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Teflon Trump Strikes Again; Hillary Clinton Turning Up the Heat; Trump Raises $5.6 Million for Vets; America Debates Blame Over Gorilla Killed at Zoo; Is Rio Ready for the Olympics?. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired May 31, 2016 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Donald Trump hurls insults at reporters in a Trump Tower news conference, calls a judge presiding over his Trump University case a hater and blast the Republican Governor of New Mexico, yet none of it seems to sit.

Will voters care about the controversy over Trump's donations to veterans? Will the Trump University lawsuit turned them off? And does a conservative third party candidate have a prayer of denting Donald Trump?

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton turning up the heat against Trump. Will her own strategy work?

Plus, the moment that shocked America. A 3-year-old gets into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Minutes later, officials shoot and kill the gorilla but who's to blame for what happened? We'll discuss all of that this hour here on CNN.

But let's begin with Donald Trump's war with reporters and why it may just be what the voters want to hear.

CNN's Dana Bash has that.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Of all the many revealing moments during Donald Trump's contentious press conference, this stood out.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You think I'm going to change, I'm not changing.

BASH: That (inaudible) like I am what I am declaration is a giant window into the Trump general election campaign which looks a lot like his primary campaign.

TRUMP: It's Rubio.

BASH: A steady stream of sound bites that no other candidate would dare say. Never mind epic lines like this today about the conservatives searching for our Trump alternative.

TRUMP: Let me tell you, these people are losers.

BASH: But over the past week, Trump made even more controversial comments, like attacking the Federal judge presiding over his Trump University fraud case.

TRUMP: I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He's a hater. His name is Gonzalo Curio.

BASH: And then tossing out to the crowd that the judge is Mexican.

TRUMP: So what happens is, the judge who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great, I think, that's fun.

REGAN: But it is not accurate. Judge Curio's parents may have been Mexican but he was born in Indiana. During the GOP primaries when Trump made remarks about Mexicans that made many in his party cringe, his popularity grew.

TRUMP: They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some, I assume, are good people.

BASH: That was the first of many Teflon moments for Trump, unconventional, even offensive statements, not speaking. In fact, even helping with the Republican voters looking for someone different.

The question now is whether that Trump Teflon still works with the general electorate, especially when Hillary Clinton's central case against Trump already is that he's unhinged, too risky for the Oval Office.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump is an unqualified loose cannon who cannot get near the most powerful job in the world.

BASH: In a poll out last week, only 31 percent said Trump has the personality and temperament to serve effectively as president compared to 61 percent for Clinton. And even though most Republican voters and leaders say they will rally around Trump, there is some evidence they will expect more from him now as their nominee.

TRUMP: He's not a war hero.

BASH: After he said this about John McCain, fellow veteran, Bob Dole denounced Trump.

TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.

BASH: Now Dole is backing Trump but still wants him to say he's sorry.

BOB DOLE, FMR. KANSAS SENATOR: I'm going to try to get Trump to issue an apology. I mean, John McCain suffered, tortured, broken arm, what do you expect?

BASH: But don't expect Trump to morph into the apologizing type. Last week, while in New Mexico, he went after the state's Republican Governor Susana Martinez.

TRUMP: Your Governor has got to do a better job. She's not doing the job. Hey, maybe I'll run for governor of New Mexico. I'll get this place going.

BASH: And today, an explanation that produced that revealing moment.

TRUMP: She was not nice and I was fine, just a little bit of a jab but she wasn't nice. And you think I'm going to change? I'm not changing, including with her.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: All right. Dana, thank you very much. Here to discuss all of this, Alan Dershowitz, he is the author of "Taking the Stand, My Life in the Law". Also with me, Mark Preston, CNN Politics Executive Editor. Hello to both of you.

Mark, what are the takeaways you think from today's press conference of Donald Trump?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, a couple of things. One is, Don, that -- look, he was able to raised close to $6 million, which is an amazing feat, something we've never seen in a presidential campaign. He said that he was not looking for accolades for this, which was -- I don't want to use the word lie but it was certainly ...

LEMON: Disingenuous.

PRESTON: It was disingenuous on his part to say so, because he was looking for accolades. Also, you know, he kept on saying that he did this for the vets, he did this for the vets.

[23:05:00] And yes, he did do it for the veterans. However, I was there in Iowa that night when he held this event. This was a deflection because he did not want to attend a Fox presidential debate because he felt that they weren't being fair to him and this was his way of deflecting. So, three takeaways from that is, yes, he raised the money but this was a political play on his part.

LEMON: Yeah. And, yes, he said he, you know, the ratings, he wanted the ratings to be bigger than theirs at the time where he, you know, he said, let see how the other ratings ...

PRESTON: And the ratings were good ...

LEMON: Yeah.

PRESTON: ... if you go back there.

LEMON: Yeah.

PRESTON: No doubt. LEMON: So, his supporters and here's, I think what's very important especially if you're a Trump supporter and you're watching, they love the tough talk. And even if you're a Trump surrogate, but you say there's a down side to this rhetoric.

PRESTON: I think so. I mean, look, I think that the tough talk has gotten him to this point. He was able to appeal to conservative Republicans who don't have much trust in the media, OK? But now we're transitioning to a general election campaign where he has to have outreach to independents and disaffected Democrats. I mean, that's what his goal is at this point.

And I think taking on the media and trying to fight, you know, every reporter in the world is just not a smart strategy. You know, his people ...

LEMON: Because people, it's not -- people think it's a popularity contest. In some ways, it is, but it's really about delegates and states and different demographics and that's the important part of it. Go on, sorry.

PRESTON: Right. No, yeah, exactly. And look, for Donald Trump to try to take on the media, which by the way is a very fractured industry. OK. We're not necessarily friends, you know, with our competitors, but what he's doing is that he's bringing us all together in this solidarity for the fact that he has decided to take us on and quite frankly has personalized it. I think that's where the real issue is, is that he's now made it personal with specific journalists.

LEMON: Mr. Dershowitz, I mean, there are so many things that he has said and done. We have discussed on this program. You and I have discussed with panels. It would sink other candidates. How long do you think that this can -- he can continue to be Teflon?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think he can continue until the election, but he shows very, very bad judgment. For example, attacking this judge who has the case pending before him and you can see it already had an impact. The judge actually said in his opinion that one of the reasons he was releasing all this damaging information about Trump University was, and I quote from the judge's opinion, "because Trump has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue." And so, the judge actually took into consideration the fact that Trump attacked him and the court proceedings and he allowed that to influence his judgment about turning over these documents which are very, very harmful. The documents themselves don't show criminal conduct, but they show the kind of fraudulent allegations about the university, which I think when the public reads them will be -- will not help Donald Trump.

So, you know, he has to -- he doesn't worry about even short term or longer term implications of what he's saying. He gets immediate feedback. But if he were the president and he made statements like that about judges, statements like that about other political leaders, it certainly would not serve the interests of the United States.

LEMON: Alan, I want to ask you this since you brought up the judge there. There are two active class action suits filed by former students and a third civil case by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The first trial is set to take place in November. Do these cases have merit?

DERSHOWITZ: I think these cases have merit. They wouldn't have merit if they were brought as criminal prosecutions but they do have merit as civil. After all, people are paying an enormous amount of money, as much as $30,000 and they were told that they would be getting something in exchange for that. And I think the evidence will show that they didn't get what they bargained for. And I suspect that he will lose those cases. But he will lose them probably after the election is over. But I think when we see what's in the material, we'll find it quite disturbing.

Now, look, he has a right to criticize the judge, that's protected by our constitution. He has a right to say what he wants to say, but we as voters have the right to judge him on the basis of what he said and the attacks he's made on the judiciary.

And now, the judiciary is not above reproach or above attacks, but his kind of personalize it the way he did pointing out the ethnicity of the judge, is something that I think will not in the end help him when the independent voters, he's going to need to win to win the electoral votes of key purple states.

LEMON: Yeah. And the question is, is it going to help him, Mark, win over maybe some of the party establishment because we've heard, Paul Ryan say -- Speaker of the House saying, you know what, this about principles.


LEMON: He was on tonight with Sean Hannity talking about not having the establishment behind him. Listen.


[23:10:01] TRUMP: Bob Dole endorsed me and that was very nice and that was very nice. And he called me last week, so that was great. I mean, I don't need their endorsements. I don't think it matters whether or not I get, you know, potential presidential endorsements or a pass.

Look, the world is a mess. This country is a mess. And I'm not looking for their endorsements. I just want the people's endorsement and I'm getting that because, as you said, the biggest group of people ever, I mean, we have so many millions of people, and you're not just talking about by a little bit, I have millions more than and -- you look at Dwight D. Eisenhower, you look at Ronald Reagan, millions more than they had.

So it's been a great thing actually, but nobody has to endorse me.


TRUMP: What I want to see, endorsement of the people. That's the only thing that matters to me, Sean.


LEMON: Mark, is he right? Do you think his supporters care what endorsements he gets or who is attending the convention arena?

PRESTON: Well, perhaps his supporters that helped him win the Republican primary don't care. But the fact is if he does want to win in November, he needs a very high turnout of Republican voters and conservative voters to come out in addition to the new voters he has brought along.

So what's interesting is that he'll say, "You know, so and so endorsement last week, it was very nice of them to endorse me." And then when somebody doesn't endorse him, he says, "I don't want their endorsement anyway." Well, it seems that he really likes their endorsement when they come out and actually back up.

Here's the bottom line, it's not that they're endorsing him, the thing for Donald Trump right now is that he can't have Republican thinkers and leaders that are out there questioning his candidacy. That's the big problem. Are they questioning his candidacy? Paul Ryan's refusal right now to go all in with Donald Trump does not necessarily help Donald Trump.

LEMON: Alan, this is how Hillary Clinton responded to Trump's press conference today. Listen to this.


CLINTON: ... his attacking everybody, fellow Republicans, Democrats, I mean, the press, you just name it, he attacks everybody, that is a recipe for gridlock in Washington. And that's what we've got to break and get away with. You know, he seems to believe or at least is demonstrating, that insulting and attacks is his mode of operations. And, you know, I just don't think that's going to cut it ...


LEMON: So she is taking a page as you can see from Donald Trump calling in now to news programs. Alan, last week, she called him a loose cannon, you know. He sort of can describe people in its sticks. Do you think that she can get that definition to start resonating and to stick with people?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it's about crying wolf. She uses it very infrequently and he calls everybody by names. And so, I think people begin to ignore what he calls people after a while. She's been very selective, calling him a loose cannon I think will stick.

It's not only that it will cause gridlock in this country, just imagine our foreign relations with Great Britain, with other allies, it's going to be a disaster if he starts making national security decisions based on his personal dislike for people in other countries. And I think the name calling may get him votes in the Republican primary, but I think that middle group of voters, that large group of undecided and independent voters are going to want stability, they're going to want see the market being stable and the markets will react more positively to Hillary Clinton than they would to Donald Trump.

So I think he has to, I think both candidates has to look for the voters in the middle and she's doing a much better job of doing that. Now, if she's pushed to the left by Sanders, she's going to lose that middle.

So I think this is going to be a fight to the middle and I hope ...


DERSHOWITZ: ... that Hillary Clinton has the determination to stick to her kind of centrist liberalism rather than be pushed hard to the left ...


DERSHOWITZ: ... which may make her lose some of the middle votes.

LEMON: I want to give Mark the last word. Mark, I have to go, quickly.

PRESTON: Just very quickly. I think that the Donald Trump, Don, that we see right now is not going to be the Donald Trump should he win the presidency. As a businessman, he clearly has shown that he's willing to adapt and change his positions to do what he has to do to try get something done. So, what we see now, I do think will be different then, what could it be if he become the president.

LEMON: I know we have to get to the break but I think this is important.

DERSHOWITZ: But that's a risk. That's a risk. That's speculation ...

LEMON: I think this is important. Hang on, Alan. This David French thing, Bill Kristol's third party candidate, is this a real thing or not? Is this something that -- no?

PRESTON: It's a real thing I supposed in Bill Kristol's mind. He's a very smart guy, a nice guy but nobody's knows this guy.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. When we come right back, Donald Trump pretty hard on the caller (ph) today over questions about his fundraising for veterans. But what do vets themselves think? I'm going to talk to two of them when we come back.


[23:18:14] LEMON: Donald Trump announcing today that he has raised and donated $5.6 million to veterans groups.

Here to discuss is Perry O'Brien, an army veteran who was the co- organizer of group -- of the group Veteran versus Hate and Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL who is a Trump supporter. First of all, I want to say thank you to both of you for your service. I really do appreciate it as vets. And I want to get your response to Donald Trump's press conference today and his donations to veterans. You first, Perry.

PERRY O'BRIEN, CO-ORGANIZER VETERANS VS HATE: Sure. Well, I was there as you mention as part of the Veterans Versus Hate movement. I was there for the second time in a week in front of Trump Tower, trying to hold Donald Trump accountable for his attempt to defraud the veteran community. And we are trying to call attention to his ongoing use of veterans as political props to support an agenda of bigotry and hate.

LEMON: And I gather you feel differently about that.

CARL HIGBIE, FMR. NAVY SEAL & TRUMP SUPPORTER: Very strongly. I mean, I think it's a little bit petulant to go and say "Oh, he's only donated $5.5 million." I mean that's more than Hillary Clinton's even dreamed of.

And look at the fact of the matter is that like Donald Trump, what is he so hating about? He hates people who hate America. I mean, you're talking vets versus -- vets versus hate America. I mean, Trump is for America, why don't you guys speak out about the people who hate America like Islamic people that are trying to tear us apart, terrorist nation wide, world wide, that are coming here to attack our way of life. Why don't you speak out against that hate?

LEMON: You mean Jihad -- people who practice Jihad, not necessarily talking about Muslims. Right.

HIGBIE: I'm talking about a significant portion of Muslims who don't like our way of life.

LEMON: OK, but let's -- go ahead.

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, I'm just honest that -- that's just an utterly racist comment.


HIGBIE: ... Islam is a race?

O'BRIEN: Oh, no, it's a religion.


HIGBIE: Well, let's be clear. And that's what we need to be very clear about is Islam is not a race.

[23:20:01] O'BRIEN: I think, you and I both know that Islamophobia and the anti-Muslim rhetoric, which I'm sure you and I are both subjected to in the military and served in overseas has a deeply racial component to it. You and I probably were surrounded by people referring to Muslims as hajis.

HIGBIE: Sure. Sure.

O'BRIEN: Right? You ...

HIGBIE: Which is actually benevolent term and there's a side of it.

O'BRIEN: Right. Is that the way that we use it?


O'BRIEN: Of course, not. You know, but we're just chatting ...

HIGBIE: Right.

O'BRIEN: ... you just, bluntly said, I don't like Muslims, five minutes ago, right?

HIGBIE: I don't like their culture.

O'BRIEN: Right. So, their -- and who's culture? Who -- which ...

HIGNIE: I don't like the Islamic culture and the influence it's trying to have on my great nation.

O'BRIEN: So this is exactly the thing the Vets Versus Hate is trying to confront, is a candidate who is using veterans as props, very few willing, mostly unwilling to advance an agenda of hatred that does not reflect the larger veteran community and certainly not active duty military.

The vast majority of whom have, like myself, when I served in Afghanistan, worked very, very closely with military, with Muslim interpreters, with active duty soldiers who were Muslim and all of whom actually donned a uniform and served our country. Unlike Donald Trump, who I think, has become increasingly clear only seems interested in serving himself.

LEMON: OK, and so this -- you worked with a large number of Muslim veterans and that's why you co-founded this group, right, that you're the co-organizer of this ...

O'BRIEN: I'm one of many organizers across the country. It's been a sort of spontaneous emergence of veterans around the country who are just fed up with a public figure trying to use veterans in this way, particularly given this incredibly insulting history towards veterans.

LEMON: So, you know, Carl, I want -- because a lot of people are listening and I said I will just wanting to listen to you guys and let you guys discuss this but talking about the Muslim culture in general and that you don't like it, are you certain of the words that you just said on the air ...

HIGBIE: Yeah, absolutely. I think that the culture of Islam -- Islam is not a religion. It is a political ideology masquerading as a religion. And they just trying to have significant influence on our way of life and it does not coincide with our constitution. I think that's what Donald Trump -- look, can he enforce an all-Muslim ban? Probably not, but the fact is his ...

LEMON: But a part of our constitution ...


LEMON: ... was founded on freedom of religion ...

O'BRIEN: Right.

LEMON: ... and it's not just ...


HIGBIE: Exactly. But as long as it doesn't interfere with our -- there's other amendments to that constitution that allow us certain ways of life and when things like, I mean, look at Saudi Arabia, predominantly Islamic and yet they have -- women can't vote, women can't drive, women can't drink (ph). I mean that is that -- it's directly in contradiction with, you know, 14th Amendment, 15th Amendment. I mean, right to vote, right to have equal protection under the law. I mean, you cannot have an Islamic rule and western democracy. It just doesn't work.

LEMON: Wasn't so long ago that women couldn't vote here?

HIGBIE: Right, but we changed that ...

O'BRIEN: Among other ...

HIGBIE: ... by a Republican president.

O'BRIEN: ... (inaudible) about here. So what you're saying is that folks in other countries who don't share our exact same constitution should be banned in a way that for our own -- is unconstitutional?

HIGBIE: No. And I just said I don't think that's entirely enforceable but I ...

O'BRIEN: So why would the candidate that you're a surrogate for propose it if it's not ...

HIGBIE: Right. What he ...

O'BRIEN: ... unreasonable policies to issue.

HIGBIE: And I think he's clarified that substantially, recently ...

O'BRIEN: Is he trying to rile up on a racist base?

HIGBIE: No, I don't think he's trying to rile up. I think what he's trying to do is he's trying to say, "Look, America first, our way of life first." I mean, look, you got -- let's be ...

O'BRIEN: You do know where "America First" comes from, right?

HIGBIE: So ... O'BRIEN: Charles Lindbergh, it's a fascist slogan.

HIGBIE: So let's be honest here, I mean, you've see a clear ...

O'BRIEN: You do know that was ...

HIGBIE: You clear -- well, I'm putting America first because that's what I fought for and I think ...

O'BRIEN: You're onboard with the fascist slogan of "America First", which is where Trump got that.

HIGBIE: I'm onboard with putting my country and my way of life first. But let's tend to ...

O'BRIEN: Luckily, Carl does not represented most (inaudible) veterans that I know.

HIGBIE: And, I mean, I would imagine that I represent most -- you got out of the military as a conscientious objector, OK.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. I did.

HIGBIE: You joined before there was a war, as soon as you did one deployment you got out. You even go hang out with Bowe Bergdahl for all I care. I went back and I fought twice and joined because of the war.

O'BRIEN: And unfortunately, this is exactly the Trump narrative, right? I'm -- look, I respect your service a lot.

HIGBIE: And so do I.

O'BRIEN: I think what you're not going to see me doing in this discussion here is going after your personal service or your personal life, but ...

HIGBIE: I'm going after your personal belief.

O'BRIEN: Now, Trump on the other hand, Trump's (inaudible) play book is the minute a veteran doesn't fit in with his narrative, doesn't act like the puppets, the mannequins that he wants us to be. He attacks us personally. He discredited -- tries to discredit us. He tries to accuse us of, you know, being organized by the Hillary Clinton campaign, whatever it is. This is straight out of play book, right? You don't like what I'm saying and rather than answering to my questions, you're trying to attack me personally.

LEMON: Are you diminishing his service because he was a conscientious objector or rather?

HIGBIE: I'm diminishing the ideology that he has with the simple fact ...

(CROSSTALK) HIGBIE: So I would say the fact that you got out as a conscientious objective or objector after your first deployment because you didn't agree with the cause. A lot of us, others, stayed and fight. I joined because of a cause.

O'BRIEN: You agreed with the guy.

HIGBIE: I agreed with the fact that somebody ...

O'BRIEN: You agreed with the (inaudible)?

LEMON: Is there something for him ...

HIGBIE: There were things I would have done differently but yes, I agree with you for ...

LEMON: Is there something for him for standing up for his beliefs even if they're not your beliefs?

HIGBIE: Oh, absolutely.

[23:25:00] LEMON: OK.

HIGBIE: And look, this is a free exchange of ideas, this is America ...

LEMON: Right.

HIGBIE: America first ...

O'BRIEN: Right.

HIGBIE: ... where I -- he has an opinion, I'll sit here and listen to it. I've an opinion, he sits here and listen to mine and that's what the great part about this nation is.

O'BRIEN: So, clearly you Googled me and are trying to somehow use that to undermine what I'm saying about the candidate that you're a surrogate for being a reckless bigot.

HIGBIE: I don't think he's a reckless bigot at all. I mean, this is an easy ideology to push because he says he wants to lock out somebody who's expressly as a large part of that group has spoken out against our way of life.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you another question since we've both in the military. Donald Trump has said that he wants -- that he thinks an effective counterterrorism strategy, he's offered two notable examples. One would be targeting the families of enemy combatants, which you and I both know is an unlawful order. The second, destroy, that he likes talking is the execution of enemy prisoners of war, Muslim enemy prisoners of war, in a largely invented historical story with bullets dipped in pig's blood. Would you follow those orders if you were still in the military?

Every veteran I know, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan worked very, very closely with Muslim forces who risked their lives to support a mission. Everybody attacked you since the Fed is not just insane, it's offensive and it puts not just American lives at risk but it puts at risk our brothers and sister still in uniform who are serving overseas.

HIGBIE: Here's the thing, war is not pretty and sometimes you have to do terrible things to win. At the last war, we won World War. We decimated cities. Sometimes there were innocent people, they are not rather not do it but the fact of the matter is to win a war, you have to kill bad guys and sometimes you kill innocent people. And if that's what it takes to protect America, I'll do it.

O'BRIEN: So you're in favor of executing enemy combatants ...

HIGBIE: I'm in favor as doing what it takes.

LEMON: OK, so let me ask you this, Perry. Do you think there's anything honorable or genuine about what Donald Trump is doing? That's a lot of money to give to veterans.

O'BRIEN: I think it would be fantastic. Money donated to veteran, God knows that veterans need more support from society in general. It would be fantastic if Trump had a long rich history of using his -- much (inaudible) about wealth to support the veteran community. Unfortunately, he didn't seem really interested in veterans until he decided he want to be the next commander-in-chief.

LEMON: All right. We'll leave it there and we will have you back if you guys will come back.


LEMON: It was surprising. It took a turn that I did not know would it take, especially talking about Islam and ...

O'BRIEN: Exchange of ideas.

LEMON: Yes, it is, and that's what this show is about. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

HIGBIE: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


[23:31:20] LEMON: Here to discuss what we just heard, CNN Political Commentator Andy Dean who is a Trump supporter, Mo Elleithee Executive Director of Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service, Political Commentator Matt Lewis, a senior contributor to "The Daily Caller" and Political Contributor Van Jones. Wow.

So we were going to discuss a little bit more of the press conference at [inaudible]. So, Andy, you first, what do you make of that conversation? ANDY DEAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That interchange we just saw? Well, a couple things. I think it's important to know that that Perry O'Brien who had a hat on, that was the individual on the right side.

He's actually the New York City Director of Veterans for Bernie Sanders. So in fairness, I think that should be disclosed because it made it seem like he was just a veteran who was going to try to play down the middle and talk politics.

He's -- that's a Bernie Sanders guy, so I think that that's important. But it obviously -- I identify with the Trump surrogate, the former navy seal as opposed to the contest should (ph)...

LEMON: So does the other guy is a pro Trump vet. I didn't know if he was a Bernie Sanders for now (ph), but I have to say he did not invoke Bernie Sanders once during that conversation that I can't remember.

DEAN: OK. Well, he's ...

LEMON: But obviously ...

DEAN: And so that's fair, but he's a far left guy.

LEMON: But -- OK. But, obviously, Carl Higbie who's in -- Carl Higbie is on here all the time and he is a -- an avid Trump supporter that's why we have him on here. So, anyway, go ahead, Andy.

DEAN: No, no. And that's fair for the balance. But, look, but to the end of Perry O'Brien, I mean, Don, today is actually a momentous day and it is the 2-year anniversary of when Bowe Bergdahl walked off the, you know, base.

One could say a conscientious objector, but he did it in a way that was, I believed a traitorous activity that, you know, it should be on prison for.

LEMON: But, Perry decided not to go back. He did not walk off. He just decided ...

DEAN: Well, no, no. Perry O'Brien didn't, but Bowe Bergdahl did walk off and that's why hopefully he'll be in prison. So, but just -- those are my thoughts on that debate and Bowe Bergdahl makes me very, very angry and so does Perry O'Brien.

LEMON: So he said, listen, Perry said that these personal attacks would stay out of the Trump playbook. Is that fair, Van?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think so. But first to me, I just think, you know, we just witnessed something that was quite horrifying. And I think we just need to take a moment.

If you're a Muslim parent and you just watched what we just saw, if you're an American citizen or if you're anywhere around the world watching CNN, you just saw something that was horrifying.

You just saw one of our veterans say that he would execute innocent people, that he would follow unlawful orders. You heard someone say that all Muslims, apparently oppose women's rights.

Pakistan is a Muslim country. They have a female prime minister. There are more than a billion Muslims.

We are now in a situation where -- and they have different cultures, they come from different places, they have different politics, they have different views, they are a liberal Muslims, they are a conservative one, but we are now in a place in American life we can have a veteran come on, now encouraged by Donald Trump to say it's in the most despicable things about a billion people including people in uniform and that's just wrong.

As somebody should just say that's wrong, it's unfair, it's scary and people -- we have to stop this.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know if that was a fair characterization ...


LEMON: Let Matt get in. Andy, let Matt get in, please go ahead.

LEWIS: Well, I don't know if that's a fair characterization of what he said. I mean, clearly we have a problem with radical Islam. I don't maybe -- he wasn't as specific as he should have been. I don't think that's quite ...

LEMON: No, Matt, he said all of Islam. He didn't -- and I gave him a chance. I ask him ...

LEWIS: That's a cultural problem.

LEMON: Yes. I said clearly, I said -- I asked him, I said I just want to make sure ...


LEMON: Hang on. I said I want to make sure you clarify your words what you just said here on CNN, are you talking about Jihad, Radical Jihad and he said, "No, I'm talking about all of Islam, the culture of Islam."

[23:35:07] LEWIS: The culture.

LEMON: Muslim culture is what he said.

LEWIS: Correct.


LEWIS: Well, I was going to say, the last thing that I was going to say just to wrap my part of this up is I think that that was actually, you know, Van Jones saw this and was sort of put off by it. I thought this was like amazing television. And I thought it was a good service. So I think this is, you know, for all the criticism that we're talking have to get sometimes for talking, you know, about politics day in and day out and that was like incredibly good T.V. ...

LEMON: And honest.

LEWIS: It was honest. You basically -- these are two heavyweights. Both guys were really smart. Nobody outmatched the other.

I mean, they were both representing very different viewpoints within the military and I thought that was just really compelling T.V. and actually a productive conversation. I walk away from that kind of, you know, uplifted a little bit, not demoralized.

LEMON: Go ahead, Mo. What did you think?

MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Yeah, there's very little about that conversation that was uplifting to me, frankly. I mean, the back and forth was -- I mean, I appreciate what you're saying, Matt, I just -- when you've got someone out there saying that Islam is not a religion, it is a political ideology masquerading as a religion, talking about executing innocent family members, I just -- I can't be any ...

LEWIS: I think he's talking about Sharia law. That's a -- this is a legitimate problem. Look ...

LEMON: But he didn't say -- that's not what he said.


LEMON: There's no way you can say that here. That's not what -- and listen I know him, he's on all the time and I did not know that side of him, but he did not make that distinction and I -- the only time I jumped in was to clarify because I thought it was great television and it was a great conversation. But to clarify, he didn't say that, Matt. That's not what he said.

LEWIS: Well, you know him better than I do.


LEWIS: Is he a political -- I mean, is he a communications expert that would make that ...

JONES: No, you don't have to be -- no, no, no. You don't have to be ...

LEMON: Neither as Perry O'Brien as well.

JONES: Let me say something, Don. You don't have to be a communications expert to speak accurately on this. There are Christians in this country who are so radical in their belief that they went and shot up Planned Parenthood and murdered people.

These are Christians, but they are also extreme violent terrorists. Nobody, including anybody honestly (ph) would say Christians did that. You would say, extreme in that jobs did that.

Now, if I came on here and start denouncing all Christians, you guys would think I was nuts. We've gotten to a place now where you can denounce all Muslims because of a subset and that's the problem. You have to speak with clarity ...

LEMON: Listen, Andy.

DEAN: Van, if I may ...

JONE: ... or you're a bigot.

DEAN: ... and this -- Van, OK stop for a second. OK, what is so dangerous I think about that viewpoint is that there is a real problem here that the Trump surrogate had the courage to confront and the culture of Islam which is the degradation of women making them dressed up like ...

JONES: Which culture -- what culture are you talking about?

DEAN: No, Van, stop.

LEMON: Let him finish, Van. I'll let you ...


DEAN: Van, Van, let me -- Van. I will stop (ph). You need to read the Pew -- may I? Hold on. The Pew Research Poll which surveyed Muslims in the Middle East and South Asia and their views on women and Sharia law and their views on Jews and Israel.

And it's not a small subset. It is the majority of many of these countries that is filled with hate towards America, towards Israel, and towards women. It is not a small subset. So it was important that we discuss these issues, these cultural issues and I think the Trump surrogate did an excellent job.


JONES: Well, first of all, there's not a small subset in America that will say that the kind of things that were just said today. And I do think if you said all Americans hate all Muslims, you would say that is not constructive.

And so the problem that we have is that we do have a standard and the standard is if we're going to be engaged in these discussions. We need to do it in a way that does focus on the actual problem.

Wahhabi Islam is a real problem. There is an Islamic culture that is violent, that is horrible, but this is not Islamic culture. Islam has many, many cultures. And so when you are trying to solve the problem, the first thing you have to do is define the problem. If you define it too broadly, you become a part of the problem.

LEMON: OK, thank you gentlemen.

DEAN: OK. I agree a little bit.

LEMON: Thank you. All right, I'll see you soon.

When we come right back, another story that everyone is talking about tonight and this is one that we just covered a moment ago. They'll be talking about it tomorrow, the 3-year-old boy who got into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. We'll discuss that when we come back.


[23:43:22] LEMON: People all across the country are arguing tonight about who is to blame for this, a 3-year-old boy slipped into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Minute's later zoo officials shoot and killed the 450-pound endangered gorilla. The child is safe, but now the boy's family is the focus of an investigation by Cincinnati police.

Let's discuss now. Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for, Marc Lamont Hill, CNN Political Commentator. Thank you all for coming.

And Lisa, everyone is talking about this video. Why does this have so many people so upset?

LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST FOR, AVVO.COM: Because the gorilla is identifiable as individual. He had a name and he had to take shot and killed and why?

I think the problem is captivity. They have to get past the point of taking wild animals and hold them captive so we can go and block (ph) at them. They want to be free just as we do.

The gorilla in the wild roams 15 miles. It's simply no longer moral or ethical to keep animals in confined situations like this and these kinds of tragedies happen over and over again when we do.

LEMON: OK, Marc, I want you to listen. You know wildlife expert Jeff Corwin, right? He described it this way. Listen.


JEFF CORWIN, HOST, ABC'S "OCEAN MYSTERIES": This is an incredibly powerful creature who no fault of its own found itself in a terribly precarious and highly chaotic situation.

So, what we need to keep in mind about these gorillas is that, like human beings, these are primates with incredibly complex diverse emotions and in a stressful environment like this, anything is possible.

The other thing we need to remember, incredibly powerful creature, 400 pounds, easily eight times stronger than someone built like myself.


[23:45:07] LEMON: OK. What did you think when you saw this video, Marc?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean I love you, man but -- like what he said the gorilla was in a highly dangerous situation. He, you know, he's in a precarious spot, it's nervous, it's always the -- I mean, like, what about the kid?

You know, like, I think if you're a 4-year-old, you consider being trapped with a 500 pound gorilla pretty dangerous and precarious and nerve racking and having all these emotions.

I mean how much more -- what about the kid than this gorilla. And people for some reason seem to have a lot more -- a lot of people have much more regard for this animal than they do for this child.

Now, again, I agree with Lisa that captivity is inhumane, it's brutal, we shouldn't be doing this in the 21st century, that's the big problem here. The second big problem here is that there's a space big enough for a kid to be able to go through and not be protected.

Kids get away from parents. They shouldn't end up trapped with a gorilla. Those are the two big issues here.

LEMON: Lisa, I mean, the backlash against these parents. So, I mean, who is really at fault here? No one can watch a child 100 percent of every moment, but you're supposed to. If you have a child that's your responsibility for them 100 percent of the time, but you can't do that. Who bears the responsibility for this?

BLOOM: Well, I think the zoo has primary responsibility because let's be clear, they invite families in. They invite children in. This is a place where you are encouraged to bring children.

Many people bring groups of children. When my kids were little, I would bring them and all of their friends to all kinds of things. We didn't go to zoos, because I don't believe in them. But it's the same kind of thing.

So this mother, if she brought five or six kids, which is what I've read and a 3-year-old or 4-year old wriggles away from her for a minute, that is highly foreseeable. Their barrier was clearly insufficient if this little boy could get through it so quickly.

It should have been a better barrier and by the way, this 15-foot moat was supposed to separate the gorillas and the people and yet both a gorilla and the little boy got into the moat. So, zoo has, you know, I think some work to do to make them safer.

LEMON: So the Cincinnati police say their review, they're going to review it is only regarding the action of the parents/family that led to the incident and not related to the operation and safety of the Cincinnati Zoo. Does that seem fair to you?

HILL: It seems shameful to me. It's so easy to beat up on parents, particularly -- and in no way I was going to make this a race thing but I'm sorry, I just don't imagine white parents getting the same treatment, right? You look at the father's criminal, you know, how I figure out the father was black. When I looked at the headline, it said "Father has criminal history," so he must be black. Not because black then he's a criminal, but because they only talk about it when it happens to people with color. It's not -- his criminal record had nothing to do with this kid being in a moat.

Then check out the person's parenting style has nothing do with it. The fact that there's a gap this big that a 3-year-old or 4-year-old can get through is the problem. The fact that a gorilla is held in captivity is the problem, not the parent itself.

And the fact that the police are only investigating parents, then people said, "Oh, what a horrible mother." I mean, I heard people that they say, "What a horrible parent." It's not a horrible parent. Parents were -- I see people's kids running around the supermarket. I go through Target and I see kids running up and down the aisle. Surely -- and then they are kids.

LEMON: And people screaming about time-out, I'm like, time-out? I think that that's fine.

HILL: Exactly. Exactly.

LEMON: I didn't know the parents were black until someone who -- as a friend I was staying at their house in the beach and they said, "Do you think there's backlash because the parents are black?" And I'm like, "I had no idea that the parents were black." And I don't know if that does, but you seem to think it does.

HILL: Absolutely. I think that people who are more concerned with this gorilla being killed than black kids being killed. This is a reality in America.


LEMON: And here's my thing, Lisa, if that -- think about it if that was your child. And I think if it was my child, I don't know if I would be saying, can we rescue the -- how do we -- I might be saying, let shoot this ape and get my child out of there. I'm just asking.

BLOOM: You know what, Don, if you were threatening my child, I would shoot you. So that's really not the relevant point. Of course if a child's life is in danger we have to do everything possible to protect that child.

LEMON: So do they have any other choice? My basic question is if the zoo have any other choice? Because they said, if they tranquilized him, then he probably would have become more irritated and may have hurt the child in the interim until he passed out or what have you?

BLOOM: Well, we could have had more effective barriers given that zillions of children are there every day. What do we know children do, they try to wriggle away, they try to get into places they're not supposed to.


BLOOM: They're small so they can get under things. I mean, come on, this is highly foreseeable.


BLOOM: We should not -- under this -- but Marc, I just want to say, don't create an adversarial position between animal rights and human rights. You know, I stand for both. It's not fair to say that people care more about the gorilla that they care about the child. We can care about both.

LEMON: I got to go. I got to go.

HILL: No, I'm not just saying, I'm just anecdotally speaking to some people who I know who haven't say anything about kids dying and I have only come out of this. I'm saying that's troublesome, but you're right.

LEMON: We will be right back.

HILL: Thanks Don.

LEMON: Thank you.


[23:53:27] LEMON: Well, believe it or not, the 2016 summer games are just two months away. But in the wake of a storm of bad news in Brazil, is Rio ready? CNN's Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard not to be seduced by Rio de Janeiro, this spectacular city soon to be the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Two months before the start of the games, construction crews are putting in the final touches at the Olympic venues.

GUSTAVO NASCIMENTO, HEAD OF OLYMPIC VENUE MANAGEMENT: Everything is going to be ready on time. We're going to deliver the bark (ph) fully commissioned the 24th of July.

WATSON: But despite Rio's beauty, the city and Brazil as a whole are facing some pretty daunting challenges, a whole series of unexpected setbacks leading some to wonder, are Rio's Olympics somehow cursed?

Just days ago, a warning from more than 100 international doctors calling for the games to be postponed or moved because the mosquito borne Zika virus could threaten an expected half a million foreign visitors.

That view rejected by the World Health Organization, which does advise pregnant women to avoid the Olympics entirely because of the risk of severe deformities to unborn children. And then there's the political and economic crisis. Turmoil after Congress suspended Brazil's elected president in an impeachment process last month and high-level corruption scandals during the worst economic recession in generations, which has left more than 10 million Brazilians unemployed.

[23:55:08] The economic hardship aggravating Rio's endemic problems with violent crime, daily gun battles between police and drug gangs in the city's impoverished [inaudible], as well as a surge in robberies.

This month members of the Spanish Olympic sailing team mugged at gun point.

FERNANDO ECHEVARRI, SPANISH OLYMPIC SAILOR: And we just turned around to see what was happening and we saw the pistols.

WATSON: Olympic sailors also worried about Rio's notoriously polluted bay, a dumping ground for much of the city's raw sewage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want to swim in it.

WATSON: Rio's Mayor warns this isn't a first world city.

EDUARDO PAES, MAYOR OF RIO DE JANEIRO: Don't came here expecting that everything will be, you know, perfect. We live in a country that has economic crisis, comes with lots of inequality, with all of the problems that we've seen concerning corruption, bribes, but the city will be much better than it was when we got the games.

WATSON: But even one of the Mayor's new infrastructure projects is now a deadly failure.

This brand new spectacular Cliffside bike path was supposed to be a showcase project for the Olympics. Instead, it became a tragic setback when the waves took out part of the trail, killing two people last month.

In the turbulent run-up to the Olympics, a virtual storm of bad news that leaves you wondering what could possibly happen next.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.


LEMON: We'll be right back.