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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump and Speaker Ryan Spoke for 45 Minutes Tonight; President Trump Warns the GOP If They Don't Fall In Line, They Are Stuck With Obamacare; "Time" Magazine's Interview with President Trump About Past Untruths is Full of New Untruths. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired March 23, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:00:18] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: President Trump warns the GOP if they don't fall in line, they are stuck with Obamacare.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

House Republicans working into the night, desperate to save their health care bill. But after all the bluster and after the deal making and arm twisting, it all comes to the vote tomorrow afternoon. Supposed to be tonight. Is repeal and replace down for the count? We'll see.

Plus new information on the Russia connection. The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says he has new evidence of possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia.

There is a lot to get to tonight.

I have got my political dream team here with me. Here they are. You can show them.

But first I want to get CNN's Phil Mattingly live for us on Capitol Hill.

Phil, good evening to you. Burning midnight oil. We have been following every congressman, you have I should on Capitol Hill today for us, finding out how everybody is planning is vote. The White House says negotiations is over. So what is going to happen? What is the latest?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Don, it was message delivered abruptly and without any subtle tones whatsoever by one of the President's top advisers in a closed door meeting after it appeared at multiple points throughout the day that everything else had fallen apart. It's time to vote and negotiations are over.

Here is the reality though. They are blind right now as to whether or not they actually have the votes. I can tell you going into that meeting, that very consequential meeting, they didn't have the votes. Coming out of that meeting, they are still unsure if they will get the votes. That's what we are going into tomorrow, a very high stakes game of chicken. But the hope when you talk to House leadership sources, when you talk

to some of these members of Congress is that that meeting, a meeting that involved a lot of emotion. More than 30 members coming to the microphones and speak in support of this bill, that they can ride that into a vote that at least five, six, seven hours ago they never thought they would actually be able to get to.

I can tell you, Don, I just learned the President and the speaker spoke by phone after that meeting. It was described to me as a good call going forward. Again, we know that there is a kind of lot of kind of positioning right now about who might actually end up taking the blame.

As it's been described to me, the President, speaker and house leadership, whether anything is going on behind the scenes, at least publicly, they trying to show a united front. They are trying get this to the finish line. But they still don't have very clear pathway yet, Don.

LEMON: Interesting. Good call. (INAUDIBLE) people gritting through teeth, yes, I'm going to get this done.

So do you have any indication, Phil, though, on whether the freedom caucus is going to stick together through this entire thing?

MATTINGLY: It's the big open question right now. I can tell you a couple members that I have spoken to after the conference meeting said they were coming around. Said that they would come on board.

But the big question is how many of those members of the freedom caucus do they actually need? Now, they got concessions in this bill. The proposal that was put out, the deal that was put out for them to accept actually moved closer to their side than it did, kind of the opposite side of the ideological spectrum.

But will that be enough? I can tell you right now, the Chairman of the freedom caucus told his members tonight not to have a meeting, not to sit down and talk about it, but to go home and pray on what they wanted to do tomorrow. But I will tell you, Don, there's another big question here. The concessions that were made to bring conservatives on board throughout the course of the last 24 hours have really unsettled a lot of the moderates as well as leadership and the White House are trying to thread this needle, became to get just as many people as they possible can in line here. They risk very real. If you push it one way, you lose one side, you push it another way, you lose other. So the question is not just, do you have freedom caucus members? It is did you keep enough moderates in line as well? That's question that they simply don't have answer to, but we will get one tomorrow.

LEMON: Yes. Gloria Borger calls it political whack-a-mole.

Thank you, Phil. I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now congresswoman Claudia Tenney, a New York Republican who supports the bill. Congresswoman, thank you for coming out. I can't wait to get your

perspective on this. So you heard our report there and you heard Phil say the President and the speaker of the House spoke this evening. I'm sure you saw the speaker very terse saying the President wants a vote tomorrow. That's it, we are going to do it. Did not answer questions. What do you think? Do you have the votes?

REP. CLAUDIA TENNEY (R), NEW YORK: I don't know, but I know we had a very lively, very impassioned conference this evening which was really great to hear all my colleagues speak on the issue.

I consider myself a conservative Republican from New York. I have been in fact the conservative of the year in New York. And we have been fighting to get what we can for our taxpayers and to help our constituents, especially the truly needy, the people in our communities who have special needs, senior citizens, everyone who - especially again, our small business community.

We are struggling to get something but we also want to make sure we phase this in. And I think that everybody acts like sky is falling and this is all going to be down to this vote and it is a do or die. I mean, we debated Obamacare for years even after it was passed. We weren't able to get anywhere but now here we are. We have the President. We have the House. We have an opportunity in the Senate to compromise and come up with something --.

[23:05:18] LEMON: This is your moment you believe. You mentioned seniors, but if look at what is estimated here, what it shows, is that seniors - any seniors are going to pay much more money.

TENNEY: Actually, that's not true in New York at all. In fact, New York has a one-to-one ratio in determining whether you can discriminate against someone bases on age. So that is not even going to be effect in New York. And in my district where Donald Trump won by 60 percent margin, this isn't even a factor in New York state. So I'm from New York and it is going to be not even a factor in New York.

We have actually advocated for more for our constituents. We put in a very unique amendment in New York which should actually remove the county share that -- one New York is one of the few states left that imposes this county share. It will save my district $167 million a year in unfunded mandates from the state. And this is something that can easily be taken care of through Governor Andrew Cuomo in his budget where he has almost $15 billion as was reported recently in local news accounts in his budget. He has plenty of room to take care of this and also we have, as I said, our New York state has already got many regulations in place where they are going to protect our seniors. And I'm confident that we are going to be having the votes in New York and (INAUDIBLE) do well.

LEMON: Congresswoman, I want to bring Steve Israel in here because he - I mean, I can see him. He is disagreeing with you. Why are you disagreeing?

STEVE ISRAEL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I agree with Claudia's assessment that she doesn't know whether going to pass tomorrow. I think that is the most accurate think we have heard. But I fundamentally disagree with the assessment with respect to the cost increases particularly for seniors.

What she is referring to, what the congresswoman is referring to, is special deal that was made for New York members of Congress to get their votes that says that counties no longer pay their share of Medicaid but that had shifted to all of other taxpayers of New York State. So this is quintessential robbing Peter to pay Paul. There is nothing that is free in Washington. This is just shifting the burden to New York State, which is going to have to increase the income tax and property taxes going to go up.

TENNEY: Absolutely not.

ISRAEL: -- continue to pay a higher premium.

LEMON: OK. Go ahead Congresswoman.

TENNEY: I respectfully disagree. That is completely untrue. I was New York state assembly member. And the governor has what I call an unconstitutional slush fund to the tune of billions of dollars, hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent by this governor against the interest of the taxpayers to meet his needs and to leverage his interest against those of the taxpayers and to buy-off basically other members in the house and also in the Senate.

There is so much more room in state budget. Right now Medicaid consumes about $65 billion of the state taxpayers' budget. And out of $152 billion budget, there are 19 million people in New York, 38 million people in California and our budget is almost - is coming close to the California budget for a fraction --

LEMON: I don't want to get into the weeds just about New York City. But I mean, these are the conversations that you have been having and have had this evening correct?

TENNEY: Absolutely. I think, you know, we have been fighting for a deal. Look, in a free market system that we don't really have in New York, we would have -- this bill is really not a full repeal. It's the best we can do in light of what is happening with the Senate but I'm pleased we are getting somewhere. That we are actually going to provide some relief.

I own a small business. I had to look at people and say we provided great insurance for you. My employees and guess what, we have to comply with Obamacare mandates. And so, we have to lose employees just to be able keep up with them. It had to gone to self-insurance. I mean, there is a lot of people have been hurt by this terrible bill especially in New York.

LEMON: I've got to run for time.

TENNEY: Thank you. I appreciate it.

LEMON: I really appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

TENNEY: Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

LEMON: Again, now you see, you guys see the kind of thing that's happening, you know. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. I disagree with you, whatever. I mean, that health care is complicated.

So we are going to move on now. We will get back to the panel.

I want to bring in now "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Nicholas, good to have you on. Burning the midnight. You heard the conversation I just had with the congresswoman. They, at White House tonight, they are trying to salvage health care, replace the bill here. The President wants a vote tomorrow and let the chips fall where they make. How are you calling it? Do you think this is going to pass the House?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, look. I mean, I think journalists should be kind of chastened given our performance last year in making predictions, I would be wary betting on my predictions.

You know, one level you look at - there is a Quinnipiac poll today that said that GOP plan that only had 17 percent support. It is kind hard to see that parlayed into victory in the house. On the other hand, Trump has shown a lot more resilience than we had expected and, you know, his bluff may indeed work. So, if you really push me, I would say it's sure going to be an uphill struggle. But I don't have a lot of confidence in my own predictions, Don.

[23:10:18] LEMON: So, listen. Some folks are saying - you know, I will say this for my panel, because I have some inside information of what is happening inside the White House. Let's save it for the panel.

But I want to talk to you about something else. There's another cloud over this White House. Many investigations into possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia in the Presidential election. And here's what you wrote in the "New York Time" just today. You said that there is a small of treason in the air. That's an allegation, a strong allegation. Do you believe that treason, Nicholas?

KRISTOF: Well, I don't know. But I think it needs to be investigated. Look. We have intelligence community agreeing that there was concerted attack on the integrity of our election system by Russia to benefit one candidate. Now, we have an investigation by the FBI to investigate whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to accomplish that attack.

If that happened, I mean, it seems to me what is at stake is a question of treason. If you did have people in the Trump campaign who were colluding with Russia to defeat the electoral process, yes, then to me, I don't know what else you would call that but treason.

And you know, one other point I would make is that this I think allies with the health care issue, the question of competence in the plan. You want to kind of agree or disagree with the health care system. One can agree or disagree with how Trump has managed things. But there's a fundamental question of competence that I think undermines the President's ability to win votes for health care and will more broadly is going to undermine his ability to win votes for his tax plan and for his infrastructure plan. And I think that in turn is ramifications for financial markets.

LEMON: Yes. David Gergen making a similar point about competency earlier, not the same but very similar point. Also in your piece, you said I'm told not by Democrat that there's persuasive piece of intelligence on ties between Russian and a member of the Trump team that isn't yet public. I mean, obviously, I'm not going to ask you about your source, but do you believe that this piece of intelligence is going to come to light and what more can you tell us about it?

KRISTOF: Well, I can't say more about it. But it was very persuasive to my source. And you know, as far as I can tell, the FBI is holding the investigation, the material quite closely. It has a lot of people working on this investigation. I think it's very serious about it. And one of the things that I don't think is fully investigated yet is the question of financial ties. One of the things we've seen in Western Europe is that Russia tended to pour a lot of money into campaigns that it supported. And I think that there is going to be a similar but so far incomplete investigation about whether something similar may have happened in this country and whether it's not only a question of political collusion but whether there are issues of financial interference as well.

LEMON: Yes. I know that you are loathe to make a prediction about what is going to happen. You said you know, since you believe the media got it so wrong. How is this all going to end do you think? Do you think we are ever going to get to the bottom of exactly what went on during the election?

KRISTOF: You know, I think that -- I mean, again if you push me. So it seems to me Democrats maybe have focus too much on Jeff Sessions and too much on the idea of transactional quid pro quo kind of collusion. I suspect that in the long run we will go get a much better idea of what happened and I suspect it will be more like soft collusion between some members of the Trump team and some people close to the Kremlin that we will get evidence of that. But then the question will be whether or not that misconduct can be tied to President Trump himself and that may be a much, much harder thing to do.

LEMON: OK. Thank you. Appreciate it Nicholas Kristof. Thank you so much.

OK. So listen. I got to bring the panel back in.

Panel - let me grab my glasses here. President Trump and speaker Ryan spoke for 45 minutes tonight. President Trump spoke by phone with Speaker Ryan for nearly 45 minutes tonight following the house Republican conference multiple sources are telling CNN. A source with direct knowledge described it as good call in wake of the house officially moving forward on the preferred strategy, no more negotiating. Time to vote. And aide to Ryan called it great discussion.

Phil Mattingly reported some of this. Source familiar with the health care discussion, said it was an entirely positive call. Noting reports about potential blame. Whoever is saying that, clearly doesn't know their relationship.

[23:15:06] MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, I'll tell you what, let's wait until 6:00 p.m. eastern time tomorrow when we assume a vote will have occurred and see what the fallout is.

Let's put aside that it's Donald Trump right now, and he tends to go after his enemies. In Washington, it's all about blame, right? If it doesn't work out, who are we going to blame?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is not just for the Donald Trump blame. There is Brietbart blame. There is Hannity blame. There is Rush Limbaugh blame.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan.

LEMON: When I said - I was going to save that for the panel because I have someone who is sources - my insider is telling me that Trump aides are now - that Trump and aides know this bill is getting Trumped tomorrow. They are prepping to push it back on Ryan and weak traitor Republicans.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, if you listen to sort of a conservative talk radio circuit, they have been talking about this Ryan care as rhino care. And they have wanted Trump to get in there and do a deal that looks more like what they want. And it is closer to what conservatives want. So it's not surprising that now he White House is sort of taking that up saying it's Ryan's fault. And I think they will have a lot of an echo chamber for them that is ready made to say this is Ryan's fault.

LEMON: All right. Everybody, hold your thoughts. When we come right back, the White House trying to change the subject from Russian, the Russia connection. But will they have to address all the unanswered questions?

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[23:20:02] LEMON: Democrats and Republicans at odds on the House intelligence committee. What's it going to take to get for us to get to the bottom of this Russian investigation?

Back with me now Mark Preston, David Gergen, Nia-Malika Henderson, congressman Jack Kingston, Congressman Steve Israel and Matt Lewis.

I guess if we figure out what it is going to takes for us to get to the bottom of this, you would be a wealthy woman and you would --.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, I think it goes back to what Nick Kristof, his whole idea of predictions. Nobody knows what is going to happen. And in some ways, that is causing a lot of panic among some Republicans and for Democrats there, obviously, tossing around the impeachment words, certainly Maxine Waters has been doing that. I think Democrats have to be careful about overplaying their hands in terms of this and what this investigation might turn out to be. And with the White house, you have them in a very precarious position, basically saying they have never really heard of Paul Manafort, that Mike Flynn was a volunteer.

LEMON: Paul who?

HENDERSON: Exactly. He is just some gentleman who worked for them for like five or six months. And so - yes. I mean, they are in a difficult position. And then you have all of this back and forth between Nunes and Schiff really leading to the question of whether or not any of these investigations are going to be credible to the public.

LEMON: Well, the point is we are watching chairman Nunes yesterday. I mean, he went over to the White House, then he gave two press conferences instead of going to his own committee. And then he said, you know, sort of, giving the President cover for his claims but there's no prove. There's no cover for those claims.

PRESTON: I will just be very quick on this. What I found most surprising out of what Devin Nunes said yesterday was in interview with Jake Tapper when he said I thought the President - I'm paraphrasing, the president needed to know so that he could make a decision about whether the collection was right or not which to me made no sense because the investigation was about him or his associates. So how could he himself be judging upon whether the evidence was rightly collected?

LEMON: Does he have any credibility?

JACK KINGSTON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER RO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I think Schiff did the same thing today, though. He came out with what I thought a non-story. But frankly, just old school thought here and I think brother Israel might agree with me.

The Intel committee should get out of the press. They should go in the back room and they should be sequestered with a seriously looking at documents. And the further you get away from the public debate, the closer you can get to bipartisan.

You don't think should hand to independent?

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE)

KRISTOF: They absolutely should. And yesterday proved why that should be done.

LEMON: How can Nunes have any credibility coming out after that?

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: They all are going out --

LEMON: Come on Jack. Don't do that. KINGSTON: Out in the press. I mean, Adam did it today. I think the

world of both of them but I think what they need --.

LEMON: So then you should support independent inquiry. That's all the more reason.

KINGSTON: I still have faith in them. If you get independent - no, seriously, if you get an independent counsel, it will take them six months to gear up, to staff up. Everybody right now, they have a bipartisan group that already has all the security clearances. They know the issues they and can get to it. But prosecutor - a special prosecutor isn't going to quit until he has a head.

LEMON: Nunes, it was so transparent yesterday. I mean, you know.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Could see that this was all partisanship yesterday.

ISRAEL: Let me share something. I talked to folks on both sides of the aisle on that committee. And the irony is they started out pretty good. They were bipartisan. There was agreement on witnesses, on scope. Yesterday, Devin Nunes crossed the line and it was unprecedented. There is just not good faith on that committee anymore. The House of Representatives, shocking as it may be to people, is fraught with politics, the Intel committees are fraught with politics. This is exactly why you need an independent commission.

KINGSTON: I never heard you say that for fast and furious (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Did you have anybody doing that for fast and furious or Benghazi? You didn't have people doing what Nunes did yesterday?

ISRAEL: No, you didn't.

LEMON: Maybe that's why he is saying it. Come on, Jack. You cannot sit here and say what he did yesterday didn't reek of partisanship and politics.

KINGSTON: I did not think it was helpful. And I agree with you there was politics. And that I would -- but I would also say and I hope you would agree with me that the ranking member who is friend of mine does the same thing to the degree that he will go on press as he did today, make an announcement about new revelations and so forth.

LEMON: He is not running to the subject of the investigation and giving the subject information about the investigation. If this had happened - I mean, don't you watch "law & order"? If you do that in (INAUDIBLE), you get in trouble.

KINGSTON: OK. So far nobody has gotten on an airplane on a tarmac with the attorney general. LEMON: That wasn't an investigation.

KINGSTON: When Bill Clinton's wife was being investigated by the FBI and he gets on the airplane.

[23:25:00] LEMON: And guess what, every single Democrat in the world came out and said what? He shouldn't have done it. No, they said he shouldn't have not done it. That he should never have gone on the plane.

KINGSTON: I really believe that right now the Intel committee should say let's just stay off the press. See what we can get done by ourselves.

LEMON: The damage is done, don't you think?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The damage has done. But I actually have to agree with Jack on this.

I mean, look. I think I would prefer an independent commission. I would prefer an independent prosecutor. I think the critical issue is whether the justice department at the end of the day is going to interfere with what Comey is up to with FBI. Somebody there has to make decisions about how he goes forward and so forth and so on. And those person, whoever makes those decisions, is reporting to Jeff Sessions, the attorney general. That's their boss. And I think that's the danger of interference.

But having said that, as long as you have the committee, it does seem to me that they got to leave the investigation to the investigator and not cherry pick and run out with some conclusion based on very incomplete information as a piece of the survey because it does undercut the credibility of the committee. I think Nunes went too far but I haven't think Adam Schiff whom I respect, you know, shouldn't have gone there yesterday or today either. I think you are absolutely right. They have to just go quiet now and let the investigations proceed.

LEMON: All right. There we go. E.F. Hutton has spoken.

When we come right back, President Trump fires off another line. I'm President, you're not. But will that silence his critics?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:30:26] LEMON: "Time" magazine's interview with President Trump about past untruths is full of new untruths from the President.

CNN's Brianna Keilar fact checks what the President has to today -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, President Trump unveiling a string of untruths as he talks about how he handles the truth in an interview with "Time" magazine.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR (voice-over): Let's start with President Trump's explanation of his recent claims that President Obama wiretapped him before he entered the White House. That claim that is unfounded and unsupported by almost all Democrats and Republicans.

Now, remember this Trump said, when I said wiretapping it was in quotes because wiretapping today you know it is different than wiretapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I'm talking about is surveillance.

SPICER: If you look at the President's tweet said clearly quote "wiretapping," in quotes.

KEILAR: Well, not exactly. Wiretapping was in quote in this tweet. But look at this one, it is not in quotes. And on surveillance Trump pointed to these comments from Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee.

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. None of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.

KEILAR: That communication seemingly picked up by agencies legally looking at foreign targets. Nunes' evidence remains secret. Even members of his own committee have yet to see it and he shoots down Trump's original claim.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Just to be clear, there is no evidence that President Trump was wiretapped?

NUNES: That is correct. That is correct.

KEILAR: On Trump's false campaign claim that Senator Ted Cruz's father was somehow connected to President Kennedy's assassin, Trump told time, that was in the newspaper. I wasn't. I didn't say that. The newspaper Trump refers to, the "National Enquirer." That's right, the supermarket tabloid.

And on Trump's the untrue assertion that millions of people voted fraudulently explaining why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by about three million ballots he said mostly they register wrong. In other words for the votes, they register incorrect and/or illegally and they then vote. You have tremendous numbers of people. In fact, I'm forming a committee on it. It will be interesting to see if that committee includes the folks who oversee voting practices. Secretaries of state, many of whom are Republicans.

JOHN HUSTED (R), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: As I say about voter fraud, it exists, it's rare.

KEILAR: Or maybe Republican Senators?

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: I'm not seeing in voter irregularity in the millions. There is always some on the edges. But I have not seeing anything on the millions. I don't know what he was talking about.

KEILAR: Maybe not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Trump also talked about he was right that he would win on election night even though he has said he thought he would lose. And he talk with these false claim that Muslims celebrated on 9/11 in New Jersey even though that has never been corroborated. And at the end of the interview, he essentially dropped the mike. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess I can't be doing so badly, he said. Because I'm President, and you are not. Fact check, true, Don.

LEMON: Brianna, thank you.

Back now with my panel.

So Mark, the first time I saw you, and I said I'm reading --

PRESTON: Stop. The first time you saw me today you were sitting in chair getting makeup.

LEMON: Just very little. It took me two seconds. And I said I'm re- reading this. I can't make heads or tails of it. I mean, what did you think when you read it?

PRESTON: Well, my response to you was, just to recall the conversation was I would be concerned if you actual understood what he was trying to explain, right? Because, you know, his idea of explaining his way out of some of some of the pronouncements he has made that some people call falsehoods, probably more likely and better termed as lies, like flat-out lies, causes people to get confused and it creates chaos and he seems to thrive on chaos. I mean, that's what the time interview seems like, it is very chaotic.

HENDERSON: Yes. And at time when he needs to be focused. He needs to be focus on health care. He needs to be focus and his big vote. The idea that someone in the White House OK'ed him doing this, sitting down and talking about and he knew it was about. He knew it was about truthfulness and his own record --

LEMON: You mean, the interview?

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, the fact that --

LEMON: Well, he said the interview was right because he thought it was about how he predicts things. And then the writer says, no. The crux of this interview is not about that. And he says it's about wiretapping?

[23:35:02] HENDERSON: He should be talking about health care at this point. I mean, giving this interview, I think he wanted to do it partly because he thought he was going to be on the cover. At some point during that interview he is bragging that he has been on more covers than anybody else. It's not true. Nixon has. But I thought it was kind of sad reading this. I mean, this guy, you know, is so protective of his ego and so insecure that he makes things up.

ISRAEL: This is why he (INAUDIBLE) at 40 percent. It is not that people necessarily disagree with him. It is about the fact that he is so consumed with him instead of being consumed with them.

LEMON: But you know, it reminded me of, as I was reading this seriously, like the high school quarterback that used to drive the Camaro, right? And then you see them 20, 30 years later. (INAUDIBLE). I had the most touchdowns. And look at all these trophies back here when I was - and you are like, why are you doing that? You are leader of the free world?

And it's interesting, when I hear him in person, for the most part you kind of get what he's saying sometimes. But when you read the written word, I mean, I wonder, do you think he actually believes this? Because he says it a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I just think he says lies.

LEMON: They are lies. But maybe he believes it.

HENDERSON: It is sort of a George Constanza version of lies. If you believe it, it's not a lie.

GERGEN: If you talk to some of his friends, they say he actually believes some of these things.

LEMON: But them that's really sad.

GERGEN: It is where it is. But I actually think that some of -- this has cumulative effect now. And I do think that in the last few days we went, we passed a threshold on this wiretapping issue. Had put the public in whole new place. And you see the evidence of that in the Quinnipiac poll. I really did believe he would have gotten. If he kept - if he had - if he got rid of his tweet and just tried to stick to the truth with a lot of humility, I think his popularity now would be much higher and I think he would have health care in a breeze tomorrow. But I do think his lack of the credibility now is now being the cutting into capacity to get other things done.

LEMON: This Quinnipiac poll about his honesty - dishonesty, 60 percent.

GERGEN: That's astonishing number.

LEMON: Jack, did you read this?

KINGSTON: Yes. And I just want to point out some of the previous Presidents, OK. Not only can you keep your own health care plan, which we knew to be lie, President Obama said 90 percent of the budget deficit is due to George W. Bush's policies.

LEMON: Was that a lie?

KINGSTON: Yes, it was lie. I mean, this is all pretty Pinocchio fact checked. The day after Benghazi happened I acknowledged this was an act of terrorism. He did not do that. I did not talk the Islamic state the JV team. This was Barack Obama. Over the past eight years no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed in attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas.

LEMON: So that is in the course of eight years.

KINGSTON: That was a pretty major lies.

LEMON: But course of eight weeks and I have not fact checked those. But listen. You may be right on some of those. But did he believe in conspiracy theories? Did he believe that Ted Cruz's dad had something to do with JFK or that the President wasn't born in the United States? And all of this conspiracy theories? Did he believe that --?

KINGSTON: I guess this is where -- I think what happens is the Republicans are willing to defend their guy, my guy. And Democrats are willing to defend their guy.

LEMON: OK. Hold on. Hold on. No, no, no, no, no. I want to just go over what you said. You said the Republicans are willing to defend their guy.

KINGSTON: Yes.

LEMON: Do you believe that he is telling the truth or you are just defending him?

KINGSTON: Combination. It depends on what he is saying. I actually think on the wiretapping his word got ahead of him. I think there was surveillance and I think that was what he intended to say.

GERGEN: That's what Nunes said. He did not say there was surveillance of Trump tower. He said there was surveillance of foreign agents that they got picked up, might have been picked up in Trump tower. It is not true that he said there was surveillance yesterday of Trump himself.

KINGSTON: But in (INAUDIBLE) said there was no wiretapping.

GERGEN: And he said no wiretapping. So what truth is there to what Trump is saying?

KINGSTON: Well, I think if the discussion is on is this going on and on, I think that there was wiretapping lesson that probably was learned by this administration. I think in the last two or three weeks that tweeting has gone down. And so, you know, I do think we are moving on.

GERGEN: That's true.

LEMON: Hold on. On the break. On the break. My producer is in my ear. I will. I will let you in the other side. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:43:31] LEMON: So I'm back now with my panel. The President has -- we are talking about the President and this "Time" magazine interview but has a pretty extensive history of calling out others for not telling the truth. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Lying Ted.

In the case of lying Ted Cruz. Lying Ted. Lies. He lies.

Now, we don't want to say lying Ted. I would love to pull it out and just use it on lying, crooked Hillary.

She is a world-class liar. She is either a liar or grossly incompetent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Representative Kingston, don't you think it's a bit hypocritical though?

KINGSTON: He is a tough guy and it's a tough world.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: One more.

KINGSTON: One more Obama quote. Come on, now. Let me say this as plainly as I can. By August 31st, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end absolutely absurd and that involved people's lives. And so, I think there is a pretty serious lie in itself by our former commander in-chief.

LEMON: Go ahead, Matt.

LEWIS: And I'll take over. It wasn't exactly Barack Obama but there was also a line about how a video started the Benghazi attack.

LEMON: Susan Rice.

LEWIS: Right, that was made. Do yes, we could go on. But I would say I think that quantitatively and qualitatively Donald Trump's lies even transcend that. No, I do think that bill Clinton and Barack Obama helped change norms and that they led us to Donald Trump who I think is a bigger liar than even they were. They get some blame for this.

[23:45:21] LEMON: Donald Trump lies and then covers up his lie with a lie, right? In the interview --

LEWIS: Other thing he does too --

LEMON: There is no proof. There is no evidence. Yes, but what I was talking about is blah blah blah. KINGSTON: One of his targets, there was a mutual seem to be

distained. But the "New York Times," the reporter who was on tonight was very proud of a headline that said treason in the area. And then in the interview, he really didn't have anything but innuendo and possible treason. And in fact last question to him, he actually said I think in the end find may have been somebody who had some contact, probably it was soft cooperation. It had nothing to do or Trump would not have known about it. But the headline was --.

(CROSSTALK)

KINGSTON: Let's not say the failed "New York Times" as we might in Republican circles. But do you think the media on occasion lies?

PRESTON: Because the norm of what is the media, the definition wrongly quite frankly, has changed over time. And folks who consider themselves journalists are really not journalist but yet, you know, what they are just partisan hacks, quite frankly.

LEMON: But I do see a lot of media, and I don't mean the mainstream media, I mean, websites, who lie. I see a lot of lies about me. I see a lot of people who write about me and don't ask whether it's true or not. So, yes. But mainstream media, I think most of the mainstream media I think that you have to go through certain standards and practices before you put information out and most do.

HENDERSON: Yes. And there's system of corrections too, right. I mean, you go to the "New York Times" in the front page, you know, in the paper you see corrections if they get something wrong. Corrections is not something that Donald Trump is familiar with. He doubles down on a lot of these falsehoods which is that article is so startling.

LEMON: If you haven't read this article and it's - I mean, to me jack, the article is -- it's bordering on delusional.

HENDERSON: It is like unadulterated Donald Trump.

LEMON: It is like - someone will say but there's absolutely no evidence and he goes --. And you are like wait a minute. There is no evidence to that. And he goes on to pretend that there is. That doesn't concern you?

KINGSTON: It concerns me. But I also think as David said, I think a lot of the things that, you know, he does believe. And I think that I have dealt with some highly successful people.

LEMON: Do you have kids?

KINGSTON: I have kids.

LEMON: And when they believe things that you know -- do you tell them like well, honey, that's just not true. You can't believe that because it's not true? There's a monster under the bed. Will you tell them that there's no truth to dad. It's in your head? KINGSTON: I think we all should be telling the truth. But I also say

this, that I think a lot of people who have that kind of and I don't say it negatively but to run for President of the United States you have to have a big ego. Because basically you are going to say out of 320 million people, I'm the one that should lead all of you. And so, I mean, there's ego that comes with it. And yes, and I think part of that is that they have often --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delusional. Delusions of grandeur.

LEWIS: He's eccentric and I think this is the deal that Republicans have made. And guess what, they probably going to get Neil Gorsuch confirms to the United States Supreme Court which is a huge deal that nobody is even talking about it because it overshadowed by --.

LEMON: When you say it is - he has a big ego, it's his way or the highway? You think so? You guys know where I'm going with this?

KINGSTON: I believe that --.

HENDERSON: Trucker. There we go.

LEMON: Keep on truck in. There it is.

HENDERSON: Prompter there.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:53:06] LEMON: Back with my panel.

I want you all to check out this pictures as President Trump sitting behind in that truck, the wheel of a mac truck during a White House showing of support for truck drivers of America.

I mean, come on. This is -- you have to admit these photos are hilarious -- Steve.

ISRAEL: That was not Michael Dukakis.

(LAUGHTER)

HENDERSON: And it's kind of charming. I mean, its part of I think why people like him because he is -- only in that moment he is enjoying this.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: This is why he want to be the president.

HENDERSON: Yes. I think that is right.

KINGSTON: And you know, he invited the truckers into the oval office on the cabinet room outside of the oval office and sat down and kind of, you know, had good discussion with them. He was not an awkward guy. He is like Bill Clinton. He can talk to anybody.

LEMON: Give me a caption for this photo, Mark.

PRESTON: I have to pass a fall stone or something.

(LAUGHTER)

PRESTON: I don't know. What do you want me to say?

LEMON: This is on the "New York Post." This is tomorrow's "New York Post."

HENDERSON: My way or the highway.

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) that helps bill crushed my way or the highway. And this is -- is this your car?

KINGSTON: Very similar to it.

LEMON: This is Jack Kingston' car. Let's put it right here. 1993 Buick road master wagon.

HENDERSON: Does anyone want one?

KINGSTON: When you don't build Trump tower, that's what you drive.

LEMON: It is interesting though that he is meeting with truckers today in the middle of all this. There is a lot going on. He is meeting and he is having fun with truckers. What does that - is that saying anything good?

LEWIS: When he spoke to him, he said that the vote was happening tonight.

[23:55:01] LEMON: He didn't know.

HENDERSON: He didn't know.

LEWIS: It had been canceled. Everybody else knew for --

HENDERSON: If he had been on twitter, he would have known that the vote was not happen (ph). But yes, it goes to White House staffing. No one slipped him a note to say that he wasn't happened. He was just reading from a text, so.

KINGSTON: I think that he wanted the break to get away from Capitol Hill and let's go meet with some --.

LEWIS: And there was a part when he was reading something that was obviously written by a very good speechwriter and then he stopped and said something like can you believe - I wouldn't say that, right.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to sneak in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, why we love him.

LEMON: Yes. I think - let me put the truck back up. I think he said today after the last 60 some odd days, I want to take this big rig and drive on right on out of here. I think if he has his driver, he might do it.

PRESTON: I stand correctly I said. I'm not (INAUDIBLE). It would be a kidney stone.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I was thinking more of a circular pillow that, you know, anyway.

Anyways, he is having fun. That's it for us. Thanks everybody. I will see right you back here tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)