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Sessions is infuriating Democrats on the committee by refusing to reveal any private conversations with President Trump; President consider terminating special counsel Robert Mueller; Huge blaze has engulfed a 24-story apartment building in North Kensington, London; Aired 11:00-12:00mn ET
Aired June 13, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:21] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Fireworks on Capitol Hill. Attorney general Jeff Sessions angrily telling a Senate intelligence committee that any accusation than he colluded with Russia during the election is a detestable lie.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Meanwhile, Sessions is infuriating Democrats on the committee by refusing to reveal any private conversations with President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are invoking executive privilege?
JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not able to invoke executive privilege. That's the President's prerogative. Senator, I'm protecting the President's constitutional right by not giving it away before he has a chance to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are --
SESSIONS: And he could have --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to begin our coverage this hour with David Swerdlick, a CNN political commentator. Kaitlin Collins, a White House correspondent for "the Daily Caller" and global affairs analyst David Rohde.
Good evening to all of you.
Kaitlin, "The New York Times" has some new reporting out tonight on whether the President consider terminating special counsel Robert Mueller. I want to read part of it and get your reaction.
When asked, this is a quote, "when asked by the pool of reporters covering a midday meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House whether he supported Mr. Mueller, Mr. Trump gave no answer, even though he often uses such interactions to make headlines or shoot down stories he believes to be fake. That may have been by design, according to a person who spoke to Mr. Trump on Tuesday. The President was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the President desires most, a blanket public exoneration."
Kaitlin, what's your response? Does he understand how this works and the gravity of it? What do you make of that?
KAITLIN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, DAILY CALLER: Well, I'm sure he does. But I think he likes keeping reporters on edge. And that's why he has stayed silent since his friend Chris Ruddy went on PBS on Monday and said that he was weighing terminating Robert Mueller. That was a big deal and that's been the news story for the past few days.
And even though press secretary Sean Spicer shot it down quickly, Donald Trump has himself not said anything. And then today, finally Sarah Sanders said --
LEMON: Kaitlin, with all due respect, he is talking about sending a message to the special counsel, not sending a message to reporters.
COLLINS: Well, he is doing both at once. But I do agree with you, I think he is trying to send a message to Bob Mueller, hey, I'm watching how you are doing this. And if you don't do it the way I like, I'm going to consider firing you.
LEMON: David, that's not intimidation?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's obstruction of justice.
LEMON: All right. Go ahead, David Rohde.
ROHDE: I'm sorry. I apologize for interrupting.
LEMON: No, go ahead.
LEMON: That's wrong. That's not the President's job. It's improper. This is an independent investigation. He should let it follow its course. And he might be exonerated. If he would let it follow its course, it might work for him and if he would show more patience. This kind of messaging, he is going to intimidate the independent counsel, it is going to pressure him to come out with an investigation the way the President wants, you know. It's an unnecessary sort of political mistake, honestly, on the President's part.
LEMON: Go ahead, David Swerdlick.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I agree with David Rohde. Look. That's an important point that we keep overlooking in this, Don. It is possible that the President, at the end of all this, however long it takes, would be exonerated. And the White House seems to be overlooking the idea that if they just let this play out, maybe it will eventually smooth itself out in their favor. We don't know that, but it's a possibility.
But the other thing, and I feel like Don, we talk about this on your show all the time, is that this is another case of the President liking the big reveal, like the sort of stay tuned next week aspect of this as if everybody is auditioning for a part on the next season of President Trump when in fact this is very likely the last public act or last public cycle for Mueller. This is the last public cycle for President Trump whether it is three-and-a-half years or seven-and-a- half more years.
LEMON: But to Kaitlin's point that maybe, you know, maybe he thinks that he can sway the outcome of the or an investigation or sway in investigation the way he may be able to in some instances sway news coverage by sending a message to reporters. He is sending a message to Mueller. I mean, do you think Mueller will react to that? Will it have any effect on Robert Mueller, David Swerdlick?
SWERDLICK: It is possible that the President thinks that. But I just don't see how based on everything we know about Mueller, what the incentive for him would be to be swayed in any way one way or the other by the President dangling this idea of him being fired over his head.
Mueller was head of the FBI for 12 years. People on both sides of the aisle say he is a person of complete integrity. The idea that he would be swayed by the possibility that this would be cut short and him knowing fully what would happen politically at least if he was fired just seems to me to be only in the mind of the White House.
[23:05:15] LEMON: Kaitlin, you heard both Davids here, David Rohde first said he believes it is obstruction. David, I'm not putting words in your mouth, you did say that, right?
ROHDE: I did.
LEMON: Kaitlin, what do you think? What do you make if that?
COLLINS: Well, that's a hefty charge to make. I'm not going to disagree, certainly I'm not going to agree because I think there's a lot left to be desire and a lot left to know about this and we need to hear from the President himself on this. You know, he has supported Bob Mueller when he was initially appointed as special counsel. And I found out today, I confirmed that he did interview Bob Mueller to be the next FBI director when he was interviewing everyone after he fired James Comey. And Sarah Sanders confirmed today on air force one that he interviewed Bob Mueller the day before Bob Mueller was appointed as special counsel.
LEMON: I want to read another - this is another quote from this piece tonight.
In recent days, the President has told his staff, his visitors, and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced that Mr. Mueller, like Mr. Comey, his successor as director of the FBI, was part of a witch hunt by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office. David Rohde, what do you think of that?
ROHDE: It's the same kind of, you know, sense in the White House that they are under siege. I understand their frustration. I mean, this just continues to dominate the news.
LEMON: But Mueller was appointed by Trump's deputy AG. How is that a witch hunt?
ROHDE: Well, you know, again, I guess I'm with David Swerdlick and that I see -- I think Mueller has nothing to lose. He is a decorated combat veteran, you know, served in Vietnam, oversaw prosecutions of John Gotti and Manuel Noriega. So he is not going to be intimidated.
He believes in the Rule of law. He will want this. Mueller will carry this out very thoroughly but also very slowly. So again, I don't think this tactic is going to work. I think it hurts President Trump. I think he should let this investigation go forward, talk about the economy, talk about jobs, you know, talk about his policies. And he is sort of fueling a lot of this coverage unintentionally, I think.
LEMON: Interesting. OK. All of you, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us here on CNN this evening.
I need to get to something else here in our program and talk about some other big news. Are we moving on to the next segment?
OK. All right. So listen, I want to ask about something else.
So Kaitlin, let me bring you back in, I apologize for that. The other big story of today was Sessions' hearing. Let's watch -- I want you to watch this exchange between Senator Sessions today and then Senator Kamala Harris. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA DEVI HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Did you have any communication with any Russian businessmen or any Russian nationals?
SESSIONS: I don't believe I had any conversation with Russian businessmen or Russian nationals.
HARRIS: Are you aware of --?
SESSIONS: Although a lot of people were at the convention. It's conceivable --.
HARRIS: Sir, I have just a few --
SESSIONS: You let me qualify it. If I don't qualify it, you will accuse me of lying. So I need to be correct as best I can.
HARRIS: I do want you to be honest.
SESSIONS: I'm not able to be rushed this fast. It makes any nervous. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It makes him nervous. What do you think of that, Kaitlin?
COLLINS: Well, he is getting grilled for three hours while sitting there in front of, you know, his former senators that he used to be colleagues with. So I do think it is a lot but I do think it's a fair question to ask. This is someone who during his confirmation hearing did not speak truthfully about meetings he had with Russian officials. And so I think the senators deserve to ask Jeff Sessions tough questions. I mean, he is the leading law enforcement person in our entire country. So I think he is fine with tough questions.
LEMON: All right. Thank you all. Now we will move on. I appreciate that.
When we come back, Senator Amy Klobuchar joins me. I'm going to ask if she is satisfied by Sessions' testimony.
[23:12:30] LEMON: We have some breaking news to show you here. This is coming from London. This is a huge fire. It has engulfed a 24- story apartment building. Again, live pictures coming from London. This is our breaking news right now on CNN.
About 200 firefighters, we are told, have been deployed to battle this fire, as rescue workers try to evacuate residents. We are told a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries. This is in North Kensington.
Again, the fire broke out before daybreak local time. A statement posted on twitter early Wednesday. State London police say two people are currently being treated for smoke inhalation. But an eyewitness says he saw people jumping from this building.
Again, breaking news out of London, a huge blaze has engulfed a 24- story apartment building. As we look at these live pictures coming in, about 200 firefighters deployed to the scene embattle this fire. Rescue workers trying to evacuate the residence there. The fire broke out before daybreak local time.
We are hearing that they are treating a number of people for a number of injuries. At least two people being treated for smoke inhalation. And eyewitnesses say they saw people jumping from the building. Make sure you stay with us. We will keep a watch on these pictures and on this story and bring you the very latest as it's warranted.
Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee expressing frustration with attorney general Jeff Sessions during his testimony today. Sessions refusing to answer many of their questions. And I want to bring in now Senator Amy Klobuchar. She is a Minnesota Democrat who is a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Senator, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it. Today, senator Wyden of Oregon accused Sessions of stonewalling. Were
you happy with the attorney general's testimony? And what do you make of his reason for not answering certain questions?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Well, I think anyone that would want to get to the bottom of the truth would not like what happened today because you really didn't get a lot of answers. He did say that he did not have a third meeting with the Russian ambassador. But other than that, he really didn't tell us much.
I thought one interesting fact was that he told us in answer to a question from Senator Angus King that he had had no briefings on Russian interference in our election. And you think about what a major issue this is of cybersecurity. It is one think that he has to recuse himself from this investigation. But that either before that or since then he has had no briefings at all. I thought that was pretty concerning.
And then you just have the fact that he didn't answer a lot of the questions. And of course, when you are searching for the truth and the public wants to hear what the truth is, that's not a good day.
We learned a little more from Rod Rosenstein, who was appearing before another committee, the deputy. And I was really pleased that he made it very clear that he wasn't going to remove the special prosecutor or special counsel, Bob Mueller.
[23:15:34] LEMON: Yes, I want to talk to you about that. And let's stick to the testimony from the attorney general.
When being asked about any possible contact with Russians, Sessions said that he may have had some conversations with Russians to see if Russia and the United States could get on a quote "more harmonious relationship." Then he added this quote. He said, "it is really a tragic strategic event that we're not able to get along better than we are today." Why do you think this administration continues to speak to positively of Russia and want to have that sort of relationship with Russia?
KLOBUCHAR: I literally -- I understand why you want to work with all powers that you can work with. But in this case, those kinds of words, when you have a country that 17 of our intelligence agencies have firmly said tried to influence our democracies, a direct violation of our whole constitution is based on this simple idea that Americans choose their own President, choose their own elected officials. And here you have a foreign power trying to influence us. We now have proof just today, information coming out that in dozens of states, they tried to hack into local officials, local election officials' accounts, as they tried to influence the actual apparatus of our elections. They downed a plane in Ukraine. I mean, you can go through all of the things that they have done.
And I think the answer should be, you know, we will talk with other powers, but we have a country that is actually using cybersecurity as a means of attack on our own country. They are using the cyber system to attack us. And we need to not only protect ourselves, but we need to respond back. Very different than the Senate, bipartisan basis, we are going to pass Russian sanctions this week.
LEMON: Let's move on to another headline today. There are so many daily. President Trump told your Republican colleagues that the House-passed health care bill celebrated earlier this year in the Rose Garden, he said is mean. He called this bill mean. He also referred to it as a quote "son of a bitch," again, those are his words. Are you surprised to hear that, you know, that he says that, given basically what you and your democratic colleagues have been saying about this bill?
KLOBUCHAR: You know, the one thing about the President is he uses very direct language. And he sure did it this time. I can't think of a better word to describe that bill than mean. It's very simple. You don't need a bunch of focus group for it or polls. It's mean. It cuts 20-some million people of a health care. There's a reason AARP is opposing it, because of what it would do to seniors, what it would do to rural health care. And I thought that was --
LEMON: But he celebrated it. Why do you think he did a U-turn on it?
KLOBUCHAR: I think that this was most likely what he really thought and he was telling the Senate Republicans, this isn't the kind of bill we want to pass. But yet in public he was literally practically doing high fives with the house Republicans, celebrating its passage.
It has been pointed out, that word "mean," people are going to be using that now for good reason, because it describes what the bill is. And you have over in the Senate now a number of people that appear to be trying behind closed doors to draft another bill that will call the cousin of mean, mean too.
LEMON: So Senator, not to cut you off, and I know there's a delay. Do you think that he did this just because he needed a win in the Congress, in the House, and he just wanted to get something to the senators, knowing that they would fix it or change it?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, that certainly appears to be the case. But the problem is, the ramification is the effect it has on real people out there who are going to lose health care and need health care.
LEMON: I said I would bring this up a little bit later on, but this morning the deputy attorney general, as you said, Rod Rosenstein, assured the appropriations committee that only he could fire the special counsel. Does this make you feel better?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, it did, because mostly what he also said, he said he would only fire him for cause. He wouldn't fire him for an unlawful reason. And I think he was sending a clear message to everyone in Congress that this is serious, that Mueller is already of course hiring people and putting together a good team of experienced prosecutors and investigators. And so I thought his words actually were some of the best words of the day, because they really demonstrated that the justice department is devoted to keeping this special counsel in place.
[23:20:03] LEMON: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, can the President make this entire investigation go away? Or is this just the beginning of his legal troubles?
[23:24:27] LEMON: We want to get you back to our breaking news. This is out of London now. Look at these pictures on your screen, unbelievable. There is a huge fire there. It is engulfed this 24- story apartment building. It is in north Kensington.
More than 200 firefighters have been deployed trying to fight this fire and trying to rescue people and evacuate residents. London police say at least two people are currently being treated for smoke inhalation there. But we hear people are being treated for a number of different injuries.
People earlier say that they saw people jumping from windows. But again, this is a huge blaze that's happening at this 24-story apartment building in London in north Kensington. And as you can see, this fire is really raging still right now. Firefighters are trying to get a handle on this. More than 200 firefighters on the scene now.
We will keep you updated on this breaking news story as soon as west some new developments on this. You can see, just horrific there, it happened, start just before starting daybreak in London, local time.
Back to our political discussion.
The question is did Jeff Sessions' silence speak volumes today or was the attorney general nearly rightfully keeping his conversations with the President confidential?
Here to discuss it now is Richard Painter, the former White House ethics lawyer. Matthew Whitaker, former U.S. attorney. And Michael Moore, also a former U.S. attorney.
Before we want and start talking about this, I want to get your reporting gentlemen to "The New York Times," tonight reporting tonight on the question that was plaguing a lot of people last night. The President considering terminating the special counsel, Robert Mueller, as part of the reporting. And I just had the quotes handed to me. I'm going to read them and get your response.
"The New York Times" says, when asked by the pool of reporters covering the midday meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House whether he supported Mr. Mueller, Mr. Trump gave no answer, even though he often uses such interactions to make headlines or shoot down stories he believes to be fake. That may have been by design, according to a person who spoke to Mr. Trump on Tuesday. The President was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the President desires most, and that is a blanket public exoneration."
What do you make of that, Matthew?
MATTHEW WHITAKER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, what I see is a President that is starting to figure out his influence that he can have on this investigation. And someone that is trying to send a message to the special prosecutor, Bob Mueller, that listen, you have a lot of power and you are now the keeper of the cloud that hangs over this administration, unfortunately, but I can still affect you. I can reach out and if I want to, I can terminate you. I think that is very dangerous politically, but legally there is certainly a way for that to happen.
LEMON: You don't think that's dangerous legally, it's not obstruction? He is saying basically unless it goes my way, I'm going to fire you.
WHITAKER: No, I don't think that's obstruction, because -- we keep using that term. And I know we have discussed it before, Don. But I just - I don't think that under these facts and circumstances that an obstruction of justice charge, either in the context that we have originally talked about with his discussions with Jim Comey or in this new context of talking about the possibility of Bob Mueller losing his job as special counsel, I think neither one of those would raise to the level of obstruction.
LEMON: So obstruction, Matthew doesn't think its obstruction, but do you think he's trying to influence, Michael?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, he may be trying to influence. I agree it's probably not obstruction to talk about whether or not he can get rid of Bob Mueller.
But let me tell you. I worked with Bob Mueller. He was director of the FBI when I came on as U.S. attorney. If the President thinks he's intimidating Bob Mueller by putting out a few tweets or being quiet at a press conference, all he is doing is kicking the sleeping dog. I mean, Bob is a consummate professional. He is a career prosecutor. I think his credibility and his integrity is unquestioned. He is putting together a team of prosecutors, professional folks who know how to do an investigation. They know how to look at a case. They know how to make a case. They know how to move a case forward, if they find the evidence there. And I think that's really where we were at.
So, this President has a history of -- he likes to tweet, he likes to throw things out, he likes to drop bombs, he likes to maybe play with his twitter account and say clever things at night. But I think if he thinks he is intimidating Bob Mueller, he is probably wasting his time and might want to do something else.
My guess is that Bob Mueller has done just like he has done in every other job he has had, and that is he puts his head down and went to work, despite the message that the President may have been trying to send. LEMON: Richard Painter, I want to get your response to this but I
want to -- let me read another quote. It says in recent days, the President has sold to his staff, his visitors and his outside advisers that he was increasingly convinced that Mr. Mueller, like Mr. Comey, his successor as director of the FBI was part of a witch hunt by par by partisans who wanted to see him weakened or forced from office.
Two quotes from this "New York Times" article tonight. Is the President trying to have undue influence here? And what do you make of this as he is calling a witch hunt, Comey and Mueller, you know, like the Democrats, are out to get him?
[23:30:05] RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, this witch hunt characterization is the one that he used and has continued to use with respect to the entire Russia episode or the Russian espionage inside the United States, the Russian interference in the election. He says that's just all fake news and a witch hunt. And he is continuing to repeat that mantra even though the evidence is conclusive that Russia engaged in such espionage inside the United States and sought to destabilize our country in our 2016 election, as they sought to do in France, and as Russia has been doing since the 1917 revolution. They did it through communist parties through many years. And now they are doing it through other fringe elements. And if he wants to call that fake news or just a witch hunt, he is just living in an alternative universe.
And I seriously question his competency to be President of the United States and to defend us against foreign aggression if he doesn't face the reality that Russia has been engaged in this type of conduct. And we certainly need to have an independent special counsel who will look into the question of who in the United States collaborated with the Russians.
What we know right now is that several members of the administration have lied about their contacts with the Russians. In the case the general Flynn, lied about receiving money from the Russians. And we need to find out who else has received money from the Russians, who contacted the Russians, who may have collaborated with the Russians with respect to the hacking of computers in the United States.
This is a serious investigation. He is certainly not going to intimidate Bob Mueller. Bob Mueller is not afraid of Donald Trump or of anybody else. He is not afraid of getting fired. He is not going to do a crummy job simply in order to not get fired.
And I do have to emphasize, I think it is obstruction of justice, if the President have fired the FBI director in order to stop the Russia investigation, if that's the reason he fired the FBI director. Of course we heard a very different story from Jeff Sessions today in his testimony. But that is obstruction of justice. And if he were to fire Bob Mueller in order to derail this investigation, that is obstruction of justice. That's what President Nixon did. And we all know where that led.
And I got to say, this is a lot worse situation we are confronting there because Nixon at least wasn't doing his break-ins so forth through the KGB. So this is a very serious investigation. We are going to have to find out what happened. And that's Bob Mueller's job.
LEMON: All right. That is going to have to be the last word. Thank you all.
When we come back, the President's approval rating hitting a record low and he is hitting that low faster than any modern President.
[23:37:25] LEMON: It wasn't an easy task for the Senate intelligence committee to get answers from Jeff Sessions today. Numerous times the attorney general either wouldn't answer or couldn't quite recall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SESSIONS: I would have gladly have reported the meeting, the encounter that may have occurred, that some say occurred in the mayflower if I had remembered it or if it actually occurred, which I don't remember that it did. I still do not recall it. And I don't recall any such meeting. I don't recall it. I don't recall it. I don't have a detailed memory of that. I guess I could say that I possibly had a meeting but I still do not recall it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to discuss it now with Scott Jennings, former special assistant to President George W. Bush and CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers.
Good evening, gentlemen.
So Bakari, there are a couple of key things for attorney general Sessions to address today, one a possible third meeting with the Russian ambassador which is under FBI investigation. Now Sessions claims he did not have a one-on-one or he couldn't recall that meeting with ambassador, ambassador Kislyak. So do you believe him?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Do I believe him? I think that's a very difficult question to answer by saying yes, I do believe him, because we know that he is misremembered many things before. He has failed to disclose information. In my view, he perjured himself in his first hearing in front of the Senate committee when he was going through the process to become attorney general.
But I have more trouble with the hearing today because I don't think any new information came out. The ball didn't move one way or another for Democrats or Republicans. But there was this level of incompetence and lack of preparation on behalf of the attorney general of the United States that it was startling. He was bumbling through today. And he looked so ill-prepared that it was concerning that he is the person who is in-charged of protecting many Americans.
LEMON: Do you agree with that, Scott? Because according to what we have heard from reporters in Washington, the President was happy with his testimony and said he did a very good job.
SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I agree with one thing Bakari said, and that is no new information came out today. We had a lot of hours of hearings today and then last week, and no credible information has surfaced proving what the big picture item here is, the collusion theory that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. None of that happened today, none of it happened last week.
We also got some clarity on the Mueller situation today. Earlier in the day, before Sessions, Rod Rosenstein testified and then Sessions commented on it as well. And this whole sort of, you know, outlandish idea that Mueller was on the chopping block, I think Rosenstein and Sessions put that to bed.
So I think it was a fine day. I think Sessions defended himself and felt like his character has been under attack. And he looked like a man who had some things to say today and didn't appreciate being accused of some of the things the Democrats have accused him of.
[23:40:24] SELLERS: To be clear, though, the question has never been whether or not Jeff Sessions colluded with the Russians. I mean, the fact -- the question has always been why does Jeff Sessions continue to lie about his contacts or he cannot remember his contacts?
The fact is, Kislyak is apparently the least memorable person in the history of Washington, D.C. But the question is, why does Jared Kushner, why does Jeff Sessions, why do these people keep lying about their contacts with the Russians? That was the heart of today's hearing. And yes, he just didn't remember anything because he just didn't want to answer any of these questions. So no new information came out. I still don't think it was a good day for Jeff Sessions. But none of these days are good for Donald Trump.
LEMON: And Scott, I just want to put this out there when you talked about the firing of Mueller, this is a "New York Times" account tonight. And this is just part of one of the quotes they said, that the President was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the President desires most, a blanket public exoneration. So, you know, maybe it wasn't under consideration but maybe the President himself was floating that out there to send a message to the special counsel.
JENNINGS: Yes, I don't necessarily agree with that strategy. That may be what some people think. I don't think that is the kind of strategy that's going to work on an independent counsel like Mueller. I think the best thing that can happen here is that Mueller does his job, he interviews and investigates the things that need to be investigated. And I think what we are ultimately going to find out is what we already know. The Russians is bad people. They have interfered in elections around the world. They apparently tried to interfere in ours. But that doesn't necessarily prove collusion or mean they have to have a colluding partner. They just intervene in Qatar the other day. And they didn't need a colluding partner there to intervene. So I think the Russians are bad. I think they tried to interfere in
our democracy. But I'm still not sold that we have seen any evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians to engage in that kind of infraction against the United States.
LEMON: I want to make sure I get this in, because it's an important topic. Sources are telling CNN's Jim Acosta that President Trump told senators in their health care meeting today that the house bill is mean and "a son of a bitch."
I have to ask you if it so mean, Scott, why did the President and Republicans colleagues have a, you know, giant party at the White House celebrating and praising each other and celebrating that bill?
JENNINGS: Well, it's a good question. Because you do want message discipline when you are trying to pass a big piece of legislation the way we were trying to pass repeal and replace for Obamacare. And so, it does put Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill in a weird box to go out and see their work celebrated one day and not the next.
But look, here is the thing. We don't know exactly what the context of the conversation was, a. And b, we have always known the Senate was going to significantly change the House bill. They signaled that from day one that they were going to make serious changes and we are going to see those changes soon enough.
So it worries me that we don't have consistency in message around such a big ticket item. But I'm waiting to see what Mitch McConnell and the Republicans come up with. Because ultimately the ball is not really in Donald Trump's court, it's in Senate Republicans' court.
LEMON: Bakari, what do you think of the flip-flop?
SELLERS: Well I think this is Donald Trump through and through. And the problem that we have is Republicans don't know how to govern. They are trying to pass a health care bill which affects one sixth of our economy in secret. And it's just not going to fly.
Millions of Americans are upset. They are angry. They are speaking out. And we can try to put lipstick on this pig all we want, but we are not going to stand for Donald Trump and the Republicans Party parading around and taking away our health care.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
When we come back, an amazing CNN series about people changing the world. Or very our Brooke Baldwin will introduce us to an organization that gets wounded vets to climb mountains.
[23:48:33] LEMON: This past Sunday, CNN kicked off a week-long special series called "Champions for Change." A dozen CNN and HLN anchors spit it out to spent time working alongside to people whose causes are close to our hearts. They are truly special individuals. And we want you to meet them, our "Champions for Change." Learn about the challenges they face every day and see firsthand the real difference they are making in the lives of others.
My colleague, Brooke Baldwin, is here. And she had to do some climbing to talk about her champion. So why did you pick this one?
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Because first of all this is awesome, I think, that CNN is involving us to do this kind of thing. And I think I chose it because it really combines all my passions. Climbing mountain. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro a couple of years ago with two legs, and I had a tough time. So climbing mountains just helping our nation's heroes and also on occasion trying to be a bad ass. Can I say that on CNN?
LEMON: Of course. Especially on this show, you can.
BALDWIN: So this is the Heroes Project.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I was going to do is help one vet out, climb a mountain with a vet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is called Cyclops.
BALDWIN: He is one of those interviews that I have never forgotten.
CNN came to me and said, Brooke, you need to pick an organization you feel really passionately about. The Heroes Project was the first thing that popped into my head.
What is the next after Everest?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are taking dance lessons in Bangkok right now.
[23:50:04] BALDWIN: How do you forget someone like that? Hell's angel climes Everest and then what he has done with these veterans.
TIM MEDVETZ, FOUNDER, THE HEROES PROJECT: Went down the hospital and she was with her mom and said hey, you ready to climb a mountain and she is like absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You have to be suffer well.
MEDVETZ: We are going to get the hard stuff out of the way. Drop off the 100 foot cliff (INAUDIBLE).
BALDWIN: Why did you want to become a marine?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I needed to figure out what I was going to do to serve people. Seventeen years old, I remember looking around my chemistry lab. Now, this is where I need to be right now and I walked straight out and went to the recruiter's office and convinced my parents to sign the paperwork.
MEDVETZ: To take somebody who has just lost a couple limbs, I don't really feel that like going fishing is really going to get them back to being that soldier, that marine that they were. We have to put them back in harm's way to really truly heal them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christ, what am I getting myself into?
MEDVETZ: Don't worry, I got you. Good bounce, good bounce. Let it go and lean back. All right. Come on down, Brooke.
BALDWIN: I'm a little nervous.
MEDVETZ: Lean back. Push off. Slide down. Come on down more right below Kirstie, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was an aerial door gunner with a .50 caliber machine gun.
BALDWIN: You were the gal hanging out the door, lift the big gun?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The actual day of my crash last thing I remember is the crew in the back calling for power. And I just remember wearing my night vision goggles and looking that ground and all you have time do is like this is going to hurt.
MEDVETZ: She went in for her amputation and they cut their vine. And that was the moment when I went, OK, she is going to need to be shaken up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He approached me with the idea of climbing the hardest of the Seven Summits. Kirsten's pyramid. We often times joke his first big mountain was Everest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2001 my hearty, boom. Next thing you know I was in a trauma center.
MEDVETZ: My vehicle for recovery was mountain climbing. 2009, watching television, this veteran got up, burned beyond recognition and this light bulb hit. I'm not going to climb for Tim anymore. I'm going to climb for other people and show them the path that got me to recover from my accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meeting everyone at the hero's project gave me my life back because I realized I could conquer anything I wanted. What we are doing out here is work on those skills I'm going to need for first time.
MEDVETZ: Don't be afraid to like reach over and see if there's something there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without these skills I'm not making it to the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming your way. Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly always nice to knock yourself down a tab. And I just got humbled.
BALDWIN: You meet people who are tough in life. The strength of Kirstie and Tim and this takes it to a whole new level. To think of Kirstie climbing that mountain. I don't think I can fully wrap my head around it.
MEDVETZ: You got this, OK?
BALDWIN: I have never climbed up rocks in a really technical way.
MEDVETZ: Good. Time to climb. Start looking for holes in the rock. There you go. Nice move. Climb the mountain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reach to your right. There's a good hole. There you go. Nice.
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE). I know I did it. I just had a huge, huge respect for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. That means a lot to me. These are things I'm doing for the first time all over again with one leg and to share that with you, I mean, that's extremely meaningful to me.
BALDWIN: When you said you have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and I love that. Put one foot in front of the other and get the upper mountains, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Absolutely.
BALDWIN: How do we get down?
LEMON: This whole project, my goodness.
BALDWIN: Tougher going up than coming down, I will say that.
LEMON: She is amazing.
BALDWIN: She is amazing. I mean, it is tough enough - I mean, here I was the able bodied, I had two feet, two legs and she inspired me. Once I finally got up that rock, you know, side and she is up there cheering me on. And I thought the whole time I was climbing about her and about watching that prosthetic and gripping and getting up there and then thinking, you know, next month they are hitting Carson's pyramid which is the 16,000 foot incredibly technical climb. It is like there is no I can't in my vocabulary anymore.
[23:55:21] LEMON: It is the thing, right? You chose the Heroes Project, but everyone has their thing that helps them get through or whatever it is. But I would ask you why but I mean?
BALDWIN: It's obvious. And Tim Medvetz is one of my new favorite humans on this planet. I mean, you just -- what he has done. Former hell's angel, loved riding his Harley's, have this horrible accident, had this whole a-ha moment where you realized, you know what. In terms of my own recovery and climbing mountains, I really want to do it for veterans. And he has met all these different amazing people, he summited Everest twice, brought people at Kilimanjaro or Carson. What are you -- are you at home climbing with me?
LEMON: No. I don't. Not do that. I would jump out of a plane before I do that. Because, you know, you got the thing on and once you get past that -
BALDWIN: This is the climbing I did not tell my mother.
LEMON: But quickly, what they did they teach you? What did she teach you?
BALDWIN: That you can and I will and I want to do more and any moment in my life where I think I can I'll just think of them. Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. Love you.
BALDWIN: Love you too.
LEMON: On the next "Champions for Change," learn about the cause closest to say Sanjay Gupta's heart. That's tomorrow morning in 8:00 a.m. hour of "NEW DAY." And to see more from our anchors, you go to CNN.com/championsforchange. "Champions for Change" a week-long CNN special event is brought to you by Charms Swab.
Wow, that was amazing.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I will see you right back here tomorrow.