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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump: Syria Chemical Attack "Crossed Many, Many Lives"; Trump On Taking New Action In Syria: "You'll See"; Trump Says Syria "Crossed Many, Many Lives": Blame Obama; Bannon: Nowhere To Be Seen During Trump News Conference; Survivors Describe Chemical Bombs Falling From Sky; Survivor: I Saw Yellow And Blue, Felt Dizzy, Fainted; Trump: My Attitude Towards Assad "Has Changed Very Much"; Trump: "I Now Have Responsibility" When It Comes To Syria; Trump To NYT: "I Think" Susan Rice Committed A Crime; Bannon Removed From National Security Council Role; Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 5, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT HOST: OutFront next, breaking news, crossing Trump's line. The president says Bashar al-Assad went beyond a red line in Syria with his horrific chemical attack on civilians. We'll hear from the victims tonight. And top strategist Steve Bannon demoted. The decision coming from the president himself, so what happens? Plus why is Donald Trump defending Bill O'Reilly against claims of sexual harassment tonight? He is. Let's go OutFront.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, we begin with breaking news, Trump drawing his own red lines, the president this evening saying the horrific chemical attack on Syrian civilians "crossed many, many lines," going in his words ,beyond a red line. And in a major shift tonight Trump now calling out Bashar al-Assad placing blame for the attack in which children suffocated and died clearly on the Syrian President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing and I've been watching it and seeing it and it doesn't get any worse than that. My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The other person he blamed was the former president, Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Obama Administration had a great opportunity to solve this crisis a long time ago when he set the red line in the sand. When he didn't cross that line after making the threat, I think that set us back a long ways, not only in Syria but in many other parts of the world because it was a blank threat. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, despite saying that this attack went beyond a red line, Trump did not say what action he would take. At an oval office meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, when directly asked what he might do, Trump's only response was "you'll see." So, does he have a plan for immediate military action or does he not know himself what he's going to do? One thing we do know tonight is that President Trump in a complete reversal today from candidate Trump. In September 2015, well after there was proof that Assad had gassed his own people, Trump told me that the United States didn't need to be involved in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Why do we care, let ISIS and Syria fight and let Russia -- they're in Syria already -- let them fight ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Sara Murray begin our coverage OutFront at the White House. And Sara, the president tonight making it clear that his attitude towards Syria has changed?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. We saw the president today really express his outrage over this chemical attack in Syria. And we certainly heard a change of tone but the question of whether the U.S. will actually do anything about this attack, that's still up in the air. President Trump sailed into office on tough talk but faced with his first international crisis, it's unclear what action, if any, the U.S. will take in response.
TRUMP: Militarily, I don't like to say where I'm going and what I'm doing, but I'm certainly not going to be telling you.
MURRAY: After meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan, today in the Rose Garden, the president drew his own red line on Syria. Expressing horror about the chemical attack that left women and children dead.
TRUMP: When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal that people were shocked to hear what gas it was that crosses many, many lines.
MURRAY: The primary focus of Trump's Middle East policy, defeating ISIS while laying the blame for other foreign policy quandaries from Syria to nuclear threat at the feet of former President Obama. Even as he played the blame game today, Trump acknowledged that now he's the one in charge.
TRUMP: It is now my responsibility. It was a great opportunity missed.
MURRAY: Today congressional leader on both sides of the aisle pointed to Syria as Trump's first true foreign policy test. Already some say he's falling short. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: What he's done with Syria is
emblematic of what he always does. Instead of policy, instead of action, there's just blame. Blame doesn't solve the problem.
MURRAY: Republican Senator Marco Rubio even suggesting the Trump Administration emboldened Assad by signalling it wouldn't seek to overthrow the Syrian Leader.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: If you're Bashar al-Assad and you read that it is no longer a priority of the United States to have you remove from power, I believe that that is an incentive to act with impunity.
MURRAY: Today, Trump offered no criticism of Russia's support for Assad saying only that he's his view of Assad was evolving.
TRUMP: My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.
MURRAY: Now, this all comes amid a big change here at the White House as well. One of Donald Trump's top advisors Steve Bannon was a member of the National Security Council. You remember that raised eyebrows when it was announced. Today that's changing, he will no longer be a fixture, the White House is downplaying that but sources as are saying this is clearly a demotion for Steve Bannon and a way for H.R. McMaster to finally exert a little bit more influence over the White House. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Sarah. Thank very much. I'm going to have a whole lot more on that part of the story. Tonight though we have chilling new details about the strike in Syria. What happened there was horrific and survivors now breaking down as they describe the exact moment of the attack. Unable to breathe as they watched their loved ones and neighbors die.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was the latest in a long series of horrors that is the war in Syria. Early Tuesday morning, the town of Hanshehun was rocked by explosions. And suddenly, it was pandemonium. Hundreds including many children struggling for breath, foaming at the mouth. What exactly happened Tuesday morning isn't clear. The result, however, is. For the lucky who survived like 55-year-old Isa Talawi now in a Turkish Hospital, the memories return.
There was an airstrike she says, I saw yellow and blue. We felt dizzy, fainted. Ahmad Abderahim still has trouble breathing or reconciling Tuesday's events. I don't know what happened to my children, he says. Turkish teams in full chemical suits are deployed in no-man's land to wash down those coming to Turkey for treatment. While a Turkish mobile lab for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons detection had to cross the border. 13-year old Mazen Youssef, Isa's grandson is back on his feet in the hospital but the trauma has seared his soul.
I saw the explosion in front of my grandfather's house, he recalls. I ran to their house barefoot, I saw my grandfather sitting like this, suffocated. Then up became dizzy. How many of his relatives were killed? 19, he responds. The Syrian Civil War is now go is seventh year. Hundreds of thousands, 400,000 have died and this is not the first chemical attack and it probably won't be the last. Meanwhile, diplomats and politicians talk and talk and talk and more people are dying. Erin?
BURNETT: And thank you. I want to go down to retired Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, former U.S. State Department Spokesperson, now our new military and diplomatic analyst. Welcome, Admiral, it's wonderful to have you back on the program in this capacity. The former governor, Bill Richardson with me, also a former U.S. Ambassador of the U.N. and energy secretary and former Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, former U.S. Military Attache in Syria.
Watching that piece, I don't think anybody could watch and not tearing up seeing that young boy at the end losing 19 members of his family in this chemical attack. He is among the lucky, if you can say that, living. Admiral, when President Trump -- when President Trump says this attack crossed a lot of lines, beyond a red line, what does that mean?
JOHN KIRBY, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON UNDER OBAMA: Well, it's hard to know whether he was just spouting rhetoric or whether he is actually is telegraphing something. I took away listening on that that he's drawn his own line whether it's multiple lines or what, he's going to do in the future. What I hope it means, Erin, is that this administration is now going to get serious about the civil war in Syria because hitherto, they really haven't.
And I also hope that he was listening to King Abdullah standing next to him when the king says there has to be a political solution and we have to work as an international community towards that political solution. I also hope the president's team will continue as they work through this continue to explore all options, diplomatic and military as well.
BURNETT: So, Colonel Francona, is crossing multiple lines a declaration of war?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILTARY ANALYST: I'm not sure it's a declaration of war but I think it's going to force a real decision inside the Trump Administration as to what the policy in Syria really is. We really don't know. When he came into office he made it very clear that his focus was on defeating ISIS and that the removal of Bashar al-Assad was not a priority. I think that may have change in judging from what the president has said, his view of Bashar al-Assad is changing. So we may see going back to the old policy we want the removal of Bashar al-Assad and we want to defeat ISIS at the same time. This brings up a whole set of problems primarily without relationship with the Russians.
BURNETT: Yes. And I want to get to that in a moment. But Secretary, when President Obama drew a red line of chemical attacks in Syria, Trump called it dumb. OK? He tweeted, here's his tweet at the -- at the time. The only reason President Obama he wants to attack Syria is to save phase over his very dumb red line statement. Do not attack Syria. Fix USA. Is Trump, Secretary, putting himself in the same position? Now he is drawing multiple red -- multiple lines that he says are beyond a red line?
BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADORR TO THE U.N.: Well, I can't keep track with all these policy changes. I don't know of the president shooting from the hip. I don't know if the -- he's watching television for getting his information. He should get some intelligence briefings from his national security people. I am somewhat encouraged that maybe it is a policy change, that he is going to challenge Russia, that he is going to say to Russia, Assad has to go, he's perpetrated this horrendous crime and our policy on ISIS and on Syria has to change.
I mean, that's the positive side along with the removal of Steve Bannon because you don't have -- you don't need a political strategist in the National Security Council, that maybe, you know, he's learning a bit or maybe policy is changing because of what happened with this horrendous, horrendous crime against humanity. So, on the diplomatic side, I agree that we need a diplomatic solution, we need a military solution. We need to rebuild the coalition against ISIS but most importantly, we need to find a way to get Russia and the United States together on an effort to make a transition against Assad. Move him out.
BURNETT: Of course, obviously, diplomatic solution involves who's going to replace Bashar al-Assad and we've got no good answers to that. I mean, just days ago, this administration as you all just pointed out, set aside his fate up to the Syrian people, which in a phase of it seem to be pretty ridiculous thing to say after seven years of a civil war in which half a million people have been killed. Today though Trump said he's changed his mind. And I want to just play again what Trump said on the campaign trail because it was completely the opposite. He was going to led Assad stay and let Russia take the lead in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You have Russia that's now there, Russia's on the side of Assad and Russia wants to get rid of ISIS as much as we do, if not more because they don't want them coming into Russia. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So Colonel, again, I know it's hard to understand exactly what his new policy is going to be. But if he has changed his mind on Bashar al-Assad, presumably now Bashar al-Assad needs to go. Is the U.S. about to take on Russia?
FRANCONA: Now, that's a good question. And this -- this comes at really bad time for the policy with Russia. We just started cooperating with the Russians. If you -- if you look at what's happening up in the northern part of Syria, you see cooperation between the Syrian democratic forces that's U.S.-backed and the Syrian regime, Russian-backed. That would not have happened without some sort cooperation between the United States and Russia.
This was a positive development. We finally get the Russians concerned about ISIS. You know, Russia they're fighting ISIS but they're not, they're -- all they're doing is propping up the Assad regime. So, the question is what are we going to do now? Are we going to take some sort of military action? Are we going to punish the Syrians? And if we do that, we run right up against the Russians.
BURNETT: I will say this, though. Admiral, aren't they fighting ISIS enough that ISIS is targeting Russia as we just saw in that St. Petersburg attack? I mean, they have now put out in their propaganda to target Russia perhaps even more than the United States. That would seem that Russia actually is fighting ISIS.
KIRBY: Well, I think they're fighting them to a very limited extent, Erin. I think they overdo the anti-terrorism component of what they're doing in Syria. What they've done is obviously prop up Assad and allow Assad to continue to propagate his violence against his own people. And I think to the degree there's going to be any cooperation and, you know, we tried this. Secretary Kerry worked really hard to try to work with Foreign Minister Lavrov to come up with some sort of anti-ISIS cooperation scheme in Syria and we couldn't get there, and the reason we couldn't get there was because Russia's real interest in Syria is propping up Assad so that they can keep a presence in the Middle East. That's they're foothold. And while there may not be in love with Assad, they really don't want to see the regime change in a violent chaotic way because they don't want to lose their interest there in Syria.
BURNETT: Senator, I don't know if you heard Marco Rubio a moment ago but he said that Trump's comment, the administration's comments about allowing the people of Syria to determine the fate of Bashar al-Assad as supposed to saying Bashar al-Assad must go. As they said a few days ago, gave Assad the freedom to act with impunity against his own people. Do you think that that statement was part of why this chemical attack happened or that Assad did it because he thought Trump would let him get away with it in any way?
RICHARDSON: Well, I would say the second, that he feels, you know, when President Trump doesn't say anything about human rights with Egypt, with Bahrain, diminishing of human rights as a foreign policy objective, he probably thinks, well, I can get away with this. The problem here is another one. Our national security steam needs to speak with one voice. You've got the U.N. Ambassador, you've got the secretary of state, you've got the president all moving in different directions.
The president needs to lead and be clear. And that is not happening but I have to say, it is encouraging what he said about Assad. I hope it translates into concrete policy. Let's be clear about what we're going to do, not just stopping the carnage but bringing some kind of a solution to the Syrian issue. Yes, you're right. Assad needs to be replaced. What's the alternative? This has to be an international solution. It can't just be the United States. It has to include Russia, coalition partners, Germany, King Abdullah, the Arabs, an effort that so far has not taken place.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate all of you taking the time on this very important night. Thank you. And as Secretary mentioned Steve Bannon, next, what is behind the president's decision to demote Steve Bannon today on such a big national security day from that role. And with Bill O'Reilly losing more advertisers in the face of sexual harassment claims, Trump came publicly to his defense today in an interview. Why? And all eyes on the other big White House meeting today. The first lady and the queen. Jeanne Moos has our story.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump saying President Obama's National Security Advisor may have committed a crime by requesting the identities of Trump Associates who were incidentally swept up in legal surveillance requesting the unmasking of their actual names. In an interview with the New York Times , Trump was asked if he thought Susan Rice had committed a crime. His response and I quote him, "Do I think? Yes, I think." Now Rice has flatly denied any wrongdoing tonight her office calling the charge and the president "Ludicrous." Manu Raj u is OutFront.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Presient Trump now leveling a stunning new accusation that former President Obama's National Security may have broken the law, this after Susan Rice has faced allegations that she tried to learned the names of Trump Associates speaking with foreign officials under surveillance which is not illegal. When asked if he thought Rice broke the law, Trump told the New York Times do I think, yes, I think. He added, it's such an important story for our country and the world. It is one of the big stories of our time. Rice defended herself yesterday.
SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The allegation is that somehow Obama Administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That's absolutely false.
RAJU: It's unclear which law the president thinks Rice broke and he offered no new evidence. A Rice spokesperson says she's not going to dignify the president's ludicrous charge with a comment. On Capitol Hill, the House Intelligence Committee plans to invite Rice to testify as part of its widening probe into Russia and the Trump campaign. What do you think about the president just saying that that she may have broken the law?
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, hopefully, he has some evidence and facts to back that up.
RAJU: Democrats say Rice did nothing wrong and they accused the GOP of slandering Rice to distract from revelations of Trump Campaign contacts with Russians accused of meddling in the election.
REP. DENNY HECK, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We're watching the movie in 3D, deception, deflection, and distraction. And this is just part of a grander strategy of distraction. Don't look over here where we're trying to investigate Russian interference and the potential coordination and collusion of Trump Operatives.
RAJU: And today more squabbling on the house committee as democrats accuse Republican Chairman Devin Nunes of preventing a public hearing from going forward, namely to hear testimony from Sally Yates, a former top Obama justice official. We had warn the Trump Administration that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have been vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that there's a great deal of resistance.
RAJU: A republican source tells CNN that republicans are working on an agreement to schedule Yates' testimony but declined to say if it would be in a public session. Other republicans on the committee refused to comment today.
They're saying you're resisting signing, get -- having her testify publicly.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We're not going to talk about anything to do with this investigation.
RAJU: Why not?
NUNES: Because the investigation is ongoing.
RAJU: Now, Erin, tonight, another wrinkle in the investigation, as democrats say that the White House is resisting providing the full House Intelligence Committee with information at the heart of that Susan Rice controversy information that Devin Nunes said shows some incidental collection of Trump campaign communications and that unmasking of those Trump Associates. Now, the democrats say that Adam Schiff, the top democrat on the committee said that President Trump actually assured him privately that he would let the full committee look at that information but the White House today is responding to that concern that the full committee will not see it saying that they're giving that information to the so-called Gang of Eight. And those are the top leaders of the committee, not addressing the concern from Adam Schiff that the full committee needs to see that information. So, it sounds like perhaps they may not, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Which is obviously a very big development. Manu, thank you. I want to go to straight now OutFront to David Axelrod, the former senior advisor to President Obama, now our senior political commentator and host of The Axe Files. David, thank you for being with me. You heard in this interview with the New York Times, right? They asked Trump whether what Rice did was criminal. He said yes. She's responding his comments about her was ludicrous. You know her. You worked closely with her in the White House. Do you believe herself?
DAVID AXELROD, Yes. I do believe her. But more importantly, I've heard national security experts on both sides who have served in government, republicans and democrats, all of whom to a person have stood up and said there's nothing unusual about what they've heard described. But, look, this was -- what the president did today was appalling but at this point probably not surprising to assign someone that way, to accuse someone of a crime without any evidence is beneath the dignity of that office.
The office in which he was sitting. Even if it's not beneath the dignity of the man who currently holds it. And the thing that I found -- I found also appalling was that he has a -- he just finished one by-line. He has another one tomorrow with China. We have this grave and growing threat of attack from North Korea and this is probably the most important meeting the president has had since he became president of the United States. And instead of prepping for that meeting and strategizing for that meeting, he's calling reporters in to level gratuitous, outrageous charges, Erin. And in that office was the vice president and five top aides of the president. Don't they have other things to do?
BURNETT: So on this issue, there is the issue of why, OK? Why did she decide to request the name of these individuals be unmasked in the first place? So, you know, others have taken issue with this. Putting aside the president's decision to gains and get involved in this and do that instead of preparing today. Here's what Senator Rand Paul had to say about her motive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: I believe Susan Rice abused the system and she did it for political purposes.
BURNETT: Do you think, David, that she could have done this and that is request the unmasking of these names because it was related to Trump?
AXELROD: You know, I don't think that, but I also think this. The president provided for Mr. Nunes or his aides provided him some information. The president assured -- apparently assured Congressman Schiff that the whole committee would see it. If he has evidence of wrongdoing, he should --
BURNETT: Yes. Where is it?
AXELROD: -- of course release it. That was true of the same -- that was true when he accused the president of bugging him as well. He levels these charges and he never backs them up. He can solve this very quickly by releasing the information.
BURNETT: He absolutely could. We have made it very clear -- I want to make it clear to anyone who doesn't know this watching. Unmasking a name when it comes across your desk in the capacity let's say of Susan Rice, that if she wants to know the name of the name is not the same as leaking it, right? Having her know it and a few people in the world of the intelligence community is not leaking it to the press. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board though took issue with that a little bit today.
And I wanted to read it to you their point of view, David. They write, she is responsible for unmasking a U.S. citizen which made that name more widely disseminated across the government and that could have been more easily leaked by someone else. Michael Flynn lost his job as Mr. Trump's national security advisor because of leaks. Do they have a point there that her requesting the unmasking in and of itself made it more precarious and more likely for a leak?
AXELROD: Well, I'm a little I'm confused because the president said Michael Flynn lost his job because he didn't tell the vice president the truth. He said it wasn't because of leaks. So -- but if -- but, look, my, my reaction is the same that it's been. I have no problem with people taking a close look at how this particular information was handled. They should do that and they should continue with the other investigation as well. What we shouldn't do -- you know, I was asked yesterday, Erin, about a congressman -- a democratic congressman who's a friend of mine who said he thought people would go to jail as a result of this investigation.
BURNETT: Yes. Joaquin Castro. Yes.
AXELROD: I was asked, was that right? And I -- and I said no. I said, I don't think that's right in the middle of a conversation to say something like that. I feel the same way here. So, if the president has something to say or evidence to present, present it to the American people but don't throw out charges like this and slime people as you sit in the Oval Office and then not back it up.
BURNETT: So today, Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council's Principles Committee. And I know you had had some real questions about the fact that he was there to begin with. He just put out a statement saying why though, it actually comes back to Susan Rice. I want to read you exactly what he said, here's what we says. Susan Rice operationalized the NSC, the National Security Council during the last administration. So, I was put on NSC to ensure it was de-operationalized. General McMAster has NSC back to its proper function. So he gets demoted and comes out and says basically Susan Rice messed the whole thing up and he had to come in and fix it. I don't really understand what de-operationalization means in this context. It's a pretty classless statement.
AXELROD: Especially when -- I guess it suggests that somehow she had somehow gained the system in a political way, so you take your number one political advisor and put him on the National Security Council? That doesn't make any sense at all. I think the truer story is they're meeting with China tomorrow. Mr. Bannon has been outspoken in his denunciations of China. He's the leading anti-China voice in the White House. I think it made the Chinese I think probably uneasy that he was on the inner councils of national security and I think the national security advisor probably advised the president that things will go better if Mr. Bannon returns to a more appropriate role.
BURNETT: So, what's your bottom line? I have to ask you before we go because I know you, you know, having served in a similar role to Steve Bannon, you know more about this than anyone else. You know, some in the White House are spinning this as him being demoted. The president demoted him, he's losing power. Do you think Bannon is losing power?
AXELROD: Well, it's hard to say, you know, the power derives from your relationship with the president of the United States and their relationship may be as strong as ever but certainly the optics of it are that he was -- that he was demoted, that some power was taken away from him.
AXELROD: That they reversed a decision. So, you know, but we don't know what passes between them. So, I'm reluctant to say.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much, David, as always.
AXELROD: Good to be with you.
BURNETT: And next, Donald Trump defending Bill O'Reilly against sexual harassment accusations. Yes, not preparing for the China meeting, talking about Bill O'Reilly. Why does Trump always seem to side with the sexually accused?
And Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a strong opinion about one very controversial issue.
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump standing by FOX News host Bill O'Reilly. Trump in an interview with "The New York Times" said, quote, "I don't think Bill did anything wrong," after multiple women accused him of harassment or verbal abuse. And, of course, he settled some of those cases.
Now, this comments, of course, from Trump comes from the same man who infamously bragged on that "Access Hollywood" tape about sexually assaulting women.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As FOX News heavyweight Bill O'Reilly fights off sexual harassment claims, Donald Trump is in his corner. The president telling "The New York Times" O'Reilly is a good person and, quote, "I think he shouldn't have settled because you should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong."
Five women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment received payouts totaling about $13 million, according to "The New York Times". The cable show host denied the allegations. Even still, more than 30 big name brands are pulling their ad dollars from his top rated program "The O'Reilly Factor".
The president's comment about the FOX anchor may seem like deja vu, as he also defended the network's former boss Roger Ailes, when he was sued for sexual harassment last year.
Back then, Trump also characterized Ailes as a good person and he questioned the motives of his accusers.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining I know how much he's helped them, and even recently. And when they write books and are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him, and now, all of a sudden, they're saying these horrible things about him.
Mike Tyson has been somebody --
GINGRAS: Trump was criticized for seemingly blaming the victim decades ago after fighter Mike Tyson was convicted of raping an 18- year-old beauty pageant contestant.
TRUMP: It's my opinion that to a large extent, Mike Tyson was railroaded in this case. You have a young woman who was seen dancing for the beauty contest, dancing with a big smile on her face, looked as happy as could be.
GINGRAS: The president's recent remarks about O'Reilly comes days after declaring April National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, a crime he's been accused of by a number of women. Many who went public with their allegations during the campaign last year. That after this notorious audio leak of Trump bragging on a bus in 2005.
TRUMP: And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
GINGRAS: Trump brushed that off as, quote, "locker room banter" and later released this video on his Facebook page saying he's a changed man.
TRUMP: Anyone who knows he knows he's words don't reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong, and I apologize.
GINGRAS: And again, Bill O'Reilly has denied any wrongdoing. And as of now, the network is standing by him. But as his big advertisers continue to sever ties, the National Organization for Women is calling Bill O'Reilly to be fired.
[19:35:07] And even still, FOX News are saying is too big, they're too influential to simply just to let this go -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brynn.
And OUTFRONT now, the former Donald Trump campaign strategist David Urban and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.
So, David, let me start with you. You know, you heard what Trump said, right? I think he's a good person. I know well. He's a good person. I think he shouldn't have settled, personally, I think he shouldn't have settled. You should have taken it all the way. I don't think Bill did anything wrong.
Should he be defending Bill O'Reilly right now?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, Erin, this would be a place that I part with the president. I don't particularly think that Bill O'Reilly's a good person. I think the things he's been accused of are terrible.
I think the president made an off hand comment in an otherwise very busy, busy day, busy schedule. You know, today, he had King Abdullah in. He's preparing for meetings with the president of China, lot of things on his plate, denouncing actions in Syria.
I take this as an off hand comment in an otherwise very packed day.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think this should surprise any of us, Erin, as morally reprehensible of his defense of Bill O'Reilly is, you know, this is one rich, powerful deviant sexual predator defending another --
URBAN: Oh, Maria.
CARDONA: -- another deviant sexual predator.
URBAN: Maria, that's a pretty hard statement.
CARDONA: I'm sorry, did you listen to the "Access Hollywood" tape? These are by his own words and this is why what he said -- hang on, I did not interrupt you. So, let me finish.
CARDONA: This is why what he said was not just morally reprehensible, but it was politically stupid. He didn't have to answer that question, Erin. He could have said, look, I have a lot of things on my plate right now, I'm going to focus on national security, focused on what's going on in Syria, I'm just not going to comment.
But he couldn't help himself because I really do believe he thinks that whether O'Reilly did those things or not, even if he did them, that there's nothing wrong with it. This is who he is. That Access Hollywood tape was not the only thing that he was accused of. We have 16 women have accused him of unwanted sexual advances.
So, unfortunately, this is what he believes in a world where powerful men are able to objectify women and do whatever they want with them.
BURNETT: David --
URBAN: It's --
CARDONA: And said that this is a man who's in the Oval Office.
URBAN: Not surprising I disagree with Maria. I don't -- again, I don't condone any of the actions that O'Reilly did anything. I disagree with the president on whether Bill O'Reilly is a good man or not. I think "New York Times" has better things to do with their ink and write, print offhand comments when there are serious things, existential threats to the United States on the Korean Peninsula. He has a big meeting coming up with the Chinese president. You have King Abdullah in town today. You know, lots of things worthy of their time --
CARDONA: And they've covered all that as well. But unfortunately --
URBAN: For this to be --
CARDONA: This is an issue.
URBAN: It shouldn't be an issue. It's an off hand comment. Again, we should be focusing on the problems of America and the world.
BURNETT: So, David, let me ask you. Maria said this isn't the only thing he said, pertaining to the Access Hollywood Trump, tape, I'm sorry. It's true. In addition to the women who accused him, there were many things he said. Here are a few of them. Access Hollywood went at the very top. But here's a couple of others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BUSH: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.
HOWARD STERN: Do women come up to you and offer themselves to you?
STERN: They just say, "Listen, I want you."
ROBIN QUIVERS: What's the most outrageous offer you ever got?
TRUMP: They do and levels of beauty that you wouldn't believe. And they're really, I mean, some incredible, beautiful women. They'll walk up and they'll flip their top.
TRUMP: And they'll flip their panties.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me say this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brande came in here, she got down on her knees --
TRUMP: Excuse me. You dropped to your knees?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TRUMP: It must be a pretty picture you dropped to your knees.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BURNETT: David, I guess one of the points you can make after watching this is given his own comments and actions. Does Trump have to defend Bill O'Reilly, right? Because he can't criticize him because then he looks a hypocrite because people would go, oh wait, you just called how Bill O'Reilly, but he said these things, right?
URBAN: And the president has apologized as you saw earlier for the comments he's made. He said he was a changed man.
BURNETT: Well, he apologized with the Access Hollywood tape, to be specific.
URBAN: No, I take him at his word that he's a changed man. The campaign, his marriage, I do take him at his word and believe him, unlike Maria who doesn't. And again --
CARDONA: I'm sorry. Who lies every time he opens his mouth.
URBAN: I'm not here to defend Bill O'Reilly. I think what he did is objectionable and I think that he'll soon be departing FOX News.
CARDONA: But here's another reason why this is so dangerous, Erin. You know, put the whole comments about what he said aside and how reprehensible they are, because I think a lot of people do believe they're reprehensible, Dave aside.
[19:40:11] This is dangerous, because if he truly believes as he has said many times in the past and he's acted like many times in the past that women are objects to be done with as whatever he pleases or whatever powerful men want to do with them, what does that say about what he will do in the Oval Office to defend the mistreatment of women in the work place, through laws, through regulations, through his own actions and through whatever he does --
URBAN: Maria, who was --
CARDONA: He's the president of the United States. What he says matters.
URBAN: Who's the first president to have a female campaign manager, Maria?
CARDONA: I'm sorry, what?
URBAN: Who's the first president to have a female campaign manager? Who's the first president who --
CARDONA: And you know what? That's great. But that is not enough. That does not excuse his behavior. It does not excuse his reprehensible comments. It does not excuse the way he's lived his life, objectifying women, thinking they are less than human beings when it comes to human dignity.
URBAN: Maria --
CARDONA: And I think -- has to do with attractive women. I'd a shame that this is the man that's in the Oval Office.
BURNETT: We will end on you on, Maria, because you began, David. Thank you both.
And next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. He has a very controversial view on physician assisted suicide. Our special investigation.
And Jeanne Moos on the first lady and the queen.
BURNETT: Breaking news: hours away from an historic showdown in the Senate over president Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Republicans vowing to change Senate rules and go nuclear to ensure Neil Gorsuch passes and goes on the Supreme Court. One of his most controversial positions is his stance on physician assisted suicide.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT.
[19:45:02] SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: You make the statement that there is no justification for having anything to do with the end of someone's life, encouraging the end of life.
NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEE: I've been there with my dad, OK, and others. And at some point, you want to be left alone, enough with the poking and the prodding. I want to go home and die in my own bed in the arms of my family.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not an easy issue for anyone. Would you ever consider ending your life with a doctor's assistance? Five states and D.C. have legalized it, but Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is against it, at least according to his 2006 book, "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." In it, he makes the case that, quote, "All human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of a human life by private persons is always wrong."
MATT FAIRCHILD, CANCER PATIENT: Basically, I open up the day and start my medicines out there.
GUPTA: Matt Fairchild couldn't disagree more. He's not just thinking about this issue. He's living it. In Matt's case, metastatic melanoma spread everywhere, including his brain.
FAIRCHILD: Once it's in there, it's a fire proof safe. Mainly, because like you said, there's at least three kinds of narcotic medication.
GUPTA: Make no mistake: Matt has not given up. In addition to all these medications, he's endured 38 rounds of Keytruda. That's the same drug that President Jimmy Carter credits for his remission from melanoma.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT: When I went this week, they didn't find any cancer at all. So --
GUPTA: For Matt, like everything else he's taken, it didn't work.
FAIRCHILD: I'm open to miracles and special things and great stuff. But it doesn't mean that you expect for anything like that.
GUPTA: So, now, he wants the ability to end his life peacefully, with dignity on his own terms.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, it's mainly making Matt as comfortable as possible.
GUPTA: When Matt and his wife Ginger first met, they had not thought about the idea of aid in dying. But the former army soldier has been forced to learn more than he ever imagined.
(on camera): Do you feel like why me? Is the sentiment --
FAIRCHILD: Never once.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never ever did, never.
FAIRCHILD: Because there's no -- there's a 40-year-old has cancer somewhere and they didn't do anything to anybody.
GUPTA (voice-over): In 2014, Brittany Menard brought the right to die movement back into the country's consciousness.
BRITTANY MAYNARD, DEATH WITH DIGNITY ADVOCATE: I can't even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to know that I don't have to die the way that it's been described to me, that my brain tumor would take me on its own.
GUPTA: Before Maynard's death, the country was almost evenly split as to whether doctors should be legally allowed to assist terminally ill patients in committing suicide. Just a few years later now, 68 percent in favor, 28 percent against.
Brittany's husband Dan Diaz was by her side from the moment they first met until Brittany took their last breath.
(on camera): How are you doing?
DAN DIAZ, BRITTANY'S HUSBAND: I'm doing OK. I have days that are kind of somber. I miss her a lot, but I think about her all the time.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dan remembers when Brittany found out she had cancer, stage four glioblastoma, the most aggressive brain cancer there is.
(on camera): You want to have compassion. You want to make sure that you can not have people suffer but also striking that balance with hope.
DIAZ: We talked about, OK, what if that miracle cure is just around the corner? What does that mean? And how do we get her to that point?
There is also the reality that, well, we have to live in that day.
GUPTA (voice-over): After a seizure on November 1st, 2014, Brittany decided it would be her last day.
DIAZ: Within five minutes of taking that medication, Brittany fell asleep just like I've seen her do a thousand times before.
GUPTA: Opponents still cry foul. Worried that laws like this will ultimately prey on the disabled, the poor, the uninsured, people who are more likely choose death more than pay to fight.
FAIRCHILD: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.
GUPTA: None of this, of course, is easy. Matt is suffering every day from his cancer and also struggling with the decision -- a decision that hits close to home for Judge Gorsuch.
FEINSTEIN: Supposing you cannot handle the pain? And you know that it's irreconcilable?
GORSUCH: Senator, the position I took in the book on that was anything necessary to alleviate pain would be appropriate and acceptable, even if it caused death. Not intentionally but knowingly. OK. I'd rely on intent and knowingly. I've been there. I have been there.
[19:50:00] BURNETT: That's an incredibly powerful piece, all of the people you talked to, you know, Dan Diaz remembering that moment, and you think about the loss that someone goes, they leave in someone else's life.
How many people that say they're going to do this that start the process actually go through it?
GUPTA: It's a great question, because I think the numbers are going to be smaller than people realized. Oregon is a state to look at because their law has been on the books the longest, about 20 years now. And over 20 years, about 1,750 people actually obtain the medications. So, you can obtain the medications and then have the medications in your own home.
But of that, only about 2/3, about 1,100 people actually carried through it. That's over 20 years. I think it's important context, because this isn't something is that is by any means rampant, it's a difficult decision, and the numbers, at least within Oregon and these other states are newer, are pretty small.
BURNETT: Small, of those who start, it is -- I mean, two-thirds do have it and do go ahead. They do know what they want?
GUPTA: That's right.
BURNETT: They do not change their minds?
GUPTA: That's right, two-thirds. But they have gone through an extensive process to even get to that point, you know, talking to the doctors and getting the medications.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay, thank you very much.
GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.
BURNETT: It's a powerful piece.
And OUTFRONT next, President Trump and the king of Jordan made news today, but Jeanne Moos has a special report on her eyes on Mel-Rania, I mean, Melania and Rania.
BURNETT: The first lady met the queen of Jordan today. Here's Jeanne Moos on Mel-Rania.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You would be overexcited too, fidgeting, fixing your hair, bopping up and down, if you were about to present flowers to a first lady and the queen. It was the Melania and Rania show.
The first lady and the queen of Jordan visiting an all-girls public charter school. They stopped by art class and science class as the kids dissected owl pellets, aka owl poop.
The former model and the queen who made it into the "Vanity Fair's" best dressed list Hall of Fame, made an eye-catching pair, posing with their husbands, strolling the White House colonnade, sitting in front row seats for the joint press conferences, with the king of Jordan perched on a box for height.
TRUMP: We're both leaders on that, believe me. Believe me.
MOOS: Believe me. These two even dress alike once in a while. We've had Brangelina, we've had Bennifer.
[19:55:02] So, when Melania Trump meets Queen Rania, why not Mel- Rania?
The queen has been in the public eye for almost two decades. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are very mesmerized by the whole queen
MOOS: But she told Oprah how terrifying it was at first.
QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN: They look at me and they'd listen to me, and I'm like, are these people for real? They're taking me seriously. I'm only a kid. But, you know, you kind of grow into the role.
MOOS: Good advice for Melania who's been taking her licks.
SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: The White House released First Lady Melania Trump's official portrait today, but since she's never at the White House, they had to get a little creative.
MOOS: The former model and a monarch seemed comfortable, the first lady evening teased the queen.
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: You got very tall.
QUEEN RANIA: No, I think its' my chair.
MOOS: Queen Rania offered to lower her throne, but when you're busy looking at owl pellets through safety goggles, even royalty doesn't leave you googly eyed.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: I like that, they had no problem looking at the owl pop, maybe even touching it.
We'll be right back.
MOOS: Thanks for watching.
Anderson is next.