Ferguson Show", the aforementioned Ben Ferguson.

Maria, was this a full and sincere apology?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Of course not, Erin. Donald Trump doesn't know the meaning of those words. This was more like Demi Lovato's "Sorry Not Sorry" apology.

And let's remember that if you listen to what he said, he didn't actually apologized for having criticized her. First, he lied about having criticized her and then apologized apparently for "The Sun's" not including what apparently he said glowing things about her and not including those of the interview.

So, the whole thing was just very bizarre, very Trump-like, but incredibly embarrassing for Americans and incredibly disrespectful, which was exactly what Trump -- how he has been treating all of our closest allies. And it puts us I think in a much less safe place to be globally.

BURNETT: I mean, Ben, I will say on some level here, there is some deep irony to fact it is Rupert Murdoch, of course, who owns Fox News, who owns "The Sun", who is now called fake news by President Trump or something the president said on tape.

BEN FERGUSON, HOST OF "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Look, the president of the United States of America woke up, saw her in the morning, walked up to her and said I want to apologize. That first off is clearly an apology. He also said they did not report on the kind things that he said about her as a leader.

And what the president said on the tape that you played a moment ago is accurate based on what the people in the U.K. and what they wanted in Britain. I mean, when they were talking about Brexit, when they were talking about the deal --

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: I understand the point you're making substantively.

FERGUSON: The president is not wrong here.

BURNETT: But an apology would be I'm sorry for what I said.

CARDONA: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BURNETT: Instead he said, don't worry, you know, I said such good things about you and blames it on -- it on fake news.

FERGUSON: Ben, if I walk up to you in the morning and say I want to apologize for you, and I said some great things about you in that article that they didn't publish, and I want to apologize to you, that is an apology.

[19:50:07] I don't understand why everyone criticizes the president saying he doesn't apologize enough, that he isn't humble enough. He comes out in a press conference in front of the world and said I saw her this morning and one of the first things I told her is I want to apologize. People then say this is not an apology when he uses the actual word "apologize."

BURNETT: He did use the word apology. He also called it fake news. But does he have a point that he says the first thing I said was an apology?

CARDONA: Sure, he has a point in that the Trump has hardly ever -- I think this might be the second time after he was forced the first time to make a public apology on tape when the infamous tape came out. And then this time he said the word "apology" which yes, he will give him credit for.

FERGUSON: So give him credit for it.

CARDONA: Hang on. I give him credit for actually saying the words and the syllables, if you want me to do that, Ben, but it wasn't a real apology.

FERGUSON: I don't understand.

CARDONA: But here I think is the more important point. Let's get beyond the actual words. He should not be --

FERGUSON: What is the more important point? I want to know.

CARDONA: The more important point is what he did during "The Sun" interview was a stunning diplomatic and protocol affront to one of our closest allies. He should not have said those things before he even had met with the prime minister. He put himself and the United States of America in an incredibly difficult, embarrassing position which just underscores how unfit he is as a leader.

(CROSSTALK)

FERGUSON: When the president of the United States of America, when the president of the United States of America is asked a question -- hold on, this is important.

BURNETT: Hold on, hold on, I know we have a bit of delay, but I want to make a point. When he says "fake news" or he couches it. One of the issues here is the "Access Hollywood" tape, right? You said there was another time that he apologized. In fact, there were two times he apologized about that tape, Ben. I want to play them for you.

FERGUSON: Sure.

BURNETT: Here is President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.

I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I'm not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now, he said those things, Ben. But the day after he first apologized he came out and said, quote, Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course, not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.

FERGUSON: I wouldn't be surprised.

BURNETT: OK, that's the problem. When you say you're sorry, just say you're sorry. Why do you have to add in Bill Clinton is worse business which is the most offensive apology you could give?

FERGUSON: Again, I think Donald Trump -- these are two completely separate issues for me. One of them something that was clearly incredibly embarrassing for him and could very well have ended his presidential campaign, and he was trying to do damage control.

CARDONA: Should have.

FERGUSON: I criticized him on that tape. He apologized for that. The American people clearly forgave him because they elected him.

But I'll go back to the issue here with Theresa May. There are so many people that criticize the president of the United States of America saying he is a terrible diplomat. He clearly realized when he had misstep that said the first thing I want to apologize.

We should give him at least some credit for doing that and not criticize him for apologizing. That's my point.

CARDONA: So lame.

BURNETT: I'm going to give you the last word because Maria had the first. Thank you.

And next, the president's royal fixation.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: I said this the other day. I said Lady Di had supermodel beauty.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:19] BURNETT: President Trump appeared to break royal protocol today. He met with the queen. And Trump, of course, who has long been fascinated with the royals, for him today was one for the history books.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It has been said members of the royal family are above party politics, but it's clear her majesty the queen is not above moving a politician along. Queen Elizabeth ushered President Trump with a slight of hand to inspect the cold stream guards at Windsor Castle and Twitter didn't miss a step, saying it's not difficult, just walk along the line looking pleased.

Trump has been fascinated with the royals for some time. In 1981, he reportedly fanned a rumor Prince Charles and his then new bride Princess Diana planned to buy a multimillion-dollar condo in Trump Tower. In his book, "Art of the Deal," Trump said a reporter wanted details about the potential sale. Trump responded saying he could not confirm or deny it.

Years later, in 1994, Trump reportedly helps spread a similar resume they're Prince Charles and Diana had separately joined as charter members at his then new Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. A palace spokesman at the time called it complete nonsense.

And then there were the personal comments Trump made about Diana in one of his books. He wrote his only regret in the women department was that he never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer.

"The Boston Globe" reports Princess Diana thought Trump was creepy.

Shortly after her death in what was at times an off-color interview with Howard Stern, Trump praised Diana for her looks.

TRUMP: I said Lady Di had supermodel beauty.

CARROLL: In 2012, many came to Kate Middleton's defense after paparazzi shot the duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless in France. Instead Trump said she had only herself to blame, saying, who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing?

Perhaps no surprise Trump did not meet with the duke and duchess, nor Meghan Markle, the duchess of Sussex, and her newlywed husband Prince Harry. In 2016, Markle made her feelings about Trump well-known.

MEGHAN MARKLE, THEN-ACTRESS: With misogynistic as Trump is and so vocal about it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

MARKLE: -- Trump has made it easy to see that you don't really want that kind of world that he is painting.

CARROLL: And while there are protests in the streets and blown up balloons of the president floating around London, the queen presented a royal display of diplomacy with all the pomp and circumstance.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: I don't know what it is about that bizarre blimp.

OK. Thank you all so much for joining us. Have a safe weekend.

"AC360" starts now.