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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Senate Dems Call On Sessions To Answer For "False Statements"; Trump Slams Schumer, Pelosi For "Ties To Russia"; Calls Grow For Probe Into Trump Team's Ties To Russia; Source: DHS Considering Separating Parents, Children At Border. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 3, 2017 - 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 HOST: That's it for me. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. Democrats demanding Sessions return to Capitol Hill and testify under oath. Did he lie to Congress?
Plus, Trump fires back, tweeting pictures of top democrats meeting with Russian officials, calling one a "hypocrite", another, a "liar". But is it the democrats who are on a witch-hunt?
And more breaking news, CNN learning the Trump administration considering that mothers be separated from their children when they cross the border illegally. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight. Breaking news, liar, liar. Senate democrats accusing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions of making false statements as the president accuses the two top democrats on the hill of being hypocrites and liars.
In a letter released moments ago, senate democrats say Sessions must return to Capitol Hill to answer questions publicly and under oath. The democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee want Sessions to, quote, "Correct the record about," and I quote them, "false statements during his confirmation process and contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak."
As for Trump, he took to Twitter, posting a picture of Senator Chuck Schumer and Vladimir Putin sharing doughnuts and a laugh. Trump tweeting, "We should start an immediate investigation into Senator Schumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite."
Then a short time later, after Nancy Pelosi said she had not met with the Russian Ambassador, Trump posted a picture of Pelosi, meaning with the Russian Ambassador, saying, quote, "I hereby demand a second investigation after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russia and lying about it." The president saying, "Calls for Sessions to resign are a total witch-hunt."
Athena Jones begins our coverage OUTFRONT outside Mar-a-Lago with the president arrived a short time ago. And Athena, the president as we can see is fighting back. ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. That's right. He is counterpunching as he's been known to do. And what better platform than Twitter, his favorite social media platform, but we don't expect him to be tweeting for the next few hours and that's because he's heading into a dinner, a fund-raising dinner for the Republican Party. It's part of the Republican National Committee's spring retreat.
The White House says that he is preparing for a working weekend here at his -- at his resort at Mar-a-Lago. They haven't released a schedule of exactly what he'll be up to over the next couple of days, but they say he will be spending it working on some issues. Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Athena, thank you very much.
And back in Washington, this fight between Trump -- the Trump administration and democrats over the attorney general's meeting with the Russian Ambassador is reaching a new pitch.
"Liar, liar," these are the words we are hearing.
Jeff Zeleny is out front.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump heading off today for a weekend in Florida. But not escaping lingering questions about Russia.
Before leaving the White House, his closest advisers holding an animated meeting in the Oval Office. Chief Strategist Steve Bannon looking particularly agitated as the week ends with more aides meetings with the Russian Ambassador last year.
A day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving the 2016 campaign, after failing to disclose his meetings with the ambassador, the administration is on damage control. The president's words from last month not holding up to scrutiny.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.
ZELENY: The White House has yet to explain the purpose of these meetings. The disclosure of which has overshadowed the president's well-regarded speech to Congress this week. Republicans urging team Trump to be more forthcoming.
WILL HURD, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM TEXAS: I think the -- everybody who's had contact with the Russians need to get in the practice of oversharing.
ZELENY: In a statement, the president defending his attorney general as an honest man, blasting democrats for what he called "a total witch-hunt." Those words echoed in Moscow where Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described it the same way.
SERGEY LAVROV, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF RUSSIA (through translator): It all looks like a witch-hunt.
ZELENY: Russia clearly on the president's mind today, sending this tweet, "We should start an immediate investigation into Senator Schumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite."
Senator Schumer firing back, "Happily talk about my contact with Mr. Putin and his associates. Took place in 2003, in full view of press and public under oath. Would you and your team?"
Visiting Wisconsin today, Vice President Mike Pence downplaying concern about Russia, saying he didn't know Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is a man of integrity as the president said, he could have -- he could have answered the question more clearly, but it was clearly unintentional.
[19:04:53] ZELENY: Now, as there is no question, the attorney general still is on very good standing here at the White House and inside the administration. No one is closer to this president, no member of his cabinet is, than Jeff Sessions. A bigger question is on Capitol Hill, republicans largely seem to be reassured by his recusal yesterday. Democrats, though, Erin, an entirely different question.
BURNETT: All right. And thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny.
OUTFRONT tonight, let's talk to one of those democrats, the Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who sits on the Judiciary Committee. Congressman, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says that he will not -- no, he will not cave to the democratic demands that Jeff Sessions come back and testify again. Republicans, you just heard, they are -- they are satisfied with his recusal. What are you going to do about this? Are you satisfied?
HAKEEM JEFFRIES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM NEW YORK AND MEMBER OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I'm certainly not satisfied. Jeff Sessions himself said that no one should be above the law. That has to include the attorney general, who's the chief law enforcement officer in the United States of America. And what is clear is that Jeff Sessions either lied under oath to the United States Congress or at minimum, provided inaccurate information. In either instance, he would have committed a crime. That certainly seems to me to be the basis for him to at least come back to Congress, the House and the Senate Judiciary Committee, and explain himself.
BURNETT: If you're saying in either case a crime, though, it would sound to me that you're saying he needs to resign. Are you saying that?
JEFFRIES: I'm certainly -- I'm saying that if it can be proven, that he has engaged in either perjury or providing misinformation to Congress, then he doesn't deserve to be the Attorney General of the United States of America. And it appears to me that that's actually --
BURNETT: But you give him another chance to testify. You want to give him one more chance to -- before you say he needs to resign. You want to hear.
JEFFRIES: Well, I think it's actually reasonable. I'm -- we're going to continue to study the record over the next few days, but it's reasonable that the senate judiciary democrats would say they're interested in giving him an opportunity to testify under oath to explain himself.
BURNETT: OK. So, meeting with ambassadors, though, which is what this is all about. It's very common. Speaker Ryan was just asked tonight about this. How often is it -- many members of Congress would have met with the Russian Ambassador or other diplomats. Here's what Speaker Ryan said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I would think dozens, if not more, the hundreds. That's very common. We meet with ambassadors constantly as members of Congress. That's their job is to come and meet with members of Congress and express their interest, their concerns, especially with people in foreign policy committees like Armed Services Committee or the Foreign Relations Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Dozens if not more than hundreds. Is he being honest?
JEFFRIES: Well, let's be clear. Something stinks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and the American people deserve to know, does the rot go all the way up to the top. It seems like all of the president's men: the Attorney General, his National Security Adviser, his Chief Foreign Policy Adviser, his committee -- campaign committee chairman, his son-in-law, on and on and on, just so happen to have had all these communications with the Russian Ambassador or Russian Intelligence agents at the same time when Russia was hacking into an American election. All we're saying is, they should be able to explain that. We need a full and fair investigation.
BURNETT: OK. Now, we have discovered, though, that democrats who denied meeting with the ambassador, did meet with the ambassador. Claire McCaskill, a senator, is one of them, right? She categorically denied it, she did. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said this today, about this Russian Ambassador.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SHERMAN, POLITICO REPORTER: You've been in Congress a little bit. And you're in leadership. Have you ever met with the Russian Ambassador?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Not with this Russian Ambassador, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That's not true. She did meet with this Russian Ambassador. President Trump actually tweeted out the photo of her meeting with that ambassador. If she didn't think whatever conversation she had with him was worth mentioning, right, or she didn't even remember it. Is it possible that when Jeff Sessions says, "It wasn't relevant at all to the campaign that's why I didn't mention it," Is it possible that that's completely true and that does explain all of this?
JEFFRIES: Not possible, because let's look at what Jeff Sessions knew to be the case at the moment that he testified. First, 17 different intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians interfered with our election for the sole purpose of helping Donald Trump become president. We also know that since December of 2015, at least four different Trump cronies had frequent communication with Russian Intelligence officers at the same time that they were hacking. He knew that the National Security Adviser probably violated a federal statute in December of 2016.
BURNETT: They said they talked about religion, they talked about Ukraine, they've got (INAUDIBLE) He certainly remembered it, by the way. Yesterday, he went through the whole list, but there was nothing about the campaign on there.
JEFFRIES: I mean, this is the greatest set of coincidences, perhaps in the history of our American republic. And if it's just all one big coincidence, let's have a full and fair investigation so the American people can know the facts.
BURNETT: Before you go, I want to understand, though, still, the people who think this could be political. Then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, of course, met with Bill Clinton privately. This was something that incensed republicans they called for her resignation, right. Similar to what we're hearing now from some democrats.
President Trump at the time tweeted, "Does anybody really believe that Bill Clinton and the U.S. Attorney General talked only about grandkids and golf for 37 minutes in the plane on the tarmac?" Which sounds a lot like what people are hearing -- what we're hearing now about people who said, "Oh, of course, we're really going to believe Sessions didn't talk about the campaign." Here's what republicans are saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:10:11] SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: If it was benign, why did he give the answer he did? Again, I'm a former prosecutor. These are the kinds of things that raise a lot of questions in my mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, I meant democrats. Why is what democrats are doing right now not just playing politics?
JEFFRIES: Well, because we're concerned that a foreign power may have interfered with our election in what is really an act of 21st century warfare in terms of the cyber hacking that took place. And we think that this is not a partisan issue, and that republicans should put country over party and let's follow the facts and give the American people the answer they deserve.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman Jeffries, thank you very much. I appreciate your time tonight.
JEFFRIES: Thank you very much.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, Trump family members, White House staffers, so many with ties to Russia. So, really, how many? And what are the connections? Our special report next.
Plus, this father and his son's tragic story may be President Trump's best argument against sanctuary cities. Our special report, coming up on that story.
And the Trump family spending another weekend at Mar-a-Lago and it's costing you millions. What is wrong with Camp David? Wait till you hear the answer from President Trump.
BURNETT: Tonight, too close for comfort, growing questions tonight about the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. We are learning of multiple meetings between members of Trump's inner circle and Russia's Ambassador to the United States, a man American officials tell CNN is believed to be one of Moscow's top spies and spy recruiters. Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TRUMP: Russia is a ruse.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Different players but the same playbook?
LAVROV (through translator): This all looks like a witch-hunt.
FOREMAN: The Russian government is sounding a lot like the White House in denying any improper ties between the two.
[19:15:03] TRUMP: We are fighting the fake news.
MARIA ZAKHAROVA, DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Stop spreading lie and false news.
FOREMAN: Yet skepticism, especially among the president's foes, persists. Why?
TRUMP: I would get along with Putin. I've dealt with Russia. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you'd get along with Putin?
TRUMP: I think I'd get along with him fine. I think it'd be absolutely fine.
FOREMAN: Ever since candidate Trump incited interest by speaking favorably of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the web of suspicion has widened. Paul Manafort, Trump's one-time campaign chairman, worked for years with the pro-Russian President of Ukraine. Manafort is being scrutinized by investigators for his contact with Russians known to U.S. intelligence during the campaign. President Trump's assessment just weeks ago ...
TRUMP: And he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia.
FOREMAN: Carter Page lived in Moscow, did business with Russian energy firms, and Trump said page was on his foreign policy team. Although, not anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carter Page is an individual who the president- elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign.
FOREMAN: National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned after less than a month when it was found he misled the administration about his talks with the Russians. We now know the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, also attended a meeting with Flynn and the Russians just before the new year. And now, it's been revealed that Jeff Sessions, the nation's top cop, also had contacts with the Russians. He could have been the one to decide whether to charge anyone in connection with Russian hacking of the presidential election.
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Therefore I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the Trump campaign.
FOREMAN: And there is this, assertions by U.S. intelligence that Russian cyber-attacks on Democratic Party computers were aimed at influencing the outcome of the November vote. Put it all together and that's why suspicions keep growing no matter how the White House dismisses them.
FOREMAN: Now, it is important to note there is currently no proof any laws were broken or any influence peddled by anyone tied to the Trump team. Yet the question remains, was any kind of deal ever asked for or offered in all those meetings with the Russians? Erin?
BURNETT: All right. Tom, thank you very much. That, of course, is what all these investigations are supposed to ascertain. There is no evidence of any quid pro quo now. OUTFRONT now, former chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, retired FBI special agent Mike Rogers; David Urban, who helped run Trump's campaign; and CNN Intelligence and Security Analyst, former CIA operative Bob Baer.
Bob, let me start with you, because when you hear all these connections laid out, it is a lot. I don't know if you just heard Congressman Jeffries. He said if it's a coincidence, it's the biggest coincidence in American political history. I mean, more of these -- news of these meetings is coming out every day. There is smoke. How much fire do you think there is?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST AND FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, Erin, first of all, I don't trust the Russians. I've spent 21 years in the CIA going up against them. They're very good. They've run covert action operations against this country for years, well-documented. And I just don't like all these Russian contacts. We just don't know what they were after. We don't know what was promised. The fact that National Security Adviser Flynn was on the phone, trying to influence the Russians before he was in office is a bad sign. Sessions' meeting with the Russian Ambassador alone is insignificant at this point other than perjury, but the Russians, we have to get into this. Frankly, Erin, I keep on hearing over and over again, people are --
DAVID URBAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN LEADER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Erin, Erin ...
BURNETT: Oh, let bob finish, David, then you can jump in.
BAER: Yes. I mean, I'm just passing on what I hear on the street, is it was Russia -- was Trump put in by the Russians? I mean, I don't think he was, but that's what Americans think until we clear this up. That cloud is going to hang over his campaign for the next four years.
BURNETT: I mean, David, here's the thing, Attorney General Sessions is the latest member of Trump's inner circle to change his story, right? If they had just come out and said we did it, but they didn't come out and say they have these meetings. They keep changing their story.
URBAN: But Erin -- But, Erin, he's not -- he's --
BURNETT: Oh, hold on, David, let me just -- let me just play a couple examples of (INAUDIBLE) doing it.
BURNETT: Then I want to give you a chance to explain.
URBAN: Sure. OK.
BURNETT: Go ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.
I don't recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way.
CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: I might have said hello to a few people, you know, as they're walking by me at my graduation -- the graduation speech I gave in July, but no meetings.
I'm not going to deny that I talked with them at --
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: So you did talk to them?
PAGE: Although, I will say -- I will say that I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK. These are reversals, David. There's (INAUDIBLE) going for it.
[19:20:01] PAGE: No, no, no, no. They're not, Erin. They're not reversals at all. Carter Page was on an advisory committee. I don't -- I didn't interact with Carter Page or hear Carter Page's name mentioned or see Carter Page anywhere in the campaign. The attorney general, his statements were 100 percent correct. He didn't talk about the --
BURNETT: Well, you know, he said (INAUDIBLE) I never had meetings about the Trump campaign.
PAGE: About the campaign, correct.
BURNETT: Later, in the same day, I don't recall -- In the same day, last night on Fox News, "I don't recall any discussions of the campaign in any significant way." Well, you just said you didn't have any at all. I mean, he's already moving the goal post in one --
PAGE: No, he didn't -- he didn't move the goal post. You know, Erin, when he met with the ambassador in Cleveland, he was -- he was a supporter of President Trump. He was a supporter just like many members of Congress were a supporter. And I take that --
BURNETT: He was a surrogate. He was a surrogate.
PAGE: At most, a surrogate, OK. I'm not trying to minimize the senator's role, but he was a surrogate. He was not directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the campaign. I mean, that wouldn't -- it was remarks with the ambassador as well, several other ambassadors at an event after a speech that he gave. So, it was -- it was de minimis contact at best. And then these other --
BURNETT: But then there was another meeting in his office. Remember when you said there's more than one meeting, and that was --
BURNETT: -- in a couple of days.
PAGE: And as a senator.
BURNET: That wasn't -- that wasn't one --
PAGE: As a senator. And important to note, Erin, that when he was asked a question by Senator Franken, Senator Franken didn't ask him, "Did you meet with anybody from the Russian government?" He asked him a hypothetical question, which had nothing to do with what we're talking about right now.
BURNETT: Congressman Rogers, let me ask you, if you were asked this question under oath, right, "Did you have contacts with the Russians?" Would you have answered the way he answered the question? Or, would you have said, "Yes, I did, and it was in this role, we talked about these four things, it wasn't what you think." Would you -- how would you have answered it, Congressman?
MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, it's -- I'm not sure that's a fair question, Erin, only because I went back, and I've gone through that question maybe three or four times as a former FBI agent, I looked at it and I said, "Are there any elements of perjury here?" And candidly, I can't find them. And this is why. The context of the question was about the campaign. And I am for sure and certain that Senator Sessions never walked into a meeting and talked about the campaign in his role as the United States Senator.
And I think in his mind, he was reacting to the question under the pressure of the spotlight, saying, "Well, no, I never talked to the Russians about the -- I can see where that's happened. Although, that (INAUDIBLE)
BURNETT: Although last night, you said in any significant way, "Yes, he has changed it from being definitive to saying it may have come up."
ROGERS: Well, Erin -- oh, you mean they talked about the campaign casually may be another issue, but I'm just telling you the standard of perjury. I just -- as a former federal investigator and FBI agent, I don't see it. I do see this -- listen, if the Trump campaign wants to put this behind them, I think they ought to come out and talk about the things that are important to what Russia is doing today. I think they should acknowledge the fact that the Russians were engaged in an information operation campaign.
I don't -- I'm not sure I believe it actually changed people's votes, but certainly, the Russians were engaged in it, they ought to acknowledge that. And then they ought to go through and say, listen, we're not going to change our position on sanctions, we're not going to do away with sanctions. We're going to deal with them aggressively on them, moving missiles into (INAUDIBLE), we're going to deal with their aggressiveness in the Arctic, we're going to deal with their aggressiveness against U.S. position.
If they do that, Erin, I think their story goes away. They ought to -- this whole tit for tat, candidly, I'm scratching my head with all the seriousness of the international and national security issues facing the country, this -- it seems almost childish, this fighting. The democrats are dug in because I think this is what they've got. This is the President of the United States. They need to get beyond this and get better than this.
BURNETT: So let me just -- Bob Baer, let me ask you, because when Congressman says it's almost childish the tit for tat, I mean, look, some people could see that, but I know when you were talking earlier to the producer, you said you thought that this had the potential to be even bigger than Watergate, so you see it differently.
BURNET: Bob, go ahead.
ROGERS: I don't think I said Watergate.
BURNETT: No, not you. Bob Baer.
ROGERS: Oh, OK.
BAER: And now, here's the thing is what's really bothering me is the financial relations between -- potential between Trump and Russia. Does it have any leverage over Trump? I think he really needs to release his tax returns. They need to be clarified. Did he ever take indirectly or directly money from Russia. We need to clear up that.
BAER: I'm not saying he did. But it's -- you know, we --
PAGE: It's a -- listen, it's a ruse. This is a -- it's a witch-hunt and a ruse. I mean, you could get -- it's gone on many, many rabbit holes here that are going to prove absolutely nothing. Democrats lost the election, they're trying to blame it on the Russians rather than a bad candidate and bad messaging.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, all. I appreciate your time.
BAER: It could be -- it could be like Benghazi, but it could go nowhere, but we have to clear this up, no question.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, all.
And next, a Homeland Security report, we've obtained tonight finds that most extremists who are foreign born in this country aren't radicalized there. They're radicalized here after years in the United States. What does that mean for Trump's travel ban.
[19:25:01] Plus, we're learning the Trump administration is considering a proposal that would separate parents and children when they cross the border illegally together. Those breaking details, next.
BURNETT: Breaking news. The Department of Homeland Security tonight considering separating parents and children who cross the southern border of the United States illegally. A senior official at the agency telling CNN tonight, the proposal is meant to stop the exploitation of children. The official saying some parents use it to get children better treatment, sometimes they aren't, even the child's parents, they're smugglers and they're just trying to get into The United States and stay there illegally using children.
This comes just days after Trump doubled down on immigration in his address to Congress, sending a pointed message with one family's story. Sara Sidner is out front.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump made Jamiel Shaw, Sr. a promise.
Has Mr. Trump as President kept his promise?
JAMIEL SHAW, SR., FATHER OF SON KILLED BY UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: Yes. He told me my son's life will not be in vain.
SIDNER: Mr. Trump promised that if he became president, he'd do whatever he could to keep other families from experiencing what the Shaws did.
How did you find out that your son had been shot?
SHAW: I heard it, I heard the gunshot and I just knew. All of a sudden, pow, pow, whoa! I remember saying, damn.
SIDNER (voice-over): In 2008, Shaw's eldest son, Jamiel Jr., a standout high school running back preparing for college, was shot execution-style by 19-year-old Pedro Espinoza, who had been released from jail a day earlier on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. But the city did not hand him over to immigration authorities then.
(on camera): Who do you blame besides the actual person who killed your son for the death of your son?
SHAW: Anybody supports sanctuary cities.
Three gun charges, stabbed people. I mean, he was just say the disciple and live in the country, in the gang database. Come on, man. Do your damn job. All you had to do was get him out of here. SIDNER (voice-over): Shaw has been fighting ever since to get
Jamiel's Law passed that targets undocumented immigrants who join gangs.
Fast forward to 2015 and Shaw got a chance to hand his proposal to then-candidate Donald Trump. Then in President Trump's joint address to Congress, he recognized Shaw and offered this --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE -- Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.
SIDNER: Some Democrats groaned and booed the new office.
SHAW: I took it as an insult. Why wouldn't that be a good ideal to have a department set up for those people?
Obama for victims. Obama was using that same money for the DACA people.
SIDNER (on camera): What do you think about the DREAMer program?
SHAW: A DREAMer murdered my son. He was brought here by no fault of his own, you know, he grew up to be 19, and he murdered somebody. So, you can't just say blanket that all DREAMers are good people.
SIDNER (voice-over): But critics of Trump's immigration stance say his focus is misplaced, pointing to several studies listed by the Cato Institute, all showing immigrants are less crime-prone than those who are native born.
SHAW: What do I care about the statistic? My son is in a cemetery. I'm not saying all illegals are doing that. But we got enough trouble with Americans and you're going to import more?
SIDNER: Now, I do want to mention that one of these studies that looked at census numbers from 1980, 1990, 2000, that it showed that incarceration rates of those people who are immigrants are one-fifth those who are native-born Americans. But Mr. Shaw still insists that statistics be damned, that's in his words, he says, if it was your child, you'd feel the same.
Now, the person who killed his son is serving in San Quentin prison. He was sentenced to death -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sara.
OUTFRONT now, a California state Senate leader Kevin de Leon, a Democrat, and former Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Senator de Leon, let me start with the question that Jamiel Shaw put. You know, he says he blames people who support sanctuary cities for his son's death. You support those cities. His son was killed in L.A. You are an elected representative there.
What do you say to him?
STATE SEN. KEVIN DE LEON (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, Erin, my heart goes out to the Shaw family. It was a tragic death. And the individual who killed his son is a bad person and is getting what he deserves, no doubt, being in prison in San Quentin.
But I can say that the term "sanctuary cities" is quite nebulous, because it means different things to different people. On the right, in the far right, it's a volatile political term. On the left, it's somewhat misleading because there's no such thing as an invisible shield, or if you're an undocumented immigrant you can run under that shield or behind that shield and you're protected.
The reality is that immigration law is enforced by federal immigration authorities, Homeland Security, and ICE, and no one can protect you from that. What we can do in California and other parts, is say that we're not going to participate in separating children from their mothers or mothers from their children.
BURNETT: But he's referring to the protections of sanctuary cities, Congressman, and he also then went on and talked about DREAMers. He said, "You can't just blanket all DREAMers and say they're good people. A DREAMer murdered my son."
Does he have a point? Just because you came in this country and it wasn't you who made the decision, maybe your parent did or someone else, do you just get blanket protection to stay here? That's the question he's raising. Is it fair?
TOM TANCREDO, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Is it to me? I'm sorry, are you --
BURNETT: Yes. I'm going to congressman first and I want to give you -- I'm sorry, Senator de Leon, I'm sorry, then, Congressman, I want to give you a chance to respond.
Go ahead, Senator.
TANCREDO: Sure. That's OK.
DE LEON: I'm sorry. Erin, you confused me a little bit. You're going to Tom Tancredo or are you going to me?
BURNETT: I'm going to you. I'm saying, is it fair? He's saying that "you just can't blanket all DREAMers and say they're good people, a DREAMer murdered my son." Is he right that just offering protections to people because they came in this country not of their own free will when they were children is not fair?
DE LEON: Well, let me say again I feel very badly for the Shaw family. My heart goes out to Mr. Shaw. And what happened to his son is tragic.
But we also have to be careful we don't blanket all immigrants. This individual who killed his son is a bad person and is getting exactly what he deserves.
[19:35:04] That being said, DREAMers are given an opportunity because at no fault of their own, they came to this country at a young age. They are Americans by every imaginable --
BURNETT: So, now, Congressman, let me bring you in because what the father is saying here is that this man who murdered his son, this young man at the time, teen, would have had the protection of a DREAMer. He would have had that because he wasn't born here and didn't come here of his own free will.
TANCREDO: That's right. Understand, please, that we're not talking about all immigrants. Of course not.
It is -- sanctuary city is a place that provides a haven. It says -- I mean, the mayors of these cities have said openly, don't worry, we won't turn you in. If you come into contact with our police force for doing something wrong, don't worry, we won't tell ICE about you. That is sanctuary city.
And people flock to that. People take advantage of that, people who kill Americans. This is not just an isolated incident, the Shaw family. This has happened literally -- I'm not kidding when I say this -- thousands of times throughout this nation.
And yet -- and how? It's because somebody commits a crime over and over and over again, one kind of crime, whether it's driving under the influence or robbery, it doesn't matter, they commit all these crimes, they're never reported.
If they had been, they may have well been deported for committing another crime besides being here illegally. But when you don't try, that provides sanctuary.
And I tell you, I believe with all my heart, that anybody, any local official that votes for this, any mayor that accepts this and promotes it, they are culpable in these murders, in these rapes. They should be held liable. They should be held liable from a civil standpoint, maybe even criminally because they are aiding and abetting people that they know should not be here.
We're not just talking about general run-of-the-mill, the immigrant who's, you know, come here to make a better life. No. That's not who we're talking about. We're talking about people who have violated the law over and over again but are never reported to ICE because they are given sanctuary. That's what we're talking about. That's what a sanctuary city is.
BURNETT: Senator de Leon?
DE LEON: Well, I can say this, Erin, that Tom's, you know, comments again are incendiary. They're xenophobic and they look for scapegoats.
The reality is the vast majority of immigrants are very hardworking. They're law abiding. They're taxpaying residents of this great state. The very fact that he continuously uses a narrative that these individuals are murderers, that they're rapists, again inflames, if you will, the polemic, polarizing debate that is immigration. And to date, the members of Congress have yet to do their duty and legislate and get a sensible package reform across the board.
But what they do is demonize and pit one group against another. What happened to Mr. Shaw was a tragedy, without question. But to actually, you know, provide a blanket statement and accuse immigrants of all being rapists or murderers is just uncalled for. It's not American. It's not California.
TANCREDO: Who has done that? Who is doing that? Who has done that? Who has done that?
BURNETT: All right.
TANCREDO: Are you saying that I accused all immigrants of being rapists and murderers? Did you -- do you really say that I said that, because, sir, you were not listening if you said that. If you were listening and say it anyway, then you are, of course, lying about me and about -- which happens over and over when I come on, especially this network.
BURNETT: All right. I have to leave threat. Thank you both very much.
OUTFRONT next, the White House has promised to revise travel ban for weeks but we still don't have it. Where is it?
And the president spending fourth of the last five weekends at Mar-a- Lago. Is Camp David been confined to the history books? And wait until you hear what it's costing you.
[19:42:44] BURNETT: New tonight: a Department of Homeland Security report undercutting President Trump's pending travel ban. The intelligence assessment we've obtained here at CNN shows that most foreign-born violent extremists become radicalized after living in the United States for years. It happens here. It comes after Trump administration has repeatedly delayed issuing a new travel ban.
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT at the White House with this breaking news.
And, Jeff, you know, first on the travel ban, we were told Wednesday, then later this week. Now the week is over, where is it?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that is the best question here. And the White House doesn't have an answer tonight. It will not be yet this week. It will be not be this evening, of course. It will be tomorrow. The president is down in Florida.
They say it may come next week. But, Erin, this is a sign there are still issues with this. They are trying to write something to stand up to legal challenges. They know those are coming, of course, given what's happened in the last five weeks or so.
But they are trying to craft this in a narrow way, but they are getting some push-backs from other agencies and other places. But it is now likely we're told narrow to about six majority Muslim countries here. Again, it could come next week. This is his big campaign promise. Erin, this is probably the best example of how actually governing, actually writing this executive order, is far tougher here than it appeared to be on the campaign trail.
BURNETT: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.
And let's go straight now to our senior political analyst Mark Preston.
I mean, Mark, this issue of urgency has been so central to the ban. The president said it had to be done right away or this country wouldn't be safe. So, if the ban keeps being delayed, then does it undercut his own case? I mean, here he is saying why it was so urgently needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The unfortunate part is it takes time, statutorily, so it takes a little time. We'll win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand-new order on Monday.
REPORTER: Are you planning to do that? Is that your plan right now?
TRUMP: It could very well be. We need speed for reasons of security. So, it could very well be that we do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Speed for reasons of security and yet it is they who are delay, delay, delay.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Delay, delay, delay, and, you know, I spoke to somebody in the White House today, Erin, and they said, one of the reasons why that it hasn't come out yet is they want to be on rock-solid legal ground. They don't want to see what happened the first -- the executive order was issued struck down by the courts.
Now, we're likely to see something next week because the fact of the matter is, President Trump needs to get this new executive order out because to your point, it could be a political liability specifically with this base.
[19:45:12] BURNETT: All right. Mark Preston, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT next, Trump's weekends at Mar-a-Lago costing taxpayers millions while Camp David sits deserted. Our report on the money behind the dueling presidential retreats that you're paying.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump in Florida, spending his fourth weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort since becoming president. This while Camp David, a retreat for presidents, sits empty and it's costing a lot.
Suzanne Malveaux is OUTFRONT.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump arriving in Florida to spend another weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
TRUMP: We get a lot of work done. It's not rest at the Southern White House. It's all work.
MALVEAUX: His fancy Florida estate, his go-to for getting business done outside the White House, and hosting world leaders like Japan's prime minister.
But President Trump's weekends at Mar-a-Lago are costing U.S. taxpayers big money, from firing up Air Force One to fly to Florida with traveling staff, to securing the beach front property with Coast Guard patrols. "The Washington Post" estimates the trip so far have cost up to $10 million in just five weeks.
And at the same time, taxpayers are also footing the bill to operate Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat less than 70 miles from the White House, set aside for presidential down time and diplomacy. Even dormant, it costs an estimated $8 million a year to run.
Trump has expressed little interest in using the cheaper alternative, describing the retreat to reporters as "very rustic," saying, "It's nice, you'd like it. You know how long you'd like it? For about 30 minutes."
ANITA MCBRIDE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO LAURA BUSH: It doesn't fit everybody. President Obama, you know, he's a city guy.
[19:50:01] This is a remote location. I don't think initially President Clinton was crazy about it either but then came to really love it.
Remember, Jimmy Carter almost thought about getting rid of it, and thankfully he didn't.
MALVEAUX: Famously, Carter brokered the historic 1978 peace accord between Egypt and Israel at Camp David.
Anita McBride who worked in both Bush White Houses says for them it was a sanctuary.
MCBRIDGE: Still, the only presidential family that spent 12 Christmases at Camp David.
MALVEAUX: The private secure location also enables some world leaders to grow close. As Bush revealed what he discovered after hosting British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: We both used Colgate toothpaste.
TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: They're going to wonder how you know that, George.
MALVEAUX: President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it Shangri-La. His doctor believed the cooler mountain air helped Roosevelt's sinuses. President Reagan visited a record 150-plus times, often to ride his horse.
President Clinton famously failed to get a peace deal after sequestering the Israeli and Palestinian leaders there for two weeks.
And President Obama hosted African and G8 leaders at a summit early in his presidency. But rarely returned, spending most weekends at the White House.
MALVEAUX: Whether Trump continues to use Mar-a-Lago as his so-called Winter White House, Camp David remains open because not only is it a retreat, it's a military installation doubling as a bunker to assure continuity of government in times of crisis, as was the case on 9/11 -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Suzanne.
Twelve Christmases, wow.
OUTFRONT next, Jerusalem, one of the most sacred cities in the world. Now wait till you see what's happening there.
[19:55:42] BURNETT: This Sunday is the season premiere of the CNN original series "Finding Jesus." The show uses new science and archaeological research to reveal new discoveries about the people, the places, the events that shape the life of Jesus.
CNN analyst David Gregory and the author of "How's Your Faith?" is just back from Israel where he got an up-close look at some of these key historical sites and artifacts.
A pretty transformational experience, right?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN ANALYST: It was a great experience. It's always great to go to the Holy Land.
And I think any trip to the Holy Land is a rich experience of faith. But for me, the layers of history informed by biblical historians and archaeologists deepen the experience and that sense of place is drawing religious pilgrims like never before.
GREGORY (voice-over): Jerusalem calls to the faithful. Here, the Bible comes to life. And pilgrims come in search of it history.
PAULA FREDRIKSEN, PROFESSOR OF COMPARATIVE RELIGION, HEBREW UNIVERSITY: This is something that's one of the most powerful and remarkable things about tradition, you can actually go to the place where things happened.
GREGORY: We've come to the old city with Professor Paula Fredrikson in search of the historical Jesus.
FREDRIKSEN: I think the historical Jesus has always mattered to Christianity or we wouldn't have the gospels. Those are stories about Jesus, the man.
GREGORY: Along the Via Dolorosa, the pilgrim imagines the agony and physical strain for Jesus of Nazareth during the march to crucifixion. On his final journey, the gospels say he faltered carrying the cross, placing his hand on this stone before Simon helps to bear the burden.
Visiting Methodists from a church in St. Louis find a visit to the place makes for deeper spiritual meaning.
PASTOR MICHAEL MCINTYRE, PILGRIMAGE LEADER TO HOLY SITES OF CHRISTIANITY: I think Scripture goes from black and white to Technicolor when you come here because all of a sudden, you serendipitously discover things or you've been reading it your whole life, studying your whole life and it's this kind of aha, oh my goodness, I get why Jesus came here.
GREGORY: Jerusalem is the epicenter of three great faiths -- Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. But more than half of the visitors to the country are Christians coming increasingly from Asia and African nations.
Meeting parishioners from Ohio to the site of the visitation where Mary is said to have praised God after learning she is the mother of Jesus, Father Steve Brunovsky says the history is meant to help us live our faith today.
FATHER STEVE BRUNOVSKY, LEAD HIS PARISH ON PILGRIMAGE OF HOLY LAND: When you go to a place where there's a shrine or where your ancestors have been, where people of faith have been for a long period of time, it also reminds you that, you know, we're all on pilgrimage and we take this experience of these holy places into our daily life.
GREGORY (on camera): The narrative of the New Testament unfolds powerfully around Galilee, here is where the ministry of Jesus was formed. And today, it's where religious pilgrims come to explore the natural beauty of this area, but also to look up from the pages of the gospels and imagine what happened here.
(voice-over): This is a landscape of miracles, love and faith, where Jesus is said to have told his followers, "Don't be afraid." Today, it's where pilgrims are said to dig deeper. These students from Chile are volunteering at an archaeological site in the 1st century port town of Magdala.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying to relegate (ph) and to show the people how they lived in the last 2,000 years.
GREGORY: Artifacts from such digs may end up at the Israel museum in Jerusalem. Here, the findings include remains of a Jewish high priest and a stone bearing the name of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate.
DAVID MEVORACH, SENIOR CURATOR, ISRAEL MUSEUM IN JERUSALEM: So, it's an amazing coincidence that two architects like this that relate directly to the last moments of Jesus, to the arrest and trial and crucifixion were found in excavations.
GREGORY: Evidence for the faithful in this city under God.
BURNETT: Thank you so much, David Gregory.
GREGORY: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And the new season of "Finding Jesus" does begin Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
Thanks for joining us and have a great weekend.
"AC360" starts right now.