Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Giuliani Gives Mueller A Deadline That Doesn't Exist; Nunes: "We're The Only Ones" Who Can Protect Trump; Trump-Backed Candidate's Lead For Kansas Governor To Cut To 91 Votes; Neo-Nazi Says He's Emboldened by Trump: "This is my Country;" Trump Silent on GOP Congressman Charged with Insider Trading; Dem Refuses to Concede in Too-Close-To-Call Ohio Special Election. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 9, 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, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, ominous warning. The President sending a cryptic message about the Special Counsel, as he huddles with top lawyer Rudy Giuliani over dinner tonight. Plus, a too-close-to-call race got closer. The fight for the Republican nomination for governor in Kansas now down to less than a hundred votes. Just think about that for a second. The current governor trying to fend off the Trump-backed candidate is OUTFRONT.
And hate in America. A neo-nazi in Pennsylvania is saying Trump has emboldened him. Our chilling report, ahead. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, playing games. President Trump huddling with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at dinner tonight, according to a source who tells that to CNN. The two men strategizing after Trump sent a cryptic and ominous tweet today, saying, "This is an illegally brought, rigged witch-hunt, run by people who are totally corrupt and/or conflicted. It was started and paid for by crooked Hillary and the Democrats, phony dossier, FISA disgrace, and so many lying and dishonest people already fired. Seventeen angry Dems? Stay tuned."
This came as Trump refused to answer questions when asked directly about Mueller today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are you going to sit down with Robert Mueller?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The President was tight-lipped because he is letting Rudy Giuliani do his attack dog work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I think if it isn't over by September, then we have a very, very serious violation of the Justice Department rules, that you shouldn't be conducting one of these investigations in a 60-day period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Unfortunately for Giuliani and Trump, this statement is not true. There is no rule requiring Mueller to end this investigation before the midterm elections, which are what happens in November. In fact, when you look at the overall Special Counsel investigation itself, the average length of one of these is 1,154 days, according to the Washington Post. That is more than double the 449 days Mueller's team has been investigating.
So, Mueller could be going on for double this amount of time and more. And it would still be completely average. This, though, is not about facts for Giuliani or Trump, it is about politics. It is about making Mueller look like he's out to get Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: Put up or shut up, what have you got? So it's about time to get the darned things over with. It's about time to say, enough, we've tortured this President enough. We should get this resolved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: We should get this resolved. Put up or shut up. That's big talk from team Trump, which actually has zero control over Mueller's timeline. And right now Mueller's team is back in court, for their first Russia-related trial. That's, of course, the Paul Manafort trial.
And keep in mind, Paul Manafort is just one of 32 individuals and three companies that have already been charged by Mueller in the 449- day investigation, and that includes 26 Russians. Now, keep in mind, right, 26 Russians, out of 32 individuals. That would seem to be an investigation that's about Russia. Russians are the vast majority of those charged. Yet President Trump and his allies keep up the drumbeat that this investigation is a hoax, a witch-hunt, or even worse.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I call it the rigged witch-hunt.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: He's out for a scalp. He would love to get Trump's scalp.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robert Mueller is looking for people with an agenda against Donald Trump. Robert Mueller is the person who should be being investigated.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: And one of the President's staunchest defenders has gone even further, suggesting that Congress must protect President Trump from Mueller. Here's Devin Nunes in a closed-door fund-raiser on July 30th, the leaked recording obtained by MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the President, we're the only ones, which is really the danger. That's why, I keep -- and thank you for saying it, by the way. I mean, we have to keep all of these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do note keep the majority, all of this goes away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Too astonishing remark, because that's not the job of Congress. Congress' responsibility is to check the President. The Special Counsel's job is to investigate him. It's supposed to be fair and unbiased. Congress' job is not to sit there and protect a sitting president. But this is the type of thing we have heard before, to try to rile up and motivate the Trump base, that the midterms are really all about protecting the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: This election is going to be about impeachment or no impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, that of course is where the President is on his working vacation. Kaitlan, what do you know about this dinner tonight? It's obviously an important one, between the President and Rudy Giuliani.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Erin, we know it's the first time that President Trump and Rudy Giuliani are going to be in the same room, since Rudy Giuliani responded to the Special Counsel's interview proposal that they had submitted to them last week.
[19:05:04] That's a proposal and a response from Giuliani that was more like a rejection, because they don't agree with the Special Counsel, that the Special Counsel should be able to ask the President questions about obstruction of justice in person. So the President and Rudy Giuliani will be dining tonight, that is definitely going to be a topic that they'll likely be discussing during that dinner.
This is going on as Rudy Giuliani is making a confusing argument that the Mueller investigation should be shut down by September 1st, but also that if it is still going on during the midterm elections later this year, that it could help rally the President's base and get Republicans out to vote and energize them in those elections.
Now, that's Rudy Giuliani doing all the talking. The President, for his part, is staying silent on this, not answering shouted questions earlier today about whether or not he still wants to sit down with Robert Mueller, something he's expressed interest in, in the past. But he is tweeting those very cryptic messages today. His same angry rhetoric about the Special Counsel's investigation, but those two words at the end there, Erin, stay tuned, is raising the question of what it is that we're staying tuned for.
BURNETT: Exactly. Sort of a cliff-hanger the President likes. Is it a threat or not? All right, Kaitlan, thank you very much.
And now, let's go to the Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly who sits on the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees. Congressman, good to see you.
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA: Good to see you, Erin.
BURNETT: If you were Rudy Giuliani, it'd be a very, very serious violation of Justice Department rules, that's the quote, if Bob Mueller doesn't wrap up the investigation by the beginning of September. Now, of course, he's technically wrong, but do you think the investigation should be either wrapped up by then or put on hold formally until after the midterms or not?
CONNOLLY: Well, I think Mueller has to use prudent judgment, which is what the guidelines call for, in, say, indictments, close to the election that could materially affect the outcome of the election. He needs to use that kind of judgment. But there is absolutely no guideline in the Department of Justice that says you've got to wrap up an ongoing criminal investigation before an election. Or you can't undertake that ongoing investigation during the course of a campaign, including the election itself, and afterwards. That's nonsense.
BURNETT: So you're saying, just be careful with the indictments, themselves? That's your concern.
CONNOLLY: That's right. If you're going to bring new indictments, you need to do it, I think, you know, with a healthy distance between November 6 and when you have the indictments. But I think that argues for don't do it in October. I don't think that argues for, you've got to wrap it up by September 1.
BURNETT: All right. So, you know, as you say, it's a matter of judgment, as you see it. This comes as the President and Rudy Giuliani, right, are trying to set some very strict conditions for an interview with Mueller, right? How long it can be and how much of its written and what are the questions, and what are they about? And Giuliani specifically said, what did you say about Flynn and why did you fire Comey are two questions that would be off the table, you know, I mean, if you were going to ask about obstruction of justice, that's patently absurd because those are core questions, again, if obstruction of justice is important to Mueller. If Trump refuses to sit down, do you think Bob Mueller should subpoena him and take the risk of that subpoena --
BURNETT: -- being rejected? You say -- go ahead.
CONNOLLY: I say you should test that. Look, no person is above the law. We are a nation that are triumphs the rule of law. The President is not above the rule of law. And a subpoena was issued to President Clinton and they negotiated the terms of it.
But the idea that Giuliani and Trump unilaterally get to keep things off the table that can't be asked, that goes to the very heart of the purpose of a criminal investigation. And I think you said it well, Erin, those are very material subjects that must be examined, with the President.
BURNETT: I want to play for you, again, part of what your colleague, Devin Nunes, the Republican Congressman said at that fund-raiser, right, when he said, you know, the reason Republicans need to retain control of the House is to protect the President. MSNBC obtained that recording. Let me just play a brief clip for you.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NUNES: If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the President, we're the only ones, which is really the danger. That's why I keep -- and thank you for saying it, by the way, I mean, we have to keep all of these seats. We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: What's your reaction to that? Congress is the last group standing to protect the President.
CONNOLLY: I wish I could tell you I'm shocked. But I think that Devin Nunes has proved that he's nothing but a paid operative for the White House and for this President. And he's willing to sell his soul. And for that matter, his country and the integrity of the United States Congress as an institution to serve that cause. I take an oath and so does he, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, to protect the laws, and defend the laws of the United States of America. I do not take an oath and neither does Mr. Nunes to protect the President of the United States, especially from an ongoing criminal investigation.
[19:10:03] BURNETT: Your fellow Democrat, Congressman Ted Lieu, said Nunes should resign for those comments. Do you agree?
CONNOLLY: I think Nunes should have resigned, frankly, for his despicable behavior earlier as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, when he actually -- it got so bad, he had to recuse himself for the Russia investigation. I think Mr. Nunes has revealed who and what he is, and I think he has sullied the integrity of the Congress of the United States.
BURNETT: A number of Democrats have thrown around the world treason, in connection with this President, you know, repeatedly. I don't believe you're one of them, at least not that we found today, but several of your colleagues have, and I just want to play it for you. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Donald Trump is suggesting is treasonous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is moving into perjury, false statements, and even into potentially treason.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm saying that the President, by his own definition --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't blame the President
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Let me just ask you, New York Times contributing Opinion writer Christopher Buskirk wrote today, Congressman Connolly, that Democrats need to stop, because in the absence of proof of treason, such accusations are patently irresponsible and destructive. Do you agree that some of your colleagues are going too far and throwing that very, very significant word around too lightly?
CONNOLLY: I think we're at a very grave moment in American history. And I think, frankly, our rhetoric and our behavior ought to reflect that. If we're just seen as hyperbolic partisans, we're going to be discredited, and the very serious issues that must be examined will, frankly, be diluted and debased. And we can't afford that at this moment in our history. So I would hope that all of my colleagues would approach this with a seriousness of purpose and some caution and prudence in their rhetoric.
BURNETT: So you're --
CONNOLLY: Everything we see in front of us is serious enough.
BURNETT: Right. So you're saying, it's very serious and grave, yet you would not use that word? You're not comfortable saying treason, not yet?
CONNOLLY: No. No, I think that's a pretty strong word. And I think we've got plenty to deal, without having to go there.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman Connolly, I appreciate your time.
CONNOLLY: Just respect (ph) the behavior of this President.
BURNETT: As always.
CONNOLLY: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, a razor-thin race in Kansas getting even tighter tonight. Can the Kansas Governor, who's trying to fend off a challenge from Trump's pick, keep his job? Governor Jeff Colyer is OUTFRONT.
Plus, a neo-nazi in a small town giving thanks to Trump. See what happens when we ask him the questions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL BURNSIDE, ULYSSES RESIDENT: Get the -- out of here. Now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the President refusing to talk about Congressman Chris Collins, the Republican charged with insider trading, the first sitting member of Congress to openly endorse him. Is Collins' seat now in danger? We talk to the voters tonight.
[19:16:23] BURNETT: Breaking news, more votes in Kansas. The too- close-to-call Kansas governor's race getting closer tonight. The lead for the Trump-backed Kris Kobach, controversial Kansas Secretary of State who led President Trump's voter fraud commission, dropping to 91 votes over the current Republican Governor, Jeff Colyer. It's pretty incredible. Think about the United States of America. We are talking about a 91-vote margin. Out of, as you can see, you know, 250,000, 275,000-plus votes cast.
Governor Jeff Colyer is OUTFRONT. And Governor, I appreciate your time. So, Kris Kobach, he has a razor-thin margin right now over you of 91 votes. Do you want a recount?
GOV. JEFF COLYER (R), RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION: You know, it's too soon. We want the first count to go through, Erin. The first count is really going to be happening between now and August 20th. There are thousands of ballots out there, mail-in ballots, provisional ballots that haven't been counted yet. And there's only a 91 or a 104 difference, depending on who's counting right now. It's too close to call.
BURNETT: All right. So you're saying August 20th, not before then. I mean, you're not going to call for a recount until August 20th?
COLYER: You know, what we're seeing out there is every county has to have a canvass, and we want to make sure that every vote is counted. There are dozens of ballots that haven't even been delivered yet to the election office. If you were in the mail, if you voted on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, put it in the mail. If it's in the mail system, under Kansas law, it has to be counted. Under Kansas law, KSA 2511-32. And it's important that we make sure that every vote is counted.
BURNETT: All right. So basically, your bottom line is that you're not rushing here. Are you going to wait a little bit before you make --
COLYER: You know, I think everybody needs to have a little bit of patience. We have to get the first count right. And we want to make sure that every vote is counted. We've heard about provisional ballots, people that were unaffiliated, that had changed to Republican on that day, be given -- they were given provisional ballots, rather than an actual Republican ballot. We want to make sure the law is followed. We want to make sure all of those mail ballots are counted.
BURNETT: So the margin tonight, as I just said, at least as we have it right now, according to the Secretary of State's website, the Secretary of State, obviously, being Kris Kobach, is 91 votes. Earlier today, it was 191 votes. Now, according to the county clerk, the 100 votes that went to you were left off the state's unofficial results page. As I mentioned, Kris Kobach is the Secretary of State, so he oversees the vote count, he oversees that tally, he oversees that page. Do you think this was an inadvertent, honest mistake?
COLYER: You know, I don't know why this -- that particular mistake happened, but I think as long as we make sure that the law is very clear and being followed, there have been issues out there. I want to make sure that Kansans have the confidence that we have the right legal advice in this, and that every vote is counted.
BURNETT: So, Governor, a recount, if there is one, would be overseen by Kobach, right, your rival, because he is the Secretary of State, right? That would be his job. He actually said yesterday he would be willing to recuse himself, if you asked him to from a recount. So, the question is, have you talked to him or his team directly about that, about a recount? And I know you're not ready to demand one yet, but if you do, that you want him to recuse himself?
COLYER: It is actually not even about a recount. It is about providing the legal advice. And we have sent him a letter today that asks that these responsibilities be given over to the attorney general. I think it's important that all of these provision ballots, all of these --
BURNETT: And you mean like what votes -- are provisionals going to count or not count, or whatever. You want him to recuse himself from that decision making at this point, and from that advice.
COLYER: I want him to have the correct advice that everybody can rely on. And I think the attorney general would be the right person to do that.
[19:20:06] BURNETT: OK. So has he responded to your letter saying, hey, Kris Kobach, you should not be doing that, the attorney general should. Has he responded to that letter? I know you sent it just about on hour or so ago.
COLYER: That's correct. We have just delivered that letter to them. Let's give them some time to respond.
BURNETT: OK. So you're waiting --
COLYER: I think everybody wants to have a good election that has integrity, that all of the votes are counted.
COLYER: Let's make sure that that happens.
BURNETT: Now, you know, the fascinating thing about this, Governor, it's not just that it's so close, that I think so many Americans can't even imagine we're in a situation like this. And that one of the people involved is the sitting governor and the other involved is overseeing the vote count. It's not just that Shakespearean drama, it's this. It's President Trump endorsed Kris Kobach a day before the primary, went on Twitter, said, speaking of Kobach, "He would be a great governor and has my full and total endorsement." Do you believe that made the race closer, that Trump helped Kris Kobach?
COLYER: You know, I don't know what that did. We haven't even started to evaluate those things, because the vote hasn't been counted yet. We want to make sure everybody gets their vote counted. I support the President. I'm a Republican -- I'm going to support the Republican nominee. It maybe myself --
BURNETT: So you'll support Kobach if he wins?
COLYER: Yes, of course. We want a Republican governor to win here in Kansas. It's about making sure that these Republican values, that the economy is growing, that our schools are well-funded. That's the important thing, to me.
BURNETT: I am curious, though, because, I mean, look, the President didn't have to weigh in on this. And in fact, according to "The New York Times," Republican Governors Association did not want him to weigh in on this and weigh in and he chose to, he jumped in, he did what he wanted to do, and it was, you know, against you and for Kobach. Your state voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton, Governor. You know this well, but our viewers may not. More than 20-point margin.
BURNETT: Is it possible that the President is more in tune with voters in your state and with his base than you are?
COLYER: You know, I have been very supportive of the President. We have supported him -- I even wrote a letter nominating him for the Nobel Prize. I think what's important is --
BURNETT: I didn't know that.
COLYER: -- you know, he may have had a personal relationship there, I respect that. For me, it's about we unifying as Republicans and I think that we are going to continue to lead the state. I'm very excited about the opportunity, we're continuing on in the general election process and we're raising money. We have volunteers flooding in. This is about winning our election. And we're happy to work with the President.
BURNETT: Can I just ask you one question, because I'm curious.
BURNETT: The Nobel Prize, was it for Kim Jong-un and does the President know explicitly that you wrote the letter?
COLYER: I have no idea.
BURNETT: I was just wondering --
COLYER: There were several governors --
COLYER: Yes. There were several governors that signed that letter there. But for me, what is important is, we're going to work as Republicans, we're going to work for the best interests of our state. And I really appreciate that Kansans have the opportunity to vote, express their vote, have all of the information in front of them. And I think they're starting to see that I was a governor who was starting to change things. Our credit rating is going up. We're dealing with education issues. The economy is starting to improve. I think that's a great message for us.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Governor Colyer, I appreciate your time and thank you very much.
COLYER: Great. It's good to be back.
BURNETT: All right.
And next, a disturbing story that you'll see only OUTFRONT. A neo- nazi dividing a small town, growing more confident. He says it's because of President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have the possibility of becoming a minority in our own country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Republican Congressman Chris Collins. He wants to be re-elected, saying his name isn't coming off the ballot, even though he's indicted on serious charges of insider trading. What do his voters think?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:27:41] BURNETT: Tonight, a neo-nazi in Pennsylvania, a small rural town near the New York border, splitting apart by a growing movement filled with hate. The man at the center of it says Trump's election has emboldened him and his followers. It comes as white nationalists prepare to take to the streets this weekend, one year after the deadly Charlottesville rally.
Our Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. I want to warn you, though, when you watch this piece. Some of the language that you will hear is extremely disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the calm of this rural northern Pennsylvania town, a sign that hate lives here. Are you a neo-nazi?
BURNSIDE: Do I embrace itI don't try to push it away.
SIDNER (on camera): Well, you're wearing a swastika on your shirt.
SIDNER (on camera): And you've got swastika flags. Why the flags? Why the shirt? Why these hateful symbols in this town?
BURNSIDE: I don't think they're hateful. I think it's an ideology that has been completely misinterpreted since the Third Reich.
SIDNER (on camera): OK, now I've got to stop you. Misinterpreted? Misinterpreted? Six million Jews --
BURNSIDE: No. No.
SIDNER (on camera): -- were killed.
BURNSIDE: You'll never sell me on that.
SIDNER (on camera): I'm not trying to sell you. It is reality. It's history, it cannot be denied.
(voice-over): Daniel Burnside is a lightning rod of discord in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. Population? 690. With the help of the Internet, his message has spread far and right, giving his town attention it does not want.
BURNSIDE: Rural America spoke up when they elected Trump. Rural America.
SIDNER (voice-over): And by rural America, he means white America.
BURNSIDE: We're staring down the barrel of a gun here in white America. There's still 193 million white Americans. Yes, the vast majority of them are in their 60s and 70s, will be in the ground in the next 20 years, and therefore, we have the possibility of becoming a minority in our own country. A possibility --
SIDNER (on camera): It sounds to me --
BURNSIDE: -- of becoming a minority --
SIDNER (on camera): -- like you're afraid of being me. And being me --
BURNSIDE: This is my country.
SIDNER (on camera): -- is great. This is also my country.
BURNSIDE: You guys didn't win the culture war. SIDNER (voice-over): He invited us on his property to talk, but when he doesn't like our conversation, he explodes.
BURNSIDE: Get the -- out of here. Now.
SIDNER (voice-over): We do. Just down the street, we're met by a dozen residents, who say Burnside does not speak for this town.
(on camera): There are families in this county that blame politics for people like him sort of being able to come out and be very loud. Is that fair?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our President we've got right now hasn't helped the situation a whole lot. You know, he's got a lot of the same beliefs. You know, at least he won't speak against him, OK? This guys feeds off, that's why.
SIDNER (voice-over): Among the crowd, many with grandfathers or fathers who fought the Nazis in World War II.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're good people and he's stepping on us. He's stepping on all of us. You know, we are all -- we're all one tribe. You know, who does he think he is?
SIDNER: Teacher Debbie Hamilton says he just returned from touring concentration camps in Poland.
DEBBIE HAMILTON, SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER: One of the things we spent a lot of time talking about was passive resistance versus active resistance.
SIDNER: So far, they've chosen passive resistance with Burnside. On the other side of Potter County, Joe and Seshena Leschner are convinced that passive resistance is the wrong choice.
JOE LESCHNER, FORMER POTTER COUNTY RESIDENT: I'm not saying you should go to their houses with pitchforks and guns, you know? I'm saying, hold a peaceful protest against him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traditional knights of the Ku Klux Klan neighborhood watch.
SIDNER: After seeing KKK flyers appearing in their neighborhood and Burnside's declarations in his county, Joe did protest, only to receive a threat against one of the supremacists he stood against.
J. LESCHNER: They would look at me and give me the finger and even make little gestures, you know, like they were going to shoot me.
SIDNER: Joe says the racial hatred intensified when his Jamaican bride arrived.
SESHENA LESCHNER, FORMER POTTER COUNTY RESIDENT: In Walmart, I got a lot of that.
SIDNER: In their minds, if more people stood up against hate, the racist would be forced to leave and let love stand.
SIDNER: The Leschners moved about four hours away to another small town, but Seshena says it's made all the difference, she finally feels comfortable walking down the street. And as for Ulysses, the borough president told us they have dealt with an outspoken neo-Nazi in their midst before and they pushed him out several years ago, but that was because he broke the law and there's nothing they can do about Burnside unless he does the same -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. Incredible recording.
I want to go now to Marc Lamont Hill, professor at Temple University and a political commentator here, and Amy Kremer, co-founder and co- chair of Women for Trump.
Thanks to both.
AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: So, Marc, look, you heard the man there, the neo-Nazi. You also heard one of the members of the community there, that gentlemen say, and I quote him, the president that we've got right now hasn't helped the situation a whole lot. He's got a lot of the same beliefs. At least, he won't speak against them. This guy, referring to Burnside, feeds off of that stuff.
Your reaction? Is this enabled by the president?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is absolutely enabled by the president. It's exhausting watching this, you know? You have a president who normalizes white supremacy, normalizes anti-black racism.
Even if he doesn't echo what this guy says, he creates an environment where that stuff seems OK. And that's how he feels. It's not that he creates racism and white supremacy, although he may nurture it, but makes an environment where you can say it out loud, which only creates more danger for other people. Not just abstract danger, not just theoretical danger, but real-life violence.
KREMER: Yes. I mean, listen, Erin, I mean, that piece made me sick, too. It made me uncomfortable and I don't like it and I understand why the people feel the way they feel about the guy that lives in their community.
But you can't blame this on the president. He has nothing to do with this. I mean, we are in an environment right now where everybody is over-stimulated, it's a 24-hour news cycle, there's 24/7 social media and it's like a pressure cooker.
And people need to take a step back and decompress and get away from politics a little bit, because this is not healthy for us to be always at each other like this. I mean, when you sit most Americans down at a table and talk about issues, we agree on most things, Erin. But because of the 24/7 and the social media, it's, everybody's at each other all the time and we need to stop.
BURNETT: I hear your point, but --
HILL: Wait, here's -- hold on.
BURNETT: OK, go ahead. Go ahead.
HILL: So if we're blaming social media and we're blaming the 24-hour news cycle, let's look on social media. Who's the biggest tweeter out there? Not Kanye West, Donald Trump.
Let's look at the 24-hour news cycle. Who's the biggest story on every news channel?
KREMER: Donald Trump.
HILL: Donald Trump.
If we blame rap music, if we blame music, if we blame movies, if we blame culture, we blame everything down to the Teletubbies over the last 30 years, how can we not look at the fact that the biggest pop culture figure, the biggest media figure, the most powerful man in the world is Donald Trump, a man who has said, there are good people on both sides at a white nationalist rally. Someone who says that Judge Curiel's Mexican identity makes him incapable of being impartial.
Somebody who has said that --
BURNETT: I just want to --
HILL: I mean, he normalizes this stuff.
BURNETT: I want to play something, because I think this is the question. I want to say, Burnside himself, the man that everyone watching found sickening, you included, he told "The Washington Post" that since November 2016, activity has doubled, among his neo-Nazis, OK? So he's putting Trump's inauguration as the date that was important to him in terms of getting followers.
[19:35:04] And when you hear that other gentlemen say the president won't speak against him, he's got some of the same beliefs, Amy, this is what he's talking about.
KREMER: What beliefs? What beliefs?
BURNETT: Marc referenced some of it, but let me just play some of them and give you a chance. I'm going to play them right now. Here's the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.
We're building a wall. He's a Mexican. We're building a wall between here and Mexico.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: If you are saying, he can't do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: No, I don't think so at all.
I think Islam hates us.
Oh, look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest?
She is a low-IQ individual, Maxine Waters. I said it the other day. I mean, honestly, she's somewhere in the mid-60s, I believe that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Amy, do you really think that doesn't embolden neo-Nazis, white nationalists, racists?
KREMER: Erin, it doesn't -- why would it embolden them? I mean, I think that's ridiculous.
I -- look at Antifa right now, they've amped up their activities, they're attacking the right all over the place. I mean, is that the president's fault? Or is that the media's fault? Whose fault is that?
I mean, it goes both ways. It doesn't make it right. Donald Trump is not a racist. And what is happening here is that people want to throw that racist label at him, because they don't want to talk about the good things he's doing right now.
BURNETT: Because he's saying racist thing. Go ahead, Marc.
HILL: But these are complete -- these are straw men. First, no one said it's Donald Trump's fault. Also, this conversation isn't about Donald Trump being racist.
The question is, is there a relationship between what Donald Trump's doing and how these people are feeling? The most compelling piece of evidence is that white nationalists are saying, yes, Donald Trump makes us feel better and stronger and safer and more confident. They're saying that the day that they can mark their origin story of getting stronger is the day he became president.
And when you add the laundry list of things that he's said and done that they approve of, it goes to prove that he is strengthening their position. We could have a different conversation about whether or not Donald Trump is racist, and we could have a different conversation about the red herring of Donald Trump making the world better, which you were about to go into, but the point here right now is that Donald Trump makes these people feel safer and better and stronger, and everything he says and does is in line with their agenda.
BURNETT: What do you say to that, Amy, that the man there, the neo- Nazi said, I can tell you with certainty that since 2016, their activity has doubled. He is crediting the election of Donald Trump. He is the neo-Nazi.
KREMER: I mean, you know what? I don't know that that is true. I mean, so he's saying it. What I do know --
BURNETT: But, Amy, with doesn't that matter? That's what emboldened a racist and hateful person? He is crediting the president.
KREMER: Donald Trump has no -- he has no control over who supports him and who doesn't. I mean, he can't tell people not to support him. And he can't go out there and micromanage these groups and communities across the country.
HILL: Yes, he can. He can totally tell people not to support him.
KREMER: Can I finish? I let you talk, Marc. Let me talk.
What you don't want to talk about is that African-American approval numbers for Donald Trump have doubled in the past month, from 15 percent to almost 30 percent. I mean, that's the thing, because he's creating jobs, the economy is back on track.
He's doing exactly what he said he was going to do. And that's a big story. But instead, it's like, squirrel. Look over here at this.
I mean, this guy is nobody. In a little town of 650 or 690 people, in a nation of how many millions, I mean, he's no one. And just putting it on the news is only giving him advertising. I mean, that's what we're doing.
BURNETT: There are massive rallies planned for this weekend by neo- Nazis.
KREMER: What's that?
BURNETT: There are rallies. There are people who are coming out. This is not something that happened before, Amy.
KREMER: Erin, what are we going to do -- I can't stop that? It doesn't mean that I --
BURNETT: I'm not saying you can, but I'm simply saying, do you acknowledge that the president of the United States is part of the reason?
KREMER: No, he's not. I think that's preposterous.
BURNETT: I don't know how you can acknowledge that. You may say he's not a racist, but you got to acknowledge that he has empowered these people to hear their voice.
KREMER: No, what is happening is everybody tries to throw the racist label at him, because there's no way to -- I mean, how do you push back against that? You can't totally debunk it, because you can't prove what's on somebody's heart. That's the problem. And so when you can't win --
BURNETT: You just admitted we can't totally debunk it. That's a horrific thing to have to admit about a man you support, right?
HILL: I can't totally debunk that he's not a white supremacist.
KREMER: He's not a racist, he's not a white supremacist. I mean, that is ridiculous.
HILL: Yes, well, I don't think -- I mean, we can disagree on that.
HILL: I don't think it's ridiculous. When you call the countries in Africa blank-hole countries, when you say Judge Curiel's Mexican identity makes it impossible for him to be impartial, when you refer to Mexicans as rapists and thieves, when you go over and over -- when you go to a white supremacist rally or hear the news of a white supremacist rally and say there are good people on both sides, there aren't good people at white supremacist rallies.
The fact he said that, again, awful.
[19:40:0] The fact that he wouldn't not denounce these people, is awful.
KREMER: So, Marc, let me ask you a question, Marc. Let me ask you this. If he's a racist, then why did he just grant Alice Johnson clemency when Barack Obama wouldn't? Tell me that. Why did he let her out of prison?
BURNETT: That's the Kim Kardashian -- Marc?
HILL: Yes, no, I'm very familiar with it. You can grant someone clemency and still have a belief that they're inferior. You can grant someone clemency and still believe that their countries of original, like Africa, are blank-hole countries. They're not competing arguments.
Yes, I'm not saying he's never done anything for a black person. He may have loaned a black person money, given them a job, given them a big hug, put them on "Apprentice," gave them a White House position, that doesn't change the fact that he has -- that he says things and does things as far as policies go that reflect a racist agenda and an attempt to appeal to white supremacy. That's the problem.
BURNETT: All right. We'll leave there. Thank you both.
KREMER: That's why African-American unemployment is at the lowest it's ever been.
BURNETT: OK, thank you both.
KREMER: That's not a racist policy.
BURNETT: I appreciate your time.
And next, President Trump facing questions about one of his most loyal, and by the way, his first supporter in Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, any response to Chris Collins being indicted?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, another race too close to call. That is the special election in Ohio. Does Democrat Danny O'Connor believe there are more votes out there to put him over the top?
He is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: New tonight, silence.
[19:45:01] President Trump refusing to answer questions today about Representative Chris Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump's presidential bid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. President, any response to Chris Collins being indicted? Mr. President, Mr. President, any response to Chris Collins?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Got to love the look on his face there.
Collins, of course, was arrested yesterday, charged with inside trading. Yet, he says he's not giving up. His name is still on the ballot in November. But what was once considered a reliable Republican win now, with this, has Democrats smelling blood in the water.
Alex Marquardt went on the scene to talk to voters and is OUTFRONT.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the far western reaches of this firmly blue state, New York's 27th congressional district is as red as it gets. A district that went heavily for President Donald Trump in 2016, where in that last election, voters gave Representative Chris Collins a 34-point landslide victory.
Bill Schroeder is a mayor in this district and was one of those voters. Now, after Collins was arrested for and charged with insider trading, Schroeder says he and others are changing their minds about the congressman.
(on camera): So what do you think the reaction was in western New York when they saw this happen yesterday, when he was arrested?
MAYOR BILL SCHROEDER, VILLAGE OF LANCASTER, NY: I think, shocked. Just, you know, no one would have expected that. So I think they're all still taking it in. Like, really? This actually happened?
You know, it was pretty major. If I were him, I would be reconsidering my position.
MARQUARDT: You'd like to see him step down?
SCHROEDER: Well, it might be in his best interests as well as the constituents'.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Across the street is the Pok-a-dot diner, a favorite of Chris Collins. He's come here for campaign stops and to celebrate victories. People here were proud to tell us how often Collins stops by.
And while they, too, say they were disturbed by the news, supporters like Paul Casper told us they're sticking by him, for now.
PAUL CASPER, VOTED FOR CHRIS COLLINS: It looks kind of bad for him, but I'm still a supporter.
MARQUARDT (on camera): You're going to stick with him and vote for him again in November?
CASPER: Yes, no question. No question.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Casper wants a court to issue its verdict before the court of public opinion issues there. As does Vietnam vet, Roy Stringham.
ROY STRINGHAM, VOTED FOR CHRIS COLLINS: Oh, I think he's lost a little support in New York, but these people have been voting for him for, what, seven or eight years now, nine years.
MARQUARDT (on camera): You think most will stick by him?
STRINGHAM: I think so.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): As the Republican support wavers for Collins, Democrats are seizing on the chance, however slim, to actually compete in a district they'd otherwise have no chance in. The Democratic campaign arm saying, with Collins' arrest for corruption, this seat is firmly in play for Democrats.
And it's Nate McMurray leading the Democratic charge. A local town supervisor challenging Collins for the seat, now seeing an opening.
NATE MCMURRAY, RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN NY'S 27TH DISTRICT: Well, it's a shot in the arm for us, that's for sure. I think that our strategy is to -- it's to tell people, look it. The system has failed you. It has endorsed a candidate that they thought should just coast in.
Someone we all knew had these problems. Someone that despite these problems, party leadership said, this is the guy.
MARQUARDT: And, Erin, in light of the Collins news, independent analysts have changed their rating for this district for November from solidly Republican to likely Republican. So, it is still very much an uphill fight for Nate McMurray and the Democrats. Still, in a midterm year where Republicans are defending so many different districts, spending so much money, this was one district that President Trump and the GOP did not think that they would have to think about. And now they do -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alex. Appreciate that.
And also new tonight, not conceding. We talk about these congressional seats. When we look at the Democrat in Ohio's special congressional election, he says he has no plans to concede.
The race remains too close to call. Danny O'Connor currently trails Trump-backed Troy Balderson who has already declared victory by just over 1,500 votes. So, this one obviously is incredibly close.
Danny O'Connor is OUTFRONT and I appreciate your time.
So, polls closed 48 hours ago. Obviously, you have not yet conceded. I know you are waiting for more votes.
What are you waiting for or are you getting ready to concede?
DANNY O'CONNOR, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR U.S. CONGRESS, OHIO 12: Well, we want to make sure that all the votes are counted. We still have 8,000 votes that are yet to be counted. We're only down by about 1,500 votes. And we just picked up 200 votes last night. So we're still out there, making sure that democracy works.
We still have ballots being mailed in from across the world. We have soldiers across the world who are mailing their ballots back. But, you know, we always news that August 8th was going to be the same win, lose, or too close to call. We've been out the last two days talking to voters about why they need real leadership in Washington, D.C., and why we need a change in our political system.
BURNETT: So, you know, when you look at those numbers -- and look, I get it, 8,000 still outstanding. You're only behind by about 1,500. That adds up to trailing by 0.8 percent. And I know the threshold, Danny, to formally qualify for a recount is half of 1 percent.
Now, the thing is, even if you hit that, right, and get the recount, you have to go back to 1984 for a time a congressional recount found a different winner, which Congress then later overturned, which is a separate issue.
[19:50:08] The bottom line is, how confident are you that this will flip? Because every day you wait, you're waiting, and you've got to run against this guy, again, in November.
O'CONNOR: Yes. You know, the boards of elections are doing their job and they're doing a great job at making sure that everybody's votes are counted. And we're not resting. We're not sitting on our laurels, we're out talking to voters about why we need to have real representation in Washington, why we need to have folks who go to Washington, D.C. who aren't bought and paid for.
And I was out campaigning yesterday. I was out a little bit today. We are encouraged, people are so excited.
We were out this morning, a local diner in one of our neighborhoods in the district, and people are coming up to us saying how excited they were to vote and in a couple months and then hopeful they were that we will be going to Washington, D.C. in a couple weeks, because 1984, you just mentioned, been that amount of time since we had a competitive race here in the Ohio 12th district. And people are excited about the choice and excited about the chance to send someone to Washington who's going to have their backs.
BURNETT: You do have a fair point, right? I mean, it's a reliably Republican race, right? And the president, of course, won handily, right?
But when you look at the turnout, right, you had surging turnout in suburban areas that swing Democratic, right? So, that was in your favor. There was depressed turnout in Republican urban areas, right? Not in Balderson's favor. But even with that combo, right, he had some weak turnout and you had amazing turnout, it still as of tonight was not enough to push you over the top.
Why do you think November will be different? I mean, are you worried -- people are going to go, OK, look, we were told to go out, went all out, we lost, all right, I'm done, I'm not going to do this twice?
O'CONNOR: No, we're not worried but we're not going to rest. You know, we were down 10 points a month ago and as of tonight, we're down by 0.7 points. And give us three months and that's three months for me to talk to voters, for our team to knock on doors, spend time with folks in their coffee shops and their homes, talking about kitchen table issues like healthcare access, like protecting earned benefits.
My opponent wants to raise the retirement age. These are things worth fighting for. You give us some time and we'll have as many conversations as we can have.
BURNETT: You talk about changing the retirement age. Look, it's highly controversial. That discussion often now comes with the discussion about socialism, which there's been a push towards from some in your party. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, proudly these socialists. The former NAACP president Ben Jealous who is now the Democratic nominee for governor in Maryland was asked about this, he denied yesterday that he is a socialist in some salty terms.
Here is the exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you identify with the term socialist?
BEN JEALOUS, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND: Are you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kidding me? Is that a fine enough point?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, he's apologized for his use of that word. But it was clear, and he wants nothing to do with being called a socialist.
Do you agree? You don't want to be called a socialist and you be okay with that?
O'CONNOR: Well, we need to move beyond labels because, you know, when families sit around the kitchen table and they look for folks who are going to solve problems, they're not looking for a solution from the Democratic Party or Republican Party or any other ideology. They're looking for solutions that work for working families.
BURNETT: Free college, Medicare for all, that's not your beef or is it?
O'CONNOR: You know, I'm focused on making sure we have economic opportunity for all families. I think that -- like you mentioned, protecting the retirement age, protecting earned benefits that folks have worked hard for, like Social Security and Medicare is something that's so important.
We ask folks to work really hard in this country and they do their part for 40, 45 years. They get up every morning, clock in, clock out, thinking they're going to have retirement at the end. And when folks want to pull the rug out from under him like my opponent does, that's a problem. And these are people who were worth fighting for because American workers are great and we need to have their back.
BURNETT: Interesting, you won't decry that label of socialist, saying you don't want a label, but you're not saying --
O'CONNOR: Oh, no, I'm not. Yes, I wouldn't say I'm a socialist. No, I'm not.
BURNETT: OK. All right. Danny, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
And next, Jeanne Moos finding out why folks are turning on Paul Manafort, left and right.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:58:02] BURNETT: Paul Manafort has a long road ahead of him. Here's Jeanne.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In New Britain, Connecticut, they're not afraid to cross Paul Manafort or turn on it.
VOICE: Turn left on Paul Manafort Drive.
MOOS: You may be used to seeing his name in news. But here, they see it on signs.
VOICE: Turn right on Paul J. Manafort Drive.
MOOS: How did he get from being on trial to being on GPS?
Well, actually --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not him, it's his father.
MOOS: The late Paul Manafort Sr. was a three-term mayor of New Britain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a town hero.
MOOS: That's the word at Elmer's Place, at one end of Paul Manafort Drive. The road stretches a mile or so alongside Central Connecticut State University.
For those who reside on Paul Manafort.
What kind of street is this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Loud.
MOOS: Just like some of Manafort's jackets, think python.
After his indictment last year, local motorist, Dan Russell, was driven to start a petition to change the name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just definitely not something to be proud of.
MOOS: But the mayor's chief of staff told the "Hartford Courant" the name was meant to honor Paul Manafort Sr. and they were going to leave the road the way it is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul Manafort was a respected man in our community.
MOOS: Many of the locals didn't know either Manafort, father or son.
Paul Manafort, the guy who's on trial?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, I didn't know about that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Manafort Drive?
MOOS: Yes. Does that ring a bell?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did he do? I don't even know who he is.
MOOS: If they ever do change the name, maybe they ought to change it to Paul who drive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could become Donald Trump Drive some day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Change it to Fred Shirley Street.
MOOS: Fred Shirley, is that you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's me. I need my own street.
MOOS: Fred Shirley then made a left turn on Paul Manafort. For some, Manafort Drive was a mouthful.
Jeanne Moos, CNN --
VOICE: Turn left on Paul Manafort Drive.
MOOS: -- New Britain, Connecticut.
BURNETT: I don't know where to start. That was great.
Thank you for joining us.
"ANDERSON" starts now.