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CNN TONIGHT

White House not backing down from the president's wiretapping claims; Ivanka Trump moving into the west wing; Failed attempt by North Korea to launch a missile; A long day of questioning for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, judge Neil Gorsuch at his confirmation hearing today; Aired 11p-Midnight ET

Aired March 21, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump sometimes seems to be operating from his own set of facts. But will that thinking that made him a business succession and won him the White House undermine the President's faith in the presidency?

Plus, Ivanka Trump moving into the west wing. Will the first daughter's role in the administration raise red flags? I think it is already.

Let's get back to CNN contributor, Michael D'Antonio, the author of "the truth about Trump," Karine Jean-Pierre, a senior advisor at moveon.org and a former Obama White House staffer, senior political commentators Kevin Madden and Andre Bauer.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much for coming on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, Don.

LEMON: Kevin, I'm going to start with you. Tonight, the White House not backing down from the president's wiretapping claims even though the FBI director told the American people, no evidence. Listen to this from today's briefing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The administration and the President have repeatedly said that over the next few weeks they will present evidence that he was wiretapped. But last week he said, it would be coming this week and he may speak of it this week. Can we expect the president to this week present evidence that he was wiretapped by Barack Obama or will he speak about it? Because he didn't speak with it last night in his rally.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Right. WE will see how the week goes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: As the White House going to have to admit at least some time soon that there is no information because even we say well, you know, they think it is a solved matter. But he is the one who said we are going to present information in the coming weeks. So, are they going to have to admit something?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look. I think an admission for the White House would be a concession. And it's just not in Donald Trump's DNA to ever back off, to ever (INAUDIBLE), or ever concede. These are lessons that have been imprinted in his DNA as a businessman and as a politician. And I think that they feel that their strategic goal here has to be on offense. To constantly be pushing forward and to not admit any sort of defeat. So I just don't see it coming anytime soon, Don.

LEMON: So but - so then when are the claims going to come? It's like, you know, we are going to investigate the, you know, three million people who voted illegally. We are going to investigate that inauguration crowd size. We are going to investigate the wiretapping thing, which got him into the predicament yesterday with the FBI director and head of the NSA. When is there ever going to be some sort of end or admission that, hey, listen. I lied.

MADDEN: That's a good question. And I don't think we will see one. I think one of the -- if you look at strategically the way that they manage their way through some of these crises is to create more of a distraction. And just by the sheer volume of some of the untruths that they promote, they do create a bit of desensitize people to it and manage their way through it. And that's how they manage their way through it.

LEMON: Andre, you want to respond?

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. I think he keeps throwing the stick and media keeps chasing it. Credibility is in the eye of the beholder. You know, I think that you -- shouldn't say you, media takes him seriously and not literally. And I think his voters take him seriously and not literally. And so, there is a vast difference. They want somebody fighting for him. Some of the things that we keep talking about in the media, they are not interested. It doesn't directly affect their life. And so, you know, the media --.

LEMON: What does that have to do --?

BAUER: Don't understand the Trump phenomenon.

LEMON: What does that have to do with anything that we are talking about?

BAUER: Well, it has to do with the fact that you all keep saying, you know, he is not coming up with this or he is lying about that.

LEMON: You don't think he is lying?

BAUER: Surveillance for example.

LEMON: But Andre, answer. You don't this he is lying?

BAUER: No.

LEMON: You think that Trump tower was wiretapped by President Obama even though the head of every single intelligence agency pretty much said no, there's no evidence? Do you still believe it?

BAUER: Don, I don't know how you would do surveillance on all the people that supposedly associated with he and Russia without some form of --. It might not be wiretapping which is almost (INAUDIBLE). But there are some form of surveillance. They are not using carrier page or smoke signals. They now using some type of surveillance.

LEMON: And you think the former President ordered this surveillance, which they have said again, even surveillance, there's no evidence of any surveillance at all either. You think it is true. Do you think - but there are some people, certain people, which is a minority American people by the way, certain people believe that something that is not true then we should not cover it?

BAUER: No, no, no. Absolutely not. And I will say I don't think he should have used the President in his tweet. I wish he had not used the president in his tweet. But other than that, I think he probably knows more than we think. But I give you a set of fact. Rasmussen just did a poem, 42 percent of Americans, not where he want to be said they think the country is moving in the right direction when a year ago there is 20 percent. But they are still looking at the big picture of --.

LEMON: His approval rating is at 37 percent, Andre. Fact is a fact. We keep saying - and every single response to something that is not favorable to Donald Trump is his voters don't care about it. That means nothing when you are talking about facts.

A lot of people don't care about a lot of things. Guess what? When people say, well, they didn't want this or they don't want that. A lot of people didn't believe that, you know, same sex should get married. A lot of people didn't believe that black and white people should get married. A lot of people that black and white people should go to school together. A lot of people didn't believe that there should be integration. But guess what, it wasn't the right thing to do and it wasn't the truth about what America is. So does that mean that we should ignore facts and ignore what most of the American people care about because a small number of people, Trump supporters, who are not living in reality?

[23:05:37] BAUER: We are not talking about what most Americans care about. They care about health care. They talked about bill on the wall. They care about having a job. They care about --.

LEMON: You don't care about the truth?

BAUER: Sure. They care about the truth. But the narrative is not that they care about spying in Russia where we know there is no fact. No fact that have been proven. This narrative has been pushed now for, if not week, many weeks.

LEMON: But that's the same thing.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Not proven that anyone wiretapped anyone and administration is still lying and saying it has been or there is some proof coming down the road. The head of the department who would be investigating it and said there's proof. And so, this White House and his spokesperson are lying to the American people. You don't care about that? That means nothing to you?

BAUER: It is dangerous and irresponsible for people on your show to say this is like Watergate. There's no proof whatsoever. So to start (INAUDIBLE) is the to Watergate, this Russian investigation is irresponsible.

LEMON: These people lived through Watergate. The person who broke the Watergate story is on the air. You have to talk to Carl Bernstein about that. But I would think that people who were involved, John Dean and Carl Bernstein, would know more about Watergate than any of us sitting here, who can pretend that we know something because we read it in a book. They lived it. Wouldn't they know?

BAUER: This was trying the President in the court of public opinion. I hope the folks who say this will apologize to our President when there are no facts found. But to continue to push this narrative when there is absolutely no facts, nothing have been presented through any government agency that anything was done, to keep pushing this confusing this. It confuses the people and they say what is going on here? Why do they keep comparing to Watergate when no facts whatsoever.

LEMON: Can you guys give me the Nixon sound bite, please. And I was talking to producers. I need the Nixon sound bite because there are comparisons in the way -- and I think Carl Bernstein and John Dean were saying it in the way that this particular administration treats he press. It is very much the same way the Nixon administration treated the press, especially in the days, in the months and the weeks before something was found with Watergate. Carl Bernstein till that it's not just necessarily a smoking gun. If you read anything about that, you would know it's not a smoking gun. It is a drip, drip, drip. Listen to Richard Nixon back in 1973.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FOR UNITES STATES PRESIDENT: I have never heard or seen such outrageous, vicious sort of reporting in 27 years of public life. Don't get the impression that you rouse my anger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have that impression.

NIXON: One can only be angry with those he respects.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Not familiar to you, Anders? Doesn't ring of familiarity?

BAUER: Not really, Don. Again it there were facts here that had been presented and said x, y and z happened and is the President tied to that. But we don't have anything so far. And so, to continue to go down this road and put this big crowd over our President without any facts whatsoever of collusion or -- LEMON: Should it continue to be investigated?

BAUER: Yes. People should know there's finality in this. Look. If there's something out there that they think should be investigated, fine. As American, I want them to make sure that there isn't anything. But to continue to beat it in the media when there is no facts I think is wrong.

LEMON: Where else --?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We should not talk about it until it is all concluded. Is that what you're saying?

BAUER: I'm not saying that. He is being tried in the court of the news media without any facts whatsoever. Just speculation, speculation, speculation without any x, y, z, here's what was done. Here's what was done to change the outcome. Here is how the election was suede here. Here is how Hillary lost because of what the Russians did. And we don't have any of that.

LEMON: Yes.

I don't know if what you are saying is true, if Hillary lost because of what the Russians did. It is not what the intelligence shows. It is not what the head of the intelligence agencies said it all. They said they made no conclusion about that. And the fact is that yesterday we found out, it was confirmed by the head of the FBI there was indeed investigation going on with the Trump campaign and its possible connections through Russia.

We are going clear the air, bring in the other panelists, and we will be right back right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:14:03] LEMON: All right. We are Back now with my panel.

So thanks for joining.

So listen, you know, I understand that it is upsetting to compare this President to Nixon. But one of the reasons we did it, just so know, not to pick on you Andre, is the President in his tweet compared the former President to Richard Nixon. And it says that this is Nixon/Watergate stuff. Bad or sick guy.

So you are saying that we shouldn't compare to Watergate or Nixon but the President made that comparison himself. I'm going to bring in the other members of the panel.

Michael, what do you think?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think Donald Trump is stock in trade for his whole life has been allusion and deception. This is a guy who has promoted himself as more powerful than he has ever been, richer than he has ever been. (INAUDIBLE) as president. The whole credibility thing is a big problem. He has never dealt in credibility. We see in front of us the destruction of the presidency, the destruction of public trust. I think the public - the American public has the right to believe that their President is telling them the truth and speaking credibly.

[23:15:09] LEMON: Here is what is frustrating me. Because people think that when you hold someone's feet to the fire here, right, especially when it comes to President Trump or anyone who is with the Trump campaign or Trump surrogate, that it has something to do with ideology. It does not. This is to do with what the president is doing, what the administration is doing and the competency of this administration and the hypocrisy of many people. Like I don't think Andre is a hypocrite. But I think to say why are people comparing Nixon to this President when the President did it himself, I think it's a bit hypocritical.

D'ANTONIO: Well, and you see poor Sean Spicer wriggling like a worm on a hook trying to get off it. Because just like Ron Nessen (ph) in the Nixon White House, he is standing up there trying to justify something that's been said that is not true. And so there's this stream of distortion. And until the guy at top says now it's time to tell the truth, they are trapped in this lie. And it's a terrible circumstance for every one of Trump's supporters.

LEMON: Karine, you have been sitting by patiently, listening to this. What do you think?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MOVEON.ORG: I think the problem is the President doesn't understand what it means to be President. When you go out there and you use twitter to say that your predecessor essentially committed a felony, that is serious. That is potential for constitutional crisis. And that's what he doesn't understand.

And so -- but here's its thing. The President started his political foray by lying about President Obama, and saying he wasn't born here. And then continued to lie as President with the crowd size and as we know with the wiretap. And what it's doing is it is eroding his credibility. And not just as President but also the office that he holds. And so, it's one thing to lie as TV star. It's a whole other thing to lie as President.

And let's not forget the international aspect of this too. His lying is hurting, damaging our relationships with the U.K., with Germany, who are supposed to be two of our best allies. So it is disconcerting.

LEMON: And that was part -- yesterday it was found out that the U.K. said that there is - the FBI director, the NSA, department of justice, said there is no evidence as well that the U.K., that President Obama used the U.K. and their intelligence department to spy on Trump tower. This whole really just odd web of really just lies that comes out of the administration.

Kevin, during director Comey's testimony, the official Potus account, twitter account tweeted this. The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia didn't influence electoral process. Director Comey was then asked whether that was true. And he said quote "it was not our intention to say that today." And Sean Spicer was asked about that moment today. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there concern on the part of the White House about the President's credibility that his own director is correcting his tweets and what he's saying in real time?

SPICER: Well, I mean, let's be clear. I mean, he was answering questions. I mean, it is not like he was out there. (INAUDIBLE), this is his quote, direct quote, "I have no hard evidence of collusion," end quote. Director Clapper quote "not to my knowledge," end quote. Senator Tom Cotton quote "not that I have seen and not that I'm aware of." This is in reference to any type of collusion with Russia that occurred. And so at some point to fact check the President for merely quoting them is not - the question should be directed at them. Not us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And that was yesterday, by the way, Kevin. My bad. Do you think that the White House is in denial?

MADDEN: Well, look. I think first of all you have to remember the role that a White House staffer has here. They are, first and foremost, fierce and passionate advocates for the President with passion and prejudice to the President's position. So that's their job.

But to Darlene's point and to Hallie Jackson's question, credibility is at stake. And I think one of the big challenges that this White House has is being able to make some of these arguments in a credible way so that the supporters on Capitol Hill will rally to their defense. And at the same time still maintaining that credibility because --

LEMON: How do you do that Kevin?

MADDEN: It's very hard right now. And I think what the challenge is, Don, they are making it harder on themselves. So many these are unforced errors. And it is because the White House is being put in the position of defending some indefensible statements by the President.

But the bigger risk here is the credibility of the President is going to be very, very important during times of crisis. And we haven't really faced a huge crisis yet. We keep pushing ourselves towards this self-made crisis, but that credibility to bring the country together or to be able to communicate directly to the American people so they have faith in the process or faith in their government, that's where this could really come under assault down the line.

[23:20:04] LEMON: Yes. Michael, Maggie Haberman have a new piece in "New York Times" today

about why President Trump can't let the false claim go. And they write this in part. Said first aide say that Mr. Trump who often says I'm like a really smart person in public is driven by need to prove his legitimacy as President to the many critics who deem him an unworthy victor forever undercut by Hillary Clinton's three million vote win in the popular vote. Second, fighting back in this case against Mr. Obama, the FBI director and members of his own party who say his claim about phone taps is false is an important part of the President's self-image.

Is this sound, Mike, the Trump that you have studied?

D'ANTONIO: Is it does. He is all about delegitimizing others and then worrying about his own legitimacy because that's the game he plays. If you are always trying to diminish everyone then who do you respect? And your fear is no one respects me. And he is always casting about for feedback from his staff saying yes, you're right when he is not. And he is immune to information. So things come in that contradict him and he really does ignore it.

There was a guest earlier today who said that the President takes in his counsel and then processes it. I think what he does is ignore it. If it doesn't comport with what he is hearing on FOX News or other shows, he is not going to buy it.

LEMON: Our discussion continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:25:47] LEMON: Breaking news, failed attempt by North Korea to launch a missile. South Korea's ministry of defense saying in a statement quote "South Korea and the U.S. are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea's missile was not successfully launched." That's the breaking news.

Back now with my panel.

So when you consider how high the stakes are now, I'm just reporting on this failed launch of a missile by North Korea. If there are unfortunately, if we are in a position where we have go to war or we get into some sort of standoff with a foreign adversary, credibility matters Andre, what the President says matters. And shouldn't the Americans be in position where they to believe pretty much everything that comes out of their President's mouth?

BAUER: Yes, I agree with you on that. And I think the military trusts this President more than the former President. I think that they know that if Donald Trump gets ready to engage the military, he is going to use them. He is trying to bump up the funding for them right now. I mean, this is a guy as proud of the country as any president we have ever had and believes in our military and supports them wholeheartedly. And I think other countries are concerned as well that if Donald Trump says he going to do someone, he is going to do something. And you will see it in that through policy, whether it is building wall, whether it is time to do something with Obamacare, whether it is taking on the economy, whether it is trying to get jobs back in this country. We have also seen those things happening in a very short time, Don, less than 100 days.

LEMON: There is a lot to unpack there but I'm going to get the other panel members in.

Karine, when the president says on my orders. I had if he unfortunately has to say to that, on my orders. We have done this. We are sending troops to here because such and such did this. Are we to believe him?

JEAN-PIERRE: I don't know how we can, Don. I mean, this is a President who has had more things to say about crowd size, which was a lie, about an Obama - President Obama wiretapping which was a lie than to talk about Russia who - which actually -- Putin actually undermined our democracy and got involved in the election. He hasn't said really much about that.

And so, he really isn't focusing much on the international affairs. He went after China, you know, and they stole one of our missiles, you know, once he did that. This is before he even became President. So there is nothing that he has shown that give us any comfort that God forbid there is international crisis where we have to go into war that we would believe him. And you see that in his approval numbers. He has a historic low. And that is because of his lying.

LEMON: Kevin, Republicans are standing by the President. Instead of questioning directors Comey and Rogers yesterday about the investigation into foreign adversary interfering with the U.S. election, it will focusing on leaks. Leaks are important. But how long do you think this can last?

MADDEN: Well look, I think it is -- right now, they are interested in supporting the President. There are a lot of partisan tribal instincts I think that driving support towards the President. And that is not new to this President. It has happened to Republic Presidents.

I think the main challenge here is that these members of Congress did not run for office to become chief litigators for the President's tweets or the latest statement that he makes. So they are going to grow very tired of that. And I think if you look at agenda that this White House has and that many congressional Republicans have, it's a very ambitious one. And it is already hard enough to pass tax reform, it is hard enough to repeal a major law like Obamacare and secure the borders without all these distractions.

So I think as these distractions continue to get in the way of an agenda, members of Congress are going to become more and more reluctant to really become the chief of the President. Going to focus on their own provincial interests.

LEMON: And interesting Michael because he mentioned the wall. He said Mexico will pay for the wall. So far, Mexico is not otherwise. There has been no legislation on the wall. Jobs, no there has been no difference, really, in jobs report. It is out report, the last one is out, any financial experts will tell you, can't be attributed to this President. It is great these people have jobs but probably for the past administration. In the coming months, then the new jobs can be attributed to this President. Some of the companies that Donald Trump has taken credit for, already under works with President Obama.

Health care, he is having a hell of a time with health care. Nothing -- there's been a lot of, you know, sleight of hand or a lot of movement and a lot of talk but really nothing has been done on these issues which Andre talks about.

You wrote about this right here. You said the President is tweeting his hearing yesterday, cherry picking hearing highlights. You say in part quote "Trump cannot resist attempting to shape reality through the media and he has a level of self-confidence bordering on delusional.

So has Donald Trump always acted like this? And how did it impact his business career?

[23:30:47] D'ANTONIO: Well, he has always acted like this. And the reason, the way that it effected his business career is he has had four major bankruptcies. So this is a person who doesn't learn the lesson of the first ankle (ph). See, he goes on to have three more. I also think that the difference between a President Trump and --

LEMON: Hold on one second, let's let Andre address one point in a time. That's your first point. So hold your thought.

Andre, you said it's not true. Go ahead.

BAUER: Well, I would say in 2000, when he had the downturn and did very poorly in business, when 2008 came and everybody was tanking, he actually made a lot of money. And so he did learn. There was no education in the second (INAUDIBLE) you are very right. The first time he learned and when he did have tough time in business, the next time the market went down, he capitalized on it and made a lot of money.

LEMON: Now, let him respond. Go ahead.

D'ANTONIO: Well, there are four major bankruptcies, two minor ones. This is a person who really can't be trusted with other people's money. And I think the American public is going to start to wonder can he be trusted with our nation? Now, the difference between Nixon and Donald Trump is that Nixon was competent. Nixon understood foreign affairs. He didn't alienate two big allies, Australia and Great Britain, in the first 100 days in office. At some point, our allies are going to stop sharing intelligence with us and then they are going to volunteering for missions when we want a coalition. This is very dangerous.

LEMON: If you don't want to be compared to Nixon, don't compare your predecessor in Nixon.

D'ANTONIO: Right.

LEMON: Thank you, panel. I appreciate it.

Up next, surprising Trump advisor, wait until you hear who has been giving the President advice on his travel ban.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:36:34] LEMON: A long day of questioning for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, judge Neil Gorsuch at his confirmation hearing today.

Here to discuss, Alan Dershowitz, defense attorney and the author of "Electile Dysfunction, a guide for unaroused voters."

Good evening, sir. Good to have you on.

I want to start by asking you about the Gorsuch hearings, how do you think he did? How is he doing?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think he did very well. But he made three serious unforced errors. He should never have tried to justify his dissenting opinion in that truck driver case. She should have admitted he made a mistake, he was wrong, he is human. There is no way of interpreting that statute the way he did.

LEMON: Alan, can I explain it to the viewers and then play it? And then you can discuss.

DERSHOWITZ: Sure.

LEMON: OK. So this is the exchange between Senator Al Franken and the judge, right, between Al Franken and judge Gorsuch. Senator Franken took the judge to task for ruling, a ruling he made against a truck driver who Alan mentioned who claimed that he was wrongfully fired.

Now, according to court document, the truck driver was transporting cargo when the breaks on his tailor (ph) froze because of sub-zero temperature. The driver reported the problem to his company and waited several hours for a repair truck to arrive. But while waiting, the driver allegedly began to suffer from hypothermia and fearing for his life, he (INAUDIBLE) his truck from the trailer, drove away leaving the trailer unattended then returning later. He was fired for abandoning the trailer. Now, let's listen and then Alan and I will discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: There were two safety issues here. One, possibility of freezing to death, or driving with that rig in very dangerous way. Which would you have done judge?

JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Senator, I don't know what I would have done in his shoes and I don't blame him at all for a moment for doing what he did do. And I empathize with him entirely.

FRANKEN: OK. Just, we have been talking about this case. Haven't thought about what you would have done? You haven't thought about for a second?

GORSUCH: Senator, I thought a lot about this case.

FRANKEN: And what would you have done?

GORSUCH: I totally empathize.

FRANKEN: I'm asking a question. Please answer a question.

GORSUCH: Senator, I don't know. I wasn't in the man's shoes. But I understand --.

FRANKEN: You don't know what you would have done. OK. I tell you what I would have done. I would know exactly what he did. I think everybody here would have done exactly what he did. And I think that's easy answer. Frankly, I don't know why you had difficulty answering that.

OK. So you decide to write a thing in dissent. If you read your dissent, don't say it was like subzero, you say it was cold out. The facts that you describe in your dissent are minimal. But here's the law that -- and you go to the language of the law. And you talk about that. I go to the law.

A person may not discharge an employee who refuses to operate a vehicle because the employee has reasonable apprehension of serious injury to the employee or the public because of the vehicle's hazardous safety or security condition. That's the law.

And you decided they had the right to fire him even though the law says he may not discharge employee who refuses to operate a vehicle because he did operate the vehicle. Is that right? That's how you decided right?

[23:40:05] GORSUCH: That's the gist of it. FRANKEN: No, no. Is that how you decided?

GORSUCH: Senator, there are a lot more words in the opinions, both in the majority by my colleagues and then dissent but that I'm happy to agree with you that's the gist of it.

FRANKEN: Right. That's what you have said. And look, I'm not a lawyer. But I have been on this committee for about eight years. And I paid some attention. So I know that what you are talking about here is the plain meaning rule. Here is what the rule means. When the plain meaning of the statute is clear on its face, when its meaning is obvious, courts have no business looking beyond the meaning to the statute's purpose. And that's what you use.

GORSUCH: That's what - this argued to us by both sides, senator.

FRANKEN: But that's what you --.

GORSUCH: Both sides argued that the plain meaning supported their --

FRANKEN: And you used it to come to your conclusion. But the plain meaning rule has an exception. When using the plain meaning rule would create an absurd result, courts should depart from the plain meaning. It is absurd to say this company is in its rights to fire him because he made the choice, a possibly dying from freezing to death or causing other people to die possibly by driving an unsafe vehicle. That's absurd.

Now, I had a career in identifying absurdity. And I know it when I see it. And it makes me, you know -- it makes me question your judgment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: So you were discussing. Do you think that Franken was too harsh?

DERSHOWITZ: No. I think he got absolutely the better of the argument.

Look, the statute says vehicle. There were two vehicles. One was the cab of the truck. The other was trailer. He refused to drive the trailer. The plain meaning of the statute didn't allow him to be fired. And of course, Franken is right when he said there was absurdity doctrine. That Gorsuch could have been so much better off if he said, look, I made a mistake. I'm human. There is no way of defending that dissent and opinion by law, by morality, by interpretation, it's just absurd and should have just admitted it.

LEMON: You said three things. What other two things you said that you think you could have done a better job of?

DERSHOWITZ: He said that there is no difference between the rules regarding precedent when you a circuit court judge and when you are Supreme Court justice. That's just plain wrong.

And third, he looked us in the eye and he said he would have walked into the room if the President had asked him to reverse Roe versus Wade. Wouldn't have walked out of the room. He would have politely said to the President, I'm sorry Mr. President, that's inappropriate question. And if you are going to insist on that, I can't accept this position. You wouldn't walked out in the room. That was hyperbole.

Other than that, he did very, very well. He really did much better than most of the senators other than Al Franken who asked him the hard questions.

LEMON: OK, I want to move on because I want to switch gears for a moment and talk about your chat with President Trump this weekend in Mar-a-Largo, no doubt. You were both there at the same time. The President struck up the conversation that you recorded to. That's what you said. So give us the details. What did you talk about?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, he just came over and started smooching. And so, we talked about the travel ban, we talked about the wiretapping, we talked about the leaks, we talked about Gorsuch, we talked about the ninth circuit, we talked about a whole range of issues. Then he left and went and have dinner and he came back to say goodbye and he stayed another ten minutes and kept smooching and talking to me, and saying that he values my opinion. I told him I didn't vote for him. He said, you are one of the very few who didn't vote for me. And I said -- then he said if I can get this guy to vote for me in 2020 would be a real accomplishment because he has never voted Republican. I said you're right. It is very uphill. I have open mind. But look. He knows I'm not.

LEMON: Any chance you would vote for him?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I have open mind. Look, as patriotic American, I said day after the election, I always root for success of whoever is President. I'm very skeptical. At moment I wouldn't vote for him. I hope he changes. I want him to see him be a good President. Do I think he will be a good president? Has to do things a lot differently from what he has been doing to be a good president. But I'm American first. And as American, I want to see him be successful President.

[23:45:17] LEMON: But he's got to make some --

DERSHOWITZ: Yes.

LEMON: Alterations, course corrections. You said that you discussed the travel ban with the president.

DERSHOWITZ: Yes.

LEMON: You have made it clear in the past that while you don't agree with the ban you do think that it's constitutional. So what advice did you give the President concerning that you can share with us?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, the only advice I gave him was on your show when I said withdraw the first ban and do a better one that might be constitutional. All we talked about was my prediction that the court would find it constitutional. And I was vindicated a day later by Judge Kosinski and five judges of the ninth circuit who said the stay orders were absurd. Kosinski is very, very, strong language making it very clear and he is a brilliant, brilliant judge that he thought the Supreme Court would vacate the stays and should uphold the statute. I think they will uphold the major parts of the rule.

LEMON: You gave him no advice there in Mar-a-Largo?

DERSHOWITZ: I gave him advice. I just told him what I thought would happen. I predicted that it would be upheld. He then said something about, well, maybe I should go back to the first order. I certainly didn't suggest that because I said earlier, I thought the second order had a much better chance of surviving than the first order.

LEMON: Sir, are you official adviser now?

DERSHOWITZ: This may be last time I ever see him in person. I have no idea. I didn't know I was going to meet him. When I got invited by (INAUDIBLE) to have dinner with my wife, I thought it was going to have a quiet dinner. The vice President came over. The first lady came over.

LEMON: Alan, you have a dinner with Chris (INAUDIBLE) at Mar-a-Largo, come on?

DERSHOWITZ: I did, yes.

LEMON: Well, you know the President is going to come over. That's his plan.

DERSHOWITZ: We didn't know the President was going to be there. In fact, the week he was supposed to go, he wasn't there. But we couldn't make it. Then the secretary of commerce came over. I think one of the reasons they all came over. I was probably the only Democrat in the whole restaurant.

LEMON: Well, let's just say on inauguration night, I went to the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., and it was an interesting time to be had by all. But I do have to say that --.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I had fascinating time.

LEMON: Yes. You can pretty much guarantee that every weekend he's at Mar-a-Largo except for maybe one or two.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I enjoyed it.

LEMON: Thank you. Appreciate it, Alan. See you soon.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come right back, Ivanka Trump moving to west wing. What role will the first daughter have in the White House?

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[23:51:36] LEMON: First daughter Ivanka Trump will work out an office in the west wing and got a security clearance, according to White House official.

Let's discuss now. CNN political commentators Amanda Carpenter and Alice.

So Amanda, welcome back. I haven't seen you in a while. Good to have you on.

Alice, always a pleasure. I think, Alice, you were on last night, weren't you so?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was. Good to be back. LEMON: It is good to have you back.

Amanda, I want to start with you. You wrote a pretty tough column for "Cosmo" about this. Here's part of what you say. You said, Ivanka Trump sits with foreign dignitaries during important meetings, is setting up an office in the White House, is being issued government communication devices and is seeking national security clearance. What is she doing exactly? Nobody knows. What qualifies her? Apparently being the President's daughter. There is a word for this. Nepotism. And it makes everything Ivanka - everything Ivanka Trump has done up to this point to position herself as an example for working women a farce.

Wow. Why nepotism?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes. I mean, the only reason she is getting a west wing space and security clearance is because she is the President's daughter. Because she is a direct blood line to the President. No one else has the kind of privilege that she does in this position which doesn't even have a title. We don't even know what she is going to be doing other than this vague description of being eyes and ears for the president which actually is a little creepy.

But what is the most worrisome to me is the fact that she says is a way of smoothing over and a concerns of this. They are saying that she will quote "volunteer to abide by ethics laws."

No one else gets to volunteer to abide by ethic laws. You are expected to comply with them. I mean, will she volunteer to go to jail if she does not comply with them? I don't think so. Everything about this arrangement signifies privilege in a special position for a Presidential daughter that is nothing other than nepotism.

LEMON: So, Alice, she is not going to receive a salary. She said the title does or a title. Does that make a difference to you?

STEWART: Not really. And I think Amada's piece is excellent and plays out some really good solid points. I don't think the White House is a place for on the job training with regard to national security matters.

But look, I think we all knew this was going to happen. She has been an intrical (ph) part of his business for many years, certainly with the campaign. And I'm actually quite frankly surprised it has taken this long for her to set-up there.

And look. She has been a strong advocate for working moms. She was crucial in the human trafficking legislation that is being discussed and I think she will give him the peace of mind and comfort that I think he wants.

I mean, look. Looking back to 1993, Hillary Clinton set up shop in the White House to work on Hillary care. And DD Myers, the White House press secretary was asked why and she said quote "because the President wants her to be there to work." And I think the same standard holds true here. President Trump like it or not wants her there and she will be there, like it or not.

LEMON: Amanda, is there a difference between a first daughter and a first lady?

CARPENTER: Sure. I think the national security clearance is a big difference. This is a huge bait and switch being pulled by the president who told people last year that it was fake news that he was seeking any kind of security clearance for any of his sons or daughters. Now that is not the case. That is a huge game changer. Ivanka Trump, in my mind, this doesn't help him. She is no advocate

for working women. She is taking a job from a well-qualified woman who probably has most certainly has more national security experience than Ivanka Trump. I do not know why Ivanka Trump is sitting at that table for critical decision making that could impact our homeland security. Someone needs to explain that because I think there are far more qualified men and women who should have that spot in the White House over Ivanka Trump.

[23:55:22] LEMON: Do you think that - do you agree with that, Alice?

STEWART: Look. I think that the only --.

LEMON: She has her own interest. She has got her own fashion line, still her own jewelry brand. And she stepped down from daily management in the company, but is that enough to eliminate conflicts of interest?

STEWART: Right. She has recently seized control of her fashion industry. And she is, as Amanda said, voluntarily going to comply with ethics rules and laws and regulations. But you know, who knows how that will be followed up on.

But look. The bottom line is we knew that she was going to be part of this campaign or this administration. She is certainly doing so. And look, I think the fact that she doesn't have a title and she has got a very loose portfolio, that gives her even more power. She can walk in and out of anyone's office.

LEMON: Got to go. I'm out of time.

STEWART: And that gives her even more time.

LEMON: David Axelrod just said that most important things you could do is here, dad, let me hold your cellphone for you. And I think you both and I agree with that. Yes, no one is disagreeing with that.

Thank you all, I appreciate it. See you here tomorrow.

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