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People Magazine Corroborates Writer's Trump Claims; Clinton Leads Trump in National Polls; Ivanka Trump Speaks Out; Blame It on Billy Bush? Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 18, 2016 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:40] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The debate that could decide this election now just hours away.

This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in Las Vegas where they'll go head- to-head in their final debate before election day. Live pictures you're looking at now. And in true Las Vegas fashion, Trump promising a sideshow, inviting the Kenyan-born half brother of President Barack Obama to be in the audience.

You can't make this stuff up.

But Donald Trump's troubles over allegations of sexual misconduct are far from over. "People" magazine reports that six people have corroborated sexual assault claims made by one of their former writers against Donald Trump.

CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now with more on that.

Jessica, we're talking about Natasha Stoynoff, right?


LEMON: She's speaking out about this. Donald Trump continues to deny these allegations. What's been the fallout for her since she revealed this?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, the fallout after all of this has been sudden, it's been swift, in fact within hours of Stoynoff posting this on, Donald Trump came out, discredited her very publicly at a rally, even called her looks into question, as the reason why he couldn't have possibly sexually assaulted her. And then of course went on Twitter tirade, asking why it took her 11 years to come forward. Of course Stoynoff saying that at the time she was ashamed but now feeling the need to tell her story and now backing her up and bringing forth six people who are now corroborating her story.

LEMON: She is -- let's see, former journalism professor and a long- term mentor.


LEMON: Her long-term mentor, his name is Paul McLaughlin, right?


LEMON: What is he saying about this? He's part of the story now.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, he is. I talked to him on the phone tonight. He says that it was back in 2005, hours after Stoynoff was allegedly attacked when she called him from her hotel room. He said that she was dismayed, distraught, shaken, angry, but in large part, as well, Don, she also felt betrayed. She said that she and Donald Trump had this professional business relationship, and all of the sudden in her eyes he had turned into a predator. So it was a very difficult time for her and the first person she turned to was her mentor and was her journalism professor.

And he actually spoke out tonight to CNN's Erin Burnett saying that he supported her then and he will always support her. Take a listen.


PAUL MCLAUGHLIN, PROFESSOR TRUMP ACCUSER CALLED AFTER ALLEGED ASSAULT: I think that a man who does what he did to Natasha and then turns around and says what he had said, I think that it takes what he did and adds another despicable level to it because I know that what she told me was true. She wasn't in 2005 calling me in anticipation of doing something negative to him in 2016 during a presidential campaign. That's preposterous.


LEMON: But at the time, he advised her not to take any action. Why is that?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. You know, Paul McLaughlin was very worried about this. He thought really that this was a no win situation for Stoynoff. He thought that if she spoke out, if she went to her editors, if she didn't stay quiet about this, that Donald Trump would deny it and then destroy her. He felt that Donald Trump would retaliate, that he would blacklist her as a journalist and just do things that would destroy her career. So his advice to her that she ended up taking was to ask to get taken off the Donald Trump beat, to no longer write about him, and as we know, she had no further bylines relating to Donald Trump.

LEMON: Let's talk about this interview last night with Melania Trump and Anderson Cooper because she -- you know, there was this claim that Stoynoff or that she bumped into her on -- you know, on Fifth Avenue, and said, why don't we see you anymore, but Melania Trump is saying no, that never happened. What is Stoynoff saying about that?

SCHNEIDER: Stoynoff is pretty much staying above the fray about all this, but what's interesting is that "People" magazine has put forward someone who says that she was with Stoynoff when this happened. She says that they ran into Melania, that Melania and Stoynoff chatted for a bit and the one thing this friend remembers about that occasion is that Melania Trump was actually carrying Baron as a baby and was even wearing high heels at the time, so she seems to have a very vivid recollection of this happening.

Stoynoff, for the most part, though, is only still speaking out about Donald Trump himself. In fact, issuing this very biting quote about him in "People" magazine today, I'll read it for you. Stoynoff saying, "It's possible he just doesn't remember it, it was over 10 years ago, and I assume I am one of many, many women." So some very biting language right there.

[23:05:02] Now the Trump campaign has not yet commented on this, however I did talk to Melania Trump's lawyer today. He says that Melania Trump is standing by her denials and also standing by her calls for a retraction and an apology from "People" magazine.

LEMON: Interesting. Thank you, Jessica. Appreciate your reporting.

Here to discuss all of this now is CNN Politics executive editor Mark Preston editor and Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of "The Hill."

So now, you know, we've got a she said, she said between Melania Trump and Miss Stoynoff.

So, Mark, Donald Trump -- and his allies have been calling Natasha Stoynoff a liar, saying she had no proof of her allegation that Trump attacked her. Now six people have come forward to say that Natasha told them the story back in 2005 right after it happened. What does it all mean for Donald Trump and the Trump campaign?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, certainly, I mean, it's not good news because, you know, the allegations that she has lodged now corroborated in some parts because she had told people of them at the time that they had occurred and he -- you know, didn't just come out with a story in the past couple of weeks to try to take down his candidacy.

Listen, this is a very damaging and difficult thing right now for Donald Trump to deal with because in one respect he has to deal with it publicly because he has to try to put an end to it and another respect, though, he has to deal with the fact that he needs to talk about other issues, he needs to talk about policy issues, he needs to try to, you know, move beyond it. So this is a very tough spot for Donald Trump to be in and not only her but all the other women who have made allegations against him.

LEMON: Bob, Melania Trump spoke out yesterday trying to contain the damage from all these accusations of sexual assault and groping. Here's what she said to Anderson.


MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: I believe my husband. I believe my husband This was all organized from the opposition and with the details that they -- did they ever check the background of these women? They don't have any facts and even the story that came out in "People" magazine, the writer, that she said that my husband took her to the room and start kissing her. She wrote in the same story about me that she saw me on Fifth Avenue and I said to her, Natasha, how come we don't see you anymore? I was never friends with her. I would not recognize her.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: That never happened.

M. TRUMP: Never happened.


LEMON: So, Bob, one of Stoynoff's friends says that she was with Natasha when they ran into Melania in front of Trump Tower. How do you think voters will see Melania's interview now in light of these new accounts?


LEMON: At least alleging that this all happened.

CUSACK: Sure. I mean, I think overall, Melania doing the interview was a good thing for Donald Trump. I think it would have been better if Donald Trump was with her during the interview. But you have -- you know, it's the same thing that Hillary Clinton, she can't shake the e-mail issue. He can't shake these accusers of she said, he said, and I don't think it's going to be ending any time soon. And you really look at Donald Trump's numbers with women. He needs to improve them if he's going to win this election. These type of stories, we don't know who's telling the truth, but they don't help him.

LEMON: Yet it's kind of weird because as we're sitting here, it sort of reminded me, remember the "60 Minutes" interview with, I'm not some little Tammy Wynette standing by my man, and then all of these years later we realize that, you know, some of the things against Bill Clinton actually turned out to be true. Do you think that -- you know, looking back if we're talking to each other 10, 20 years into the future we'll be looking back at this Melania Trump interview and possibly thinking the same thing, Bob?

CUSACK: I don't -- I think it depends on who wins on November 8th. But because there have been so many women that have come forward in the wake of the "Access Hollywood" tape, which was very damaging to Trump, you never know, but at the same time, you know, this is what -- this is what politicians do. They're accused of stuff. We don't know -- you know, who is telling the truth, but accusation after accusation, it does add up, it leads to bad headlines. And that's bad for Trump.

LEMON: And, Mark, it is showing up in the polls because five national polls published just in the last couple of days, it shows Clinton with a significant lead. How much pressure does that put on Donald Trump to try to get these, you know, allegations of sex abuse or groping behind him, and then how much does it put on him to win tomorrow? How much pressure?

PRESTON: Don, let's just say by this time tomorrow, Donald Trump will have either put his campaign back on track or will just continue to be derailed. He has one last opportunity to hit upwards of 50 million, 60 million people tomorrow, and try to discredit Hillary Clinton and her candidacy as the next commander-in-chief. For him, he needs to go in this debate not talk about sexual allegations. He needs to go into this debate and he needs to talk to voters and tell them how he can govern, how he's going to go in and change Washington.

[23:10:07] You know, he was in Colorado just a few hours ago and he didn't talk a whole lot about the sexual allegations. He talked about how he was going to drain the swamp and how he needs to bring change to Washington, D.C. That's a much better message right now for Donald Trump and quite frankly anybody who's running as an outsider like Donald Trump is, especially when you're trying to, A, get your base to be solidified again because we saw a bit of erosion around the base and quite frankly he's got to get the middle of the road voters. I mean, those voters who are --


LEMON: Is rigged election part of the strategy tomorrow?

PRESTON: It's crazy if it is because that's something that while it plays well in these big rallies that he's doing, at some point when you have everybody going out there, including President Barack Obama today and some would say it's predictable for him to come out and dismiss it, you have the Ohio secretary of state who oversees elections, who's a Republican, who's going to vote for Donald Trump, saying that Donald Trump is wrong about this, as well as Republican leaders trying to back away from it. It's not a winning strategy.

LEMON: So, Bob, same question but -- about strategy, but what's a grand slam for Donald Trump tomorrow?

CUSACK: A grand slam is this, Don, is that he shows that he's presidential. That he does not take the bait when Hillary Clinton says something, that he talks about what he wants to talk about, talking about trade, talking about the economy and then, definitely, Mark, I definitely agree with that, is that if you want the status quo, you vote for her. If you want change, you vote for me. She's -- if he can do all of that, he hasn't shown that he can, he can win this debate tomorrow night.

LEMON: What's a homerun for her, Bob?

CUSACK: I think a homerun is anything that isn't a big loss. If she loses narrowly, she's loses on points, that's still a win for her because of her lead right now and that's why she's got to -- I agree, she's got to play it safe, go to a four-corners offense and just run the clock out. But she can't be too tepid. She does have to fire back. But I think she's going to be very, very cautious tomorrow. I also think -- I think they are going to shake hands at the beginning because I think she's going to try to set a different tone for this debate.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. When we come right back Ivanka Trump speaking out in the wake of the

accusations against her father, the candidate. Will it help his campaign?


[23:16:10] LEMON: Melania and now Ivanka Trump speaking out in defense of Donald Trump, but is it too little too late? Here to discuss, "Daily Beast" columnist Sally Kohn and Republican strategic, Alice Stewart.

So, Sally, I'll start with you. Ivanka Trump did an interview with a magazine, "Fast Company," before the "Access Hollywood" tape was released. When asked about the brutal nature of the campaign, this is -- this was her response. She said, "The greatest comfort I have is the fact that I know my father. Most of the people who write about him don't. I do, so that gives me an ability to shrug off the things that I need -- that I read about him that are wrong."

And then after the 2005 tape was released a week or so ago, Ivanka gave this statement to the magazine, says, "My father's comments were clearly inappropriate and offensive, and I'm glad that he acknowledged this fact with an immediate apology to my family and to the American people."

So is the statement enough?

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I mean, is this sort of -- you know, look, I think the nice thing about the way elections work is that every American, every man and woman gets to decide for themselves if this is the kind of person we want in the White House. And, you know, I'm not going to judge Ivanka, I'm not going to judge her and Trump's relationship --

LEMON: But what else would you have her say?

KOHN: Well, exactly. She's his daughter. I -- that's their relationship. And, you know, I do actually believe in spite of the mess this election has become that we should let family issues, private family issues be family issues. The thing here is the voting public and whether we are going to accept a man who has bragged sexual assault, who has a history of public misogyny, not to mention attacking Muslims and Mexicans and African-Americans and everyone else, do we want him as our leader? As the leader of the free world?

LEMON: Alice --

KOHN: Absolutely not. It doesn't help one bit.

LEMON: Do you agree -- do you agree with what her assessment of what Melania said -- I mean, what Ivanka said that we should let personal family issues be personal family issues?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the problem is running for president of the United States and there's not a whole lot of room for privacy when you're doing that. I think having Ivanka and Melania speak and address this issue is critically important. They put a softer side on him, put a more human face on him. I think Melania's interview last night was good in respect that she was able to, first and foremost, what a lot of people wanted to hear is that Donald himself apologized to her. She accepted his apology and she said she hopes the American people do. I think the mistake was -- a couple of things, going on to say this was boy talk --

LEMON: Well, let me play some of it. Let me play some of it then you can go to that response. Let's play a little bit.



M. TRUMP: I said to my husband that, you know, the language is inappropriate. It's not acceptable. And I was surprised because that is not the man that I know, and as you can see from the tape, the cameras were not on, it was only a mic. And I wonder if they even knew that the mic was on because they were kind of boy talk. And he was lead on like -- egged on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.


LEMON: Pardon me, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but that's where you're going with this, blaming Billy Bush and then, you know, saying it was boy talk? Is that what Trump supporters really see here, too?

STEWART: No. They see it for exactly what it was. It's not boy talk. It was not locker room talk. This was a grown man in a professional situation that's running for president of the United States. And that's exactly how people see it. And for her to blame or anyone to blame it on Billy Bush egging it on, I think it's a tremendous mistake because it leads the appearance that he's not actually taking responsibility for his own actions and that's exactly what he should be doing.

Also I think this interview should have been done 10 days ago.


STEWART: We could have put this thing to rest and been talking about issues that help Donald Trump. I think --

[23:20:03] LEMON: You've done this a time or two before, Alice.

STEWART: Well, I think --

LEMON: But my question now, the same thing that I asked her about Ivanka.


LEMON: What would you have Melania say?

STEWART: Well, clearly I think the most important thing that she can say is basically what she said in terms of making sure that the American people understand personally he's apologized, she accepts, and they're moving forward. I think other than that case closed, leave it at that and move on to more important issues. I think that's what the American people want, and I think he needs to move on. We could have had an entire week of talking about issues that are strong for him.

I think talking about draining the swamp, doing away with Washington as usual, that's going to be a good message moving forward, and reminding American people how he won the Republican nomination on leading on the economy and immigration and issues like national security. And those are the things that we need to spend the next few days talking about and not talking about these issues and certainly we don't need to be blaming the women because as we've seen hell hath no fury like a scorned Donald, and for him to go and push back on the women that have come up and said these things I think also is a tremendous mistake.


KOHN: Great point.

LEMON: Yes. And I appreciate your candor with that. It's very interesting. So how do you not though -- when everyone was saying don't talk about these things, when you tell someone, don't look at her hair, you're going to keep staring. Do you think people are just going to continue -- even though he's try, is he going to talk about it? Is he going to talk about it? When is he going to say something? Is she going to say something? Do you think that's going to be part of it, Sally?

KOHN: I mean, you know, look, the unfortunate thing about this election is we've talked about issues apparently about 11 percent of the time, at least those numbers were through, I believe, July of this year. 11 percent of the time spent on issues at a time when we have, you know, still a struggling -- recovering but struggling economy, when we have concerns of security and ISIS and all these things. 11 percent. So, you know, this is a tabloid election. We talk about this stuff. We're going to continue talking about it.

I do think the issue, though, is -- it can't be separated from Donald Trump and his character. He -- you're electing not just a person for their ideas and obviously he doesn't have any so what else do we have him left? We judge him on his character. And --



LEMON: Hey, listen, Harry Reid spoke about that today. I want to play this because he -- Manu Raju, who's our reporter in Washington, said, he told him and he said, I was an athlete and no one talked that way that Donald Trump and Billy Bush did on the "Access Hollywood" bus, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: We have now 10 women that we know that have come forward that he sexually assaulted them. You know, that's a crime.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You think he's committed a crime?

REID: I don't know. You know, you have to have somebody file a complaint, you know, you can't do it without someone having -- these are people, you know, these are people who are trapped. They are with this man in public places and like an airplane, puts his hands under somebody's skirt in an airplane. The woman moves her seat. I -- I mean, for me, I can't understand. I don't know about a crime, but it is kind of a sickness.


LEMON: So, Alice, quickly because I need to move on. I've got to ask you something else that's just as important. That's a pretty serious thing for him to say.

STEWART: It is. And in terms of whether or not these instances are true or not, I think it's disturbing and unfortunately -- to Harry Reid's point, unfortunately a lot of times when situations like this happen, women can't come forward for whatever reason, for their job, or they feel intimidated by a man in power, so I think these are all issues that are side issues that can and should be talked about at some point, but in terms of the presidential election, I think we need to look at the bigger picture in terms of this happened, he's apologized for it, he's trying to move on and I think further -- for the good of this --


LEMON: And let people judge -- and let people judge for themselves.

All right. I want to play this. This is Ed Rollins. He's the chair of the pro-Donald Trump Great America PAC. He said this today.


ED ROLLINS, CHAIRMAN, GREAT AMERICA PAC: If somehow Trump pulls a miracle comeback here, which would take a miracle at this point, and obviously it's his party, he can do what he wants with it. If not I think we begin from ground zero and with lots of different factions and lots of different candidates.


LEMON: Is he right? Does it take a miracle, Alice, for Donald Trump to win at this point?

STEWART: I love Ed Rollins and he's my political mentor. And I have to agree with him at this point where it's a difficult situation. I think Hillary Clinton is trying to run out the clock. But here's the key with all of this, we've talking about women's issues, right now the latest polls show him down 20 points amongst women in the key battleground states. This is critical. In the key battleground state, one month ago, Hillary was just up five points amongst women. Now she's up 15 points amongst women.

This goes to show women take up 53 percent of the voting electorate, and so that's a key voting bloc that Donald needs to try and make up ground in these last three weeks and he's got his work cut out for him because it's a difficult road ahead.

[23:25:08] But it's not impossible. Never rule out Donald Trump because he has been counted down and out before and he's always come out to win.

LEMON: Alice --

STEWART: But it's going to be a difficult road.

LEMON: Alice Stewart, speaking the truth to power tonight. My goodness.

KOHN: I mean --

LEMON: Go ahead here.

KOHN: No, I was to say, he insulted --

LEMON: Do you think it's a miracle --

KOHN: I mean, do I think it's a miracle if Donald Trump isn't the next president of the United States of America? Yes, I do.

LEMON: It takes a miracle.

KOHN: I've been praying for it every night.

LEMON: He said it is a America if he doesn't -- if he can come back.

KOHN: All right. That was the phrase. If he can -- I'm losing myself in double negatives. It will take a miracle for Donald Trump to win.

LEMON: For him to win.

KOHN: But, I mean, listen, then again, I've stopped making predictions about this election, you know, because he's defied every single one of them, but I really do hope -- this is the miracle I hope for.


KOHN: I hope that the American people are better than this. I really do. Not just the insults of everyone under the sun, except for, you know, people like himself.

LEMON: I got it. You said it.

KOHN: Please, please be better than this. Please. Please.


LEMON: Thank you, ladies.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: I appreciate it.

STEWART: Appreciate it.

LEMON: All right. When we come right back we have been hearing a lot of so-called locker room talk in the wake of that lewd Donald Trump tape, but wait until you hear what Howard Stern has to say about what goes on in the locker room.


[23:30:15] LEMON: Melania Trump calls it boy talk, some people call it locker room talk, but Donald Trump's troubles with that tape are not over yet.

Here to discuss, Andy Dean, a former president of Trump Productions, Van Jones, former Obama official, CNN political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, a Trump supporter, and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers, a Clinton supporter.

A lot of the talk around Melania Trump's interview is about the idea that her husband and Billy Bush were engaging in so-called locker room talk or as she put it boy talk. Well, someone who knows more than most about that kind of talk is of course Howard Stern. He's what he said today.


HOWARD STERN, RADIO HOST: This idea of locker room talk, I've got to tell you something, all the times I've been around guys and believe me, when I'm around guys 85 percent of the time you're talking about pussy. But I have never been in the room where someone has said, grab them by the pussy. But in other words --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I have never heard that term before.

STERN: No. No one has ever, like, kind of advocated going that step where you get a little bit, like, hey, I'm going to invade someone's space.


STERN: Guys normally -- locker room talk to me is guys are even talking about who's hot, or what they'd like -- either what they've done to chicks or what they're hoping to do to chicks.


LEMON: Andy, even Howard Stern says Trump's language isn't locker room talk. What's your reaction?

ANDY DEAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was just going to say, Don, I don't know if I'm the right guy to analyze locker room talk. I don't know. To me, the Howard Stern stuff, this is stuff, you know, from the '90s when he was on the show, five, 10 years ago, and I just -- to me, to analyze in a political setting I'll just level with you, it doesn't seem right. I mean, even Howard Stern -- because I'm a Howard Stern fan, I'll admit it. I think some of his interviews are brilliant.

LEMON: Baba Booey.

DEAN: And he said that he's not going to replay -- he's not going to replay the Trump interviews because Trump went in there and it was an entertainment program. And then to kind of all sudden, not it's on CNN, I just feel like this is apples and oranges so I really can't comment on it.

LEMON: Van Jones, I saw a side eye there.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just wanted to say something about this. I feel that the reason this tape has been different than everything else with Donald Trump is that everything else he's done that's been controversial, that's gotten people upset could be put into one of three categories. It was either political conviction, he actually believes this stuff, even if it's outrageous, he could say, OK, well, you know, he's an authentic guy, or it's political calculation, he's trying to play to a certain base and say, well, maybe he's just being smart politically, or it's comedy, he's just being an entertainer.

This is the first time that it's not political conviction, calculation, or comedy. This is him by himself in a hot mic moment with somebody else just talking and being his actual self and his actual self is disgusting and appalling. And the reason -- that's why I think people have reacted to this so strongly.

And we could go back, boy talk, locker room talk, et cetera, this is sexual assault talk. This is criminal talk. This is -- you know, I can't go and grab Donald Trump by the crotch and try to kiss him. That's an assault. I'd go to jail. And so it's not about the talk, it's about the deed that the talk describes. And it's about the x-ray into who he is as a person.

LEMON: That was a visual for most of the audience, but any way, Scottie --


LEMON: Scottie, you're shaking your head.

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know how I can follow that one. So yes, as -- I'm going to try to pivot just to clear all of our minds.

DEAN: It's pivot time. LEMON: Yes, it is pivot time.

HUGHES: And you know, it's funny. I think it's hilarious that Van says political calculation. I mean, that's what this -- we already have NBC saying they sat on these tapes. They actually wanted to release them 48 hours before the debate to cause the maximum amount of damage but because of the hurricane that went through they ended up getting leaked out.

This is all political calculation. Yes, it does not dismiss the words. Sort of like when we're talking about the WikiLeaks. You know, the actions of how they got don't necessarily agree with, but that does not apologize for the works of themselves. But if this would have come out six months ago, nine months, a year ago, then I think they would have had the conversation but the reason why we're talking about this right now is going into this month Hillary Clinton had not been able to mobilize the female vote. Trump was leading by 17 points with female married women.

LEMON: SO -- OK, hold on, hold on, hold. Let me ask you something, Scottie.

HUGHES: And that's the reason why this came out at this time.

LEMON: Scottie, so you think the Clinton campaign is behind this. Do you think the Clinton campaign are in cahoots with NBC News or in cahoots with somebody else, and then they -- I mean, it's -- really?

HUGHES: It's already been shown that NBC wanted to cause maximum damage with this. Now whether that was at the allegiance -- we'll have to wait. Maybe that was an e-mail that Hillary lost in her deletion of 30,000 e-mails.

LEMON: That was good.

HUGHES: We'll find that out probably next year. But -- thank you. But, you know, this is -- you cannot sit there and look at the timing of all of this coming out that they're calculated time.

[23:35:04] And once again we are distracting from the issues that I think most men and women in America want to find out about these candidates.


HUGHES: And NBC for some reason chose to sit on these tapes until three weeks before the election in order to cause damage --

LEMON: OK, you've made your point with that. But I think -- I think the character of the candidate, I think that's very important when you're running for president, and as I said, I think I said this to you last night or maybe the night before, peoples' characters are often revealed when they are -- when they don't think anyone is listening, and so when you're in the public, you have a microphone, you're in front of these cameras, you're going to be on your best behavior, but when you're just on the bus and you're hanging out with your buddy, that may be your true character that comes out. Do you disagree with that, Bakari?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't agree with it, but -- but even more importantly, Don, I think that we're looking at this tape in the wrong manner. I think we -- we're looking at it in a vacuum. We have to look at it in the totality. I mean, Donald Trump from the get-go, I mean, we've said this over, and over, and over again, but it can't be stated enough.

He targeted Hispanics, he targeted Muslims, he targeted African- Americans. He targeted the disabled. He targeted POWs, he targeted Gold Star moms, and now he's talking about sexual assault on women. This is not anything new when you look at it in the totality of the circumstances.

Now I had two major issues with Melania Trump's interview. The first was that she simply stated that he speaks real, he's very honest and what he says is what you can believe, you can take it to the bank. All Trump surrogates say that. Well then if he said that on that bus, can we take that to the bank, as well? I mean, is sexual assault to him something that he believes in his core and his heart? That's first.

And the second thing is, she said that Billy Bush made him do it? Well, if Billy Bush made him do it, then what is Putin going to do him? What's Bashar al-Assad going to do to him? What's the Iranian regime going to do to him? How are you going to stand up on the world stage if you can't even stand up to Billy Bush?

JONES: My god.

HUGHES: Seriously. That's going too far. 11 years ago, I would love to see Bakari -- what you were saying 11 years ago. That's ridiculous.


LEMON: No, but those are good points, Scottie. Andy, you guys want to respond to that? Those are very good points. If she's saying that Billy Bush was 20 years his junior --

HUGHES: That's a stretch right there. That's an absolute stretch.

LEMON: Van, if he can -- you know.


HUGHES: There's an entertainer on the bus, there's another entertainer versus on the world stage and if we're going to take the hidden tapes, you know, we look at the videotapes that have just come out about James O'Keefe that we found, are we really -- and we look at the WikiLeaks, and what Democrats called the racist, the homophobic, all of the comments that are in these --


LEMON: I think you're right about that, but James O'Keefe is not running for president.

HUGHES: Part of the DNC. Are we going to hold these all accountable?

LEMON: We're talking about the person who's actually running for president.

HUGHES: But the DNC is the one encouraging it.


HUGHES: Let's look at what they called Bernie Sanders supporters -- Bernie Sanders himself that's come out in all of this. Like I said once --

LEMON: Scottie, I do have to say -- hold on, Bakari. I do have to say, you're making very good points but it's not -- you're not answering Bakari's questions, and I thought those were two really great questions. If Billy Bush can sort of goad him into saying those things what's going to happen when a world leader does the same thing? If we can't believe what he said on that bus on an unguarded moment, why would you say he says what he means and you can take it to the bank? I think those are great questions.

HUGHES: I think it was two guys peacocking in front of each other, trying to show off and have a -- you know, trying to figure out who was the bigger manly man. It happens all the time. Don't agree with the word choice, but most men, they might not go to that extent, but a lot of guys sit there and try to beat one another.

SELLERS: I don't --

HUGHES: Bakari, you've never said that --

SELLERS: But there is a line.

HUGHES: Like I said --

SELLERS: Listen, I've never said anything about sexual assault to any of my friends. In fact, if you say something like that in the conversation, that's the quickest way for you get jacked up and somebody to talk -- you know, have a serious conversation with you. There is a line that is guy talk and what Donald Trump did -- I mean he's a habitual line stepper. Let me not get that wrong. But he just completely jumped clean over that line into what's inappropriate.

LEMON: Van Jones --

SELLERS: And no one, mother, sister, daughter, aunt deserves any of that.

DEAN: Don, to me what this is just revealing is what Trump is talking about with media bias because I think anyone with the right mind, including Donald Trump has said that, look, this tape is not good, he apologizes, it was a horrible thing. But we're now on -- what is this? Day 10 of this scandal, and the balance of how it got covered -- (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: You forget last night his wife came out to support him for this tape, and do a long interview. His wife was on CNN last night. She was on FOX today. She may be -- and we would not have been talking about it had she not agreed to do those interviews. She is standing by her man.

DEAN: Don, with all due respect, then I disagree.

LEMON: And therefore we're doing it.

DEAN: I disagree, Don, and I think an important point, when Donald Trump is reeling against the big media and you guys called it conspiracy, it's actually a mathematical, very real phenomenon. I mean, the Center for Public Integrity looked at this, they looked at the money that journalists gave to presidential campaigns and 96 percent of the money given from journalists went to the Hillary Clinton campaign. So I agree with you that, yes, this is a bad tape --

LEMON: So --

DEAN: We get it, Donald Trump did not look good.

LEMON: They looked at -- they're talking about the media -- they're talking about food critics and movie critics, they're not talking about journalists.

[23:40:03] So I mean, so the numbers are skewed. But anyway, my question was about -- my question was -- yes, I'm going to let you get in, Van. But to be more specific, just so you know, Andy, my question was about Melania Trump's response. That was what Bakari said and what came out of her mouth, yes, and so that's what we were responding to.

But any way, Van, I'm going to let you talk and make your point after the break, and then Andy, I'll let you jump in as well. We'll be right back.


LEMON: All right. Back now with my panel. Van Jones, you were saying?

JONES: Well, I guess I wanted to make a nuance point here, which is that on its face, the Republicans actually do have a point to make about bias. On its face, you could say listen from the media's point of view, when it's Bill Clinton, his -- his policies are so much more important than his personality and his personal flaws with Bill Clinton. With Donald Trump, his personal flaws are so much more important than his policies, say, on trade or whatever, and so they can make that case and they can feel comfortable with it. There's a problem, though.

[23:45:01] What I think we don't actually get honest about is that it wasn't the tape. It was really Donald Trump's response to the tape that left a lot of people very concerned.

LEMON: No, it was the tape, Van.

JONES: When Barack Obama --

LEMON: Come on. Van, when you --

JONES: Hold on a second. Let me finish.


JONES: Can I -- you have your point. I want to make my point. The tape was horrible. But listen, there was a horrible tape with Barack Obama, as well, in 2008, when that -- Reverend Wright came out, and it turned out that this preacher who was not just some random preacher, the guy that married Obama and Michelle, had said horrific things. But what Obama did in the wake of that, and it was a bombshell, it was over. He came out and he gave one of the most impressive speeches in the history of American politics. And he showed that under fire he could take us to a higher place.

The problem with Donald Trump is, when the bomb fell on his campaign, he came out and he took us to a lower place and started talking about Bill Clinton and everybody else. And I think that what that -- for a lot of people they say, you know what, this is not the kind of person you want to have in the White House. When he gets in trouble he doesn't takes us high, he takes us low. And that's a big part of why I think the media is not willing to move off of this. He has not apologized, he's not risen to the occasion yet.

LEMON: All right, Deacon Jones.

DEAN: Don, I'll say this, I agree with Van -- what was that, Don?

LEMON: I said all right, Deacon Jones. But go ahead.


DEAN: Don, I was going to say, I agree with Van's point about Bill Clinton, but I think where at least he lost me in the parallel example is with the Reverend Wright stuff. I mean, this was somebody that he knew for a decade. He went to his church, as he said. He -- you know, he was the individual who married them. That's something that Barack Obama did consciously for a decade, and the stuff that was said about the United States of America was so horrific. Once again this is a moment that nobody is proud of. Even Donald Trump was very clear that he wasn't proud of.

But this is a 15-second, whatever it was, you know, that horrible moment before the bus, you know, opened with the camera. And I've known the man for seven years and if you talk to anybody including his wife, if you want to bring up the interview from last night, said that this is not the Donald Trump that we know.


LEMON: Just remember, you just brought it up. I'm just saying.

DEAN: But that's not who he is.

LEMON: But also, hang on, hang on. Bakari, I have to say this. Van, as much as I said deacon, listen, I understand what you're saying. Those words, you know, G-damn America, that did not come out of -- that didn't come out of Barack Obama's mouth. That came out of Reverend Wright's mouth. The words on that bus came out of Donald Trump's mouth. If Donald Trump had sat in, you know, a church with a preacher, who said those things, that would be a different story, but I don't -- I think it's apples and oranges to compare those two situations.

DEAN: But I'll tell if you, if Donald Trump had sat in that church, I'll tell you every night on CNN around the clock, there'd be a different member of that church there and it would go on and on and on. I'm just saying that there's a different --

LEMON: You don't remember 2008?

DEAN: To a conservative scandal to a liberal scandal.

SELLERS: That's not accurate. What's accurate is that Donald Trump said that he likes to commit sexual assault because he can do that. He said, I just walk up and I grab them because I can do that. I'll put a Tic Tac in my mouth because I'm famous and I'll kiss them. And you have women that come out and say, my god, he put a Tic Tac in his mouth and he kissed me or he grabbed me, or he groped me. And all of a sudden, we're supposed to say, they're lying. But even more importantly this is the same person who has talked about women's appearances, who's talked about flat-chested women, who's talked about -- just the whole plethora, who's walked in locker rooms, Don, while women were changing for pageants.


HUGHES: Ok, hold on. No.

SELLERS: While teenagers --

HUGHES: No, hold on. That has not been proven, once again.

JONES: He said it himself.

HUGHES: That does not --

SELLERS: He said it himself.

JONES: He said it himself.

HUGHES: But that doesn't mean he did it. First of all, let me just say this. I'm going to --

LEMON: Scottie, before you respond. Before you respond, Scottie, he did say it himself, again on -- on Howard Stern, he said that he walks into the room and he has -- he's like, I have to, you know, inspect the place. But go on, Scottie.

HUGHES: And a lot of people say things on Howard Stern, that they don't necessarily -- a lot of things people say on a lot of shows they don't --


DEAN: Howard Stern is entertainment.

HUGHES: And that's just part of the entertainment of going with it, and he wasn't running for president. He was not a politician. I'm sorry, he doesn't have this well covered.


HUGHES: But let me point this out, I'm a female, Melania Trump is a female. We are women. This is where this is going to go dead because the way the media has handled this is starting to back fire, especially the majority of these women's cases are being very much discredited and they're finding out to be hit jobs on Mr. Trump, tied with the Hillary Clinton campaign, the DNC having -- majority of them are. By the way, this underage that you keep accusing, there were chaperones. Those chaperones never came forward and said wrong things that happened. The details do matter. You can't just throw mud. This is what Democrats do. They did in 2008, 2012. This is your track record, it's getting old.

LEMON: I've got 10 seconds left. Who is going to respond?


HUGHES: Grow up.

SELLERS: I need to be clear. I need to be clear for one second. I have an 11-year-old daughter.

JONES: Thank you.

SELLERS: And I don't care if a chaperone is in the room, if a grown adult man running the pageant or not walks in while she's changing clothes that is a problem.

HUGHES: Yes, but then why didn't the chaperones say anything?


SELLERS: And I know we want to have -- I know we want to have -- I know we want to have excuses.

[23:50:00] HUGHES: No, it didn't happen.

SELLERS: But you just --

HUGHES: It's that simple. It did not happen.

JONES: Why did he brag about it? (CROSSTALK)

SELLERS: Why did he brag about it?

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

HUGHES: He -- it's different. Once again it never happened. Where's your evidence that it happened?


LEMON: Hamana-hamana-hamana, kukukachu. Thank you. We'll be right back.


LEMON: Melania Trump sat down for an interview with Anderson Cooper who -- and who knew that her defense of her husband would inspire a new hashtag, Billy Bush made me do it.

CNN's Jeanne Moos has some of the best tweets.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On "SNL" Melania Trump was portrayed as if she was ready to dump the Donald. But in real life Melania didn't just stand by her man. She partially blamed Billy Bush for leading her husband on.

M. TRUMP: Lead on, like egged on from the host to say dirty and bad stuff.

MOOS (on camera): But nobody had to egg on the Internet. Instantly a new hashtag was born.

(Voice-over): #BillyBushmademedoit. As in when Trump cheated on his first wife with the second, #BillyBushmademedoit, or Ryan Lochte just changed his story. He now says, #BillyBushmademedoit.

[23:55:09] You know how Trump is always saying --

D. TRUMP: This whole election is being rigged.

MOOS: So of course someone tweeted, now we all know who is rigging this election. #BillyBushmademedoit.

Even noted Hillary supporter Cher got into the act. "How can Trump stand up to Putin if he couldn't stand up to Billy Bush?" This 4- year-old puddle tweeted #BillyBushmademeputthispapertowelovermyhead. Billy is Bush whacked. John Oliver show did a segment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Billy Bush being creepy with everyone.

BILLY BUSH, FORMER "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" HOST: How do you feel about your butt?

JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS/SINGER: Are you kidding me? You did not just ask me that?

BUSH: I did.

MOOS: Now they can add the 2005 bus scene.

BUSH. Let the little guy in there. Come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, let the little guy in.

MOOS (on camera): Melania had a name for what her husband engaged in on that bus.

M. TRUMP: They were kind of a -- a boy talk. Boys talk.

MOOS: With a 59-year-old boy? Blame it on the 33-year-old. President Trump, why did you nuke Brussels? #BillyBushmademedoit.

Though the Donald sure seems to be the alpha --

D. TRUMP: Come on, Billy. Let's go.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.

D. TRUMP: That's better.

MOOS: New York.


LEMON: Jeanne, thank you very much. That's it for us tonight. I appreciate you watching. I'll see you right back here Thursday night.