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Source: Trump Could Order Voter Fraud Probe Tomorrow; Trump Orders Construction of Border Wall; Trump Insists Mexico Will Pay For Border wall; Mexico President: We will Not Pay For Border Wall; NYT: Trump Settling Into Life in the White House; Trump Takes Action Against "Sanctuary Cities"; Trump Will Send in Feds If Chicago Doesn't Fix Carnage. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired January 25, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:05:03] Don Lemon.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Van Jones, thank you very much. We're going to begin tonight with some breaking news. The source telling CNN that the president could open investigation into his erroneous claims of voter fraud as early as tomorrow, claims that may be based on an urban legend by pro golfer. A top republican says he sees no evidence of fraud.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us.
President Trump making good on key campaign promise signing an executive order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. DONALD TRUMP (R), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The Secretary of Homeland Security working with myself and my staff will begin immediate construction of a border wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And this just in, just moments ago responding to that, we have some breaking news now. Mexico's president, also an inside look at how the president is comparing the White House to Trump tower after first few days in office and in the White House.
I want to begin tonight, though, with senior political analyst, Kirsten Powers, senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, political commentator David Swerdlick, and joining us on the phone, political analyst Maggie Haberman. Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much.
So Jim, to you first, you're standing there at the White House. President Trump signed an executive order to begin moving towards building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He talked about it with David Muir this evening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS, JOURNALIST: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?
PRE. TRUMP: Ultimately, it'll come out of what's happening with Mexico. We're gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I will say --
MUIR: So, they'll pay us back?
PRES. TRUMP: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent.
MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?
PRES. TRUMP: All it is, is we'll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico.
MUIR: Mexico's president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, "It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans." He says, well, simply they're not paying.
PRES. TRUMP: Well, I think he has to say that. He has to say that. But I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I'm doing is good for the United States. It's also going to be good for Mexico. We wanna have a very stable, very solid Mexico.
MUIR: When does construction begin?
PRES. TRUMP: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it, we're --
MUIR: Within months?
PRES. TRUMP: I would say in months. Yeah, I would say in months. Certainly planning is starting immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Jim, today's executive order, what does it accomplish? Is the wall happening?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Trump says the wall is happening. They're going to, initially, tap into funds that are already in existence in the Department of Homeland Security to get construction started.
But Don, the president cannot, through executive order, authorize the billions of dollars it will take to pay for the wall until it's completely built across entire U.S.-Mexico border. He's going to need Congress's help with that. And so it's going to take some expenditures from Capitol Hill.
And then in the long run, as you noticed in that interviewer with David Muir, there is simply no plan at this point, no plan to get Mexico to pay for this wall. He's saying it might come in complicated form at some point, but it does point they don't have anything worked out with Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto who just posted a video message on Twitter in just the last few minutes, Don, reiterating that Mexico will not pay for the wall.
LEMON: Yeah. Jim, stand by because I'm glad you mentioned that. I want to go to Leyla Santiago. She's our CNN correspondent. She's in Mexico City --
ACOSTA: With the president.
LEMON: With the president of Mexico who has just responded to President Trump's actions. Leyla talk to us about what he said. Jim Acosta just reported that the president posted this video, I think it was on Twitter, a video message. What is he saying, Leyla?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big take-away is that he never said he has any plans to cancel the meeting with Trump next week. And the reason that that is so important is a lot of Mexican senators today actually came out and put that out there as a call, wanting president to say, "I will not be meeting with Trump." Even though at this very moment, the foreign minister and the economic minister both from Mexico are in D.C. with a series of meetings that they'll be having, that they had today, as well as tomorrow with the Trump administration.
But President Enrique Pena Nieto basically said that he demands respect. He does not believe in walls. He will not pay for the wall. But again, never mentioned any change of plans in his meeting with President Donald Trump next week.
[22:10:05] LEMON: All right, Leyla, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Let's go back to the folks that we have here in the U.S.
So Kirsten, let's talk about this. Again, and this is a quote from the president, said, "Mexico does not believe in walls. I've said time and again, Mexico will not pay for any wall." The former president was on with Anderson Cooper earlier this evening, saying, "I'm not going to pay," and I won't put in his terms, he used in expletive, "any, you know what, wall." Donald Trump says the president says, "They're going to pay for it. It may be complicated," and you know.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I mean here's the question. Why should they pay for the wall? Let's just start there. This isn't something that they want. It's not something that they need. This is expensive. We're talking billions of dollars. It's ridiculous on the face of it. So if Donald Trump wants us to believe this is going to happen, he needs to be more specific about how he's going to get the money from them, because --
LEMON: It's not something that even Americans want even, most Americans. Let's put this up as you talk about that. This is the CBS News Poll this month, asked Americans if they favor or oppose building a wall, 59 percent, almost 60 percent of Americans oppose the wall, 37 percent support it. When CBS asked who they think will pay for the wall, 79 percent, nearly 80 percent think that we will pay for it ourselves, only 14 percent think Mexico will pay for this wall. He's taking early action but the question is, can he deliver on this massive promise that you see that most Americans don't want?
POWERS: Yeah. But I don't see how he can --
LEMON: And we've already gone through this report.
POWERS: Of course, the reason most Americans don't want it is because we actually don't have a problem with people coming into the country, that the problem he's trying to solve actually doesn't exist. They aren't flooding into the country the way that he seems to think that they are.
And President Obama actually did a lot to deport people as well. So the idea that immigration is completely out of control, I think most people recognize it's not true. Second of all, I think most people just don't want to have a country that builds a wall, you know, that keeps people out.
LEMON: Most people are coming into the airports overstaying their visa, and that's the biggest problem --
POWERS: Right, exactly.
LEMON: Really with immigration, not people coming across the wall.
POWERS: Yes, facts, #facts.
LEMON: That is #alternativefacts.
David, the cost estimates for the wall range from $10 billion up to $25 billion, is Congress prepared to come up with that much money? Are there plans being drown up? What's the progress here?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Congress is going to really scrutinize it. Right now, though, Don, it's not clear to me that the republican majority is going to stand up to President Trump on this even if they think that in the end it's going to hurt our budget situation to allocate this much money.
Look, presumably, we're not going to build the wall, pay for it ourselves, and then send Mexico an invoice, right? So the question is then, what is this complicated form, as Kirsten said, that Trump is going to use to make Mexico pay for the wall? If it's something like, you know, tariffs or some kind of trade penalties, then we run the risk of, you know, essentially making them pay for it and then repaying for it ourselves if those tariffs and higher prices on goods going back and forth across the border means that Americans pay a higher price for goods that we get from Mexico. You know, if you like avocado on your BLT, wait until Mexico slaps a re-tariff on something that's coming from Mexico to the United States.
LEMON: We should keep in mind there's a wall already there. I mean in some places it is absent, but also it's very tough to build a wall all the way across the southern border here.
Maggie, very interesting, a good way to talk to you about your piece today, Donald Trump's move from Trump Tower to the White House. And here's what you said, it's called, "It's not Trump Tower, but White House has beautiful phones." And then you described his life there this way. His mornings, he said, are spent as they were in Trump Tower. He rises before 6:00 a.m., watches television tuned to a cable channel first in the residence and later in a small dining room in the west wing, and looks through morning newspapers in New York Times, in New York Post, and now the Washington Post. But his meetings now begin at 9:00 a.m., earlier than he used to, which significantly curtails his television time. So Mr. Trump, who does not read books, has so able to end his evenings with plenty of television. And we know that because often the subjects that we put on the show, he often ends up tweeting about them minutes later. So how is he settling in so far?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): I mean he was in a very good mood when I spoke to him, which was last night. He'd actually tried me earlier in the day and I have the call which was not wonderful. But he sounds like he's still in awe of the building. He is still very much a man in transition. I mean remember, it's day five. So this is all very new. I think that you have this sort of stress period over the weekend where he was investing a lot of anxiety and sense of sort of change and fatigue frankly in accessing about the coverage and crowd-size issue.
[22:15:06] But he sounded very good. He sounded excited to be there. It's interesting, you know, for somebody who so much of his life is so public and so accessible and available. He doesn't really like talking about his family. When you prod him on sort of emotional inner space, and so I asked him how he was handling having his wife and son Barron not in the house with him, which is unusual, he would fly home even very late, almost every night of the campaign to sleep in his own bed. And he very quickly said that Melania Trump, the first lady, and their son will be coming down this weekend and say he's thinking of his first trip to Mar-a-Lago, possibly the weekend of February 3rd. But he was very, very awed by the history. He still talks in Trumpese though. So I asked him what office he's working in and he said he's mostly oval office, but then he said there's also "a lot of boardrooms there", which is I think the various rooms off of the oval office.
HABERMAN: He's having a lot of fun and he's more situated than any recent president for this kind of isolated setup. He lived and worked in the same place the last 40 years.
LEMON: Yeah. I think it's, who wouldn't be of awe of living in the White House? And, you know --
HABERMAN: That's right.
LEMON: -- you can't -- yeah, right. He has every right to be. It's majestic. So here's tweeted today that I want to ask you about, because you said that your sources have also been telling you that some of the drama this past weekend was due to how president Trump functions when he is tired or overstressed, and that he most self-destructive when the stakes are high. So forgive me for saying this is an unsettling thing to hear about someone in that position as president. Can you elaborate on that?
HABERMAN: Sure. I mean, look, I think by stakes are high, when he's facing some new large challenge of magnitude. He tends to infuse it with more drama than is perhaps necessary. So if you look back at the campaign, as soon as he secures something, he finds a way to harm himself right afterwards. He became the de facto nominee in May and very shortly afterwards started talking about the Judge Curiel, indiana-born judge in the Trump University case who he noted was "of Mexican descent" and he immediately drew a conclusion about how this must be, because he's talking about building a wall which Paul Ryan called the textbook definition of racism.
And then had right after he became officially the nominee at convention, he immediately harmed himself by attacking the wife of Khizr Khan, gold star mother suggesting that she might have spoken at the convention because she was a Muslim woman as opposed to a grieving mother, which is why she didn't speak.
So you've a series of this kind of -- this cycle has played itself out over and over again with Trump. It doesn't mean that he doesn't eventually settle into it. People have various ways of dealing with anxiety and stress, all presidents do. Bill Clinton certainly did. Obama, you know, started the least visible on this frankly. But it's -- the people have various ways of dealing with this. Trump has never been an elected official before. His first elected office is the presidency. That's a big deal.
I think there were a lot of things at play on Saturday. I think the problem is not that he's having this kind of sort of episode, but I think the problem is that there was nobody around him in the White House who was able to just put a stop to this statement that Sean Spicer gave, that while Sean Spicer might have dutifully said, "Yes, I'm interested in doing this," by all accounts Sean Spicer was not eager to deliver it.
LEMON: All right. Maggie, thank you. Everyone stick around, Maggie as well. Up next is President Trump's claim of voter fraud based on an urban legend by a pro golfer.
[22:22:39] LEMON: All right. So back with me now, Kirsten Powers, Jim Acosta, David Swerdlick, and Maggie Haberman.
Jim Acosta, back to you at White House now. So today, the president said he's going to order an investigation into voter fraud.
ACOSTA: Right. LEMON: It sounds like a subject change or shift into what he actually said that millions of people voted illegally. Is he changing up here? Or are they switching? What's happening?
ACOSTA: Well, Don, we did talk to senior administration official earlier this evening who said that President Trump could sign executive action as soon as tomorrow to launch this federal investigation into something most election experts agree is not a problem, which is this issue of widespread voter fraud. It just doesn't exist in the U.S. And when we heard President Trump talking with David Muir with ABC earlier this evening, he sort of was breaking it down into, well, there are people who live in two different states or registered to vote in two different states, there are people who are dead but they're still on the voting rolls.
That is not the same thing as what he saying shortly after the election and what he said to lawmakers at this congressional reception the other tonight which is that he believes that millions of people in the U.S. are voting illegally. And so that is a shift rhetorically in terms of what he's saying about this, but it sounds like what he's trying to do is launch an investigation to see if he can prove this claim, which is unsubstantiated, unfounded, it's never been proven true that widespread voter fraud exists in this country. But apparently, that executive action could come as soon as tomorrow, Don.
LEMON: I think when people move in, you know, I've gotten things, and you're registered to vote in, you know, let's say Georgia, but we understand that you've moved to New York, so that --
ACOSTA: You're not breaking any laws.
LEMON: That's right.
ACOSTA: That's just what happened.
LEMON: OK, right. All right, Jim. So Maggie, listen. Your paper in the New York Times has a piece out today on what --
ACOSTA: Right, I got to run inside.
LEMON: -- president Trump said to Congressional leaders when he alleged that 3 to 5 million illegal -- there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes, right? He told them a story about a friend, a pro golfer who was barred from voting. Can you tell us that story?
HABERMAN: I can't. It was broken by colleague Glenn Thrush. And it's is remarkable anecdote but actually pretty consistent with what we have seen the president do when he was a candidate. It was a close-door meeting and he began by talking about how he believed that there is this widespread fraud and it was sort of a "let me tell you this story". Trump is an expert storyteller.
[22:25:03] And he told the story of professional golfer, whose name I'm going to mangle, but he's a German citizen. And he said that he had been in line to vote in Florida and found himself surrounded in front and behind him in line by people who didn't look, "like they ought to be able to vote" and he didn't tick off a list of Latin American countries that they could have been from. He claimed that the golfer had been denied the ability to vote.
Glenn, my colleague leaked daughter of the golfer who -- and this was apparently he claimed that he had have this conversation with the golfer at Mar-a-Lago over Thanksgiving at Trump's club.
The daughter told Glenn that they're not friends despite how Trump described them that I --you know, this never happened because the golfer is not a U.S. citizen and would not have been trying to vote and seemed very emphatic about, you know, having it be known her father was not friends with Trump.
A White House official told Glenn that this is a story that Trump had heard that it was -- the golfer was describing a friend of his own who this had happened to, but a straight look an impression on Trump. But it's a very, very telling anecdote on several levels. It's candidly very alarming because of -- not based in any fact and the president is using this as an example of anecdotal evidence by which he is going on a basis for projecting out multimillions of votes that just happened to be the same margin that he lost by in the popular vote.
But it is -- the degree to which Trump is willing to pass on information that is not entirely either accurate or verified or proven, and then pass it along incorrectly. It was quite something.
LEMON: Yeah, yeah. Kirsten, she's talking about Bernhard Langer, right? And "New York Times" and they kind of write this. Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer, that's Bernhard Langer, the golfer, were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said according to the staff members, but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from.
POWERS: Yeah, some alarming statement, considering that, of course, we have American citizens --
POWERS: -- from countries all over the world. So how can you look at somebody and know they shouldn't be allowed to vote? I mean that was a very alarming kind of stuff.
LEMON: But it can't be just based on this anecdote from Bernhard Langer.
POWERS: No. I mean I think the thing people need to remember is that this is sort of something the right-wing media focuses on a lot. And so Donald Trump did not come up with this story about people voting or these voter fraud stories. This is something that he's picking up. He's getting it from right-wing outlets. And the reason that conservatives focus on this is because they use it as a justification to clamp on down Voter I.D. laws and things that are really voter suppression efforts. And so you have to have the voter fraud to have the suppression. And that's what this is really about. LEMON: Yeah. And this is -- I mean David Swerdlick, again, so we know that this is -- as Kirsten said, this is about -- much more about voter suppression if there is any sort of strategy to that, because even a person who is in charge, would be in charge of a major investigation into voter fraud would be Jason Chaffetz of the house and he's saying they're not even interested in doing an investigation on.
SWERDLICK: Yeah. I mean there's a couple of different reasons for why the story -- why the president put this story out, but one of them is just that, to keep alive this idea that there's widespread voter fraud. So as pretext perhaps to enact more voter suppression laws going forward toward the 2018 and 2020 elections, if I can just go back to the Bernhard Langer story, though, you know, the "New York Times" story casts doubt on that story, you know, or on all the details in the story as apparently re-laid by the president. But let's just say for a moment that the president basically had the story right. It's still one instance of potential and strange voter fraud. And as Kirsten said, how can someone tell just by looking at someone whether or not they're citizen of the United States.
But you're talking about one instance of potential voter fraud. And if you listen to the way President Trump spoke on the campaign trail, Don, and the way he speaks now, many times when he's speaking publicly and he's offering evidence of a particular assertion, he starts off by saying, "I heard" or "Many people are saying" or "I'm hearing something", rather than showing data or a specific set of facts that can be verified by an independent source.
LEMON: Yeah. This is mostly about voter suppression. And I have to go. This is about voter suppression, not necessarily about voter fraud, which there is very little evidence. I mean if does, there are anomalies in the voting system, right?
[22:30:02] POWERS: Right, of course.
LEMON: But widespread voter fraud, no evidence of that.
Up next, more President Trump possibly launching an investigation into his claims of voter fraud as early as tomorrow.
LEMON: Tonight, the Trump administration official telling CNN the president could open an investigation into his claims of voter fraud as early as tomorrow. Let's discuss now. CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, a former Obama administration official, joins us, nice job by the way, Van, and political commentator Jeffrey Lord who was a political director in the Reagan White House. You did okay Jeffrey, very good, very well.
LORD: Thank you.
LEMON: And Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP. You always does a great job. Thank you gentleman for joining us this evening. Jeffrey, the president is calling for major investigation into voter fraud. Tonight he spoke with ABC News, with David Muir. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUIR: What you have presented so far has been debunked. It's been called false. I called --
PRES. TRUMP: No, it hasn't. Take a look at the Pew reports.
MUIR: I called the author of the Pew report last night. And he told me that they found no evidence of voter fraud.
PRES. TRUMP: Really? Then why did he write the report?
MUIR: He said no evidence of voter fraud.
PRES. TRUMP: Excuse me, then why did he write the report?
[22:35:00] PRES. TRUMP: According to Pew report, then he's groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they wanna write something that you wanna hear but not necessarily millions of people wanna hear or have to hear.
MUIR: So, you've launched an investigation?
PRES. TRUMP: We're going to launch an investigation to find out. And then the next time -- and I will say this, of those votes cast, none of them come to me. None of them come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of them come to me. But when you look at the people that are registered: Dead, illegal and two states and some cases maybe three states, we have a lot to look into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Okay. This is a very, very important discussion. All right. So I want us to be honest about this, because I think people are relying on us. Obviously, they are for the truth.
Members of his own party who shut this down, his own attorney said there's no fraud or mistake in 2016, why does he insists that the author of the study is combatant (ph).
LORD: Does that work?
LEMON: He spoke with David Muir. He said there's no evidence of it.
LORD: Don, there's more than this study. There's plenty of evidence for it. But I'm looking right to Heritage Foundation, sampling of election fraud cases went across the country, 742 clips (ph) sampling, now 742 criminal convictions, 462 cases and this is all across the country and they have the names of the individuals, what they were convicted for, when they were convicted, et cetera. LEMON: Okay. Let's just say --
LORD: And my point is, let's find out. Because the answer is we don't know how many.
LEMON: OK. So I think people want to know that.
LEMON: Even with what you're saying --
LEMON: -- it does not say thousands --
JONES: Three to 5 million.
LEMON: -- millions of illegal --
LORD: The key word here, Don, was --
LEMON: Millions of illegal votes.
LORD: The key word was sampling. This was just a sample.
LEMON: Wouldn't a sampling say -- Instead of 100 or 700, wouldn't it say millions?
LORD: Don, we have no idea. That's the point.
LORD: The people should have said we have no idea how much of this there is. And so I'm saying let's find it out.
JONES: Well, Jeffrey, somebody has an idea.
LORD: Let's find it out.
JONES: And I want to hear from the biggest expert on this whole thing is on this. Talking about voter suppression, voter fraud --
LEMON: Isn't that Dr. William Barber?
JONES: Yeah, Dr. William Barber.
LEMON: Who dealt with it. You've dealt with it. Not only Dr. Barber during this election cycle, but you have dealt with it for many years. Go on.
REV. DR. WILLAIM BARBER, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: You know, we've been fighting ever since that, you know, Jeffrey, you know, call yourself Lord, but (inaudible). But come on brother, listen. We know the guy you're talking about, Van. But he's been proven to be fraudulent. They brought him to North Carolina and his claims were the same claims ones that republicans used in North Carolina to justify the worst voter suppression law and the courts ruled against them, said they had engaged in surgical voter suppression. That's the issue.
Twenty-two states since 2010, two years after Obama won, have passed voter suppression. Fifteen states since 2013, we're talking about states where you had some of the highest turnout of African-Americans and Latinos, where republican-led legislatures, went in and did voter suppression.
LORD: A voter idea actually.
BARBER: That's the issue. Voter fraud is a lie. Voter suppression is alive and well. And the truth is you scratch a lie, you find the thief.
LEMON: Well, I want to ask question, Reverend. Reverend?
LEMON: Jeffrey just said something I hear a lot of republicans say.
LEMON: When you say voter suppression, they say all they're asking for is the voter I.D. In North Carolina, was it only about voter I.D.?
BARBER: No, it wasn't. It was about 40 changes. They rolled back same-day registration. They rolled back early voting. They passed the worst form of photo I.D. And court said it was unconstitutional. First of all, I heard Jeffrey say last night, you know, you can buy medicine, you need I.D. First of all, medicine is not a civil right or constitutional right. Secondly, people do give the last four digits. You know about the HAVA Law, they get the last four digits of their Social Security, the last four digits of their license. When they do voter registration, they have to sign their names, call signature attestation. You get a felony if you lie. And there have been no cases of this, no cases. This is the same lie that Thom Tillis, when he was speaker of the house, used to justify the worst voter suppression. He used same fraudulent researcher Vaughn Venvoski (ph) who was proven fraudulent. The courts ruled against him and even lied that Thom Tillis came on and said, "There really was no voter fraud. We just want to protect the vote." No, this is about voter suppression. This is about trying to suppress the African-American vote. We had 868 less voting size in the black community in 2016 than we did in 2012. That was really going on here.
LEMON: And you want to respond. I have to get to break. Or would you like to respond before we go?
LORD: Sure. I will just say that voter suppression would mean among other things that people who are non-citizens of the United States are voting and suppressing the votes of those who are citizens.
BARBER: No, no.
LORD: That's voter suppression.
BARBER: That's not true, Jeffrey. That's not true. Voter suppression is when the courts say, when you surgically and intentionally suppress African-Americans and Latinos. I'm not talking about my opinion. I'm talking court-proven truth, not the lies of Donald Trump or the lies of Republican Party, but courts have ruled unanimously.
[22:40:04] In that case, two white judges and one African-American that the state engaged in voter suppression, racialized voter suppression, both in the voting and in gerrymandering. They even called the gerrymandering apartheid districting. That's what we need to be dealing with and fixing.
LORD: Well, let's investigate that.
LEMON: Dr. Barber and Jeffrey and Van --
BARBER: We are, that's why we took them to court.
LEMON: Standby, more on the other side of this break. We'll be right back.
LEMON: We're back now. Source within the Trump administration is telling CNN that president could launch an investigation into his claims of voter fraud as early as tomorrow. Van Jones is back with me, Jeffrey Lord as well and Rev. Dr. William Barber. We're also joined by Michael Eric Dyson. He's a professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. He's the author of "Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America".
My initial intention was to talk to you about Chicago and about violence. We want to bring you in because you know about the subject and we'll get to that a little bit later on. So professor, thank you so much.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
LEMON: Van, the president also said that all the votes go to the other side, but CNN is reporting that Steve Bannon and Treasury Nominee Steve Mnuchin are both registered in two states. Does that mean that they committed voter fraud that they voted for Hillary Clinton? Does it?
[22:45:08] JONES: No, it doesn't. I think that, you know, some good can come out of this, I hope. If you want to have an honest conversation about voting in America and you look at it seriously, what you find will be shocking. We don't have a great voting system and the poorer you are, the more rural you are, the tougher your neighborhood is from urban point of view, the less you're able to exercise your vote.
So, it's going to turn out that when you look into this, the people who are going to benefit, if you really want to look at the voting, are going to be low-income people and people of color. They're the ones having a hard time voting. Unfortunately, the conversation is starting off in a ridiculous place.
LEMON: It's being framed in a manner.
JONES: It's being framed right now.
LEMON: That's right.
JONES: That I think is unfortunate. It used to be president said, "I'm going to go into states where actual human beings are being stopped from voting." Now, we have a president said, "I'm going to go into states where phantoms, who don't exist, are voting when they shouldn't be." And I think we can rescue it, but it's bad.
LEMON: Yeah. So listen, you heard the president refer to the Pew report. Jeffrey and Dr. Barber, and Michael, you heard this in that interview with David Muir. One of the authors of that Pew study has been talking to CNN all day. Listen to his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BECKER, CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVATION AND RESEARCH: This is not something that hasn't been looked at. The Bush administration DOJ looked at this. The Federal Election Assistance Commission looked at this. Secretaries of state, both Republicans and Democrats, look at this regularly throughout the election cycle. The secretary of state of Ohio, Republican John Houston, does it every two years. The Republican secretary of state of Louisiana, Tom Schedler, does a good job of looking at this, as well.
And they've all come to the same conclusion, which is that the administrative inefficiencies that might exist on the voter rolls do not result in fraudulent ballots being cast. And in fact, in the five years since that report was issued, the voter lists have gotten much, much better, thanks to the fine work of election officials all across the country to use data and technology to make sure that they can keep up with people's mobility.
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LEMON: And Dr. Dyson, CNN has confirmed statements from that there is no voter fraud from Secretaries of State from Massachusetts, Colorado, Arizona, Vermont, Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and California. What's going on here? What's your reaction?
DYSON: Well, I think it's symptomatic of this president's inability to square reality with fantasy. You know, the word empirical means that which can be falsified or verified through the census. So if you've got a claim about a particular truth, then produce the proof that substantiates the claim. But he has none. So he projects out of fantasy what he wants to be the case, what he wants to be the case, and he asserts it, and willy-nilly, he expects everybody to fall in line.
The reality is, as much as Putin was a problem in terms of hacking, here's something that we need to confront. That the real hacking problem, the real problem with voting in this last election happens to be, as Van said earlier with people of color, elderly people in certain regions of this country who were denied access to voting polls and because of voter I.D. laws and the whole host of energy and efforts that were directed toward poor people and people of color.
So the reality is at the end of the day, this reinforces the damage that has done to those communities. I hope like Van that some spotlight will be put on them. But what I fear is that in all the miasma and all of these madness, that what we end up seeing is that Donald Trump is living in a fantasy world, the president of the United States of America exercising power as the most powerful man in the world is going by delusion as opposed to fact and that is undermining and circumventing the very flourishing of the democracy he leads. This is a real serious issue.
LORD: Let me focus on area of agreement here. I have a 97-year-old mom who's been voting all her life. When Pennsylvania passed the I.D. law, she of course no longer drives. So I had to take her over to the motor vehicle's department to get -- it looks like a licensed, but you know, she can't drive, so it's an I.D. supplied by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I don't see any reason why state governments don't send someone to your house. If you can't do it, if there's some economic reason or age-related reason --
DYSON: Certain mobility.
LORD: Right, right. Go to your house and take the picture. How hard is that? I mean I do think we have to take care of this.
LEMON: Dr. Barber?
BARBER: Yeah. But the problem is we've had elections all the way through 2008. It started when Obama was elected, and African- Americans and Latinos voted him in, and all of a sudden there's problem with fraud. When the states began to pass like North Carolina, it's not about photo I.D. In North Carolina, they rolled back same day registration. They rolled back early voting. They lied about fraud to pass a photo I.D., a strict form of photo I.D. They lied that people didn't have some form of I.D. when they first registered to vote.
[22:50:03] So you know, Don, it's a long discussion, but what really I'll be talking about is restoring the Voting Rights Act, dealing with voter suppression that has proven in the courts. That's what we should be dealing with.
BARBER: And opening up access to this democracy.
LEMON: And as outgoing president, President Barack Obama said, we should be trying to get as many people, make it easier for people to vote as possible to get people into the voting process. Our conversation continues on the other side of this break.
LEMON: We're back now having a very lively conversation and informative, I think you would agree. Van Jones is here, Jeffrey Lord, Rev. Dr. Barber, and Michael Eric Dyson, the author of "Tears We Cannot Stop".
Michael, let's talk about this, because it relates to, you know, what the president did today. You're in Chicago, tonight. Rahm Emanuel, he says Chicago is going to remain a sanctuary city in spite of the president's direct to cut off federal funding. Will others follow?
DYSON: One hopes so. I mean the reality is it's an interesting diversion and contradiction in conservatives who usually exceed to the legitimacy of states' rights. And the same time, the imposition of federal rule and law at the vast of the presidency suggests some interesting contradictions. But I think that states around this country and cities around this country have to recognize that with a presidency that has echoed surprisingly narrow definitions of what it means to be an American and has exploded a conception of diversity that brings people in, that wants to build bridges and not walls, I think the brave politicians have to stand up to President Trump and remind him that this is a citizenry that is predicated upon democracy and to opening those borders to receive all of those who would come in to this country to strengthen it, since coerced immigration and immigrants who came here voluntarily make up the bulk of this nation and make up its greatness.
LEMON: He is saying that he's going to send in the feds and putting out a statement on that. Do you give him credit for wanting to do something about it? He said I'm going to send in -- I will send in the feds, and he talks about the number of shootings. Do you give him any credit at all?
DYSON: Well, look, I give him credit for wanting to do something about it. But here is the problem. When the presence of the feds comes, what happens?
[22:55:01] First of all, it criminalizes an entire population of people so that they become casualties of that war. Number two, if they don't make distinctions between people who are actually likely to commit a particular crime and those who haven't, it only exacerbates the problem. And then thirdly, after those troops leave, what has it done to address some of the underlying problems, which is some of the things I talked about in my book, the economic inequality, the lack of access to capital, the war zones that these (inaudible) and Islam have become. What about the closing of schools? What about the denial of opportunity educationally? What about job creation? Those are some of the things, that Donald Trump were a smart president, what he would say is that he would bring his entrepreneurial might to bear upon some of these problems to remove the blight as opposed to imposing federal range.
LEMON: Van Jones? JONES: Look, again, there is an opportunity here. I think that the democrats have done a miserable job dealing with poverty for their constituents in urban areas. Republicans have done a miserable job of dealing with rural poverty. Both parties have let down the poor. Even if a conversation starts in a bad place, and I think talking sitting in the feds is worst place to start the conversation. That conversation has now been started. I think it can open doors for people to have solutions. I would love to see Jack Kemp kind of approach in urban America. I don't want to see a militarization, but I just want to say the fact that the president is talking about this could be a good thing.
LORD: A good thing. Exactly somebody who worked for Jack Kemp. When I worked for him, he made a point of having those of us who worked for him go into the cities and talk to people and have a better understanding of the problem. The very first thing to do is stop the carnage.
LORD: And then as Dr. Dyson is saying, there are other things that can be done.
LEMON: And I'll give you the last word Dr. Barber. We only have just a few seconds if you will.
BARBER: Well, yeah, we need a moral revolution of values. We have to deal with the divestment in these communities. We had 10,000 clergies that offered to meet with Donald Trump in the house to where they should deal with these issues. We know we got the letter. It was certified. They never responded. These are serious moral issues, whether it's voting, whether it's immigration, whether it's dealing with poverty, and it's not any one party, but as fact dealing with these issues, doing a serious audit of this country and fixing the problem, we -- and we need to do that. But we can't have somebody who's deluded and who's dealing more in lies than they are in the truth.
LEMON: Dr. Barber, thank you, Van Jones, thank you, Jeffrey Lord, and also thank you to Michael Eric Dyson. The book is called "Tears We Cannot Stop". And it's in book stores. Now, you can get it online.
Thank you very much and we'll have you back to talk more about the book of Dr. Dyson. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.