Return to Transcripts main page


New video of the Traffic Stop in Texas that Landed a 28-year- old Woman in Jail; Trump Attacks John McCain, Gives Out Lindsey Graham's Phone Number. Aired 10-11:00p ET

Aired July 21, 2015 - 22:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Breaking news, new video of the traffic stop in Texas that landed a 28-year-old woman in a jail cell. Three days later, she was dead. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining every one. It starts like a routine traffic stop.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it to me. Are you OK?

SANDRA BLAND: Actually, no. You, this is your job.


LEMON: But it quickly turns into this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.


BLAND: And you don't like me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will light you up. Get out.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

BLAND: For a failure to signal?


LEMON: And it ends with Sandra Bland in a cell. The cell where she died three days later. What happened? And who is to blame. Also, tonight, Donald Trump topping the polls and talking tough about his opponent. And it's working.

Tonight, we're going to talk to some of his supporters who say Trump is just what America needs. But I want to begin with our breaking news right now. Dash cam video released today by the State of Texas. It shows what happened on July 10th when 28-year-old Sandra Bland was pulled over for allegedly failing to signal a lane change.

Bland was about to start a new job at Prairie View A&M University for alma mater. And what should have been the kind of routine traffic stop, the stop that happens all the time across this country every day, quickly, went horribly wrong. Take a look.



BLAND: Actually, no. You, this is your job. I'm waiting on you. What do you want to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You seem very irritated.

BLAND: I am. I really am. But I feel like stop because what I'm getting typical and I'm getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So, yes, I am a little irritated. Well, that doesn't stop you from giving me a ticket.


BLAND: You asked me what was wrong, and I told you.


BLAND: So, now I'm done, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Do you mind putting out your cigarette, please, if you don't mind?

BLAND: I'm in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you can step on out now.

BLAND: I don't have to step out of my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car.

BLAND: Why am I -- no, you don't have the right...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out of the car.

BLAND: You do not have the right to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do have the right. Now, step out or I will remove you.

BLAND: I refuse to talk to you evident tonight. Then from myself...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out or I will remove you?

BLAND: I am getting removed for a failure to signal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step out, or I will remove you? I'm giving you a lawful order. Get out of the car now or I'm going to remove you.

BLAND: And I'm calling my lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to yank you out if you don't.

BLAND: OK. You're going to get me out of my car?


BLAND: OK. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have to if you have listened to me.

BLAND: Let's do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and I'm going to.

BLAND: Don't touch me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car.

BLAND: Don't touch me. I'm not under arrest; you don't have the right to touch me in my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are under arrest.

BLAND: I'm under arrest for what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2527 on 10-98. Just send me our 297 unit. Get out of the car. Get out of the car, now!

BLAND: Why am I being apprehended? You're trying to give me...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said get out of the car.

BLAND: Why am I being apprehended?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am giving you a lawful order. I'm going to drag you out of here.

BLAND: So, you're going to drag me out of my own car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car? I will write you up. get out, now!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Now! Get out of the car.

BLAND: For a failure to signal. You're doing all of this for a failure to signal? Right, yes, let's take this to court.


BLAND: For a failure to signal. Yes, for a failure to signal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off the phone.

BLAND: Oh, that's cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off the phone.

BLAND: I'm not on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your phone down.

BLAND: I have the right to use my property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your phone down right now. Put your phone down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your phone down, right now! Put your phone down. Come over here. Come over here now.

BLAND: You feeling good about this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand right here.

BLAND: You feeling good about yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand right there.

BLAND: For a failure to signal. You're feeling real good about yourself, don't you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around now. Turn around now.


BLAND: I'm trying to tell you. Do I feel like I have anything on me? It doesn't have...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come over here.

BLAND: You have no right on me. You're about to break my wrist. Can you stop!


BLAND: You done broke my wrist. Stop!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, now. Stop it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop resisting, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you would stop, then I would tell you. Now stop. BLAND: You are such a (muted). You are such a (muted). For a traffic


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're getting around.

BLAND: For a traffic signal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are getting around. When you pull away from me, you're resisting arrest.

BLAND: This makes you feel real good, doesn't it? A female for a traffic signal.


BLAND: That makes you feel good, officer, doesn't it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I know you make serious stuff.

BLAND: I know it makes you feel real good. You're a real man. Now you slam me. Knocked my head into the ground. I've got epilepsy.



[22:05:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should have thought about that before you start resisting.

BLAND: All right. All right. Yes, this is real good. Real good for a female. Yes.


LEMON: CNN's Ryan Young live for us Prairie View, Texas tonight. It's unfortunate, Ryan. What do officials say about this encounter that we just saw on video?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, first off, I know you've watched the video a couple times yourself. We've watched it a couple times. The attorney for the family gave us a preview yesterday. He talked about what we would see on this video. And he told me yesterday, he said, look, this is going to shock you when you see it and you're not going to understand why she was ever pulled from the car.

When you watch it, that's the kind of impression sometimes you get from the moments from what happened. I can tell you, officials weren't happy with what they saw, either. That officer has been placed on administrative duties right now because they say there were several violations involved in this traffic stop.

And people have been talking about there could have been chances for de-escalation involved in this, especially since it was a failure to show a signal when changing lanes. And then all of a sudden, that conversation really turns very quickly. And then the next thing you know, a lot of the action happens outside the view of the camera.

And of course, when that cell phone person shows up and starts filming this and has that cell phone so you can see some of the other side of this. But you don't get that full moment of when this tussle started, Don.

LEMON: So, I think it's interesting that you went inside the county jail, inside this cell 95 where Sandra died. What did you learn from that? What did you see?

YOUNG: OK. So, there are several things and I'll break it down for you, Don. First of all, we were standing in the hallway. The hallway, I would say, is about five foot wide. And the sheriff took us through and said, that cameras are actually a motion activated. So, he said they came in with investigators and tried to see if they could duck down, slide by or gain access to a cell without the cameras being tripped.

And honestly, he said, the investigators could see that there was no way to get inside her cell without tripping those cameras. That's what he said investigators found. Maybe when they went on the inside. And he said, pretty much, they hadn't touched a lot of that room since Sandra Bland's death.

The sandwich that she was supposed to eat was still in the corner. It actually had started growing mold on it. We could see that trash can there where there was one of those liners that were put in, the plastic liner, they said she may have used to hang herself. That was the part that everyone has questions about.

How could you use that thin plastic liner to hang yourself. And what the sheriff explained to us is that it was twisted and then it was then turned up on that metal rod on the top half. And he was like, don't forget, you don't have to have your full body weight for suffocation to happen.

But, obviously, Don, a lot of questions. When you look at the video, which is separate than everything else and then the fact that she was inside this cell for three days by herself, she was having trouble contacting her family. Yes, she did have a phone inside the cell. But apparently, the pin number that she had, she was having trouble getting in contact with family members, she did talk to her sister.

But she was in that room by herself. And then something happened in that hour where there was no contact with her and then somebody walked by, looked in the slit and saw it. But to be in that room was just a little breathtaking from the moment of fact that she was there by herself during those last moments.

LEMON: Ryan Young, I appreciate your reporting. Joining me now is Sandra Bland's family, Pastor Reverend James Miller, a senior pastor at DuPage AME Church. Thank you. Our condolences to you and to the family, sir. I appreciate you joining us tonight.


LEMON: Thank you. What is your reaction to this dash cam video this footage that was just released tonight?

MILLER: Well, I haven't seen it. I listened to it. And I'll just tell you, for knowing Sandra since she was 9 years old, growing up through the youth departments, one of the active young adults in our church who I just saw the fourth Sunday in June. And to know her family and to hear her in pain from that arrest was difficult.

LEMON: OK. So, let's talk about it because you know her. You're a man of candor, I can tell here. So, what do you think? Because people say there were things going on with her that she was going through some things. But we don't know. What was happening in her life? Was there anything that was happening in her life that would lend to her taking her own life inside of this cell?

MILLER: Don, I knew her to be a mature person. A person who is always thinking reconciliation with others. I think her blogs and her videos on her Facebook page will give us clear characterization that she was strong willed and outspoken. But she was a Christian woman.

[22:10:01] And to have a new job with a new beginning and finishing a graduate degree, a new start on the one hand, and an arrest that has been designated out of compliance, a jail out of compliance, staff out of compliance and a sheriff who was out of compliance several years ago with a record that doesn't add up.

LEMON: Well, let's look at one of the videos that you mentioned from her Facebook page, from social media page. This is March 1st of this year.


BLAND: I am suffering from something that some of you all may be dealing with right now. It's a little bit of depression as well as PTSD. Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder are things that affect everyone. Black, white, it does not matter. We all deal with them.


LEMON: So, what do you think, reverend? What happened? Was this enough do you think that she was dealing with that caused this?

MILLER: Well, that is out of context, first, because that's a part of a clip of a presentation.


LEMON: It's not the whole thing.

MILLER: It's not the whole thing.

LEMON: We have to look at it in context of the whole thing. Go ahead, explain.

MILLER: Yes. And, yes. There's no doctor's diagnosis. No medication. A young person. PTSD, how much -- you know, it sounds, you know, interesting to hear, but she didn't blog for a few days. I think there's a lot of that depression going on that I don't...

LEMON: Do you think it was just normal people going through some things? Everybody goes through things, because she wasn't diagnosed with clinical depression. That was just her terminology, that was not a medical doctors or a psychiatrist's terminology or -- correct?

MILLER: You know, that -- that's what to my knowledge, yes.

LEMON: Yes. So, what reverend, what do you think and what does the family think happened inside of that cell?

MILLER: Well, I tell you. The investigation has been taken from the beginning because you just don't give a conclusion before you had. And then so now, it's turned into this treated like a murder investigation with the forensics that we haven't touched the room much since we, you know, I just -- what happened is that she died in custody. And the persons who have custody have some responsibility. I would think.


LEMON: Because she died under their -- she was under their care, so to speak, and she died while she was in custody with them. I have to run, pastor. But how is the family? And how are they doing and what are they saying?

MILLER: That's a strong family. It has a lot of faith and they are just -- want answers and we all just want to know the truth of the situation. And not the truth that will support our opinion or our side.

LEMON: Yes. Reverend Dr. James Miller, I appreciate your time. And again, our condolences to you and the family. Thank you.

MILLER: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much. We've got a lot more to come on this case. When we come right back, will Sandra Bland's death suicide? And what happened during the three days she was in police custody.

Plus, Donald Trump surging in the polls and taking on his rivals. I'm going to talk to some of his supporters who think Trump's tough talk is just what the country needs right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. I will light you up.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the car. BLAND: For a failure to signal.


LEMON: I will light you up, he said. That was dash cam video of 28- year-old Sandra Bland arresting a traffic stop on July 10th. Three days after that traffic stop, Bland was dead in a Texas jail cell. But who's to blame for what happened?

Sunny Hostin is here, CNN's legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor. Also Harry Houck, who's a retired NYPD detective, Marc Lamont Hill, CNN political commentator, they all join us this evening. So, I want to get everyone's reaction to this dash cam footage. Harry, you first.

HARRY HOUCK, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: OK. I don't see anything wrong with the officer's actions until we get to the point where he asked her to take this -- put the cigarette out. And then, at that moment, he -- when she says no, he asked her to get out of the car.

Now, it appears, from the video, that he did it because she would not put the cigarette out. But I'm not a mind reader but that's what it appears to be. Officer does have the choice to bring anybody out of a vehicle when he stops them for his own safety and to write the summons outside of the vehicle. So, the officer could have done that. The whole thing is here is that she was very arrogant from the beginning. Very dismissive of the officer. All right. She was very...


LEMON: She said, I'm in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?

HOUCK: Oh, I'm not debating the cigarette issue.

LEMON: Maybe he's allergic, who knows.

HOUCK: And do not do the possibility. Yes.

LEMON: Go ahead.

SUNNY HOSTIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, and I think that's the issue here. You know, who is the trained professional. When you get a badge and a gun, that gives you power. And with that power comes the responsibility I think to de-escalate a situation like that.

And what we saw was an officer trying to exert power on her by asking her to put her cigarette out. Guess what, Don, I checked the Penal Code, there is no law against smoking a cigarette in your car. You can't arrest someone for doing that. So, when he asked her to get out of the car, that was inappropriate.


HOUCK: He was being arrested for the cigarette.

HOSTIN: That was inappropriate and he failed to disclose it. He is the professional.

HOCK: She was being arrested because some...

HOSTIN: He is the professional and he lost some cool.

HOUCK: ... cases in lieu of arrests, and the fact that he can ask her to get out of the car? All right.

HOSTIN: He was giving her summons, though, he was giving a warning.

HOUCK: We don't know that until the end.

HOSTIN: But he knew that.

HOUCK: We don't know that to the end.

HOSTIN: But he knew that.

HOUCK: I'm sure he wrote her a summons.

LEMON: Yes. Marc.

HOUCK: Go back to the arrest, he wrote her a summons.

HOSTIN: He wrote her a warning.

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I found this video to be disturbing, disgusting, unsettling. I mean, really on multiple levels. This woman simply was in her car and had the audacity to not be entirely deferential to the officer. She doesn't have to kiss the officer's butt. She has a right to be irritated. A lot of us get irritated when we get pulled over.

[22:20:07] This officer comes to her and says, do you have -- is there something wrong? You seem like you have an odd -- he's trying to pick a fight with her. As what he says, why are you upset? And when -- she says, look, this is why I'm taken off, however, you still have a job to do, you're still going to give me a ticket, so just give me the ticket.

You have a right to say that. Sometimes police officers act as if you're not completely kowtowing and deferential and somehow you're violating a law. He asked her to put her cigarette. She accurately point out that she didn't have to put out a cigarette. She's in her car.

And at that point, he threatens to drag her out to quote and quote, "light her up." This type of violence is a reminder that state violence number one is enacted not on just on men, but on women, but particularly black women who was always been vulnerable in this basis. But this is perfect example of exactly how vulnerable black women are in public space to law enforcement. And I tell you this is entirely preventable.

HOUCK: Marc, even if...

HILL: I have a right to have an act.

HOUCK: ... he de-escalated the whole situation, she would still kept on coming at that officer the way she did.

HOSTIN: Coming at her to...

HILL: I have the right too, Harry.

HOUCK: I'm sorry. You've got to cooperate with a police officer, Marc. You absolutely...


HILL: She wasn't being uncooperative.

HOUCK: Yes, she was. She was being -- I don't have to show you my I.D. Didn't you hear her? I don't have to show you my I.D. I don't have to tell you who I am.

HILL: That's not what she said.

HOUCK: That's what she was saying. It's right in the video, she did.

HILL: No, listen. Harry, hold on, Harry.

HOSTIN: I didn't hear her say that.

HILL: She said I only have to show you my I.D.


HILL: She said, I have to show to show my I.D.

HOUCK: I don't have to tell you my name. I don't have to show you my I.D. That's exactly what she said inside the car.

LEMON: She said, I'm a little bit irritated. This isn't stop you from giving me a ticket. So, and he se says, are you done? She said, you asked me if what was wrong and then she goes on and talks to cigarette. I don't see anything about an I.D. unless that happened earlier.

I refused to talk and then I show that. Oh, here we go, he said, do I have the right now to step out or I remove you? And she says, I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself.


HOSTIN: And that is...

HILL: Exactly.

HOSTIN: ... and that is actually correct under the law.

HOUCK: OK. I'm sorry.

HILL: So, listen so what have you just said.

HOUCK: OK. All right, Marc. To talk. I'm sorry. All right. I thought that's what you said, to talk. OK. I give you that.

HOSTIN: But one thing I think is important to note, you know, I teach street law classes, I talk to my husband. I talk to my children. When you have a police encounter, you want to make that encounter as short and sweet as possible.

HOUCK: Exactly.

HOSTIN: You do want to comply.


HOSTIN: You want to be as not combative at all. But, in looking at that video, again, the officer is the professional in that situation. He baited her. He lost his cool and I think that any...


HOUCK: Well, I don't think he baited her at all.

HOSTIN: He baited her by asking her to...

LEMON: Marc.

HOSTIN: He baited her, Harry.

HOUCK: She is not cooperative. She had a problem with the officer. She had a problem with being. She didn't like the fact that she was being stopped. Her whole arrogant attitude and that stopped. Now, the officer should not have pulled her...


LEMON: OK. But, listen, hang on. Listen. I want everybody listen. Because I think -- Marc, hang on, Marc. Marc, hold on.

HILL: Oh, I'm sorry.

LEMON: Hang on. No, no, no. I think that...

HILL: This is what police do, man.

LEMON: That's what -- I'm trying to get to that point, Marc.

HOUCK: This is not what the police do.

LEMON: Because -- Harry has a point here, whether Harry is wrong or right. When you're in that situation, I'm not saying that you -- listen, I'm not blaming her up for anything. This is for everyone who is watching. If you as Sunny is saying, if you are being stopped by a police officer, whether that police officer is right or wrong, or as -- what's his name, Lindsey Graham says, a jackass, don't you do what he says until afterwards. Then you can sue him. Then you're still alive.

HOUCK: Exactly.

LEMON: Then you're not beat up on the ground.

HOSTIN: That is the smart thing to do, clearly.


LEMON: It doesn't mean the officer is right. I'm not saying the officer is right.

HOUCK: Apparently, but she thinks it's OK to resist arrest now.

LEMON: So, Harry, this is my question. My question is...

HOSTIN: Well, she wasn't going to have more, Harry. She wasn't resisting arrest, come on.

LEMON: ... all of the attention, Sunny, that's being placed on this incident around the country, do you think it's giving people a false sense of rights that they have that they really don't have.

HOSTIN: She has every right to account...

HOUCK: Yes. Exactly.

LEMON: Why is that?

HOSTIN: No, Harry.

HOUCK: There is full sense.

LEMON: I promise, everyone will get in.

HOUCK: I think there's an article came out and I don't to say the rules of articles, but I'm exactly sure right now. But the fact is, they even told people that, you know, you don't have to show your I.D. to police officers. There are things out and people are seeing things like that and people actually think that I've talked to saying that, no, if a police officer stopped me for something, I don't think he's stopping me for a right reason, but I don't have to cooperate with the officer.


HOUCK: But that is wrong. The law says, just like you said, Don, when the police officer stops you, do whatever he says and then deal with it later.

LEMON: OK. Marc, I just want the truth here. And I think that people should not be dying because or getting beat for some right that they think they have that that they don't have, that's it. So, go ahead. HILL: I refuse to legitimize police violence against people by telling

them that if they behave differently, maybe they won't die. Harry said, maybe won't end up on the ground. Yes, there are strategies we can use to survive, but the fact that we live in a world we have to deploy strategies to not be murdered or killed or assaulted by a police unlawfully is absurd.

Harry is right. You do have -- an officer does have the right to pull someone out of the car for their own safety. He didn't feel unsafe from that woman in that moment.

[22:25:02] HOSTIN: He sure he did.

HOUCK: We don't know.

HILL: And what Harry is calling arrogant I'm calling dignity. Black people have a right to assert their dignity in public. And just because she doesn't cohere with what police want it doesn't mean they're being arrogant or disrespectful.

LEMON: Marc, listen, I got to go. But do you think that this was racial? Do you think that this was racial?

HILL: Yes, I do. And I think the sky is blue.

LEMON: All right. Go ahead, Harry. Do you think it was?

HOUCK: There's no indication this is racial at all. None whatsoever.

HILL: Right. So, this is the right woman all is that.

HOSTIN: I don't think we have enough information, Marc, just to say that.


HOUCK: Can we talk about something, it's a racial issue.

LEMON: Go ahead, Sunny.

HOSTIN: I don't think we have enough information to call this a racial issue. But I think we have enough information to know that this officer overstepped his bounds. He was the professional in the situation and he escalated this rather than de-escalating. I also think it's important to know that this is separate and apart from what happened in the jail cell.

LEMON: In the jail cell.

HOSTIN: And that we also need to talk about and investigate.

LEMON: Thank you very much, everyone. Thank you. I appreciate all of you. Up next, Donald Trump on the campaign trail comes out swinging against his rivals for the GOP nomination. He calls one of the candidates a light weight who's not very bright. I'm going to talk to one of Trump's supporters tonight. [22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Trump means never having to say you're sorry. If you thought Donald Trump would hang his head and shame after the firestorm over his comments about John McCain, well, you just don't know Donald Trump, now, do you?

At a rally in South Carolina today, the mogul who wants to be your next president took a shot at Senator Lindsey Graham giving out the number of his personal cell to all of America. And he's just getting started. I want you to listen to a few highlights.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So, this morning, you know, they told me, Mr. Trump -- because Bush said, my tone is not nice. My tone? I said, tone. We need tone. We need enthusiasm. We need tone. It's true. But they said, and actually Hillary Clinton said, I don't like his tone. So, then they talk about the tone. You know, Hillary and all of them. And then I see Rick Perry the other day.

And he's so, you know, he's doing very poorly in the polls. He put glasses on so people will think he's smart. And it just doesn't work, you know. People can see through the glasses. And then you have this guy, Lindsay Graham, a total light weight. Here's a guy in the private sector, he couldn't get a job. Believe me. He couldn't get a job. He couldn't do what you people did.

You're all retired and hell and rich. OK. He wouldn't be rich. He'd be poor. But this guy Lindsay Graham calls me a jackass. And I said to myself, you know, it's amazing. He doesn't seem like a very bright guy, OK. He actually, probably, seems, to me, not as bright, honestly, as Rick Perry. I think Rick Perry probably is smarter than Lindsay Graham. But what do I know?

But today I got called a jackass by this guy. Then I said to myself, hey, didn't this guy call me like four years ago? Yes. He called me four years ago -- three or four years ago, Lindsay Graham I didn't even know who he was. He goes, Mr. Trump, this is Senator Lindsay Graham. I wonder if it would be possible for you to call Fox.

So, Lindsay Graham says to me, please, please, whatever you can do, you know, I'm saying to myself, what's this guy? A beggar? He's like begging me to help him with Fox and friends. So, I said, OK, and I'll mention your name. He said, could you mention my name? I said, yes. And he gave me his number. And I found the card. I wrote the number down. I don't know if it's the right number. Let's try it. 202 (muted). Well, I don't know, you know, it's three or four years ago, so maybe it's an old number.


LEMON: Well, moments after that, CNN's Dana Bash caught up with Trump. Here's how that went.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why did you read Lindsay Graham's cell

phone number?

TRUMP: So, people can call him so he maybe can get something done but he won't be able to.


LEMON: Sorry. I just snorted on national TV. Sorry. Now I want to bring in Sheriff -- bringing Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He is a supporter of Donald Trump. And speaking on behalf of the campaign tonight.

You have to admit, that was a very good moment by Donald Trump right there when he handed the letter. So, he can, you know, call him and see if you can get some things done. That's the Donald Trump that people are loving right now.

DAVID CLARKE, MILWAUKEEE COOUNTY SHERIFF: Great for primetime TV. First of all, I think it's for the record, it's a little too early to get on a horse right now. I want all these guys and I mean, I know there's a woman in the field, too. Carly Fiorina, I have a lot of respect for her. I think it's too early. But I want them all properly vetted.

But I'll tell you what, Donald Trump came on to the scene, he came into this political classes an outsider, he turned over the apple card and he said to the other people involved, I'll write my own rules. I'll play by my rules. I like that kind of swagger. I like that kind of finesse. And what would be like another boring long campaign season.

So, And I think the problem for the GOP establishment right now is they don't know what to do with him. And I think the best thing to do is try to keep him on their side because they're going to need him. He's better off inside the tent than outside the tent. And until they realize that he's here to stay.

So, the voters will decide, Son, whether or not he's presidential material, whether he can be the Commander-in-Chief. I don't like party insiders and I don't like newspapers telling me he's not worthy to be president. That's for me to vote there to make a determination at all.

LEMON: Very good answer. And speaking of newspapers, the Des Moines Register called Donald Trump "A feckless blowhard." The Huffington Post says, "You can find their Trump coverage in their entertainment section next to Kardashian story." And a lot of people aren't taking him seriously especially the republican, at least, establishment. Don't you think he should be taken more seriously? I mean, look at where he is in the polls.

CLARKE: Without a doubt. I think they're going to do that at their own risk to try to continue to force Donald Trump out of the race. It's not going to work with him. Like I said, he writes his own rules.

[22:35:01] He is a brand. Trump is a brand. And the GOP has to understand that. There are some GOP insiders who quietly, they wouldn't say this publicly. But they say, you know, the GOP could probably use a face lift. And I think that Trump brings that kind of, like I said, excitement that can attract outside voters. And in the end, we'll see how far it takes him.

But I think to shut him to to push him out that's an elitist attitude. And the political establishment is going to have to learn that Donald Trump plays by his own set of rules. And Donald Trump can do some things and say some things that the party establishment and other candidates, on both sides of that, will know. I could never get away with saying that. It would destroy me. But, like I said, Donald Trump is a different kind of cat.

LEMON: Why would it destroy people on -- why would they destroy other people and it's not destroying Donald Trump? Is it because he's not politically correct or is it just because he really doesn't give a darn?

CLARKE: Well, I think it's a little of that. You know, he doesn't owe anybody anything. You know, outside of running for president. Donald Trump is going to be fine. Many of these political insiders are, you know career politicians, this is what they do.

And one of the things that the political class know is you don't catch a lightning rod type issues. You don't talk about issues. You talk around them for fear of what's happening to Donald Trump. Some of it is because he's a front runner starts right now as well. But he gets to play by a different set of rules. And that's rubbing a lot of people inside the belt way and in the political class the wrong way.

But, I'll tell you what, as an outsider like I am, I don't belong to a political party. I'm enjoying the heck out of this and I would -- you know, Donald Trump is a fighter. I think if you want to be the nominee and if you want to be the President of the United States, you're going to have to fight your way into that office. And he's willing to that. Everybody else wants to do this walking around on egg shells. And that's what people find boring.

LEMON: Yes. Sheriff David Clarke, I appreciate your candor. When we come back on I'd love to have you. Thank you, sir

CLARKE: My pleasure, Don.

LEMON: All right. Donald Trump maybe upsetting his opponents, but he is saying exactly what some people want to hear. You heard the sheriff just say there.

When we come right back, a former "Apprentice" contestant weighs in as Trump fires back at critics blasting him for giving out Lindsay Graham's phone number.


LEMON: Donald Trump's opponents for the GOP nomination would love to see him go away. But he's still joining the crowds and he is surging in the polls. Joining me now is Kwame Jackson, who was contestant on "The Apprentice," he was actually the runner up in the first season, right.

And then, Ted Rall is with us as well. He wrote in defense of Donald Trump on a new article., excuse me, He's also a political cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times. Good to have both of you here. Kwame, I'm going to start with you. You know, you sat in the board room across from Donald Trump. Really, it was on the first one.


LEMON: Did he tell you were fired.

JACKSON: He never told me I was fired.


JACKSON: I'm the only contestant in the history of "Apprentice" not to be fired.

LEMON: Are we seeing the real Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Is that what you see is what you get?

JACKSON: I think we are now. I think that he's really opening himself up as, you know, this divisive and kind of, you know it really means spirited person that really America is not falling in love with. But I know he's surging in the polls. But this was surging in the polls it doesn't means you're, you know, creating an environment that's positive for everyone.

LEMON: Did your dad fight in Vietnam?

JACKSON: My dad.

LEMON: Well, what was your reaction to McCain and everyone?

JACKSON: Yes. So, my dad was in the 101st, '66, '67 in Vietnam. And he is a veteran, I'm very proud of his service and his reaction is the same as my reaction. Until you spend five years in a POW camp, and instead of having five deferments you probably should keep your opinion to yourself.

LEMON: All right.

JACKSON: There's a disturbance.

LEMON: Yes. All right. Ted, you came out in defense of Trump's slam against Senator John McCain saying this. This is what he said, "Trump may be inconsistent, bombastic, egotistical and evasive on the issue of his personal wealth, but he is bringing up important issues and a refreshing point of view which has been suppressed far too long." That's good for all of us.

So, expand on that for me. Because a lot of folks are saying, you know, Trump doesn't really have this right style with the right tone. And it's a destruction. I guess you disagree with that. TED RALL, WROTE A DEFENSE OF DONALD TRUMP ON NEWDOMAIN.NET: Well, he

certainly has the right tone to be on top of the GOP race. I'd say. Look, his politics aren't mine. I wouldn't vote for him. I'm not a republican. But that said, it is refreshing to see for the first time since the 9/11 attacks, someone as prominent and important as he is and from the right of all places, coming out against the cultivate militarism that has dominated the media over the last 15 years.

You know, I mean, one of the things that got lost in his statement was his statement that the Vietnam War was a waste and that all we got out of it, this is quote, was "death." And I thought, you know, he has an amazing way to encapsulate things that I have not heard from either a democrat or a republican.

Most Americans feel that the Vietnam War was a mistake. And it's nice to hear someone say that in a public area. We need to at least have these points of view discussed. And as for the attack on John McCain, look, I don't agree that being taken prisoner is a cause of shame or that John McCain has anything to be ashamed of his service in Vietnam except possibly for going voluntarily to an illegal war.

But he definitely it is a fair game. I mean, this is a guy who calls fellow senators whacko birds. He called all of Trump's supporters crazy. You know, Trump has every right to...


LEMON: So, are you saying that John McCain...

RALL: John McCain would say that too.

LEMON: Are you saying John McCain gets a pass for saying similar things? And Donald Trump doesn't? Everyone comes down on Donald Trump?

RALL: Yes, well, I think John McCain, you know, has often been criticized for being too candid over the years, too. I mean, part of the reason the press has thought that he wasn't ready for primetime back in 2000. It was that, you know, he was also shot, you know, shot from the hip and, you know.

[22:44:59] I think that -- what makes this class so entertaining for those of us in the media is that we're talking about two guys who have a lot in common.


RALL: And that includes the tone and the temperament.

LEMON: I want to get Kwame here because, you know, Kwame, he lost your parents. The "Apprentice" show, Macy's...


LEMON: ... and then, you know, the Ms. Universe or Ms. USA. And he was already a guy that said and did what he wanted.


LEMON: Now, he has nothing to lose. So, look out.

JACKSON: Well, it's the old, you know, trapped dog or trapped rat in a corner. You're going to come out fighting; you're going to come out saying crazy things and swinging. However, what I say is look. Everyone is entitled to an opinion in America. That's what we all celebrate and into the flag, you know, continue to promote.

But what you're not entitled to do is create a toxic environment that creates, you know, this whole poisonous ecosystem where people hear these dog whistles up, Mexicans are taking over. They're all rapists. Black people are out to get your money, your jobs. Whatever it may be. You know, gay people are running traditional marriage.

All of those things are a course of dog whistles that creates this toxic ecosystem that weak-minded people act on. Dylan Roof, Tim McVeigh, those are the people who hear those things and then go out and have direct action. And say, I didn't know how that happened. I didn't contribute to that this course. I didn't say I'll take back America. And you owe to those people that give that negative ecosystem.

LEMON: And you think that Donald Trump is doing that?

JACKSON: I think that by doing the things that he's doing in repetition with vehemence that he's creating the next Dylan Roof, he's creating the next Tim McVeigh and he's going to, you know, when it explodes, he'd say, it wasn't me. I'm not the person who should be guilty here.

LEMON: That's a lot to put on Donald Trump, though.

JACKSON: You know, we all have a high role to take.

LEMON: All right. Your words. Thank you very much. Kwame Jackson and Ted Rall, I appreciate you. Coming up, Donald Trump's striking fear in hearts of his republican rivals. Will any of them risk taking him on?


LEMON: Donald Trump is a gift that keeps on giving. For a late night's comments here's Jon Stewart's impression on Trump on a Daily Show.


JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW HOST: You know what else if I may just for a moment and (muted) cancer survivors, too. Let me tell you that. No, hey, let me just say this. No, please, I like the people -- well, don't get cancer. Those are the people we should be making, which is and -- I'm running marathons for winners. Winners. Winners. Winners. Boom. Trump, 2016.


LEMON: Joining me now, Mark Preston, executive editor of CNN politics and CNN Chris Moody, senior digital correspondent at CNN politics.

So, everyone is taking shots. You know, SNL, that's what the comedians do. But the former apprentice who, you know, Mark, who just came on and he said, you know, dog whistles the next Dylan Roof and that sort of thing. What do you think of that? Is that a lot to attach to Donald Trump being so outspoken.

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes. Look, no question. And I think you handled that right. I mean, what we're seeing now is this rhetoric is being amp up and, yes, Donald Trump is saying a lot of things that are firing up folks. But, Don, that is a lot to put on somebody.

Certainly, what Donald Trump is saying, and he's saying some pretty harsh things about people, but it's personal. It's not talking like Dylan Roof, it's not using the dog whistle type of quotes or phrases. So, I do think that was reach too far.

LEMON: Chris.

CHRIS MOODY, CNN POLITICS SENIOR DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: I agree completely. People saying stuff like that about politicians. It's been done before. Some tried before and people putting things in politicians. And as Preston said, it's too far. It's not true and it's not necessarily based on fact, either.

LEMON: Yes. So, Chris, you know, Donald Trump has thrown the rule book out of the window when it comes to how, you know, people traditionally supposed to campaign. Impossible to imagine any other candidate pulling that stunt with Lindsay Graham's cell phone number. The established republicans really -- they have no idea how to take him -- take him on.

And here's what's interesting to me. Every one yesterday everything that I read yesterday, people are saying, this is the demise of Donald Trump or bridge too far with John McCain. And today, he's over it. Moved on. And he is still going.

MOODY: Right. The republicans don't really know how to respond to this. And we've seen a bit of evolution since Donald Trump announced his campaign. First, it was, OK, just ignore the guy and let the carnival barker just let him do his thing and then he'll pass away.

But then the polls never really slipped down. And then Donald Trump started getting more and more attraction and candidates started having to respond. And then some candidates even tried to respond on their own just to pick a fight so they could get their name in the media, as well.

Well, in the next few weeks, we're seeing -- we're going into the debate session and they're going to have to be responding in real-time live. And I think they're still trying to figure out exactly how they are going to handle him up there.

LEMON: I think the sheriff who came on who said basically, saying, Mark, you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer and that he believes that many of these, you know, the people who are running, the party establishment, they should be embracing Donald Trump as much as much as they can to at least, I don't know, maybe get a boost over him or just keep him close so that they can keep an eye on him.

PRESTON: Well, I mean, look. I don't think you can embrace Donald Trump. I said only Donald Trump by doing so is going to all of the sudden become your ally. He is going to be his own person. He is clearly, you know, cut that road his whole entire life. And he's doing that right now on the campaign trail.

What's frustrating right now for the republican establishment is that they feel like their message is totally off track right now. You know what we're not talking about what you're not hearing about the news is the things that are going on Capitol Hill, what congressional republicans are trying to get, Don.

And quite frankly, what some of these presidential candidates were trying to get into the tier of the debate in August -- on August 6, they're not able to really get any oxygen right now. So, there's a huge frustration level among republicans, Don. And, you know, it is really hurting some of the candidates that are running.

LEMON: Chris, I have to ask you, is this race going to get even more outlandish as others trying to compete?

MOODY: You know, it's funny you should ask that. Because Donald Trump, as we all know and all have said has been sucking all the media oxygen out of the room for the past several weeks. We kind of overlooked a few of the candidates.

[22:55:02] One of which who used to be in the media all the time was Rand Paul. Well, we all wondered whatever happened to him. Well today, he released the video on which he took the federal tax code, cut it with chainsaw put it in a wood chipper and set it on fire. If you don't believe me, just take a look.

LEMON: On any other day, that might have been our lead, but not tonight.

MOODY: Not with Donald Trump in the mix. Welcome to 2016, Don Lemon.

LEMON: Happy birthday, Mark Preston.

PRESTON: Thanks so much.

LEMON: Thank you, guys.

MOODY: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: Flags flying at half-staff in Washington today. They were lowered on the Capitol -- on Capitol Hill in tribute to five service members killed by a gunman in Chattanooga last week. President Barack Obama also ordered flags lowered at the White House. Four marines and one sailor lost their lives when a gunman opened fire at the navy operation support center.

[23:00:04] That's it for us tonight. I'll see you back here tomorrow night. I'm Don Lemon. AC360 starts right now.