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Donald Trump Speaks Out on Decades-Old Accusation; Will Trump Make Third Party Run?; NFL Upholds Four-Game Suspension for Tom Brady; America's Many Faiths. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 28, 2015 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, Donald Trump speaks out over a controversy over a decades old accusation.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. One-on-one with the mogul who wants to be your next president. From addresses comments by a top advisor who told The Daily Beast that legally, quote, "You cannot rape your spouse." We're going to hear what Donald Trump has to say about that and more in just a moment.

Plus, what do you think about today's bad news for the man who told us this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Tom Brady a cheater?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe so.


LEMON: I want to begin with the latest from Donald Trump. And he joins me now by phone. Mr. Trump, thank you. How are you doing?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm doing very well. Thank you very much.

LEMON: Listen, I know, and let's get this out of the way, because I think many viewers are interested in. You put out a statement about this. But I want to give you a chance now to respond to the remarks from your lawyer, close advisor, Michael Cohen. This Daily Beast article about an old rape allegation that you and your ex-wife, Ivana, have both denied many years ago. He made a number of vulgar threats against a reporter and claim, quote, "You can't rape your spouse." How do you respond to that?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, the Daily Beast is a failing, financially disastrous -- I guess you'd call it a web site. And it's got nothing going for itself. So, you know, that whole thing starts off by being -- they have nothing to lose. They can say whatever they want.

Second of all, this was totally a false reporting and they knew that. And so, I could understand somebody like Michael Cohen, who is an excellent lawyer, being extremely angry about it. And third of all at the top of all and they were so nice that, as you

know, Ivana issued a statement, when she read it, that is totally false and thing like that never took place and it was all about her. And then she ended it by saying that I think he would make an incredible president.

LEMON: Let me read it, let me it read, Donald. She said, "I have recently read some comments attributed to me from

nearly 30 years ago. At a time a very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together we have raised three children we love and are proud of. And I have nothing but fondness for Donald and I wish -- I have nothing with Donald. I wish him the best of luck in his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president." So, she's standing by you. Do you standby -- still standby Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: No. You have to understand, Michael Cohen was extremely angry because he knew it never took place. He knew this web site was a joke, considered a joke. And he was very angry. Maybe he didn't even understand the question. But no, I don't. I disagreed with him. In fact, when I read it I disagreed. I didn't know what they said. Who knows what he said because frankly, I'm not sure that they reported it accurately anyway. But, assuming he said it, no, I disagreed with that.

LEMON: But you're still, I mean, you're not going to fire him or get rid of him?

TRUMP: No, I'm not. He was very angry because they issued a false story to get publicity for themselves and to try to make themselves relevant, which they're not. People have been fired all over the place from that. And others are failing, too, as you know...


TRUMP: ... in that world. A lot of them are failing. But this one is a particularly bad one. A lot of money was spent on it and it's been a disaster. And he knew that. And he said to them, you know, you're doing the wrong thing.


TRUMP: You do this, you're doing the wrong thing. So, what happened is he probably got angry. No. I disagree with it. In fact, when I first saw it, I said, wow, you know, it's something I disagree with. But that's the way it is. He's speaking for himself. He's not speaking for me, obviously. But I did tell him that I disagreed with that.

LEMON: Well, this is something from 1993 that you -- why do you think this is coming up when you have denied this for more than 30 years now? You and Ivana. Why is this coming up now?

TRUMP: Well, it's a vicious business that you are in. I mean, it's a vicious business. You know, the world of politics. And I've always heard from the time I've very young, it's very, very hard for a very successful person to run for political office, especially for president. And now you see it.

I mean, you know, you see the way people are trying to pummel me, even though -- and I'm fine with it. But it's very dishonest. I mean, the reporting is so dishonest. I've had other story that, you know, that aren't as dramatic, bud they're so dishonest, they're equally dishonest.

And it amazes me that people are getting away with this kind of stuff. Because, you know, you shouldn't be allowed to do it. You shouldn't be allowed to say such falsehood. And it was, again, so nice that -- first of all, it's nice that you read her statement. I appreciate that, Don, because it was a statement that she issued after she read and she issued it right away and I thought that was amazing. And I appreciate your reading it.

But, you know, that people are allowed to do this. And honestly, what the problem is, it will keep other very successful people which is the kind of a person, male or female, that you need running for the Office of President and that you need as president to straighten out the country, it will keep them from running.

You know, when people see what I go through, now the only good news is that, I'm leading in all the polls and leading very substantially. And another one just came out, a great one in New Hampshire, which is a state that I love. I love the people in New Hampshire and Iowa. I'm doing great in Iowa.

[22:05:06] Two amazing places with amazing people. And, you know, I'm leading by a lot. So, that's the good news.


LEMON: You're leading by a lot in a lot of polls. And I want to talk to you about that. But to your point, this is to your point, Donald. I don't want you to misconstrue anything. You denounce the statements and give me clarity and then we'll move on.

TRUMP: It's disgusting that they could even make the statements. And, you know, I've denounced it and this isn't new.

LEMON: I mean the statements from Michael Cohen, you denounce his statement.

TRUMP: Oh, yes, well, I disagree with what he said, absolutely.

LEMON: Yes. OK. All right. Let's move on because you're talking about how you believe the media texting out of context, will keep who are successful...

TRUMP: Well, purposely.

LEMON: ... from running. And that's part of your appeal. You are the front runner now and I think that's part of your appeal. And so, you know, in the CNN poll, the poll that you just mentioned. But now this debate is coming up. Are you ready for it? TRUMP: I have absolutely no idea how to answer that question. I am me.

I don't have pollsters. I mean, I have a lot of money, much more money than all of them put together and all of their phony contributions put together. But, you have to understand. I want to be me. You know, they pay pollsters millions and millions of dollars, Don. You know that better than anybody.


TRUMP: And they won't answer a question, you see with Jeb Bush with the simple question that was asked about Iraq, it took five days to get the answer out. And I think Jeb is probably a nice person. I don't really know Jeb. But I think he's probably a nice person. But you can't rely on pollsters every time there's a question. Same thing with Hillary Clinton. I mean, she doesn't want to answer any questions, she doesn't deal with the press. Everything is done by pollsters.

And you know, my expression is, if the pollsters were any good, why aren't they running for office?

LEMON: But, Donald, you're going to be up on their stage -- on that stage, you're going to have a time where you're to be up against the other candidates. Are you preparing, do you have a debate coach? Are you ready for this?

TRUMP: I am what I am. I am what I am. I mean, that debate coach. Look, Romney had a debate coach. And Obama had a debate coach. Frankly, I thought Obama was terrible. But Romney got worse and worse every time there was a debate. By the time they had a third debate, he was catastrophic. I don't know what happened to him.

I have to be myself, Don. And if it's not good enough, that's OK. I'll have, you know, I'll go on to other things I'll write into the sunset and do some more buildings and create some more jobs, and that's OK. I'm doing this because I want to make America great again. And that's why I'm doing it. I'm not doing it because I need to do it. That I can tell you. People are saying why are you doing that? You put yourself through that kind of abuse.

But, you know, on false abuse too. You know, you get accused of so many different things. So much purposely inaccurate reporting. But I'm doing it because I want to make our country great again. And we can do it. We probably have a last chance to do it, if you want to know the truth, Don.

LEMON: So, if you don't do well in the debate, it sounds, you're saying you're going to ride off into the sunset if you don't do well?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know what the definition of not well is. I mean, you know, you may do well. And frankly, you may do great and then a lot of reporters, no matter what, it was Abraham Lincoln up there debating. He was the pretty debater, as the press goes. You may, you know, find out that he, you know, they may say, oh, gee, he didn't do well. I may think I totally won the debate and read the next day that I didn't. I've have that so much with the press. So, we'll see what it is. Look, I will do -- I'm looking forward to it. I'm a gentleman. I want to be a gentleman. I don't what's going to happen. I read all sorts of things. You know, a lot of these people are not doing very well in the polls and they're intelligent people. And they may come at me strong and they may not. I mean, it's really not about me, it's about our country. It's about the vision for the country.


LEMON: Donald, it's a long, harsh log as you know. Are you getting tired?

TRUMP: No, I'm not getting tired. I seem to be -- I seem to have quite a bit of energy. I had wonderful parents and they were very energetic people. And they lived long lives, my parents. And so, in that respect, I'm very lucky. And, no, I'm not tired. I'm actually, it's very exhilarating.

You know, but the wonderful thing is you get up and you see a poll from New Hampshire where it's not even -- plus, I mean, I'm so far in the lead. Because they want to see great things happen for the country. And they know that politicians are all talk. No action. They're run by the special interest. They're run by the lobbyists.

I mean, you see these people like, you know, this weekend, Bush was in the Hamptons raising money. Well, I knew the people that he was with. And these people are tough, smart, many of them Wall Street types. They're doing that not because they love him. They're doing that because they want to control him once he gets into office.

The nice part about me, I don't need anybody's money. Nobody's controlling me, Don. I'm going to do what's right for the people. And I'm going to do what's right for the country. Not for a Wall Street firm.

LEMON: We're not done yet. We've got a lot more on Donald Trump. When we come right back, the $10 billion question. What is Trump really worth?


LEMON: Mr. Trump, many people, you know, and it wasn't the conventional wisdom and you defied it, counted you out after the McCain statement. The president is all the way in Africa and he's talking about your remarks about John McCain and part of your style of campaigning. He's saying it hurts America. He's worried about who he's going to turn the keys to the White House over to. How do you respond to that?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, John McCain has done a terrible job, and I think this is why, frankly, that so many people agree with what I'm saying. He's done a terrible job for the veterans. He's been there for 30 years. The veterans are suffering like never before. Their wait list is longer than ever before. They're suffering like never before. Their wait list is longer than ever before. They're waiting for a doctor longer hours as of last Wednesday. It was the longest and the worst it's ever been. And people are tired of it.

I love the vets. I've done a lot for the vets, including the Vietnam Memorial Building in New York with a small group of very good people. And we got it built. And it's beautiful to this day. It's magnificent at lower Manhattan.

But I will tell you, people just cannot take the incompetence, the all-talk, no action of these politicians. And John McCain and other politicians have done nothing for the vets. That's why when one of the groups, I think it was yours, actually, said, who do you like better to the vets? Trump or John McCain, Trump easily won. That's not saying much for somebody that, you know, was in service for so long.

[22:14:58] LEMON: And to the president's comments Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's pretty sad when you go to Africa and you start talking about Donald Trump. Because that's not what it's all about. He's supposed to be talking about relationships with Africa, relationships with the various countries that he's going to see. I think these people are sitting back. In fact, I look at some of the leaders of the various countries and they were sort of stunned that he's talking about Donald Trump.

You're supposed to be talking about trade and other things having to do with this visit. So, I don't understand why he was talking about me. I guess you could say in a way I'm honored that he was. But I don't -- I think he should stay on point.


TRUMP: And he should do the job that he's over there for. Not be talking about me.

LEMON: Well, he's not the only one talking about you. I don't know if you saw this Town Hall voter with Chris Christie, but I want you to listen to them and then we'll talk about.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just don't believe that the skills that you're talking about that Donald has...


CHRISTIE: ... are transferable to a governmental setting. I just don't. See, because Donald would tell Speaker Boehner, I want this bill and I want it on my desk because it's what's best for America. Speaker Boehner would look at him and say, yes, well, I don't have the votes for that, so I can't give it to you. He can't look at him and say, Speaker Boehner, you're fired. He can't do that because you're on a reality show but you cannot fire the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader because you don't get what you want.


LEMON: He's saying, Donald, that you're good at getting attention, but you may not be so good at governing.

TRUMP: Well, I think that I've been dealing with politicians all of my life and I know Chris and I like Chris, and all of that stuff. But he's got to say that. I mean, what's he going to say? Trump will do a better job than I will? He can't say that. He's got to say that. I'm not insulted.

See, I think that's very fair what he's saying. I don't think it's fair when people call me name like some of the others did. And by the way, they didn't go up in the polls at all which is a great honor. But I think it's fair when Chris challenges you in that way.

But he's got to say that. I mean, if I'm him, I'm saying the exact same thing. But the fact is, I've built an incredible company. I've dealt with politicians all my life. I've done very well with politicians both democrats and republicans and everybody else, and other countries, by the way. I've done very well. Or I wouldn't have been able to be worth much more than $10 billion.


LEMON: OK. You say...

TRUMP: You know, I won't be able to build that company.

LEMON: ... you say 10 billion, Bloomberg had done an analysis. They're saying three billion.

TRUMP: Well, by the way, they don't know what they're talking about. They even say that they don't know many of the companies that I'm even -- that they're dealing with. There was a stupid report -- and actually, Bloomberg amazingly treats me worse than almost anybody. And he was a friend of mine. And I actually helped him in very point. He had this disaster going along and they asked me, help, help, help. And I was the one that got it built after like 20 some odd years of construction. They didn't know what they were doing and I got it built.

I would say Bloomberg probably treats me about as badly as anybody, which is really shocking. But, in this case, they actually admit, because the guy didn't know what he was talking about, this young kid came up and saw some of my people and he didn't have a clue. And they admitted that they don't have numbers for many of the companies.

So, how can you do a report? They don't know what I have. I'm a private company. They have no idea what I have. So, you know, when see that stuff what they should do, although if you read the story, they'll say many of the companies we're not able to value because we just don't know they have no clue.

So, why do they go out with a story where they don't have a clue? They don't have a clue because they don't know my company. That's what being private is all about. But I built an amazing company. Some of the great assets of the world, some of the most iconic assets of the world, some of the great, great real estate of the world. And I did that also dealing with politicians and dealing in politics. LEMON: Yes, and you can't drive a block in New York City without

seeing some sort of Trump building or branding. So, I want to...


TRUMP: Well, not only New York City. I go all over the world.


TRUMP: This weekend, I'm going to Tenbury, one of the great resorts of the world in Scotland. I don't like to take time off from what I'm doing because I'm loving what I'm doing. I'm on the trail as you would say, Don.


TRUMP: But I have to because we have the Women's British Open at Tenbury. I own Tenbury, and it's this weekend and I was going to be, you know -- a year ago, I was going to be there for the whole week and enjoy it. I can't. So, I'll be there for about a day and a half, or two days. Probably I'll leave on Saturday some time, which is, you know, a day prior to the end. But, you know, it's a great honor to have the Women's British Open which is the biggest tournament in golf, this British Open.


LEMON: And then you're back on the campaign trail?

TRUMP: I'll be back on -- I'll be back on Saturday night.

LEMON: Is the RNC...

TRUMP: I'm leaving tomorrow and I'll be back on Saturday night. I'm leaving tomorrow night and I'll be back on Saturday.

LEMON: Is the RNC getting any warmer towards you? Or do you think that because I read in the Hill that possibly you would, you know, do a third party bid. Are they worried about that? And will you do it?

TRUMP: Well, I think they've become very warm since they see that I'm leading in all the polls. And, you know, I've hit a cord. The middle class is really liking me a lot. Because we have to bring back the middle class on our country, and they're really liking me. The vets are loving me you see more than anybody.

[22:20:00] And that's been, you know, resonating. On the border, the people that want -- you know, at Phoenix, I have 15,000 people in Phoenix and it was an amazing day. An amazing day. And these are people that want border security. You know, they want to stop the inflow of illegal immigrants coming in. I mean, there is a lot of groups that agree with me.

You know, I call it the silent majority, to bring a word back from the past, but I call it the silent majority.


TRUMP: And there is a huge silent majority out there, Don, and they're sick and tired of watching incompetent people. All people that aren't necessary incompetent but they just want to keep their jobs, meaning politicians, more talks and they don't do.


LEMON: Enough of a silent majority that would give you enough momentum you think to be a viable third party candidate, would you consider that?

TRUMP: Well, you know, a lot of people want me to do that. I have so many people that actually do that.

LEMON: But will you do it?

TRUMP: No. But I don't want to do that. I want to run as a -- I'm the leader in the republican. Obviously, I think that's better, from my standpoint and from the standpoint of winning. I'm leading in the Republican Party, in some cases, you see yourself because you have the polls. In some cases, leading by a lot. And I would much rather do that than to the other.

And, yes, they are treating me very nicely. I think there has been a new level of respect since people have seen the polls.

LEMON: Yes. OK, So, your Twitter feed has probably the best on Twitter, one of the best on Twitter, I follow, it. And you tweeted this today. You said, "I had," speaking of Tom Brady, you said, "I had no definitive proof against -- they had no definitive proof against Tom Brady or hashtag patriots. If Hillary doesn't have to produce e- mails, why should Tom? Very unfair" Again, this is from me. Sorry. So, you tweeted this today. You know, there's new information about Tom Brady, what do you say to this new information about destroying his phone and all of that?

TRUMP: Well, I don't see what they're doing. And look, Tom Brady is a friend of mine, he's a very good friend of mine. He's a terrific guy, a wonderful young guy. And I think he's been, you know, it's been a rough situation. And I'm for Tom Brady. I like Tom Brady. We're not talking about nuclear. We're not talking about anything. I'm for Tom Brady.

A lot of people say the rules weren't proper when, you know, with the balls with the testing. A lot of people don't even know how the ball is tested. I just think this, the NFL should treat people, also, with great respect. Then maybe they should have tougher rules in place. Who knew what happened? I'm not sure to this day.

Don't forget, when this report when originally came out, which is the one I originally read, they wouldn't have had the proof and they basically said this to go before a jury. If he was before a jury based on the evidence they had, he would have won, you know, based on this day. So, I'm a Tom Brady guy. I like Tom Brady a lot. I think should not

have taken this long. The NFL spent millions and millions and millions of dollars with hiring top, top, top law firms. This should have been something that could have been solve in 24 hours to do something. But I think it's a shame.

And you know, if you knew Tom, you'd feel the way I do because he really is a terrific young man and I know him really well. He wants to help people. He's just a great guy. And I think they treated him very rough. And even the fact that they waited this long. What takes his long? This thing went on forever. I think they've treated him very, very rough. And it's a shame.

LEMON: Before I let you go, I want to ask you about China because the stock market really tank today. You often talk about China and the manipulation of currency. What do you make of this...


TRUMP: And I've also said China is a big bubble.

LEMON: Yes. And so, do you think that's reflected today in the stocks?

TRUMP: Well, the world is a very shaky place because financially, it's all built on hope and dreams. You look at interest rates being where they are, they are artificially low. You look at what went on in China. And you know, in the case of China, if we have a great leader we can benefit by China collapse. And frankly, I mean, not that it's a nice thing, but we can benefit. If we have a stupid leader, the China collapse is going to take us down with them. So, they better elect Trump or they have a problem.

LEMON: Donald Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Poll show him leading his GOP rivals. And as you heard, Donald Trump is confident he'll win the nomination. But one of my next guests, remember of the GOP establishment says flat out, Trump will lose. We're going to talk about it next.


LEMON: Donald Trump talked about his strategy for the upcoming GOP debate. The possibility of a third party run for the White House and a lot more in our wide ranging interview.

And I want to get reaction now from Katrina Pierson, spokesman for the Tea Party Leadership Fund and a former Texas congressional candidate. And also, Rick Wilson, a republican strategist. They both joined me now. Katrina, you first, what is your reaction to what Trump told me about his attorneys and that Daily Beast, those comments?

KATRINA PIERSON, TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND SPOKESPERSON: Well, I think, you know, he's been saying it since the article came out yesterday that it didn't happen. He's going to back his guy. Which I want to point out something interesting, as most republicans by now would have kicked their attorney to the curb and called it a day. But Donald Trump said, hey, you know, he's just a guy, he spoke for himself what's the right thing. I told him about it. End, done deal. There was nothing there to begin with. So, why are we even talking it?

LEMON: Rich, she does bring -- go ahead.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: What's interesting to me is that the fact that people suddenly realize that Donald Trump's closest confident is a liberal democratic activist. And you know, Emerson once said that institution is the length and shadow of a man. And so, I'm kind of wondering about the kind of people Donald Trump has surrounded himself.

LEMON: What evidence do you have that he's a liberal activist?

WILSON: Well, it's all over the internet man. Go look at it. There's the...

PIERSON: Oh, the internet, the internet, there you go.

WILSON: Yes, yes, yes. There's plenty of pictures of Michael Cohen. He's a registered democrat. He has plenty of pictures of Michael Cohen with Hillary Clinton. This is not a question mark, this is a fact. And the fact to the matter is, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with guys like that.

And frankly, whether or not Cohen was right or wrong on legal issues, which I think was abhorrent, what he said. But this is the sort of thing, they're having to back and fill on and suddenly, Donald Trump who's been carrying this entire thing on his own back, who's been running the message all by himself is leaving this to his minions.

And these guys aren't the cute or yellow minions. These are the kind of guys that are unaccustomed to having -- to operate outside for number of Donald trump's hair shadow. And this is a guy who doesn't understand how politics works.


[22:30:00] PIERSON: So, this is a guy that you...

LEMON: Go ahead, Katrina.

PIERSON: You're talking about an establishment guy. You, yourself, claimed to be the establishment GOP guy. And you have the audacity to call somebody a minion? Who do you think has been attacking conservatives for last election cycle? You guys are so...



PIERSON: ... acting conservatives. How do you know democrats.

LEMON: One at a time, please. One at a time. WILSON: You know, Donald Trump is not a conservative. He's not a

conservative and hasn't been a conservative. He is a long time liberal. He is a guy who has been pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro- taxes. This is a guy who's cunning conservatives right now. He is running a scam on conservatives by talking about one issue that they're really carrying about or what.

PIERSON: Absolutely not.

WILSON: And this is a fraud executed by a TV character.

LEMON: Go ahead, respond it and I want to move in, Katrina.

PIERSON: He's not running a scam. Simply because -- you want to know the reason why so many people are flocking to Donald Trump? You might want the look in the mirror. The Republican Party has failed for decades to govern as republicans. You can talk about liberal policies all day long. Republicans are supporting liberal policies right now. They won't even disqualify parenthood because...

WILSON: Are they pro-abortion like Donald Trump? Was it a pro-gun control? Because they're not.

PIERSON: I don't know. Why don't we talk about this because your guy, Mitch McConnell won't define Planned Parenthood, so what does that say?

WILSON: Wait one second. Wait one second. Not one person in the republican leadership right now is a pro-single payer health care, pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-high taxes liberal as Donald Trump has been. Donald Trump isn't even a republican. He's a registered independent. You realized he can't be on the ballot in about 15 or 16 states because he's not an actual republican. You know, I know he doesn't want to pretend...


PIERSON: Define what a republican is. Define what a republican is.

WILSON: I don't know if he's thinking above the rules but he's not above the rules.

PIERSON: Define republicans because the republicans that are running right now are aren't even supporting the...

WILSON: So, here's a pretty simple -- here's a pretty simple typology on the back.

LEMON: So, let me jump in here, Rick. She does have a point. You have 16 people on the ballot. And the person who's ahead double digits, and if all of those are registered republicans, the one person you say in your mind in your estimation is not a registered republican.

WILSON: He's not.

LEMON: He says he's running as a republican. I asked him. He wants to be third party candidate, he says, no. I'm running as republican. They're not supporting them. They're supporting Donald trump.

WILSON: Here's the thing. Right now, there are two big factors that are involved here. One, he's been a celebrity, he's been a television figure, he's been character he plays on TV for 20 plus years.

LEMON: But that would have lasted about two weeks ago.

WILSON: But there's also a dynamic where the media wants Donald Trump to be the only story. So, this is a self-reinforcing cycle where Donald trump gets to be the show. He loves an insult, somebody responds. He loves an insult and it's great process story, low-rent cycle time with the media. Every day they know they're going to get something outrageous and cookie out of Donald. So, they cover him more and more and more.

LEMON: We're not covering more and more and more because of that. We're covering him because he's accepting interviews. Jeb Bush, we invited Jeb Bush. We would invite Chris Christie. We invite everyone. John Kasich was on the air today speaking to Wolf Blitzer. If we invite you on and you say, yes, we put you on television.



PIERSON: But, Don...

WILSON: But Donald Trump is a different category for you guys because he is a pre-insisting celebrity and you also know he's burglary incompetent...


PIERSON: It's a different category.

WILSON: .... and he will say anything.


WILSON: He will say whatever is on his mind. Now, if this is going to be a president now a problem if he actually got elected. It will be hysterical.

LEMON: All right.

PIERSON: But, Don...

LEMON: Go ahead.

PIERSON: ... the real problem is the establishment is freaking out right now because their guy, Jeb Bush, is down by double digits. When this whole thing started, Donald Trump he's not serious, he's not going to be able to do anything, he's not going to fell -- guess what?

WILSON: Tick tack, he was. PIERSON: He's up in Iowa, he's up in New Hampshire. And that's fine. He can have his day. But here's the thing. You guys need to figure out that the base is not supporting what you're selling. So, if you get a third party candidate, it's not going to be because of Donald Trump, it's the failure of the republican leadership that we are experiencing today.


WILSON: The third party candidate...

LEMON: Let's talk about the debate next Thursday because I asked Donald Trump if he was preparing and he told me, you know, I am what I am. He says, if that's not good enough he's going to ride off into the sunset. Do you buy that, Rick?

WILSON: Listen, I think Donald Trump's ego is in this game now. I think he's going to go out there on that stage and think that the rules don't apply to him. I think he's going to think that all of those guys are coward and intimidated by him.

And I think a couple of them are going to tear the bark off of him and pretty sell it. I think they're going to go out him and I think he's going to be very surprised the debate forum at isn't the Donald Trump bellowing at the latest object fest. It is going to be a serious debate with real smart folks who have been in the debate before and he's going to meet up with a bunch of people who are prepared to take him on.

LEMON: Katrina.

PIERSON: No, I don't think so. Look, the only egos involved here are the republican establishment. That's why they're all licking their wounds right now trying to figure out how to control a man that cannot be controlled. But here's the thing, the debates are going to be very telling. And you guys should be thanking Donald Trump for being in this race because if not, the media would be going after your guys and tearing them apart.

LEMON: You -- and I want to talk about Mark Cuban. Because Mark Cuban is a billionaire, as we know. He's not a friend of Donald Trump, necessarily. He had said some things that opposed Donald Trump. But, nonetheless, he says, this is what he says. "It's the best thing the happen to politics in a long time."

[22:35:00] And then, he went on to say, "I don't care what his actual positions are. I don't care if he says the wrong thing. He says what's on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything, any candidate has done in years."

This is a guy who gets in a feuds with Donald Trump all the time publicly, and still, he likes s him in the race. That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? It sounds like that woman who was at the Town Hall with Chris Christie, Katrina. PIERSON: Well, yes, that's the thing. And people aren't understanding.

There's a psychological thing going on here. You have a man who is unbeholden to no one. There isn't anyone that can buy him. He has nothing to lose. He's just being who he is. And people respect that.

Whereas, on the other hand, with the establishment guys, they're in bed with big business. Corporate welfare that spread around everywhere. The little guys are being left out here. So, Donald Trump is out there speaking for those people and that's why he's resonating.


LEMON: Risk, I want to ask you.

PIERSON: Not because he's a celebrity.

LEMON: ... Rick, I want to ask you about this New York Times article.


LEMON: If you allow me to move on. It's now reporting that sworn testimony that they have uncovered by Donald Trump over the past decades show him to be as they put it, "Hyperbolic, and bullish particularly in questions on questions on his wealth and finances. In one deposition this is according to The Times, he compares his inclination to blur the fact says, no difference from a politician running for office. He's the front runner right now, is everything fair game?

WILSON: Listen, Donald Trump has a very long history in business and all of it is going to come out. All the opposition research is going to come out. There are going to be questions as they were today about Donald Trump's long relationship with a variety of Italian-American families in the casino and the construction business. There are going to be a lot of questions pointed at Donald Trump very soon and things he's not prepared to answer.

And because he's the only guy in his campaign, it's really the centerpiece of it, it's all going to have to come out of him. You're going to see Donald Trump the character he plays on TV get peeled back into the real guy. You're going to see what he is in real life. You're going to see that this $10 billion net worth thing is an imagined number, it's made up. It's unicorns. It's not a substance of number. You're going to see this thing peeled back. Because here's what's going to happen. And I know that you will...


LEMON: Quickly, Rick.

WILSON: ... I know you'd love to have this be the Donald Trump show versus the establishment. But eventually, they're going to go after him. The media is going to go after him in a much more vicious way. Because if he keeps on keeping on, they're going to see him as...

LEMON: OK. WILSON: ... somebody a great target and they're going to tear him apart.

LEMON: Rick Wilson, Katrina Pierson, thank you.


PIERSON: But you wrote the article...

LEMON: That's going to have to be. Katrina, I am out of time.

PIERSON: ... you wrote the article pitting Trump against the establishment. That was you.

LEMON: Thanks to both of you. Coming up...


LEMON: ... it looks like a Patriot star quarterback Tom Brady. We'll get back to them sooner or later. Tom Brady will not take his suspension lying down, but can he get the decision overturn, that's the question.


LEMON: Today, the NFL upheld a four-game suspension of New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady where his role on deflate gate. Commissioner Roger Goodell says, that by destroying his cell phone, Brady, quote, "sought to hide evidence of his own participation." NFL Players Association says, it will file in the field.

Joining me now Rachel Nichols, CNN turner sports -- sorry, I mean, can we just put back the tape measure. I mean, this is seriously it's crazy.

RACHEL NICHOLS CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: This is our long national nightmare.

LEMON: But this two guys...


LEMON: ... the two most important guys in football and probably in sports this is something...


NICHOLS: This is the most powerful man in American sports; Roger Goodell opposing our most celebrated athlete, the most successful quarterback of this American century missed that all everything. He's married to a supermodel and they're going at each other. It's crazy. And today, it got crazier.


LEMON: What's this bombshell? NICHOLS: Because the biggest bombshell we heard today was not just that the NFL is upholding this four-game suspension where everyone probably get at least reduced. It's that they revealed that Tom Brady actually destroyed his cell phone the day that NFL investigators came to see him and interview him.

Now, Tom Brady said during his appeal process that he regularly destroys or rather orders the cell phone destroyed by an assistant. I would love to know whose job that is to the entourage to destroy Tom and Gisele's cell phones.

But, apparently, he says that every four or five months, they switch cell phones, they destroy the old ones, destroy the sim card for privacy reasons. That very well may be true. But the issue is you don't destroy evidence when you are under investigation.


NICHOLS: And certainly not the day that the investigator comes to see you. It looks fishy even it isn't.

LEMON: You have some information, as I understand, what happened behind the scene and negotiations because as I understand, there's a report tonight that the NFL was willing to make a deal, was a 50 percent reduction in the suspension in exchange for an admission of guilt. Is that true?

NICHOLS: Well, I spoke to someone from the NFLPA, their spokesman, George Atallah. The NFLPA was the ones negotiating on Tom Brady's behalf. So, they weren't just involved in the negotiations. They were doing the negotiation. And he told me that any report that says that the NFL offered Brady a reduced suspension in exchange for certain stipulations is, as he put it, quote, "Categorically false."

He said, that basically the NFLPA, the Player's Association was the one who made the first offer. They offer that if Brady had no suspension at all that took a fine for failing to cooperate they would make that deal. And what the spokesman told me was that the NFL didn't give them any kind of official counter offer at all.

That the only thing that they were told was, hey, if he's not ready to admit his guilt, we can't even talk to you and the two sides walked away.

LEMON: It seems the one...

NICHOLS: That's according to the NFLPA. The NFL won't comment on that.

LEMON: ... it seems the one who has the most power in -- well, Roger Goodell. It's, but...

NICHOLS: He does right now. Now.


LEMON: Is Tom Brady saying anything about it? NICHOLS: Well, the NFLPA and Tom Brady what are they are now saying is they're going to take the NFL to court. The NFL filed sort of a preemptive lawsuit of their own in New York Court. Because New York has been a little bit more friendly to the New York Federal District has been a little bit more friendly to the management, the FLL.

The NFLPA, the Players' Association on Brady's behalf is going to file a suit in Minnesota because that is typically a labor-friendly federal district. And they are going to go from there. The PS on Brady's behalf today called the cell phone issue a "smokes screen." They said it was a new low, quote and quote, "even for the NFL," to throw this cell phone issue into the mix.

[22:45:03] Because they still claim that issue is, did he or did he not deflate footballs. Did he or did he know about it. And what was the procedure here of Roger Goodell being the appeals officer on his own case there on his own decisions.

LEMON: Yes. I'm going to be watching you and asking you lots of questions up until football season starts.

NICHOLS: It's a circus, my friend, and nobody is coming out of this looking good.

LEMON: Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate it, always. When we come right back what you can and can't say about race in America and who decides. Next, a man who says anti-racism is the new American religion. You don't want to miss it.


LEMON: America is a nation of many faiths. There's Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhists, Hindu, even no faith at all, if you choose. But, joining me now, the man who says, we have a whole new religion, and that new religion is anti-racism with its own preachers, scriptures, commandments the faithful don't dare break.

John McWhorter is the author of "Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America." Another fascinating piece by you. I'm so glad that you've here to talk about it. So, why do you think that anti-racism, you said that anti-racism is the new religion. Why is that?

[22:50:00] JOHN MCWHORTER, "WINNING THE RACE: BEYOND THE CRISIS IN BLACK AMERICA" AUTHOR: We have a religion in that, there is scripture and there are questions you're not supposed to ask and there is original sin.

And, so, for example, there is scripture. The scripture says that America is based on racism and racism is what America is all about today. Now those are indispensable positions, but we're taught now to treat those things as scripture.

And so, for example, if someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic writes a piece called "A case for reparations." And the main point is to indicate that scripture that I said, then the piece isn't engaged at this point. What people like about a piece like that who are members of this anti-racism religion is simply that it was said and they're harkening to the proclamation.

So, the idea that you're supposed to engage or ask questions or some people might even want to be skeptical, that's considered incorrect. It's considered heretical. Now, it's not a con Ta-Nehisi Coates on what he wrote. It's the way the work is supposed to be received and that also goes for his current book.

LEMON: And I didn't think it was. I thought that the way you did it was just as a starting point. Because it was, you said it. When this book came out -- and many people had written things about reparations before.

MCWHORTER: Very much.

LEMON: It wasn't that different than what many people had written. But this was seen as gospel.

MCWHORTER: Yes, I was genuinely perplexed. Because I just thought, reparations less than 15 years ago, we kind of already went through this and yet, there was this reception. And also, we all know that reparations isn't going to happen in any real way. And yet, there's this receptions and that's when I realized. Wait a minute. It's that he's preaching. And there's a community of people who are taking in the preaching.

And why I call it preaching is because there's a sense in this religion. That if you ask questions beyond a certain, small point, then there's something wrong with you. There are things that you're supposed to just allow. And so, for example, a part from Ta-Nehisi Coates is written.

Supposed somebody ask and I'm noticing that people are asking this a lot lately. Why is it that the black community is much more upset about one white cop killing a black man or a black woman than the black men, who for various reasons, are killing one another at alarming rates in our cities year after year.

Why is it that people are more upset? Now, if you ask that question, then you're given half answers. Somebody will say that there's a difference between people doing it from within the community as opposed to doing it as a figure of authority. But...

LEMON: What's the difference?

MCWHORTER: That's not a satisfying answer. You might have more questions, but you're not supposed to ask, or somebody will, like Charles Blow, will say that the people who are killing each other in these communities are doing it within a structure of racism. Now, that's a start, but you may want to say still, why are we more upset at the one white cop. You're not to ask.

Now, of course, there are people who do ask. But when you ask the question, you're treated as if you've done something wrong. You've blown on a tuba in church. You're racist. You don't get it. You're not understanding the scripture. You're not with Jesus. That's what it is. LEMON: You say that it's not unlike religion. It's you must have

faith. It's like someone saying in an argument, when you're talking about politics or whatever, why is that? Because God said. Or because the bible said. There are certain things that you just don't go. And you have to buy into that, otherwise, you are wrong.

MCWHORTER: You are wrong. There are certain questions you are simply not to ask. Or, if you ask them, you are treated as if you've done something wrong. The eyes roll. You are a part of the problem. You are evidence that America doesn't want to talk about race and racism, when I think you and I both know that we talk about it all the time. The idea that anybody would say that is what I mean by religion.

LEMON: I want to talk about it, this is a New York Times CBS poll, news poll, conducted between July 14th and July 19th. Found that nearly 6 and 10 Americans think that race relations are bad, and nearly 4 in 10 think race relations are getting worse. That's according to The Times African-Americans are the most unhappy since the Rodney King writes in 1992. Why is this perception, is this real, why is that?

MCWHORTER: Well, I would say that that is because and I said this often, the main reason that black America feels that racism is still the defining aspect of being black is the cops, is the problems with the cops. And, over the past two or three years, there have been many high profile incidents that have been terrible things and that, I think, and all of the fallout from that is why race relations are considered a problem.

Just the other day, I was listening to two men on the train platform, two black men talking about race in America. I started counting the seconds. And the first thing that came up was anybody who doesn't see racism as crazy, think of Mike Brown. And I thought to myself that conversation is representative. That's what's behind that polls.

LEMON: Behind that. And since Mike Brown we had all these young people who are going around the country. We have the Black Lives Matter and all that. I want you to play this sound bite. This is Martin O'Malley at the Netroots and this Black Lives Matter.


[22:55:07] MARTIN O'MALLLEY, MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Every life matters. And that is why this is so important. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter. Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.


LEMON: What did you think of that moment?

MCWHORTER: You know, I get where they're coming from.


MCWHORTER: Because what they're saying is that, yes, all lives matter, but there's a problem with some people thinking that black lives don't matter enough. But the problem is, a lot of people are listening to the slogan Black Lives Matter. And they're thinking, is it that black lives matter only when white people take them and they're impatient? And it's not all right wingers, this is many middle of the road liberal people.

And what I just think to myself is these people who are patrolling communities and calling attention to what white cops are doing. I get it. They're fierce. The New York Times Magazine article, I cheer them. But I think to myself, we lack imagination because of our religion. Which is that those same people with the same indignation looking at their phones, heroes. We should have people like that working on the problems within our communities, too.

LEMON: John McWhorter, thank you.

MCWHORTER: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: That is it for us tonight. I'll see you back here tomorrow night. "AC360" starts right now.