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Republicans Coming Together; Democrats Falling Apart; Trump Meets with Henry Kissinger; Ivanka Trump Talks about Her Father and Women; Facebook CEO Meets Prominent Conservatives. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 18, 2016 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: A party at war with itself. A front-runner under fire, but it's not who you think.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Donald Trump is the GOP's last man standing and the party of Lincoln is actually coming together. But it's a very different story for the democrats. The front-runner, Hillary Clinton, tweeting this. "We're always stronger united."
While a defiant Bernie Sanders says this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a state after state, the people have stood up and helped defeat the establishment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Are the democrats headed for convention chaos? Plus, Trump turning the tables. Naming potential Supreme Court justices. Meeting with Henry Kissinger, and beginning to look more presidential by the day. Who would have thought this is where we'd be now?
Down is up, up is down when it comes to this political season. Let's get right to the breaking news, though, on Donald Trump.
And here to discuss, CNN senior political -- CNN senior legal analyst -- I'm changing your title here -- is Jeffrey Toobin. Chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, republican consultant, Margaret Hoover, and Trump senior adviser, Stephen Miller. Good to have all of you sitting here at the table.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Nice to see you.
LEMON: Dan, I want to start with this late-breaking news. A.B. Culvahouse, Donald Trump has hired him. That's the man who ran John McCain's V.P. search and came up with Sarah Palin. So, what is this all about? What can you tell us?
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He did, and that is certainly what he is known best for, for obvious reasons. But he also is somebody who has been doing this for many, many years. Many cycles. He is the go-to guy for republicans on how to -- and how to vet candidates.
He actually was talking to our very own Michael Smerconish, just a few weeks ago, I believe, about what it's like to vet V.P. candidates. Look at what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
A.B. CULVAHOUSE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Tend to be family issues. By the time that someone gets to a vice presidential long list, any personal issues have -- are already well-known or disclosed.
But the intrusive nature of a vice presidential vet extends far beyond just the potential nominee and his or her spouse to family, including brothers, political affiliations of parents, that sort of thing. So, that's where we see most of the problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Again, that was, obviously him responding to a question about where the biggest pitfalls are. I should also say that he has said explicitly that what he recommended to John McCain was Sarah Palin is somebody who is a possibility, but she is high-risk, high-reward. And he said to Michael Smerconish, that he stands by that recommendation.
LEMON: Of course. As you were speaking, I was looking at this other list of Supreme Court justice, possible nominees that Donald Trump came up, and I was counting 11, right? What's the reaction been to this list?
BASH: Well, conservatives are thrilled. Because they feel that this is a list that not only they would write, but they have written. Many of them came from a list inside the Heritage Foundation. Some federal society. These are two very prominent, important conservative groups that deal with these issues.
But I think that the thing to remember and to keep in mind is, as far as I know, and Jeffrey, you're the scholar here, this is unprecedented.
I mean, traditionally, you have candidates saying, well, I'm going to have a advisory group and they're going to come up with some potential names. To actually put the names, pen to paper, out there is really, this is the first time I've seen it. And there's no question it is because he wants to make clear to conservatives, he is one of them.
And I will tell you my reporting about his meeting with house republican leaders last week is that House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "We need to make sure that we really know you're a conservative. You've got to make sure that you do well on the Scalia vacancy." And he said, "I'll get you a list and I'll do it soon."
LEMON: And here it is.
BASH: And here it is. LEMON: So, again, unprecedented and is this enough to make
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This will make conservatives happy. This is a dream team of conservative judges. If you really want Roe v. Wade overturned and abortion illegal in States in the United States, these are the judges you want on the Supreme Court.
If you want gay and transgender people not to have equal rights guaranteed under the Constitution, these are the judges you want on the Supreme Court. This is a difference between democrats and republicans, between conservatives and liberals in this country.
And this -- and this election is going to be one of the clearest holes, especially with a vacancy existing right now. One of the clearest choices between the parties and Donald Trump made that very clear today.
[22:04:59] LEMON: We're going to get to this side of the table, but I'm not done with this side of the table. OK. Because I want to ask you, because a couple of people who are on this have been very -- have been highly critical of Donald Trump, quite frankly.
Don Willett of Texas tweeted this. He said, Justice Don Willet, "Donald Trump, haiku, who would the Donald name to SCOTUS, the mind reels, weeps can't finish tweet." Justice Don Willett, "We'll rebuild the death star, it will be amazing, believe me and the rebels will pay for it." Dark Trump.
And Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, is the ex-wife of Charlie Sykes, a radio talk show host and vocal critic of Trump, said, "Do these picks -- I'm wondering, do they unify the party by telling people what they want to hear, these picks."
TOOBIN: Well, First of all, Judge Willett in Texas is famous for his Twitter feed. You know, among us legal nerds, this is a Twitter feed everybody follows.
BASH: I mean, when he's quoting "Star Wars" as a legal nerd, that's like...
TOOBIN: That's why everybody follows it. Yes.
BASH: A perfect combination, right?
TOOBIN: But I think this is an example -- I mean, this list is intended to show, look, I can take criticism from conservatives, but when it comes to the Supreme Court, I am one. And so I'm happy to have these people.
BASH: Can I just add a little bit of palace intrigue. Willett is very close friends with Ted Cruz. They worked together in the Solicitor General's Office in Texas. TOOBIN: And another one of the people on the list is the older
brother of Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who was Ted Cruz's closest friend in the Senate.
LEMON: So disastrous. My goodness. All in the family here.
BASH: It's just totally work out on you.
LEMON: I know you did. I mean, it's this wonky, but we love it. He's clearly trying to signal to conservatives, Stephen, that he is conservative, that he has that same ideological standpoint as they have.
But is this enough? I mean, should he go on and say, you know, he's not promising to nominate any of these people. They're just suggestions. Should he say, I'm promising to nominate at least one of these people.
STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR: Well, you never want to rule out the possibility of finding an amazing judge who has the record just like these people as you'd want to pick.
This is about setting a parameter, saying, these are the kinds of judges that will shape my thinking and my approach to the Supreme Court.
LEMON: What do you think of these picks?
MILLER: Well, they're fabulous.
LEMON: Are these possibilities?
MILLER: To me. The -- I mean, they're amazing judges. They really are some of -- I mean, Jeff, you would agree, these are some of the brightest legal minds in the country.
TOOBIN: They're very bright. They are very conservative. And that -- there's a real choice there.
HOOVER: I would just...
LEMON: Go, Margaret.
HOOVER: OK, here's the thing. First of all, yes, the movement conservatives will be very happy about this. The -- to the extent that they are not never-Trumpers. The problem is, a huge portion of the movement conservative sort of group are never-Trumpers, and they don't trust that when Donald Trump says he's a conservative, and look at just this list of 11 people that he was able to drum up, that that means that he'll actually nominate one of them.
Because he doesn't have a record -- a recorded history of elected office and elected politics where he can demonstrate that he's actually been a conservative. To the contrary, he actually has a long list of political donations he's given to democrats, issues that he's stood for, that are not consistent with movement conservatism.
So, they are, I mean, if you look at any of the conservative blogs right now, they doubt that this is something that he'll stick to. So, while the names are the right names, is it authentic to say that, surely, this is the philosophy of Donald Trump's jurisprudence.
MILLER: Happily respond to that, Don?
LEMON: I do. I will. Go ahead.
MILLER: OK. The -- well, first of all, I'm glad the primary's over, so we don't have to litigate some of these things anymore.
MILLER: But Donald Trump is trying to solve a problem that has vexed his party for years, right? Which is that we've had judges that have been nominated, like Kennedy, like Souter, like Roberts, and we've been horribly disappointed.
This is not just a here's who I'm going to nominate for his own sake. This is an actual plan to solve a problem that has plagued our party for decades. This is the way to do it right. Put the names out, vet the names, know who they are.
LEMON: How does this solve a problem, how does this solve a problem for decades?
MILLER: Because we used to try to find people under the radar. We don't know who they are. Who's this Souter? Let's find out. Roberts had argued some case before the high court, but didn't have a long record of ruling on cases. These people have made decisions under the klieg lights. We know how they'll respond to controversies. There aren't going to be surprises tenor reaching that.
LEMON: So, how do you respond? She said that there's a huge part of the GOPs who are never-Trumpers, right?
LEMON: So then, but there appears...
MILLER: Not amongst the voters. Maybe amongst some of the...
LEMON: But there looks like there are two here that might be. I mean, Diane Sykes and Don Willett may be never-Trumpers, if you look at their Twitter feeds. I mean, I look at what they're writing.
MILLER: I thought the tweets you read were intended more of a joke or anything.
(CROSSTALK) HOOVER: Maybe should probably been hired before this list was put
out. Probably should have vetted some of these judicial nominees. But here's the other flip side of this and I love to get the Trump campaign is answering this.
I mean, Donald Trump, one of the extraordinary things that I think he did that I think is quite good for the Republican Party is he's blown up this notion of this conservative orthodoxy straight jacket, that you absolutely have to be past these values voters litmus tests in order to win the republican nomination and that's what he blew up.
[22:09:59] I mean, he disproved Ted Cruz's entire theory, that you have to be a social conservative to the T in order to get the nomination.
And so, when it comes out and puts this list together that's really sort of, you know, a dog whistle for social conservatives to say, hey, look, I'm one of your guys. It's like that would have, you know, if you're going to play that game, play it in the primary, but now that you're running for the general, why are you doing this?
MILLER: Well, I think there are some factual issues there that needs to be set straight.
LEMON: Quickly I got to get to a break...
MILLER: He started looking on this after Scalia's untimely passing. We've been working on this for weeks and months and we've just recently finished this process. Another thing, it's not conservative or liberal. It's about following the Constitution versus inventing new rights and creating them out of whole cloth.
HOOVER: That's not true.
MILLER: And this is right. And this is not a dog whistle to social conservatives, it's about the rule of law, which makes all Americans safer and more prosperous in the long run and that's real conservatism.
HOOVER: I mean, that's the right answer, but as you and I both know...
MILLER: It is the right answer.
HOOVER: The -- and look, you and I agree.
LEMON: Because you said right.
HOOVER: You and I agree and conservatives agree and center-right people agree about sort of the role of the federal government, the role of the executive, you know, we have problems with this executive and we think that he's overstepped the bounds and the letter of the Constitution. However, you know, there are a couple of issues, social conservative
issues. I mean, you talked about trans issues which by the way isn't going to be a part of the Constitution. I mean, this is going to be an act of Congress that's going to solidify trans rights into, you know, qualify (ph) probably. It's going to go through the Congress, which is by the way is part of the Constitution.
We act through the Congress, the Congress makes our laws, not the executive branch. However, there are these social -- whenever you talk about abortion and life, I mean, this is intended as a political tool to motivate social conservatives.
LEMON: OK. Hold your thought. I want to hear more from you, Jeffrey, because you're the expert on this. But we are going to -- I have to get a break in. We're going to continue on. Everybody stay with me.
When we come right back, Donald Trump meets with Henry Kissinger. What happened behind closed doors? Plus, what Ivanka Trump has to say about her father's behavior towards women.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight about the moves that Donald Trump -- the moves he's making to shore up to some credentials with the conservatives.
Back with me now to talk about that, Jeffrey Toobin, Dana Bash, Margaret Hoover, and Stephen Miller.
We were talking about his picks for or just, you know, suggestions for a new justice. And he's gotten so much criticism for not being specific. Now he's giving specific examples or names, at least, Jeffrey Toobin.
TOOBIN: Absolutely, they are specific, but, you know, one point that hasn't been made in this conversation yet, is, you know, by laying down so clearly that you are going to pick anti-abortion rights, anti- gay rights, Supreme Court justices...
LEMON: Is it too obvious? Is that what you're saying?
TOOBIN: No. That that's not necessarily...
LEMON: No? Trying too hard?
TOOBIN: ... a political winner for you. There are a lot of people in this country who think the states should not be allowed to ban abortion. There are a lot of people here who think the Constitution should protect equal rights for gay people and for transgender people.
And by embracing legal conservatism so emphatically and so clearly, you risk losing votes as well as gaining them.
LEMON: Turning some people away.
LEMON: You believe that vast majority of the electorate.
TOOBIN: I don't know about vast majority, but I know these are not necessarily political winners for the Trump campaign to be known as the anti-abortion candidate.
BASH: In the -- just in the general electorate, you know, obviously, there is a strong possibility for that. But it also, I think, shows you a lot about how much the Trump campaign feels like they have to really shore up their conservative base.
MILLER: There's a general election message here, too, that's very important, which is that crime is rising in major cities all across the country. That the second amendment is a huge issue for conservatives. And Americans reject abortion on demand, as just this sort of unfettered concept, where you can have a bible who doesn't...
LEMON: So, here's the -- I think I know where you're going. the second amendment is never going away and abortion...
MILLER: Not if Donald Trump is elected.
LEMON: Jeffrey, will these things ever change?
TOOBIN: You bet they will.
MILLER: If you switch D.C. versus Heller you risk gun run.
LEMON: You think the second amendment.
TOOBIN: Gun control used to be constitutional. Now it's unconstitutional. Abortion rights have been hanging by a thread for years.
LEMON: I stand corrected, then. I didn't think that they would ever...
TOOBIN: States are all but banning them in the south and Texas and Louisiana, Mississippi are passing laws that are forcing basically every abortion clinic in those states to close. That is a change.
Now, whether it's good or bad is up to everybody to decide. But certainly, the laws have changed.
LEMON: Well, Stephen, finish. Go ahead.
MILLER: I was going to say that, I mean, if you go to the American people and you say, do you want judges who are going to invent fake constitutional rights for criminals? The answer is no.
Do you say do you want judges who are going to overturn D.C. versus Heller on the right to own a private gun? They'd say, absolutely not. If you'd say, do you want judges who will uphold President Obama's illegal executive amnesty, they will say no, no, and no again.
TOOBIN: Because you are asking them ridiculous questions. These are not what these cases are about.
MILLER: No, these are -- well...
BASH: I know that is what the election is going to be about. But I know this is going to sound, again, you know, going back to the darkest we're having over here. It matters. I mean, it matters so much and, again, you know this better than anybody, maybe no more so than this year, where it's not hypothetical whether or not the next president is going to pick somebody on the Supreme Court.
TOOBIN: Of course.
BASH: It's real.
TOOBIN: There's a vacancy now.
BASH: And it's going to be immediate and it's the seat that tips the balance. It is so real and so tangible on so many issues.
LEMON: Let's move on now and talk about foreign policy, because he met -- he paid a visit to the former Secretary of State under Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger. Can you tell us, Dana, about that meeting or why now?
BASH: I think it's fascinating that Donald -- first of all, the logistics of it, that Donald Trump went to pay a visit to him. It's a sign of respect. You know, he's in his early '90s. 92, 93, and he's an icon among republicans in foreign policy.
You know, and if you are somebody who wants to get a better sense of the world and get a better sense of policy, who else are you going to meet other than Kissinger? Now, Kissinger has said a few things, maybe not outright concern about Donald Trump, but noting very explicitly, how unusual it is for somebody who has no government experience to be this close to getting the presidency.
[22:19:59] LEMON: I want to talk about -- because he's been really, you know, on the defensive this week, talking about taxes, talking about North Korea, his treatment of women.
Today, his daughter Ivanka, was forced to defend her father's behavior towards women. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I'm not in every interaction my father has but he's not a groper. It's not who he is. And I've known my father, obviously, my whole life. And he has total respect for women. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It has been said that publishing this list today and also maybe the release of, you know, how much he is worth was to sort of move the news on, away from his treatment of women. Does anybody here agree or disagree with that?
MILLER: I can categorically say that's not true. But the like I said, this has been months in the making. And I do have to say this, because I will not even be able to go to bed tonight if I don't say this, which is that there is absolutely a Supreme Court case that will decide whether or not we have borders anymore. And the American people will vote for borders and they'll vote for Donald Trump.
LEMON: We're glad that you can sleep tonight. Yes.
MILLER: I don't know what -- but, OK.
LEMON: I'm not even -- we're glad that you can sleep tonight. But go ahead.
HOOVER: I think the Kissinger meeting was incredibly important. Donald Trump clearly trying to communicate that he's willing to be schooled up on foreign policy. I think nobody, I mean, everybody goes to Donald Trump, but Donald Trump went to Kissinger, which is like Dana said. I think it was a gesture that he needs to get briefed.
Hopefully he got brief why no U.S. president has ever talked to or met with the chairman of the working people's party of North Korea. There's a very good reason. You don't sit down one on one meetings with the President of the United States with the chair of North Korea, because North Korea has made many, many promises about nuclear weapons and hasn't met a single one of them.
Continues to test nuclear weapons in defiance of the six-party talks of the DPRK deal of the many, many promises they've made. And to be part of a civilized world and a civilized society, a world of nations, there's -- it's unfathomable that this individual has so little understanding of international foreign policy.
LEMON: OK, so, I've got to run. But you've mentioned Henry Kissinger in that meeting. It didn't mean that you didn't think that the women thing wasn't important, that Ivanka. Do you think it's...
HOOVER: I think Ivanka -- I think Ivanka is one of Donald Trump's best female surrogates and she should be on the trail every single day because she's going to need to be on the delegate for that.
LEMON: The women's issue for Donald Trump, do you think that's as big a deal as will it... HOOVER: I think it's going to be an incredible Achilles heel for him
in the general election.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, everyone. I appreciate it. Tomorrow, CNN's Chris Cuomo sits down with Hillary Clinton, that at 1 Eastern, 1 p.m. Eastern. Make sure you tune in for that.
When we come right back, Bernie Sanders about to speak to a cheering crowd in California. He says he's staying in the race until the last vote is cast. But what's his end-game here and could it hurt the democrats can?
We'll be right back.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The GOP actually coming together to support Donald Trump, but Bernie Sanders says he'll stay in the race until every last vote is cast. But where does that lead Hillary Clinton?
Here to discuss, Guy Cecil is of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA. Nina Turner is a Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate, and CNN political commentator Bob Beckel.
I'm so glad that you're all here. Thank you very much. Nina, you first. Are you considering a recount in Kentucky?
NINA TURNER, BERNIE SANDERS SURROGATE: The campaign is, Don. As we know, that race was less than 2,000 votes. So, yes, the campaign is considering that.
LEMON: OK. So, Guy, your reaction to a possible recount in Kentucky.
GUY CECIL, PRIORITIES USA CHIEF STRATEGIST: Well, I think we're confident that Hillary will come out on top. But the fact to the matter is, in terms of the actual delegate race, we're really only talking about a difference of one or two delegates. And in the long run, I'm not sure that will have much difference in terms of what the nomination looks like long-term.
LEMON: Bob, this was Sanders back on the campaign trail today after his win in Oregon. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS; And we have had to take on the political establishment. In every state, in every state that we have run in. We have had to take on democratic governors and senators and members of Congress and mayors, literally, almost the entire democratic establishment and in state after state, the people have stood up and helped defeat the establishment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bob, is this exactly the type of language that causes chaos, like what happened on Saturday in Nevada?
BOB BECKEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, partially, but just reminds me of Will Rogers' old line about "I'm not a member of an organized party, I'm a democrat."
You know, the idea that somehow there's an establishment that has rallied around Hillary Clinton, yes, there's individual campaign or elected officials and others.
[22:30:04] But the idea that somehow a fix is in here to get Bernie Sanders is something that doesn't happen in the Democratic Party. Frankly, which it did. But, you know, for the Clinton campaign, this going on week after week is a problem.
Because she needs to turn her attention to Donald Trump. Whoever would have thought that Trump would have had the ability to turn his attention to her, before she got to turn her attention to him. That's the problem.
LEMON: Nina, I know you want to respond, but this is perfect. I'm going to read this and then you can respond.
Because this is The Washington Post editorial board, posting this tonight saying, "Mr. Sanders denies reality when he tells supporters he still has a plausible pathway to the democratic presidential nomination. But passion cannot Trump reality. It also cannot excuse violence, threats, and attempts to mob rule. It is past time for Mr. Sanders to be honest with his supporters before they take the campaign's irresponsible ethos to greater extremes and thereby help ensure the election of Donald Trump."
Is The Washington Post right? Is Bernie Sanders denying reality, Nina?
NINA TURNER, BERNIE SANDERS SURROGATE: Well, Don, not at all. And you know what, newspapers and editorial boards do not decide who nominees are, whether it's the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. The people get to say.
And Senator Sanders has said that he is going to be in this race until the convention from the beginning, so news flash here. I don't know why anybody is acting surprised. The Senator has been saying what he's been saying all along, that he is going to be in this race until the convention.
And then another thing, that you know to lay hours in that room, I was in Nevada. I'm not the Monday morning quarterback folks who are talking about stuff that they don't -- they don't know about. While I was in that room at least for the eight hours that I was in the room, there was no violence. There was no mob rule. People were upset.
Senator Sanders supporters were upset about the way that they were being treated. And they voiced their feelings in a very democratic matter. But for folks to continue to try to malign the support of Senator Sanders was wrong because it is the secretary...
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: You're not denying there was some violence? Because it's on
TURNER: ... it's the secretary. What violence? There was no violence in the room, when I was in the room for eight hours. There was no violence. What violence?
LEMON: So, what about what we're showing right now on television?
TURNER: Now, any threats to Secretary Lange -- any -- what violence? What violence? Don, I can't view what you're showing on television.
LEMON: What about what we're showing now on television and the video that has been shown of people throwing chairs and Barbara Boxer saying she felt threatened, she couldn't get the crowd under control and that she actually made a number of phone calls to Senator Sanders.
He finally returned her phone call, and she asked him to get his supporters under control. Are you denying that?
TURNER: I was in the room, Don, when Senator Boxer gave her speech. Now, folks shouldn't have been booing her. Senator Sanders does not -- does not -- he said that that's not justifiable right there. Everybody has a right to speak.
But there was nobody storming the stage. There was nobody throwing chairs when I was in that room. People were -- it was intense. People were outraged because of a vote that went on, that was unfair towards Senator Sanders supporters.
But let us not forget, those were caucusgoers. This was not a rally. These were people -- or excuse me, these were people, you know, at the convention. They were delegates for both the senator and also for the secretary. But there was no violence. Nobody stormed the stage, when I was in the room.
LEMON: Bob, go ahead. Bob, I know you want this. Go ahead.
BECKEL: Nina, I don't -- Nina, I don't understand what the end game is here. I mean, I can understand Bernie wanting to go to the convention and have a platform fight. He certainly is under...
LEMON: Do you agree with The Washington Post, Bob, that he is denying reality?
BECKEL: Yes, he is. Of course he is denying reality. I've counted delegates for seven presidential races. And there's no way, barring her getting indicted by the Justice Department, which I don't think is going to happen, but even if she did, she still has her delegates.
And I don't understand why Bernie, in the face of -- I mean, I don't care who it is, but we're talking Donald Trump here. Anything, anything that takes away from a united Democratic Party, going after Donald Trump is an imaginary effort to do something that I do not understand. Except for Bernie to understand the limelight.
LEMON: Guy, do you -- what's your response to The Washington Post what they posted tonight?
BECKEL: That's what we're talking about.
TURNER: That's not true.
GUY CECIL, PRIORITIES USA CHIEF STRATEGIST: You know, I think there's a short-term -- I think there's a short-term and a long-term point to be made here. You know, the short-term point is that these are the same rules and the same procedures that have been in place in the Democratic Party for quite some time.
In fact, to be honest, they're the same rules that were in place when President Obama defeated Senator Clinton at the time in 2008. But I think there's a longer term interest here. You know, family fights are often the worst type of fights, because when you're in the middle of it, the last thing you want to do is to admit that you're going to love the person at the end of the day.
And Nina and I both know that regardless of what happened, it's going to take a lot of hard work and actually a little humility on both sides to bring our party together, to support the eventual nominee, because your last two segments have demonstrated what's at stake.
Donald Trump announced today that one of his potential appointees to the Supreme Court believes that gay people are like those committing bestiality of pedophilia. He wants to nominate a potential Supreme Court justice who wants to allow doctors to essentially harass women that are considering an abortion.
[22:35:06] There is a lot at stake at this election. I know it's heated. I know that there are words going back and forth. But I am confident that we will bring our party together, that we will unite against Donald Trump, because we understand what is at stake in this election.
LEMON: OK, since the Sanders campaign shut down the Nevada democrat's convention on Saturday, there is increasing tension between his campaign and the DNC.
I want you to listen to what Van Jones told my colleague, Brooke Baldwin today about Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When she's silent in the face of repeated accusations that her people on the ground, who she may not even know, are doing bad things, that makes it seem like she's in on the deal. She's not in on the deal but it looks like she is. So, you got a situation now where I think you have a leadership failure possibly in both wings of the party.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: You are the first person to say that in the last two hours and in on TV.
JONES: And you may have a leadership failure in both wings of the party.
JONES: And Debbie who should be the empire who should be the marriage counselor is coming in harder for Hillary Clinton than she is for herself. That is malpractice. I was Reince Priebus was my party chair. He did a better job of handling the Trump situation than I've seen my party chair handled this situation and I'm ashamed to say that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Bob, a quick response from you. So, Van meant business today. How do you think Debbie Wasserman Schultz has handled not only what happened this weekend but also the primary season in general?
BECKEL: Well, first of all, yes, she's a quick person. Nobody -- that's no surprise to anybody. But, look, is he -- the other guy said that these rules have been in place for a long time. They were in place when I was doing presidential races. But here's the point.
It was a week ago, that we were concentrating on Donald Trump trying to bring the Republican Party together and how fractured it was. That was a big plus for us. We had amazing talking points about that. And we had Trump on the defensive.
Now, one week later, because of this ridiculous process in Nevada, now all of a sudden, the democrats are the ones in disarray. Why in the world should we go through that? Bernie's got to sit back and think to himself, do I really want to make it easier for Trump, which is exactly what he's doing.
LEMON: That's going to have to be the last word. Thank you very much.
TURNER: My gosh.
LEMON: Coming up, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg meets with leading conservatives after charges of hiding conservative news stories. CNN's S.E. Cupp was there and she joins me next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Facebook with 1.65 billion monthly active users around the world under a microscope ever since allegations surfaced last week that the site suppressed conservative news stories.
A tech blog published charges from anonymous former contractors who said they saw colleagues hide stories that were actually trending on Facebook, stories about republican politicians and other conservative news. Facebook is now investigating.
And today, the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, sat down with 16 conservative commentators and leaders, including CNN political commentator, S.E. Cupp, and she joins us now. Hello, S.E. S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello.
LEMON: Explain what happened today.
CUPP: Well, it really was an open and honest dialogue. Mark and the Facebook team did less of the talking than we did. We shared some of our concerns. We asked questions. They were forthright in their answers. And we talked about ways that we could make this less of an issue, if an issue at all. And ways that we can work together, as conservatives and Silicon Valley in the future.
LEMON: So, what were your impressions? Did you -- were they open to your suggestions? What's your impression?
CUPP: Yes, you know, there was some speculation that this would just be sort of a photo op, to put a Band-Aid on a P.R. problem. And that was just not the impression I got. I got the impression that the idea that some points of view in this instance, American conservatives, would be suppressed, is such an anathema to both Zuckerberg's personal philosophy and the philosophy of the mission of the site and the company.
Something that would be completely counterproductive to their business model. So, I didn't doubt the sincerity at all at the meeting when the Facebook team was telling us that this was something they were concerned about. They knew it was a problem. They are looking into it. They don't want it to happen again, and they are open to our suggestions on how to prevent it.
And learn from other, you know, learn how to prevent -- prevent the general perception that there is a liberal bias, both at Facebook and in Silicon Valley.
LEMON: So, I'm a Facebook user. I'm not sure if you are. I know you're no stranger to social media.
CUPP: I am.
LEMON: Did you -- do you -- are you saying that there's possibly -- there's unconscious bias that Mark Zuckerberg, and you know, they're not even aware of it because that's just sort of the system that they operate under. That they don't even know that they're being biased.
CUPP: Well, I don't know that I would put it that way. Basically, you know, Facebook and their platforms are heavily reliant on algorithms. And they really try to be a neutral, a neutral platform for all kinds of ideas.
And that is sensual to Zukerberg's philosophy for the company. But, because humans are behind some of this work, there is always the capacity for and the potential for some bias. Now, that bias doesn't have to be sinister in nature. It can -- it can come from a simple lack of exposure.
LEMON: Right. CUPP: You know, one of my suggestions was that, you know, you can
address certain biases, just by exposing people to other kinds of conversations. It doesn't have to be that people who work at Facebook don't like conservatives. It might just be that some of the people that, you know, work at Facebook, haven't met any. And so, you know, just...
LEMON: That's kind of what I meant about unconscious, that they're not even aware about it in so many there.
LEMON: Did they explain to you, S.E., about how these, the trending topics work, how this algorithm works?
CUPP: Yes, in language that we can understand, so probably not very deeply. But, they did. And basically the takeaway there was like I said that the algorithm itself makes it pretty hard to inject personal bias.
[22:45:06] And yet, because there is human involvement, of course, that can happen. And what I'm interested in, what I got the impression that Facebook is interested in, is making that as impossible as we can. And that's going to not just require a fix for the moment, but going forward, new ways of looking at this problem and new ways of tackling it.
LEMON: OK. Here's what Mark Zuckerberg. After meeting today, he posted this and here's what he said. He said that he wants to help build trust with conservatives who are concerned about bias.
He said, "The reality is, conservatives and republicans have always been an important part of Facebook. Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate, and Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It's not even close."
So, I mean, given that, you know, the case, that this is the case and the next presidential election is happening and what you did today and they're trying to work on their platforms, do you think that this is important and this will change with this election coming up?
CUPP: You know, I hope so. I know there's a sense in some conservative circles that, you know, meeting with Facebook was sort of just kowtowing to their P.R., to their, you know, to a photo op. And i just -- I just fundamentally think that that's a pretty juvenile way to look at it.
You're invited to help solve a problem that you think is a problem and you can be part of the solution, why wouldn't you? I think it is important.
Look, what I tried to express and convey in this meeting was that conservatives in Silicon Valley actually share a lot of common ground on many issues from security to privacy to regs to free markets. And Silicon Valley needs an advocate for those policies in Washington. And conservatives need to be that advocate.
Likewise, conservatives need a platform and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, you know, those have been incredible platforms for people like me over the last decade. So, we need to be working together and finding places where we can collaborate. This is an impediment to that. And so we need to get past that.
But I was pleasantly, you know, reassured that that is in their interest, too. So, I'm not just looking short-term, let's fix this problem. I'm looking long-term, how can we make Silicon Valley a long- term partner with conservatives, to both bolster our platform, but also our policies.
LEMON: S.E. Cupp, thank you. Interesting meeting. I appreciate you joining us.
LEMON: Coming up, Hillary Clinton's campaign turning out ad after ad, attacking Donald Trump, but are they doing her any good? We'll discuss that.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump survived challenges from 16 republicans. Now the Clinton ad campaign against him is heating up. But will it work?
Let's discuss now. Republican strategist, John Brabender. Hey, John. Good to see you. Thanks for coming on.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Hey, happy to be here tonight. How are you?
LEMON: I'm doing great. Let's talk about this new ad that Hillary Clinton has out, brand-new video, I should say, hitting Trump over not releasing his tax returns. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump has been a master of tax loopholes.
TRUMP: I fight like hell not to pay taxes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's probably writing off his luxurious lifestyle as a business expense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You and I are subsidized.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're subsidizing this rich guy.
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I predict that he doesn't give much of anything to the disabled and to our veterans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the money? Donald Trump says he raised $6 million for vets. We have no idea where this money went.
ROMENY: He has too much to hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right, John. So this is the second video in a week where they have hit Trump on this. This issue isn't going away. Do you think it's going to impact him?
BRABENDER: Well, first of all, I'm going to give you a little secret that a media consultant is not supposed to say on national TV. But, TV political ads have less of an impact in a presidential race than almost any other race. And it's because you get to know the candidate so well, you see so much of them, that 30 seconds is rarely going to have that big of an impact.
What's interesting to me, though, is where the Clinton people are going. They're hitting him on both the taxes and also hitting him on some of the statements relative to women.
And to me, that's two completely different audiences. Which to me is a little bit confusing why they're doing that. I'm also not sure I'm in love with sort of the, sort of fun music they put in there, because I think it takes away from some of the gravitas of the issue.
So, I really don't think that any of this is new information for most people, and probably isn't going to have a tremendous impact, I don't think.
LEMON: You know, I noticed that when it was playing. It was a little too cute by half if you were talking about serious issues to have that in there, and the facial expressions and all of that.
Listen, I want to ask you, Kayleigh McEnany, a Trump supporter says he shouldn't release them at all. It will just help the democrats. Do you think she's right?
BRABENDER: Probably some truth to that. And honestly I don't think there's anybody out there that doesn't think that Donald Trump probably makes a lot of money. I don't think they're sitting there and saying, geez, how much does he give to non-profits and so forth? That's not why people are supporting Donald Trump?
This is a completely different election. It's not about him personally. It's a movement where he just happens to be a loud megaphone that they like. They like the authenticity of him. You know, I always say, you know, people say, why doesn't Donald Trump be a little bit more presidential? Why does he say what comes out of his mind.
That's what's appealing to most of his supporters, that he's not just reading off a teleprompter, and there's no reason that he should follow the same rules that all the other candidates have done by releasing tax returns those types of things. He doesn't need to follow those rules. LEMON: John, there is also this Priorities USA, the pro-Hillary super
PAC, which is already spending $6 million on anti-Trump ads in key battleground states. This one has already gotten a lot of play. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her -- wherever.
Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely.
[22:55:02] Do you like girls that were 5 foot 1? They come up to you and know where.
If Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her.
I view a person who is flat-chested to be very hard to be a 10.
And you can tell them to go (muted) themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does Donald Trump really speak for you? Priorities USA is responsible for the content of this advertising.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, which is more effective? Hitting him on taxes or using his own words against him?
BRABENDER: Well, I look at it very differently. I would grade this ad particularly four different things. Number one is, are we talking about it? Did they get secondary press out of it? Is there a pass along water cooler effect, the answer is, yes. You and I are having this conversation. You just played their ad for them for free. That's a big plus.
Let's give them an "a" there. The next thing I look at creativity. Again, the music kind of bothered me. I thought took away from the gravitas. Let's give them a "b." The third thing is, is it relevant? If you watch what Clinton's doing, her supporters, the president, they're targeting republican moderate women, an area that Trump has to do better to win, and that's who this is targeting and I think that was smart.
The final thing, though, is there's a part of the ad at the very end that was taken totally out of context. It gave Donald Trump a way to criticize just one part of the ad, to discredit it. It's important to note that this was a super PAC ad. It's easy to get super PAC ads taken off the air for being inaccurate. So they lose a lot of points by stretching on this one. And I think that was an unforced error.
LEMON: John Brabender, thank you. Always a pleasure.
BRABENDER: Thank you for having me.
LEMON: When we come right back, Donald Trump says he is worth even more than $10 billion. Does that add up?
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)