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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
White House Postpones Second Putin Meeting, Blames Mueller Probe; Pompeo Grilled In Contentious Hearing On Russia; Sources: Cohen Tape Leak Could Complicate His Legal Troubles; White House Bans Reporter from Event After Questions About Cohen; Trump Allies in Congress Move to Impeach Rod Rosenstein. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 25, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:03] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to continue to watch this very disturbing story. In the meantime, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump puts his second meeting with Putin on ICE, just to save face? This as his Secretary of State is grilled on Capitol Hill today.
Plus, the White House banning a CNN reporter from a Rose Garden event. What were they afraid of?
And our special series on drilling and mining in Alaska. How President Trump's election is giving new hope to one of the most controversial projects in the nation. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, saving face. President Trump responding to a snub from Vladimir Putin today by postponing his highly touted summit in Washington. National Security Adviser John Bolton releasing a statement, saying, "The President believes that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over. So we've agreed that it will be after the first of the year."
Now, we don't know whether the Russians have agreed to that or not, they haven't said. But after the first of the year is a big change from this fall, which is what the White House announced on Twitter. So why is this meeting suddenly on ICE? Well, our Jeff Zeleny asked.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, why did you cancel the meeting with Vladimir Putin, sir?
BURNETT: Silence. And maybe the reason for Trump's reticence is this. When Putin got the invitation, the original one, a Russian aide replied with a frankly dismissive RSVP, saying of the second summit, quote, not now. That was an embarrassing slap at President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Come on, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're done. We're done. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is Vladimir Putin not accepting your invitation, Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. You saw President Trump. He didn't look happy with those questions. He moved quickly once Putin dissed him. Because he want to be the first about the summit on ICE, that's what it seems like. That, frankly, is par for the course for Trump. Remember North Korea, in that summit, the President originally canceling that meeting with Kim Jong-un when he reportedly feared that Kim might be a no show.
And then do you remember the Philadelphia Eagles White House visit? Well, if you don't, here's what happened. The President pulled the plug on that meet and greet after a number of players turned down the President's invite. And remember Trump's economic council? We do. He disbanded it last year, because, you guessed it, so many members were quitting over the President's response to the white nationalist attack in Charlottesville but he said he was disbanding the whole thing.
Oh, but the reason Trump is giving for putting the summit with Putin on ICE until, quote, after the first of the year, according to John Bolton, you heard it, they're going to wait until after the Russia witch hunt is over. Look, the use of the words witch hunt we all know at this point, that is just the way it is from the Trump White House. Even though his own top intelligence officials say it's a completely false thing to say.
But it is interesting that team Trump is yet again putting a hard deadline on Mueller. It sure seems to be wishful thinking, because it was last August when Trump's former Attorney, Ty Cobb said, "I'd be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving, and worse if it's still haunting him by year-end." Well now he is truly haunted. Because when the investigation was still hanging over the White House after Thanksgiving and after Christmas and in January came this prediction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do you believe this investigation will reach its conclusion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no reason for not to conclude it soon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is soon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and soon to me would be within the next, you know, four to six weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Wouldn't have even been spring by the time that happened. OK. Well, safe to say their predictions have been pretty bad. And today the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, faced hostile questions about what even happened in the first summit with Putin. Never mind putting this whole second one on ICE.
Michelle Kosinski is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill for us tonight. And Michelle, Secretary of State Pompeo coming under a lot of fire today. He did, though, sound defiant.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He did, Erin. This was contentious from minute one. And in fact, the Republican Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee started out with criticism, saying he feels like the Trump White House wakes up every morning and makes up foreign policy as they go. This was a chance for senators to finally get their questions answered over what exactly was said between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, but Pompeo, often with a snarky attitude for many of these questions, simply refused to give a clear answer.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Senator, I understand the game that you're playing.
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: My question is to get to the truth. We don't know what the truth is.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Secretary of State Mike Pompeo still vague, at best, on Trump's summit with Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
MENENDEZ: Has the President told you what he and President Putin discussed in their two-hour closed-door meeting in Helsinki?
POMPEO: The President have a prerogative to choose who's in meetings --
MENENDEZ: I asked you a simple question.
POMPEO: I have had a number of conversations with President Trump and I think I have a pretty complete understanding of what took place in that meeting.
MENENDEZ: Good. Did you speak to the translator who was at that meeting?
[19:05:10] POMPEO: No, I haven't.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): And on sanctions --
MENENDEZ: Did the President discuss relaxing U.S. sanctions on Russia?
POMPEO: Senator, the U.S. policy with respect to sanctions remains completely unchanged.
MENENDEZ: I asked a very specific question.
POMPEO: Yes, Senator, and I gave you a very specific answer.
MENENDEZ: Did the President tell you that he discussed relaxing Russia's sanctions or not? Yes or no?
POMPEO: Senator, the President is entitled to have private meetings.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): No answer. Same on whether Trump called on Putin privately to withdraw from Ukraine. And on whether there were agreements on Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know if there was any sort of downgrading of our U.S. presence in Israel? I mean, in Syria, that was discussed?
POMPEO: Senator, there's been no change in U.S. policy with respect to our activities in Syria. I --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand. But that's not exactly the question.
POMPEO: Senator, it's what matters.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): The Republican Chairman of the Committee, Senator Bob Corker, had striking criticism for the President and his administration as a whole.
SEN. BOB CORKER, CHAIRMAN, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: It's the President's actions that create tremendous distrust in our nation, among our allies. It's palpable. We meet and talk with them. Is there a strategy to this? Or is it -- what is it that causes the President to purposefully, purposefully create distrust in these institutions? And what we're doing?
POMPEO: Senator, I just -- I disagree with most of what you just said there.
KOSINSKI: Pompeo said he wasn't answering these questions because these were private conversations. But one thing he did state clearly, he said President Trump does accept the intelligence community's assessment that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election, that he has a complete understanding of that. Although that is something that Trump himself refused to say when he was standing side by side with Putin. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Michelle Kosinski. And Michelle, really giving us a sense of what happened there. Contentious.
And OUTFRONT now, let's get to Democratic Congressman Denny Heck who sits on the Intelligence Committee. And Congressman, obviously, you saw -- heard everything that went down today. Did you find Secretary Pompeo's answers, the way he chose to answer these questions or not answer these questions, right? Well, the policy is unchanged. It's sort of, who cares what the President may or may not have said and I'm not going to tell you that. Did you find that helpful?
REP. DENNY HECK (D), WASHINGTON: So I'm not at all convinced, Erin, that Secretary of State Pompeo knows what was said there. And I think you could infer that from the basis of his vagueness. I think, however, that Americans should look at that hearing and at least insofar as what I know about it, and actually take some encouragement, if not inspiration from it. Because what you saw was members of the United States Senate on that committee, Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, and everybody in between, asking hard questions of the Secretary of State, about this very important matter. In other words, they were attempting to fulfill their constitutional responsibility for oversight and to hold the President accountable for this virtually unprecedented action on this part --
BURNETT: Well, as you point out, it was Democrats and Republicans that we just saw there, even in those clips, which Michelle just played. Look, to all of us, what happened in that meeting between Putin and Trump is a complete mystery, right, because he didn't let anybody in. Secretary Pompeo, though, you know, you're saying you're not sure he knows what happened. But today he said, oh, I'm confident, I know. And here's how he put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: I have a number of conversations with President Trump about what transpired in the meeting. I was also present when he and President Putin both gave us a sense of what they discussed in the meeting that followed immediately after. I have also had the chance to speak with Sergey Lavrov twice about the Russian bureau and what take place. I think I have a pretty complete understanding of what took place in that meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you think he thinks he has a pretty complete understanding, Congressman Heck, or do you think he is really doesn't know and is he's just trying to put a good face on it?
HECK: Well, probably more the latter, Erin. But here's the deal. If, in fact, the President gave him a complete 100% readout on that meeting, then it really begs the question, why wasn't the Secretary of State in that meeting to begin with? Because the fact of the matter, throughout all of history, that is the norm, not the practice of this President, which is to meet privately. Meet privately with Vladimir Putin, shortly after having stood on foreign soil and actually taking the autocrat of a hostile foreign power, Mr. Putin, over the word of his own intelligence community.
So if, in fact, the Secretary of State knows everything that went on there, then there would have been no reason for the President to keep him out, which would have been the usual practice.
BURNETT: So the White House announced today, Congressman, you know, we're talking about what happened in the last meeting, but the proposed second meeting that was supposed to be this fall according to the President is not going to happen this year. They're saying it's being put on ICE until after the beginning of the year when the quote, Russian witch hunt is over. Do you buy that excuse?
HECK: So, I don't think the first meeting should have happened, given the context with where we are with Russia right now.
[19:10:05] But secondly, I'm not at all convinced that there was ever going to be a meeting second meeting. You know, the President has a continuing effort to engage in treating us all to a 3-D movie. Deception, deflection, and distraction. And it is the news of the day, and then soon thereafter, we move on to the next thing. So I'm not convinced that he ever really intended to have a second meeting, but we sure have been talking about it.
BURNETT: So, before you go, I want to ask you about this. If this is important to the Russian investigation. 30 members of Congress, and I believe you're included in that, Congressman Heck, have reviewed what is largely unredacted copies of the Carter Page FISA materials, right, which are being hotly discussed. The Chairman of your committee, though, Devin Nunes, has not reviewed that, despite obviously having a strong opinion on it. Do you know why?
HECK: Do I know what?
BURNETT: Do you know why he has not reviewed it?
HECK: I have absolutely no idea, Erin. But then again, I would be hard-pressed to explain an awful lot of his behavior in the last 18 months with respect to the Russian investigation. It is a mystery to me why it is that a member of the United States Congress, who raises his right-hand and swears to uphold the constitution of the United States isn't more concerned about what is now well-established Russian interference, not just in America's democracy, but on all western democracies, as a matter of fact.
Look, the indictments that the Special Counsel, Director Mueller, issued for the 12 uniformed members of the Russian intelligence services is a master piece of criminal investigation. And I confidently predicted it will go down in the history books as such. To be able to trace their names, recreate the paper trail, as it were, is brilliant detective work. Nothing less. And you know what, Erin?
HECK: Tomorrow's the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. And for the President to continue to wage war against this federal law enforcement office, it is a mystery to me.
BURNETT: Congressman Heck, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
HECK: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And we have breaking news in just a moment. Prosecutors leading the criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, had no clue that that secret tape of President Trump was going public. And that could be causing big problems for Cohen tonight.
A breaking development. And a CNN White House correspondent banned from the Rose Garden today from an event there, right. She was supposed to be the reporter there, the pool reporter. And the reason she was banned is this.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Did Michael Cohen betray you? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?
BURNETT: Those questions. What is the White House afraid of?
And winning streak. Two more women victorious in their runoff races for Congress last night. Should the President be worried?
[19:16:19] BURNETT: Breaking news. Multiple sources telling CNN that Michael Cohen's decision to leak the tape of himself and Donald Trump could hurt his chances of cutting a deal with prosecutors. A former federal prosecutor from the southern district of New York telling CNN, quote, they'd be very unhappy and, quote, they don't like to be part of any part of media circus. This development coming as President Trump dodges questions about the tapes from CNN.
Questions about the tape where Trump and Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, talk about the payment for a former Playboy model's story about her alleged affair with Trump. A tape made without the President's knowledge, by Cohen, and then released to the media by Cohen. Here is our Senior White House Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.
ZELENY: Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you, sir? Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you, sir? Mr. President, why did you cancel the meeting with Vladimir Putin, sir? Did Michael Cohen betray you, sir? Did you mislead the American people, sir, when you said you did not know about the payment?
(END VIDEOTAPE) BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean, former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa, and Forensic Audio Expert, Paul Ginsberg. He has 40 years experience in this area, including working on the O.J. Simpson and Waco cases. John, let me start with you, Michael Cohen, I guess what's direct about it, he appears to have officially turned on Trump by releasing this tape. A tape he made of a man that he said he would take a bullet for. Maybe he meant, shoot a bullet at. How worried should Trump be?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I think there's good reason to be concerned. This is -- Michael is certainly in the process of turning towards state's -- becoming a witness for the southern district, if they're inclined. You know, I think that he -- there's, what, 4 million pages of records that were seized from Michael Cohen. About 3,000 of them were deemed to be attorney-client privilege. There's a lot of evidence there. And I think there's a lot of reason for Trump to be concerned about all of those years and all that evidence.
BURNETT: I mean, Asha, here's the thing. Nobody looks good in this who's involved with it. You know, let me just be honest about that. But the President tweeted earlier today, in part, "What kind of lawyer would tape a client, so sad. Is this a first? Never heard of it before."
He has a point. Lawyers are not supposed to do this, Asha. What type of lawyer secretly records conversations with clients and then releases them?
ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, not a very ethical one, for sure. It's definitely not a part of good professional responsibility to tape your client and to release those conversations. But, Erin, Donald Trump is not a typical client. You know, one of his former attorneys from back in the '90s, Patrick McGahn, testified in a deposition once that he always met with Trump with another attorney present, because Trump had a penchant for a bad memory and misstating what happened in those meetings. So I think especially if there may have been things going on that otherwise lawyers wouldn't do either, I could see that Michael Cohen may have foreseen that there might be a time when he would want to protect himself.
BURNETT: Well, interesting. When you talk about bad memory in meetings, you've got to wonder if that's what Jim Mattis and Mike Pompeo are worried about, you know, when they're getting briefed by the President about what happened with Putin. I mean, you know, can you trust out or not? I mean, things like this tape actually raise that question.
Paul, I want to play the key exchange on the tape, though. Because what is said here could matter greatly, right, in terms of whether there was a violation of campaign law, whether the President was trying to skirt the law. Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, says Trump said, pay them money, you know, for this playmate story in cash, which of course would imply he's trying to hide it and, you know, do it in an unclean way. [19:20:05] Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani says Trump said, don't pay cash, check. So, that he wanted it documented, right. These are night and day, opposite interpretations of the exact same piece of tape. So you slowed it down, and I want to play what you did so viewers can hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: So what are we going to pay, funding -- yes. And it's all the stuff. All the stuff. Because here, you never know where that company, you never where he's going to be --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.
COHEN: Correct. So I'm all over that. And I spoke to Allen about it. When it comes time for the financing, which will be --
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well I'll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE) pay with cash.
COHEN: No, no, no. I got it. No, no, no. Hey, Don, how are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, so -- I mean, it's hard. Cash, Trump says, no, no, no, no. I got it. And then Trump says, check, is he questioning? What did you hear?
PAUL GINSBERG, FORENSIC AUDIO EXPERT: It's hard to tell. I did hear Trump say, pay by cash. Now there's a little sound that he makes before that, about one syllable. It doesn't sound like a word that would be like don't. It sounds more like more. It's a different kind of sound. But he does say, pay by cash? And
then Cohen says, no. No, no, no, no. And it goes from there.
BURNETT: I mean, you know, John, I guess this is the big question here, when you hear this tape. Could this explain why President Trump waived privilege on the conversation? Because, you know, you have experts even like Paul, I mean, it doesn't seem like there's a clear- cut answer of what was or what was not said. Ultimately, this payment also to the best of our knowledge was never made. So is this Trump -- I'm sorry, is this tape bad for Trump or not?
DEAN: Well, I think it is bad for him. And I think that's why they did release it. They didn't want to get into litigating the crime fraud exception, to hear any of the surrounding evidence about this conversation. But, clearly, this is a conspiracy in progress, of some sort, to keep Trump's name away from the campaign.
Now, whether it's a campaign act violation or not, I don't know. But there certainly is a conspiracy being cooked up here. And I'm someone very familiar to listening to tapes about conspiracies.
BURNETT: Yes. As you say, you know all about how the tale of the tape can be the tale of how something goes, especially when it comes to the White House. I want to play the very tail end of that tape, though, because something happened there at the end. I don't know if you heard, viewers, but it was like a complete ending and another conversation starting. Let me play it again quickly, that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be --
TRUMP: Wait a sec, what financing?
COHEN: Well, I'll have to pay him something.
TRUMP: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pay with cash.
COHEN: No, no, no, no, no, no. I got it. No, no, no. Hey, Don, how are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It cuts out quickly. Lanny Davis, Cohen's lawyer, has an explanation as to why. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANNY DAVIS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL COHEN: I don't know Mr. Cohen has no explanation. The phone either cut off or stopped recording. So we don't know why it suddenly got clipped off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you buy that, Paul?
GINSBERG: No. We're -- At the end of the conversation with Trump and Cohen and it goes into another recording that is -- that appears to be a telephone conversation. Has the attributes of a telephone conversation. Now, how it got there from the original to the copy to what was turned over, I don't know. But we didn't hear the end of the conversation between Trump and Cohen. And instead, we heard the beginning of another conversation.
BURNETT: So could have been edited?
BURNETT: All right, which obviously raises serious questions. And Asha, you know, I also want to ask you about the reporting. You know, sources telling us, prosecutors were caught off guard when Cohen released this tape and that his doing so could hurt his chances to get a deal with prosecutors. Could releasing the tape backfire for him, Asha? RANGAPPA: I don't think so. He has good attorneys. He has someone who is specializes in P.R. and a seasoned prosecutor and I would think that they would have gamed this out. Now, it's not ideally what you want your client to do. I mean, if you're the southern district of New York, having somebody who's blabbing to the media is not somebody that is going to be, you know, you're going to have a lot of confidence in, as a cooperating witness. On the other hand, though, you know, it really depends on how much Michael Cohen has to leverage. And that may be of interest to them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, all, very much. John, Asha, Paul.
And next, our Kaitlan Collins, banned from a White House event today. Because they didn't like the questions she asked the President. That's her job. And now the White House is responding.
And our special series about the Alaska wilderness and the Trump administration's plans to possibly go ahead with the biggest gold mine on earth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:25:14] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In nearby Katmai National Park, my team learned firsthand that this part of Alaska is nirvana for bears.
BURNETT: Breaking news. The White House banning a CNN reporter from a Rose Garden event after she asked questions at an Oval Office event. Our Kaitlan Collins was serving as the pool reporter during the short event. That means she's the reporter that sent in to represent all the reporters, to ask the main questions of the day and to be the reporter there, OK? So she's the one person there. It's her responsibility to ask all of those questions. And here is what happened.
COLLINS: Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everybody.
COLLINS: Mr. President? Did Michael Cohen betray you?
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everybody. Thank you, everybody.
COLLINS: Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is going to say to prosecutors?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go.
TRUMP: Let's keep going. COLLINS: Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Thank you, all. Keep going. Thank you everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.
COLLINS: Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation? Mr. President?
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're done. We're done. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go. Come on, guys. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go. We're done.
COLLINS: Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Thank you very much, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BURNETT: OK, Kaitlan is with me now. Now, Kaitlan, you know, I've been trying to explain to everybody what pool reporter means, right? You were the reporter in with the responsibility of representing all of the media with the big questions of the day, which, of course, certainly first and foremost, those tapes that Michael Cohen put out there and the postponing of the summit with Vladimir Putin. After that event, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine, a former Fox News Executive called you into his office. Tell me what happened then.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Erin. To give a little background of what I was doing in there, I was the only reporter representing all of the networks there. So I wasn't just acting on behalf of CNN, but it's therefore all of us, so then fewer reporters can go into a smaller venue like the Oval Office and still be able to pose questions to the president. This is a very regular occurrence.
Also, when there are these type of pool sprays, as they're referred to back a here at the White House, the president is asked questions quite often. And sometimes, a lot of the times, Erin, he does answer those questions.
But today, the president did not. And we left the room after we were escorted out by those members of the administration. And then I -- a few minutes later, or shortly thereafter was called into the office of Bill Shine, the president's latest hire. We discussed what had happened.
They said that because of a result of the questions that I posed to President Trump, I would not be invited to the event in the Rose Garden. I was actually disinvited from that event that was open to all reporters, not as that Oval Office event was, that's an event open to all credentialed media because of the questions that I asked and that they believed they were inappropriate and inappropriate for that venue.
I reminded them that often, these pool sprays are often the only time we are able to ask --
COLLINS: -- and to pose questions to President Trump.
Now, he certainly has a right to not answer those questions. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. Today was one of those days where he didn't.
But then it turned into a much larger event with the White House then saying that I would not be allowed to go to this event, to the Rose Garden, and every other reporter was allowed to go to. And then they denied to ban us from going to that event, simply because they did not like the questions that we asked President Trump, which I should note, one of those questions about Michael Cohen is something that the president himself was tweeting about today.
BURNETT: Right. He did tweet about it, right? As we were just reading, saying, you know, what kind of lawyer would do that, bad. I mean, he seemed happy to weigh in on it, on Twitter.
So, Kaitlan, the White House has released a statement now about this whole incident and here's what they're saying. And I'll quote. At the conclusion of a press event in the Oval Office, a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave, despite repeatedly being asked to do so.
Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event, but made clear that any other journalists from her network could attend. She said it didn't matter to her, because she hadn't planned to be there anywhere. To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and our guests at the White House.
What's your response to this?
COLLINS: I certainly agree that everybody should be respectful of the White House, the people here, and the president himself, as I was in my questions, quite respectful, ask the president.
BURNETT: Yes, you clearly was.
COLLINS: Mr. President, here's the question. That is just simply how we do it here. That is pretty much an everyday activity. It is not anything out of the ordinary to ask the president questions like that, as I did during that event.
Once we were told to leave the room, you could see on the video there, all the reporters do that, and leave the room. And then I should note that at the event, in the Rose Garden, the president did not take questions from reporters. Once again, multiple reporters shouted questions at the president as he was leaving the Rose Garden, some about Michael Cohen, as I did earlier.
COLLINS: And then I should also note, there was no press briefing here at the White House, so no public setting to ask the White House questions, to have them on the record here at the White House today, beyond what I did during that meeting in the Oval Office.
BURNETT: No, that was the only thing, and as you point out, in the rose garden, people are yelling out questions about, oh, Michael Cohen and Vladimir Putin, the exact same topics that you had asked when you were the only representative for the broadcast media. OK.
Kaitlan, thank you very much.
I want to go now to Paul Begala, Democratic strategist, former White House counsel to President Clinton, and Jason Miller who worked in communications for Trump when he was the senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign.
Paul, what do you make of the White House's actions here and Bill Shine, let's just say, because that's the person that called her in and had the meeting and banned her from the next event.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Mr. Shine, I'm quite sure, is just the monkey here. It's the organ grinder who's actually driving the show, and that's our president. I don't have any doubt. I'm just speculating, but it's informed on history that this is the president's order. He seemed very upset by Kaitlan's questions.
But I have to say --
BURNETT: I mean, he clearly was angry. I called him the angry Persian cat. He looked very angry. He wasn't happy with the questions.
BEGALA: And this has been the one most consistent thing in the Trump presidency, a war against the truth. The very first day he was president, what did he do? He told us not to believe our eyes. That pictures of his own inaugural crowd size, which was not as big as President Obama's, were, in fact, misleading us. So don't believe your eyes.
So, he began his presidency with a lie. And yesterday, he was still lying, in a very similar vein. Telling us, telling the VFW in that speech yesterday, don't believe what you see and what you read and what you hear.
BURNETT: Right. BEGALA: So today what happens?
[19:35:00] Kaitlan asks him a question about a tape that proves that the president is a liar. It proves. In his own voice, we know now that he lied to us when he said he didn't know about the payments to this woman who alleges an affair.
So, we've got conclusive proof. With our own ears, we can learn that our president lied. It's absolute proof that he's a liar. It may not be criminal, but we know he's a liar.
So, what's he doing? He's declaring war on the truth. Kaitlan is just the latest -- I think she conducted herself with such integrity and professionalism. I think I would be a little angrier if I were the target of that.
BURNETT: Jason, what do you make of this? I mean, she did ask questions very politely and they are the exact same questions that reporters shouted out at the Rose Garden event, which she was subsequently banned from, and there was no other press availability by anybody in the White House today. The Cohen tapes were the story. I -- do you disagree with that, Jason?
JASON MILLER, FORMER SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I disagree that those tapes were the story of the day. But I would also disagree, I think, with the way that the White House handled this, although, for much different reasons than what Paul said, for a couple of reasons. While I personally found the questions annoying, given that they were there to talk about the E.U. and the potential trade deal that was coming up, I did not find the questions inappropriate.
And so, then by taking it to the next steps, then the reporter essentially was then made into a martyr, which then brought in the entire press corps, which took in the entire afternoon news cycle, in a completely different direction, because fundamentally, what I would have liked to have been on talking about this evening is the fact that President Trump put together a great trade deal with the E.U., getting more soybeans and manufactured goods over to the E.U. and that would --
BURNETT: Just to be clear -- I'm not trying to get into a debate on this, but what he said was, we're going to start negotiations. So there's no deal, there's a discussion that there may be a deal, but he said, we're going to get one. So, there is no deal yet.
MILLER: We also saw from the E.U., but the E.U. also agreed that we're moving towards that direction.
BURNETT: Yes, that is true.
MILLER: It was supposed a joint statement. So, yes, they're moving in that direction, but it wasn't a unilateral statement. But that's what I would have loved to have been talking about, and also the progress we're making towards NAFTA and then the bigger economic competition between U.S. and China. BURNETT: But, Jason, would you admit, they didn't want to talk about
the Cohen tapes today, OK? They clearly didn't. That's why there was no press briefing, that's why they didn't have any other availability --
MILLER: Oh, absolutely, much rather would have been talking about the pending trade deal --
BURNETT: He did tweet about it, by the way. He wasn't -- he did tweet about it. But he didn't want to talk about it.
So they knew this was the question they were going to get. They don't live on Mars.
MILLER: But, you know, but Erin, but going back to, I think, the entire point, you know, when you have a pool reporter that's coming in, obviously, they're representing an entire number of different journalists. So, I think it has to be a to higher standard, if you are going to go and say that there is inappropriate behavior before you go and take that type of action.
But here's the thing about President Trump that I think Paul maybe kind of, I know, deep down inside would have liked to have referenced. President Trump is -- when we talk about these White House pool sprays, is one of the most transparent, open presidents that we've ever seen in the White House. I mean, the fact of the matter is that he takes questions in these pool sprays and in these briefings and these cabinet meetings far more often than I've ever seen of any other president in our lifetime.
BURNETT: OK, what do you make of that, Paul? What do you make of that point? OK, he doesn't want to hold press conferences. He doesn't like to do that. But he does like to answer questions when he wants to, Paul, and then he'll go on and on and won't walk away from the camera. Do you think Jason has a point at all?
BEGALA: He has a good point. He's more loquacious. I wouldn't say transparent, because with the -- here's the key to decoding our president. When his lips move, he lies.
Now, his lips move on awful lot and he lies an awful lot. This is not just me, it's "The Washington Post" fact checker who says he's set the NCAA record for presidential lying.
But this is what he wants. He wants us talking about this. He wants his supporters to hate CNN and any other truth teller. It's why -- this is why it's -- because he knows there's going to be some facts coming, I suspect, from Mr. Mueller that are pretty damning for him and he wants us to be blind to facts.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much. I appreciate it.
And next, let's get the breaking news. Republicans moment ago introducing a resolution to impeach the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. You see him there. Impeachment? We're going to explain exactly what that breaking news means. And our special series, stakes are high. Trump allowing one of the most controversial mining projects in Alaska's history to move forward, a literal gold mine.
[19:42:57] BURNETT: Breaking news: House Republicans moving to impeach the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller's Russia investigation. The article's impeachment were filed by Congressman Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan. This is something Trump allies in Congress have been threatening for weeks.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live on Capitol Hill.
Manu, we hear the word "impeach." Rod Rosenstein is obviously in charge of the Russia investigation. So, all sorts of alarm bells and question marks.
Why are they filing this resolution now?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, tension has been building for months between House Republicans and the Justice Department over a range of requests that Republicans say has not been fully met. Subpoenas related to the Russia investigation, related to the Clinton investigation. They believe that Republicans do, that things were not done properly as part of those investigations. They believe that Rod Rosenstein is responsible for not turning over these documents.
I'm holding hear the articles of impeachments which says that he would be impeached for, quote, high crimes and misdemeanors. And if so, it would have to go over to Senate to convict him. The Senate would have to ultimately approve it by a two-thirds majority.
And right now, Erin, there's a very, very unlikely chance of this being approved by both chambers. There are Republicans who are skeptical about this approach. Certainly in the Senate, there's no support, even among Republicans or very little support.
And, Erin, I can tell you that the Justice Department, too, is pushing back. They say they have complied enormously with these requests. Over 808,000 pages have been turned over to Capitol Hill, concern for those allies of the Justice Department that this is all just a fishing expedition, going after the Justice Department tonight, Erin.
BURNETT: So, Manu, you talk about two-thirds Senate vote, obviously, they don't have that, right? I mean, you know -- but when you read through the substance of the articles of impeachment that you have, is there substance here? Or is this just all politics, part of an effort to undercut Mueller and the Russia investigation?
RAJU: That is clearly the concern, particularly from Democrats, Rod Rosenstein, of course, has been in charge of the Mueller probe. So the question is, is this just an effort to give the president pretext to fire Rod Rosenstein? That is something that you're going to hear going forward, an argument against this. We'll hear what the House speaker has to say, when he addresses
reporters tomorrow, because he has been as not embracing this more confrontational approach, possibly hold them in contempt.
[19:45:09] But impeachment is a line probably further that most Republicans are willing to go. We'll see when this happens. We'll see if a floor vote could happen in the fall, probably not before they leave for recess here, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu.
And next, our special series. The passionate battle over gold mining. Maybe the biggest gold mine in the world, in some of the most pristine wilderness in the entire United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to the argument that this means jobs, this means an infusion into the Alaskan economy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say there are already jobs here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And women running for office on a big winning streak this week. What does it mean for the midterms?
BURNETT: Tonight, a gold mine near Alaska's Bristol Bay, 1 million acres of untouched wildlife, habitat, and fishing and a literal gold mine, too. What could be the biggest gold mine on earth?
A controversial project all but killed by President Obama now going ahead under President Trump. Here with a third part of our special OUTFRONT series, Bill Weir reporting from Alaska.
WEIR: This is a beach landing on a battleground. No bombs or bullets, thankfully. Just gorgeous quiet.
But that little camp holds a band of brothers determined to defend it from invasion.
What happens if a bear comes for a drink right now?
DREW HAMILTON, WILDLIFE GUIDE: Just stop.
WEIR: Among them is Drew Hamilton, a biologist and guide for the world wildlife fund who makes a living getting cozy with grizzlies.
HAMILTON: It takes a couple of days out here to really ease into it and realize that the bears are just part of the landscape and they're going about their business and as long as you don't mess with them, they're going to leave you alone. WEIR: In nearby Katmai National Park, my team learned firsthand that
this part of Alaska is nirvana for bears, and wolfs, whales and eagles, a wonderland all made possible by salmon.
Tens of millions surge into southern Alaska each summer to spawn, feeding every form of life, including a multi-billion-dollar fishing and tourism industry, dependent on the health of this landscape.
HAMILTON: We've got bear tracks, we've had wolf tracks, fox tracks.
WEIR: Which is why Drew worries less about wild animals and more about the human beings coming towards us on the beach.
UNIENTIFIED MALE: What are you guys up to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We work for a surveying company up in Anchorage.
WEIR: They are hesitant to admit they're doing work for the Pebble Mine, one of the most controversial projects in Alaska history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This spot right here. This is it. This is where it all started.
WEIR: About 80 miles from the beach, a Canadian mining company called Northern Dynasty discovered enough buried treasure to propose the biggest gold and copper mine in the world.
But when the EPA under Barack Obama determined that blasting it open and digging it up with threaten the fishery, stock in Northern Dynasty tanked.
[19:50:02] Partners bailed. The company sued. But then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations, Mr. President.
WEIR: A reversal of fortune.
In one of his very first acts running Trump's EPA, Scott Pruitt met with Pebble and then settled the lawsuits. When CNN revealed that meeting, there was an outcry in Alaska. Most fishermen, tribes, even Governor Bill Walker are opposed to the mine, and Senator Lisa Murkowski said she would never trade salmon for gold. But Northern Dynasty refuses to give up.
The latest plan includes a 100-mile natural gas pipeline to power the mine. It would run past that active volcano into a massive port system here on this beach. Imagine ships and semi trucks instead of bears and foxes. And then a 35-mile road through some of the most pristine wilderness in the state.
Since Scott Pruitt resigned amid scandal, the new man in charge of the EPA is Andrew Wheeler, a former lobbyist at one of Pebble Mine's law firms. He declined a request for an interview.
TOM COLLIER, CEO, PEBBLE PARTNERSHIP: This is in the Roosevelt Room, and that's Gore and Clinton. WEIR: But the CEO of Pebble was happy to talk.
COLLIER: Nobody can guarantee there won't be an accident, right? But we've done a hell of a lot to minimize the possibility of there being an accident on this site.
WEIR: Pebble Mine would sit in a wetland prone to earthquakes. So the biggest worry is a tailings dam failure, like this one in British Columbia, which sent a lake full of acidic waste downstream. But Collier says the mine site is so far from Bristol Bay, that is a risk he can live with.
COLLIER: If there is an accident, it will kill fish for about 20 miles down the north fork of the Koktuli. And that's it. And for ten years, it will come back naturally.
WEIR: Utah's Bingham Canyon is the biggest mine in the world. Pebble has enough wealth to dig one three times bigger. But after all the resistance, those plans have been cut in half.
And there are some theories that you shrink the footprint of the mine in order to get the permit, and then once you spend billions to build the port and the pipelines and the roads and all of that, you say well, we need to expand.
And there is some theories that you shrink the footprint of the mine in order to get the permit, and then one you spend billions to build the port and the pipelines and the roads and all of that, you say, well, we need to expand.
COLLIER: There is a lot of gold and copper and silver and molybdenum in the ground out there. And we do not have any plans to expand what we're talking about with this permit. But it wouldn't surprise me if somebody, us or someone else doesn't do that at some point in the future.
HAMILTON: I mean, they're basically talking about putting a 175-mile gash across this pristine habitat.
WEIR: Plans and promises aside, Drew sees this first piece of survey equipment as the beginning of the end of this wilderness as we know it.
What do you say to the argument this means jobs, this means an infusion of the Alaskan economy?
HAMILTON: I say there are already jobs here. You look at the town of Homer and the bear viewing industry, there are millions of dollars being made here already in its current wilderness state. You look at the other side of the mountain, there are tens of millions of dollars already being generated in a fashion that can be sustained for decades and decades and decades.
Why can't we just keep that going?
WEIR: So he and his fellow bear lovers will try to stop the invasion through persuasion, but the clock is ticking as Army engineers rush to review their plans, Pebble hopes to get their permit and a wave of new investors by the fall of 2020, right before Donald Trump's next election.
Bill Weir, CNN, Amatuli (ph), Alaska.
BURNETT: And next, a record number of women running for office this year winning. What does President Trump have to do with it?
[19:56:58] BURNETT: Tonight, women on a winning streak. It's something we've talked about on OUTFRONT.
Last night, political newcomers Carolyn Bordeaux and Lucy McBath won runoff congressional races in Georgia.
And Kyung Lah joins me now. If you watch the show, you know she has been reporting on these and many other women candidates for OUTFRONT.
And, Kyung, I know you spoke would Lucy McBath today. She lost her son to gun violence in 2012. She is going to be facing Republican Congressman Karen Handel in the general election.
So, this going to be two women in this final race. What did Lucy tell you?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She says that she is just one face, Erin, in an historic surge of women running for office. She has an authentic story that voters have decided to latch on to, a non- politician. She also adds she's no longer just a first-time candidate, she is a primary winner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUCY MCBATH, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR CONGRESS IN GEORGIA: But I want Washington to know about the women that are coming is that we're coming to keep you accountable. We're coming to make sure that, you know, our communities and the people that live in them can live the American dream, that that's not being taken from us, stricken from us. I just think that women are really trying to make sure that democracy works for all, and they're definitely concerned about what the future looks like. Not just for themselves, but for the communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: Now comes the hard part. McBath does face a tough general in a district that Trump won, Erin.
BURNETT: So, Kyung, you know, we hear so much about women running. You know, your series "Born to Run" has profiled so many of them. What the overall scorecard across the country when it comes not just to women running but the ones who have won in all of these primaries so far this year? 2
LAH: We do want to caution that we are in the middle of primary season. So this is sort of the mid -- this is as of today. And I want to point to this data from the Center for Women and Politics. This is data given to us by CAWP.
As of today, if you look at this map, those yellow dots are in states where the primaries have already occurred, and the Center for American Women in Politics tells us that about 40 percent of women have won their primary for the U.S. House, 31 percent have won in the U.S. Senate.
But let's put this into context, drilling down those numbers. When you look at how those women are doing in U.S. House races versus men, they are outperforming men by 10 percent. That is overall. And then drill it down even further, non-incumbents. Here is where you get some stunning numbers. They are outperforming men in this category by 16 percent.
Erin, the experts tell us they do believe this will be a history- setting year, but they do want the caution that it will take many years of the women in order to get parity -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. But certainly something that everyone has noticed and Kyung has been covering. So, you know all of the names on the front lines before you actually see them in the win or loss column.
Thanks to all of you for joining us.
"ANDERSON COOPER 306" starts right now.