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Protests Over U.C. Berkley; An Angry Phone Call. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 1, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] TOM FRIEDMAN, New York Times COLUMNIST: ... and moderate republicans and democrats grabbed them I say, I acknowledge your concerns your fears. But let's go to a different place because where he's taking you actually won't work.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tom Friedman, thank you so much.
COOPER: Time to hand it over to Don Lemon for CNN Tonight. I'll see you tomorrow night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Look at that. You see live pictures now. This is our breaking news. This is out of California. The speech by a controversial Breitbart editor at U.C. Berkeley canceled tonight in the wake of protests that turned violent.
Again, you're looking at live pictures. Now I want to get to our correspondent on the scene, our national correspondent Kyung Lah who is there and she has been following this story for us. This speech was scheduled -- Milo Yiannopoulos is supposed to speech -- speak, it was canceled. Kyung, tell us the latest. What happened?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He was supposed to speak in about an hour from now, Don, but two hours ago, we saw a group start to assemble. There were protestors. A planned protest and the goal was to try to make it difficult for him to speak, what they have now effectively done is they have shut it down.
What you're looking at here, and I want to give you good look at the expanse of this crowd, it is still a sizeable crowd. They are cheering -- I'm trying to -- and they're chanting "shut it down, shut it down." This has filled up this part of the university square. If you -- everywhere I look it is packed with people.
The police have made announcement saying you need to get out of here to try to clear this area. But you can see for yourself, it is -- it's almost like a festive party at this point. A lot of people in the front they have their faces covered. And earlier, we saw them trying to pick up some of the barricades.
There were a lot of barricades that they're picking up and throwing into the building.
I want to walk you this way. This is the building where Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak. And these are some of the barricades over here. And this is what's left of the first floor windows of the student union. They've been completely smashed through.
We're not seeing too many of the protesters run through this building. But you can see all through the first floor there are smashed windows. There were rocks that were thrown. There were incendiary devices of some sort, it looks like firecrackers and torches that were being thrown at this building and at police.
I will just walk you back over this way, so we're going to make our way back to see the crowd. They also set fire to this light. A light that had gasoline in it. And you can see what's left of it. It does look like the crowd is beginning to move.
I'm not exactly sure why -- it looks like this is an impromptu march of some sort. If they walk out of here this could be good news for the police because the officers have been trying to clear this area, trying to disperse this crowd. Don?
LEMON: And Kyung, as we look at those pictures that you're speaking about, I just want to tell our viewers that this, it could be that this crowd is so big considering what's happening now in politics with the White House.
The speaker is an editor at Breitbart news, that's a web site that is a big proponent of the so-called alt-right movement, and as you know Steve Bannon is now in the White House, the kids there at the university that many would probably consider liberal. Most of the people on campus are I'm sure upset by that.
And I just want to -- before I get back to you, Kyung, I want to tell you what Milo Yiannopoulos posted on the following statement. This is on his Facebook page. He says, "I have been evacuated from the a U.C. Berkeley campus after violent left-wing protesters tore down barricades, lit fires, threw rocks and Roman candles at the windows and breached the ground - ground floor at the building. My team and I safe but the event has been canceled. I'll let you know more when the facts become clear. One thing we do know for sure is the left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will be, do literally anything to shut it down."
And again, so now these protests are becoming violent as our Kyung is reporting. Kyung, also he was, he planned an appearance at U.C. Davis that was canceled at the last minute, recently. He spoke Monday at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he drew a diverse crowd of opponents and supporters.
And then Cal State police monitored that crowd closely and then there was a sold out event there at Cal Poly chapter for college republicans that's who sponsored the event and not the university itself, but he is not without controversy, Kyung.
LAH: Certainly not. And at the University of Washington when he spoke a couple of weeks ago there was a shooting and it was between a Trump supporter and someone who was against Trump. So that was what the argument was about and that led to a shooting, a man was sent to the hospital in critical condition.
[22:05:04] So, this is certainly about national politics. The sense that you get as you walk to the crowd he talk to people, this is as much about Donald Trump, as much about the White House, as much about Steve Bannon as it is about this individual system.
You mentioned that he was talking, he was tweeting about free speech. That is something that is -- this is the birthplace of the Free Speech movement from the 1960's. So what you hear from people here is that want to hear diverse opinions what they don't appreciate about Milo Yiannopoulos is that he is a troll, he is an internet troll.
He makes fun of overweight people. He picks on lesbians, he uses language that is extremely offensive to a lot of people and to the student groups I've talked to. They say that they have to feel like they need to protect marginalized groups.
And so, this is what they -- this wasn't exactly what they wanted but a lot of the students said they wanted to stop him from speaking by any means.
LEMON: All right, Kyung, I want you to stand by and we're going to monitor those pictures. Again, this is coming out of UC Berkeley. There was a speech that was scheduled there that's been canceled because of these violent protests that have broken out across that campus. Again, we'll keep an eye on that.
In the meantime, I want to get to other breaking news here this evening, what may be a huge fumble by the Trump administration, a contentious phone call between the president and the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, one of America's closest allies.
The president reportedly hanging up less than halfway through that phone call.
Let's discuss with Greg Miller, national security correspondent of the Washington Post, he broke the story. Greg, good evening. Thank you so much for joining us on this busy evening here. You have this new reporting tonight on that call between the president and prime minister of Australia that quickly went sour. What can you tell us?
GREG MILLER, WASHINGTON POST CORRESPPONDENT: yes, I mean, everybody to we talk to just characterize this call as really hostile, ended very abruptly. That it was a combination. Trump was badgering the Australian prime minister, was complaining about a deal about America's agreement to take some refugees that are being held in an Australian detention camp.
But he also used the call to try to brag about his Electoral College win and to call attention to his electoral -- his success in the election in November. And when the Australian prime minister tried to move on to other subjects including Syria Trump sort of abruptly ended the call. He wanted to get off this call.
He told the Australian prime minister I talked to other foreign leaders today including Vladimir Putin and this is the worst call of the day.
LEMON: This disagreement over refugees, right, talk to me about that.
MILLER: Yes. I mean, so this was a -- this was over an agreement that the Obama administration had reached to try to help Australia deal with a refugee crisis. Australia is holding roughly 2,500 refugees in this detention sites on islands off of Australia's coast. And it's become a huge humanitarian issue and Obama administration agreed to take half of them in a deal brokered by the United Nations.
Trump did not like being forced to abide by that agreement, especially at a moment when he was trying to call attention to the executive order that he signed last week that places new restrictions on refugees including from Muslim majority countries.
LEMON: Yes, and you know, to compare to a call Vladimir Putin, this is one of our closest allies.
MILLER: Absolutely. I mean, that's what makes it really remarkable, I think. It's that the -- that it's hard to think of an American ally who has been more steadfast and more reliable than Australia obviously Trump has had his issues with Mexico and other countries.
But Australia has been there for the United States in the wars in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, diplomatically through intelligence sharing, to counterterrorism missions. And so, to have a blowup with the Australian prime minister in his very first call as commander in chief is quite significant.
LEMON: All right. Greg Miller of the Washington Post. Greg, thank you very much. I appreciate your reporting.
I want to bring in now our White House correspondent here at CNN, Sara Murray. Sara, good evening to you. What are you hearing on this?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we hear a lot of things that are similar to what Greg just said. That this is a very tense call between Donald Trump and the Australian prime minister. We're also told that this is after a long day of Donald Trump sort of dipping his toe into diplomacy.
For the first time that Turnbull was his fifth call, he may have been a little bit fatigued but obviously, he was very curt, he ended the call abruptly and he took issue with disagreement about refugees that was settled under the Obama administration.
And Don, I think the thing to look at here is it's not so much exactly what ally Donald Trump was having this call with, but it's the fact that this is how he is approaching this very important diplomatic calls. One government official described the interactions that Donald Trump
is having with foreign leaders as naive. So, obviously there's a certain level of concern around these not just when it comes to the Australian prime minister but also around some of these other diplomatic calls that Donald Trump has been doing.
[22:10:08] LEMON: All right. Well, speaking of that, Sara, CNN is also learning new details about the president's call with the Mexican president. What are you learning on that?
MURRAY: That's right. You can add this to the list of sort of abnormal calls you would consider i terms of other heads of state. When Donald Trump talked to Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican President, we know that that was after they've canceled the meeting together.
But we are also told that Donald Trump offered U.S. assistance in battling the drug cartels there and said Mexico needs to deal with its bad hombres, obviously this is terminology we be used to seeing in Donald Trump's Twitter handle but not necessarily something that we're used to seeing in diplomatic phone calls between leaders and heads of state, Don.
LEMON: All right. Sara, there's also news today about what national security advisor Michael Flynn said about Iran. Fill us in on that.
MURRAY: That's right. This is perhaps one of the most weightiest things that came out of the White House today, and that was the Trump administration coming out and saying they are putting Iran on notice.
This is in the briefing and it sort of drawing at least a red line in verbiage but not really backing it up with anything. They are saying that Iran's ballistic missile launch was highly provocative, that it is potentially destabilizing toward the region and they are in a deliberate -- a deliberative process about essentially what to do about that.
They have not guaranteed that there will be some action as a result to that, but they're also not taking any military action off the table. I think that what they said to you is that outside of the nuclear agreement they made clear that this is outside of the U.S. nuclear agreement with Iran.
The Donald Trump administration wants to make clear that America is still willing to take potential punitive steps. Now, what remains to be seen is whether this is just tough language to try to convince Iran to change its course of its own accord or whether there will be action, there will steps both in terms of economic sanctions, maybe in terms of military action to back this up.
The White House would not respond to questions about that when we are asking senior administration officials about that earlier.
LEMON: All right. From Sara Murray, thank you, Sara. To Sarah Martin, political reporter for The Australian. So, Sara, thank you for joining us. Let's talk about that phone call now. Because the prime minister of Australia today was asked about this call. (CROSSTALK)
SARAH MARTIN, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE AUSTRALIAN: My pleasure.
LEMON: Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALCOLM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: I've seen that report and I'm not going to comment on the conversation other than to say that in the course of the conversation as you know and as confirmed by the president's official spokesman in the White House, the president assured me that he would continue with -- honor the agreement we entered into with the Obama administration with respect to refugee resettlement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was President Trump upset about parts of the conversation?
TURNBULL: Look, thanks for your inquiry but I'm not going to comment on these reports out of the United States about the conversation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I think the Australian public will be interested in your relationship with our most important partner. Did he hang up with line to you earlier than you expected?
TURNBULL: Because I'm not -- I'm not going to comment on these reports of a conversation. Australians know me very well. I always stand up for Australia in every forum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Sara Murray, you're in Australia, what's the reaction? Sarah Martin, you're in Australia, what was the reaction?
MARTIN: Look, it's been a fairly extraordinary story and reaction here I think has been one of shock and disbelief, I think not only the fact that the details of this high level conversation have been leaked to the press in the U.S. which is extraordinary in itself. But of course, the details of this conversation, and the fact that there does seem to have been quite hostile exchange between the two leaders.
Of course, this all comes in the context of Australia wanting to ensure that this deal with the Obama administration sticks. The prime minister has sought to be as diplomatic as he can be since the conversation on Sunday morning, our time, basically refusing to comment on the United States executive order on immigration, taking a diplomatic line there.
Because of course as we're learning today, it sounds as though that this agreement to take refugees from Australia's offshore detention centers is really hanging by a thread.
So, I think today, everyone has just been astounded at the details that have been leaked, and also, I guess the sense of chaos and confusion that it seems to suggest, particularly given we've had mixed reports whether this deal is on or off or back on again. So, it has been a day of confusion and disbelief.
[22:14:57] LEMON: I can imagine. And the people's reaction to the President Trump reportedly saying that this was the worst call he had than -- a worse call than Vladimir Putin's call.
MARTIN: Well, I think -- I think again, people are quite shocked although a lot of reports about the president and Vladimir Putin reportedly having quite a good relationship at least from afar.
So, but look, it is shocking Australia and the United States are very firm allies, I think Australia has been alongside the United States in every military battle since World War II, we have U.S. marines based in northern Australia, we are -- we certainly see ourselves as one of the United States' most dependable allies.
And it's pretty extraordinary that this first call between the two leaders ended as it did. It sounds quite farcical and I guess it's also raising concerns here about the temperament of the new U.S. president, and of course, I don't think Australia is alone on that one.
LEMON: Sarah Martin, thank you very much. I want to introduce our panel now, they are going to talk about this. Mark Preston is here. Nia-Malika Henderson here as well. Kirsten Powers -- can we show them? Kevin Madden and David Gergen.
Can we put them up, please? OK. And then we'll bring Greg miller from the Washington Post as well. And we'll talk to them after we come right back.
[22:19:58] Very busy night. And our breaking news, an angry phone call between President Trump and one of our four closest allies, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia.
Let's discuss now, here's the panel. CNN political analyst, Mark Preston, our senior political analysts, Mark Preston and David Gergen, senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, also CNN political analyst, Kirsten Powers, and political commentator, Kevin Madden, and Greg Miller of the Washington Post will join us momentarily.
Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much and sitting through the breaking news that we had out in California. This call between, apparently between, reportedly between the president and Australian prime minister only lasted about 25 minutes, David.
It was supposed to go longer and then at one point, the president who has spoken to four other worlds leaders apparently said that, you know, this was the worst phone call, even worse than the Russian primes minister -- and then the Russian president, what do you think of this?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, are they playing some sort of game in the White House? How many countries can they alienate in 100 days? You know, the list is in double digits now. I think three quick things about it.
One, we've never had a president in my memory who has bullied our friends in this way, especially heads of government. Second thing is, it rips the face off the fiction that the White House put out about this being a very constructive call and everything like that, which is totally -- normally in this situation if you have a really tough call you say it was a candid conversation, use code words so people know a little bit about. You just don't come out and paper it over.
But the third thing, which I think is astonishing, what is going on inside this government that so many people are bringing out documents and leaking things, calling, you know, calling or get things done. I think -- I think you've had experience with that.
LEMON: Yes, I have. And I'm not been on the political team, it's very interesting to witness. To sit where we do and witness this going on. It is definitely extraordinary.
Kevin, with that said, he's cozier with an adversary like Putin than a close ally like Australia? What is happening?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, look, I think one of the -- we've been doing this now since the campaign, we were doing it during the transition and I suspect we're going to continue to do it during this entire presidency, which is we keep expecting Donald Trump to adhere to some level of convention or protocols. And he just doesn't.
And I think those that are expecting him to change are going to be disappointed. He's just not going to change. But what that is what is problematic. Because if you look at the criticism from many republicans over the last eight years in how President Obama conducted his foreign policy, it was one of the criticism, one of the central criticisms was that he was tougher on our allies like Israel than he was on our enemies.
And here we have an instance where we are already alienating one of our closest allies just over a phone calls. Like, we haven't even gotten into a lot of the real substantive policies. I understand there was a bit of a policy during that call but just the tone of it was what's already caused some consternation. And that's a problem.
LEMON: Very interesting. Greg Miller from the Washington Post who wrote the story is back with us. But Kirsten, this question to you. The Washington Post is reporting about what the Australian prime minister tried to confirm whether that U.S. would honor its pledge to take -- take in 1,250 refugees.
Trump called it the worst deal ever and accused the Australian prime minister of seeking to export the next Boston bombers. What's your reaction to that?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's just interesting that he really -- he has this idea that that U.S. has been pushed around by other countries. And for some reason, the people that he thinks have pushed us around are actually some of our closest friends and allies.
And he has more hostility towards them, towards Australia, for example, or Mexico, than he dos to someone like Vladimir Putin in Russia who clearly is anti-American. I mean -- and yet he has all this sort of seemingly stored up anger and sort of a chip on his shoulder that he's going to somehow right the world by retaliating against people that really haven't done anything to us.
POWERS: And I'm not quite -- I'm really confused about where this world view comes from.
LEMON: Nia-Malika Henderson, you know, we're used to hearing this blunt style coming from the president, but are you surprised that he's using it with foreign leaders?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: No, not really. I mean, I think Kevin is exactly right. This idea that somehow he's going to change in office and suddenly become diplomatic in terms of his presentation and engagement with other world leaders, I don't think that's going to happen.
The White House have said, you know, this was at the end of a long day and he was tired and sort of fatigue was setting in. Well, guess what, that is the job. Like, you know, you have to deal with that. I mean, it's a 24-hour job essentially as president. And you don't get time off.
You know, with situation like that, maybe that is context, but it's certainly not an excuse for this.
And it seems also that President Trump just is creating problems that don't need to be there. Right? I mean, this is all him sort of shooting himself in the foot.
[22:24:58] And we also know that this is a president that isn't really one that's going to be reading briefing books and studying the different relationships that the U.S. has with different countries.
So, I think that is problematic, also we are seeing leaks out of this White House, out of, you know, all sorts of sectors. Greg is obviously in intelligence, he covers the intelligence agencies. And we know that this is the White House that initially went in questioning the intelligence agencies, and obviously tried to make good with that first visit that he made to the CIA, but in some ways that ruffled feathers as well.
So, I think we're going to see more and more of these leaks. And they ultimately, of make Donald Trump look like he's in over his head and some of them quite frankly, make him look like a bit of a buffoon.
LEMON: Yes. And Mark, that he doesn't really know what's going on. He's supposed to be in charge and doesn't -- maybe you know, I don't know if it's true enough, but the reports is that sort of Steve Bannon is doing the -- is the... (CROSSTALK)
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Puppet master.
LEMON: You said it. I didn't want to...
PRESTON: You were doing this. So, it could be...
LEMON: For the people who weren't looking at the screen but just listening. Yes. I mean, that -- and why would he be bragging about his electoral win to foreign leaders?
PRESTON: Well, you know, a couple of things. We don't actually have reporting on that but of course, trusting Greg on that.
LEMON: Greg, yes.
PRESTON: Because it is something that has some historic precedent because he's done this several times before including with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer when they came down to the White House recently to have a discussion about legislation and he went off.
You know, you got to wonder if he goes back to that all the time because it makes him feel good. That he feels like it justifies whatever actions he's going to take...
LEMON: And it's what he knows.
PRESTON: How he's going to act. What he knows and makes him powerful. But to the point of the world view, you know, why do need enemies if you're going to alienate all your allies, I mean, it just makes no sense whatsoever.
LEMON: And the reporting, I mean, I don't want to put Greg on the spot, but do you believe in the reporting?
PRESTON: A 100 percent. And to that point, you know, our own reporters, including Jake Tapper and Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak and Sara Murray at the White House they all have corroborated that everything that Greg has reported except for the point about the electoral. It was about given the tone of this telephone conversation, I'll put my money on that was said.
LEMON: Yes. Quickly David because I want to get - to give Greg...
GERGEN: These things come back to bite you. We talked to a couple of nights ago about how we went after the -- he's going after the bureaucracy of the civil servants. Guess what, they bit back today with the story.
That, you know, that's for partly where this comes from. And nations bite back. You cannot conduct yourself in the world this way. This is -- we should not normalize this. This is total departure from the way diplomacy is conducted in this country and in other countries, in other civilized.
LEMON: The conversation is so interesting. As a matter of fact, we're going to hold you, guys over and we'll do another block. And Greg, I want to get more information from you. We'll talk more about your reporting and get more from our panel, right after this. Don't go anywhere.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: A couple of big breaking news stories tonight to tell you about. The first out of California that we'll get it to the speech by a controversial Breitbart editor at U.C. Berkeley cancelled tonight in the wake of protests that turned violent.
CNN national correspondent Kyung Lah is there, she's been following. Kyung, has this turned into a celebration? What is going on?
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's -- I don't know. People who are dancing now. They have brought out music and they appear to be celebrating. And what they are celebrating is that the Breitbart speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos was not able to speak tonight. He was scheduled to speak at 8 o'clock -- hold on. OK. So, the Berkeley police and I'm going to have you look up on the second floor here they're making announcement right now.
LEMON: Can we listen?
LAH: For the crowd to disperse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disperse which means to break up this assembly. That's what we are going to do so. You may be arrested or subject to other police action -- other police action that including the use of force.
LAH: It's a little difficult to hear.
LEMON: Yes, we can hear them, Kyung.
LAH: Because of the music but they are learning...
LEMON: We can hear them over the microphones. It's easier for us. So you got to disperse or you'll be arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prohibits remaining present and unlawful assembly.
LEMON: So, Kyung, as we listen to the officer saying, he's giving the code and the law of which it is about unlawful assembly and telling them break it up or they got to go to jail.
Listen, on this campus, you're on that campus. It's the birthplace of free speech. And you're on this Sproul Plaza where all this -- all of that began. What can tell you us about this campus, and do they have a history with this sort of thing? With Yiannopoulos?
LAH: So, this is as far as we know, his first visit here to this campus. The reason why you're seeing so many people talk about free speech is you're absolutely right, in the 1960's this was the site of the free speech movement, this is what gave right to free speech where students wanted the right to assembly, to have a political voice.
But in the 1960s it was largely peaceful assembly asking for a more liberal attitude inside the classroom and the ability to assemble here in this very plaza.
What we're seeing today is something very different. You may be looking at party but what we're looking at throughout the last couple of hours is some pretty violent protests. We've seen some of them picking up barricades and smashing through first floor of the student assembly.
And I'm going to have you walk over here. We say set fire to this light and -- and it's gone now. But just a second ago, Don, there was a hat, a make America great hat that was set on fire here. So, this is very much about politics, a different approach though than what we saw in the 1960s, Don.
[22:35:01] LEMON: OK. Thank you, Kyung. Keep us updated on that. Keep an eye on that. We'll get back to Kyung Lah.
I want to get back now to my panel and we're going to talk about that phone call with the Australian prime minister, also with the Mexican president as well.
But let's discuss the issue of free speech. As you heard Kyung Lah say earlier, they were talking about the current president and White House and Steve Bannon, this, you know, protest against Milo Yiannopoulos became sort of a protest against the administration and having a person from Breitbart in the inner circle.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's right. Listen, universities, especially the East and West Coast are debating right now how do we present our student with more conservative speakers because, you know, the East and West Coast have few professors who from the right.
But when you do that, you got this real dilemma, is that someone who is going to incite, you know, a riot or some sort or it's going to bring a lot of protesters. We just went through this at Harvard being with Kellyanne Conway and the Clinton campaign and they exploded on campus.
So, it's a difficult issue for universities to sort out. This is Berkeley and I think a lot of people look at it, there it is. Berkeley all over again. We've been here before. LEMON: Yes. So, is that not for instance, they're saying --
Yiannopoulos release a statement saying the left is trying to limit free speech or to stop free speech. Is this -- is it their first amendment right, their free speech to protest this person?
GERGEN: It's rather rich for him to talk about how he's being shut down by the left when his editor, his owner Mr. Bannon called for the press to shut its mouth. There's a kind -- there's a certain amount of hypocrisy we might call it there.
LEMON: Yes. Yes, go ahead, Kirsten.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not fan of Milo's, let's just -- let's put that out there. But you know, he does have a right to speak. And the only type of speech that isn't protected is if he did anything to incite violence.
POWERS: But anything short of that is protected speech. This is a public university so they, you know, are acting as government in this case, and what happened today is called the heckler's veto. And what that means is that the government, in this case UC Berkeley acting as government, shuts down a protest because of fear of -- I mean, shut down a speech because of fear of protest, violent protest typically. Peaceful protest is fine.
And so, this is an infringement on his free speech rights. They know a lot of people don't like to hear that, but that's true. And if you don't like what Milo has to say, I certainly don't, don't go listen to him.
This was not -- nobody was required to go hear the speech. And if he's invited to come on campus, he has the right to come on campus. If people don't like his ideas, they can rebut his ideas. That is a liberal value. This is as you said, the birthplace of the free speech movement and this is not how you respond to the speech the you don't like.
LEMON: Mark, I know you want to get in, but quickly, I want to move back to the Australian prime minister. Go ahead.
MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Yes, just very quickly. This is the best thing that happened to Milo tonight, because he is now getting more attention.
POWERS: Yes, exactly.
PRESTON: And you know what, it is the protesters' right to go out there and protest. There are obviously codes, city codes, college codes that you can't assemble in certain ways. They just have to abide by that. What is not their right, tough, is violence, attacking police officers, throwing, you know, barricades through. But just as Milo does have the right to speak as well.
LEMON: OK. Let's get back to Greg Miller. Greg Miller, you wrote the story for the Washington Post regarding the Australian prime minister, the phone call with the President of the United States.
And in that, this is supposed -- this is over 1,250 refugees, the president calling this the worst deal ever, accused Australian prime minister of seeking to export the next Boston bombers.
That did not, according to the reporter we had on after you, go over well in Australia and it is not going over with our allies and even not playing well here in the United States.
GREG MILLER, WASHINGTON POST CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, this is a remarkable call for many reasons. We've seen Trump aims a lot of bluster at countries like Mexico, which he used as a foil during the campaign. But Australia has, you know, been one of America's staunchest allies for many, many decades.
He's been there with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, close intelligence cooperation, and close counter terrorism cooperation to sort of accuse an ally like that of trying to off-load potential terrorists would -- it's obvious that that would not go over well with the Australian government and with the Australian prime minister.
LEMON: How did the phone call end?
MILLER: Well, I mean, I think the Australian prime minister tried to move on and get away from the subject and move on to some other important things including the war in Syria. I mean, there are a lot of other important subjects. Trump did not appear to want any part of that, want to get off the line. Demurred, and ultimately just sort of worked his way off the phone and hung up.
LEMON: Nia, the president won because he vowed to shake things up. Is that good or bad? Is this happening now.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think it's good certainly for his supporters. I mean, this is what they voted for, this is what they wanted to see. They didn't want to see business as usual in Washington. So episodes like this really just highlight what they wanted.
[22:40:04] You know, I think the question is what happens going forward? I mean, that's the big question. I said before, that Trump seems to be creating problems that don't -- that didn't necessarily exist before. You know, I think the question is, how is he going to react when bad things happen on his watch.
He can't create an enemy in the way that he seems to want to do with Mexico and Australia. I mean, I think so far so good in terms of his supporters, but in terms of maintaining some of these relationships that America has with different countries, not so great.
LEMON: OK. I've got to go. Don't go far, panel because you never know what can happen. Thank you for helping me to get through this.
When we come right back, is this all a sign of things to come and just how worried are America's allies around the world? I'm going to ask one of the country's top conservatives. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: I want to turn back to breaking news tonight. A contentious phone call between President Trump and the prime minister of Australia, one of our closest allies.
I want to discuss this now with Chris Ruddy, he's a CEO of Newsmax and Newsmax TV. I always appreciate your expertise, so thank you for coming on. And I have to start with the new reporting about the president's phone call with the Australian prime minister. What's your reaction to that?
CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, NEWSMAX CEO: Well, I think we have a president, Don, that likes to speak his mind, whether it's someone on CNN or a world leader, he's going to tell you what he thinks. I was not privy to the call. As you know, there's different press reports.
[33:45:02] The White House is saying it's not as bad as some of the other press reports. I think the president is a blunt talker and people like that. He's shaking things up here in the United States. I think they also haven't really left campaign mode.
Donald Trump ran a confrontational campaign, he confronted the establishment, he confronted the republican establishment and he won. So he sees that as a really good successful game book.
Now he's in governing mode. And I think he and his team haven't fully shifted into the idea that you need to be a little more collaborative, a little more consensus building. But I think that will come. I think he's doing a lot at things at the same time but I think he will -- he will build bridges and has a history of doing that.
LEMON: Growing pains for lack of a better term. According to The Washington Post, he informed Prime Minister Turnbull, our president did, that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day including the Russian President Vladimir Putin and that, quote. "This was the worst call by far." Australia is very important ally, and Chris, I don't have to tell you that. If this reporting is indeed true, why approach this call that way?
RUDDY: Well, maybe -- you know, even with allies we had disagreements. When Mrs. Thatcher had a phone call with Ronald Reagan after he invaded Grenada, which every American applaud, she was screaming and yelling and he was yelling back at her. It was not a nice call, because he invaded a commonwealth country without informing her.
Reagan and Thatcher were best of friends. So, it's that not that unusual for world leaders if they talk frankly to have these calls. It really is a shame that a lot of this private call was leaked. Because it really doesn't help or lay the groundwork for a better relationship.
I think the administration needs to focus a little more on consensus building. The big game for Donald Trump is he needs to pass legislation and he's going to need democrats to do it. And while he's done a tremendous, I give him "A" for effort, I give him "A" for reform and shaking up Washington.
I think they've fallen short on building a populist publicly supported consensus that would force both the republicans and the democrats to pass his legislation. And I think if I was looking at what's happening in the White House I'm worried they're not going to be able to pass tax reform, Obamacare repeal and other stuff down the road.
LEMON: Because? Because they haven't built that consensus?
RUDDY: Well, you will need to have the democrats to sign off. And I thought initially Chuck Schumer because of his relationship with Trump would be working with him. He's a deal guy just like Donald is a deal guy, but there's so much ill-will now coming out.
Last Saturday, Donald Trump hit a home run; he signed legislation banning lobbyists from dealing with the government for a period of five years. This is seismic in its implications. Nobody has done this. Do you know about...
LEMON: He stepped on his own message.
RUDDY: Is anyone talking about it?
LEMON: Then he stepped on his own message with the...
RUDDY: Exactly. Everybody...
LEMON: .... the executive order on Muslims.
RUDDY: Yes. And it's not an order I think that you'd want to hang your hat on. It's really not a ban, it's a temporary suspension, it's from countries we give very few visas, too, anyway, that could have probably done it. This is an administrative thing. It wasn't even discussed.
RUDDY: I think the public if it was laid out a little more clearly to the public that why they were doing it and what the purpose was the message was -- but they missed the big opportunity to build consensus.
RUDDY: So, Chris, let's talk about messaging then. Because CNN sources are telling us that the president is angry with the way his aides handle the travel ban, or the executive order the roll out of this, they have called it -- Reince Priebus and the president at certain points have called it a ban.
So, listen, so I'm wondering to avoid this type of thing in the future, the Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus is now going to take more control the systems dealing with basic functions like executive orders. Is that the right move? RUDDY: We have the first citizen president in the history of the
country. He's not a political insider. I think the public is going to give him a lot more latitude. He's brought in a lot of new people to the White House into the government.
Very few -- Reince has no executive experience, Steve Bannon hasn't served in the government. There's a lot of people and it's a learning curve. They are on a learning curve. It's going to take a little while.
LEMON: I can hear the other side -- just let me get this question in and I'll let you finish. I can hear the other side or opponent just saying you are making excuses for someone or an administration that's not quite ready yet.
RUDDY: Look, when Obama took power I said publicly I wanted him to succeed, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm a conservative but I also believe in the country and I want our president to succeed no matter what party he's from. And I think the American people are willing to do that. So we need to give him a little bit of time.
[22:50:00] But I also think he's open to criticism. We've criticized Donald Trump in the past, we've supported him in the past on many issues, but I generally think the press has been overly critical.
The amount of outrage that they have, you know, he pointed out recently all of these jobs that we've been losing all over the country. Nothing happened in the past eight years with Obama. And there's no outrage over that.
But Donald does something on a ban with terrorist countries, countries that clearly have huge terrorist problems and there's huge outrage over it and they accusing him -- accuse him of being a racist. Anybody that knows the man knows he's not racist and it's just outrageous that the press would stoop to that level.
LEMON: Yes, So you said ban too, just so you know. Thanks Christopher Ruddy, I appreciate it. Always a pleasure to have you.
LEMON: Chris Ruddy from Newsmax.
RUDDY: Same here. Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: Well, today President Donald Trump marked first day of black history month as only he could, using the occasion to lash out at the media. Let's talk about it now with CNN political commentator Symone Sanders
is here, Paris Dennard, who worked in George W. Bush White House and who attended the event today. He's here as well, Michael Eric Dyson, the author of "Tears We Cannot a Sermon to White America."
So, interesting conversation I'm sure we're going to have here today. The president held a photo op with black staff and supporters to commemorate black history month. And instead of first acknowledging the importance of the moment, he began by sharing his thoughts on how many black votes he had to get in the next election and then true to form he turned his criticism to the media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last month we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who is incredible example, he is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King, we could go when somebody said I took the statue out of my office and turned out that that was fake news. Fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Symone, is this -- some people have compared it the CIA speech, standing in front of wall honoring fallen heroes. There's a time and place for everything. Was this the time and place for that?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No Donald Trump is a little B.S., no decorum and he and his Vice President Mike Pence who tweeted about black history month today, and I put that in quote, "are ignorant" to the history of this significance of what today is and this entire month. I'm disgusted, Don.
LEMON: Wow. Paris, you were in the room. He singled you out. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community. He's done, he's all by himself. Seven people and Paris. And I'll take Paris over the seven, but I don't watch CNN so I don't get to see you as much. I don't like watching fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:55:00] LEMON: So, Paris, did you feel those comments were appropriate for that occasion?
PARIS DENNARD, FORMER WHITE HOUSE BLACK OUTREACH DIRECTOR: The comments about me? Yes. I thought so, they were appropriate. My mother thought they were appropriate.
No, listen, in all seriousness, I was there for the entire -- for the entire listening session that the president had marking the first day of black history month. His comments in totality both on camera and off camera were not only appropriate, they were substantive, they were positive.
And I was truly impressed by the fact that the president singled out the issue of historically black colleges and universities and wanting to get to the bottom of their plight under the past administration, and find make positive solutions to make them more solvent and make and do whatever he can do in his administration to really support them fully.
Also he talked about Chicago, he talked about school choice and he talked about using the full range of the administration to make America great again for African-Americans, people in other fragile communities and for the entire country.
DENNARD: So, it was a very positive meeting...
SANDERS: Why does Donald Trump always associate black people with Chicago? I'm just wondering. Please educate me.
DENNARD: Well, I will educate you right now. It was brought up in the meeting about Chicago and he's -- and there was talk about some type of a meeting that was going to happen with some members in the community.
And he said if that doesn't work, in which I hope it does, I want you to know that I'm going to send in the Feds because this is not going to happen under my watch. He's very concerned about the violence and the crime that's going on in Chicago but that was not the whole totality of the meeting or listening session. That is just one portion of it that was brought up.
LEMON: Let me ask you a point there.
LEMON: How long was the media in the room? How long were the cameras in the room?
DENNARD: I think the cameras might have been in there for a maximum of three to five minutes at max.
LEMON: OK. So then...
DENNARD: For the total hour that we were there with him.
LEMON: Right. So during the portion that we got to see, and the country got to see, he chose to use that time to bash the media, to get things wrong about American history. And Michael, after -- after...
(CROSSTALK) DENNARD: What was wrong about American history?
LEMON: We're going to get to that.
LEMON: After he wasn't president -- he was president-elect then after he met with Kanye West, he, you know, do you remember he said George Bush doesn't care about black people.
You wrote this in The Washington Post, I think this was in December. You said, "It may be that Mr. Trump's views reveal something just as devastating as not caring for black people. Not knowing us."
Here's President Trump. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and he's being recognized more and more I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, we would have invited Frederick Douglass here but he died in 1895, that wasn't completely clear from the president's comments and he got some criticism for that. Does he sound like a kid who hasn't done his homework, Michael?
DENNARD: A kid?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. I would think that as professor at Georgetown University and I wrote that in the New York Times. It seems to me that I have never seen a president so blatantly and unapologetically unmolested by enlightenment.
Here's a man who was in the least curious about the death effects, the sophisticated interpretation of these facts or placing black history in a broader context that can then be used I think to illuminate what he's attempting to do.
Look, if Donald Trump were to be serious about that black history. Talking about Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass who said "What to the Negros in 4th of July," Martin Luther King who said that he was sorry to conclude that most Americans were unconscious racists and Harriet Tubman who constantly left her safety zone to go back to slavery to freed slaves.
If he were to truly associate himself with those figures he might have to be self-critical about his own particular administration. But the lack of involvement, the lack of curiosity, the lack of knowledge and the lack the ability to relate what happened in history to what's going on now bespeaks I think of gross ignorance about African- American culture and doesn't bode well for Mr. Trump, President Trump addressing these issues either through public policy or from using his bully pulpit to illuminate the context of the crises that black people...
LEMON: The whole thing about Frederick Douglass also came during the White House briefing here with Sean Spicer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today he made the comment about Frederick Douglass being recognized more and more, do you have any idea what specifically he was referring to?
SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think there's contribution -- I think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made. And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he's going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass would become more and more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I'm not sure I understood -- seriously I'm not sure I understand what he meant by that.
SANDERS: This is why we need black history month, Don. Look, the history, black history month as started as Negro history week.
[22:59:59] And Carter G. Woodson started this, he pioneered this because he believed that black, basically, black history needed to be taught as part of history in the school, so that our kids understood history and then as they grew white progressives...