Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Asks Lawyers About His Power To Pardon; Trump Legal Spokesman Resign; O.J. Simpson Wins Bid For Freedom. Aired 11- Midnight ET

Aired July 20, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: The breaking news is President Trump's lawyers reportedly seeking to undercut Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, this CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon. The Washington Post reports the President is asking whether he can pardon aides, family, even himself. Meanwhile Trump aides are said to be investigating Mueller's team in an effort to get some leverage over them, according to The New York Times. And we're learning tonight that spokesman for President Trump's legal team is resigning. A lot to get to but I want to get to the CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Political commentator Alice Stewart and CNN Brian Stelter, national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, and political analyst, April Ryan. There is lot to discuss tonight April. I'm going to begin with you because this news from Washington Post is a bomb shell. They're reporting the President is looking to his power to pardon his aides and even himself. Some of President Trump's lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Building a case against what they alleged or its conflict in interest and discussing the president's authority to grant pardon according to people familiar with the effort, the question is, pardon or what?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALIST: You know Don, so many Democrats and people in the Republican Party want the process to play out but there are Democrats who are saying this President is not acting like a man who is innocent and the question is why all this now? It makes you wonder. There are so many questions out here and it makes you wonder what has been uncovered. They were talking about his businesses. The investigation expanding to businesses and now the question is has anything been taken from those businesses like hard drives. But there are other options on the table beyond the ones that you are just mentioning that had been reported in the breaking news. I've been hearing from our Republican sources, if they're trying to rain Mueller in and one of the options include trying to look at -- for the President to look at who would be over top of Mueller. Meaning who would guide Mueller in this process, because currently it's the U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. But the President is not happy with Rosenstein. So if he does something, he can do it by executive order. And he could also look at firing Rosenstein and bringing in the number three person who is Rachel Brand who is a supporter of President Trump and would possibly rain in Mueller as they're saying that he has gone beyond the scope of what he is supposed to be doing.

LEMON: Julia that would be an incredible escalation in this fight. But you talked about this earlier. What's going on here?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The last time I was on your show two days ago we were quaintly and innocently talking about the Wall Street Journal editorial that was calling for radical transparency and it was clear we were talking about radical transparency through the rearview mirror. That something had happened and it became clear to me. I know how these cases unfold, especially these ones that implicate national security issues that firing Mueller while an option is really messy and I think actually the pardon option and the Presidential pardon option was one that would strike me and now strike Trump team as maybe the simpler option and this is where I don't like to throw out constitutional crisis a lot, but I do have to say for Republicans who do not fight this and do not challenge this, this is the moment.

In other words, if President Trump pardons his team and in particular his family members, what that will say in the rest of the world is, we are not in the fighting for our democracy. That they can play with our elections. They can pay off possibly candidates. This is not about Donald Trump anymore. This is about the sustainability of our democracy in the future. And I mean that as honestly as I can say it at this stage. If he uses the pardon power, we are at that moment.

LEMON: Jeffrey Toobin, can the President pardon his aides or family members and second question, can he do it, right?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, he can and it doesn't matter they haven't yet been charged with anything. Famously Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon before he was charge with anything. So there is no questioned that he has the constitutional power to do that.

LEMON: Has any President tried to pardon himself?

TOOBIN: None has ever tried to do it and constitutional lawyers have debated whether that would be possible. The constitution is very clear that he can't pardon himself out of an impeachment investigation. Impeachment is outside the pardon power but in terms of could he pardon himself or a criminal investigation that is something that lawyers are still debating. The real question though is how congress would react to something like that because as Julia suggested, this would be unprecedented in American history for stalling an investigation of your own administration simply by pardoning everyone, including presumably your own relatives. It would be quite a shock.

[23:05:43] LEMON: Stand by everyone. Brian Stelter is coming across on the alert. You have breaking news about a possible new communications Director for the White House?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as if this night doesn't seem news worthy or chaotic enough. They're all reporting. But Anthony Scaramucci is under consideration to become White House Communications Director. Right now Sean Spicer has that title. It's unclear what this move might mean for Spicer. But Anthony Scaramucci is a friend of the President's. He enjoyed watching Scaramucci defend him here on CNN or other channels. He was at the White House today. He is been interviewed for the job. There's a sense the President would like to appoint him communications Director but it's not official yet, the reporting that he is under consideration for the job and another sign of a shake up in the press shop and in the communications strategy.

LEMON: Do you remember in the beginning when they said that Sean Spicer had too much on his plate.

STELTER: By being press secretary and Director.

LEMON: So they had to hire another spokesperson to leave Sean Spicer.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, they did fill it and that person's no longer there. He is gone for quite some time with no one in that position and it's my understanding if they get someone in this role, Sean's not going away. They're moving people around and repositioning people and finding new responsibilities and paths for them to do. So this is part of what happens --

STELTER: Isn't this a sign of the President's dissatisfaction that he is not happy?

STEWART: He is indicated that before and there's been reports on that. But in their defense, when they're out there trying to push a message made in America week and he is out there giving hour long interviews with The New York Times.

LEMON: That is the President himself.

STEWART: Absolutely. It makes their job extremely difficult. And the times -- this is a great week. Making America, buy America, hire America. This is a great message for them. But when he gets off message, it makes their job --

TOOBIN: Also substance matters too. It's not communications problem that your health care bill goes up in flames. The problem is your health care bill has gone up in flames. You know a good press message they can't solve that.

RYAN: I'm sorry, Don. I want to say something. We were just talking about the breaking news and they did exactly what they wanted to do. Deflect attention from that news with the press secretary.

LEMON: We are going to go back.

RYAN: I hear what you're saying. Every day it's like you're on this and then something else. It's a continual barrage and it's all over the place. But it's strange that it comes now in the midst of this breaking news.

TOOBIN: You make it sound strategic. You think it's on purpose?

RYAN: It is strategic.

LEMON: And some of it is strategic. But by the way every single guest who comes on sits here and says to me every night how do you deal with it that something happens from this White House every single night and I think part of it is strategic and part of it is not. It's chaos.

TOOBIN: Who the hell cares who the White House communications Director is?


LEMON: You're making April's point.

TOOBIN: What is the strategy of leaking someone's name? No one cares.

LEMON: I agree with you. Here's what's important though. It takes you off the topic. I'm wondering why is it so difficult to find someone to fill that position and everyone here --

STEWART: Who cares? We can't see them.

[23:10:00]LEMON: The President would give an interview to The New York Times. Who approved that interview and the person who approved it -- they should be fired because they allowed this to happen.

TOOBIN: The more we hear from the President the better.

LEMON: I'm talking as a strategy for the White House.

KAYYEM: We have a saying in crisis management that you can't talk your way out of hurricane Katrina when the news -- when Donald Trump in the role of hurricane Katrina. There's no communications strategy that can make what is happening better. And what is happening is a President who is undermining an independent investigation and possibly going to use the Presidential pardon power to forgive potential collusion or financial misdealing of his family members. Good luck with that, right? But hurricane Katrina is still right in front of us. And you got to deal with the hurricane.

STELTER: I think he likes Scaramucci --

LEMON: I'm with Jeffrey. I don't think people really care. You're doing a heck of a job. I want to move on. The post article April's reporting several senior aides were stunned when Sessions didn't resign today. Why would the President want to get rid of him? Is there a strategy there?

RYAN: If the President were to fire Sessions or say I want you to resign, it would make him once again look like he is impeding the process and the process has to play out, because he continued to mess with it, tamper with it. He fired Comey. That is a huge piece of tampering with process. Dems and Republicans want this process to play out to see where all the questions answers are. So the bottom line is I am telling you I'm not going. When Sessions says I will continue to serve. If you listen on the words of the song --

LEMON: All right.

RYAN: -- and Jennifer Hudson. Yeah.

LEMON: Two Jennifer's. Did you want to weigh in?

STEWART: One of the things with the White House pleading their innocence with regard to the Russians -- any involvement with Russia and collusion with regard to the Russians and the campaign, it's very difficult to believe on the front end you're intimidating Jeff Sessions and Mueller in the investigation on the back end. And I think it makes it extremely difficult for people to believe there's no there -- there when they are undermining the investigation on the front and back end. You mentioned what is congress going to do? How will the courts react? I think the bigger picture is how is the court of public opinion going to act? Not responding very well.

STELTER: The outside legal team spokesman resigns. There's a story there. We don't know it yet but there's a story there.

LEMON: The President was disturbed after learning that Mueller would be able to access several years of tax returns. Does that tell you anything?

KAYYEM: Basically this has been the story for the last two months in terms of Mueller's hiring and where the investigation is going. That those tax returns do not simply show that Donald Trump is not as rich as he says he is, which is possible, but that may show legitimate, in other words not banned Russian banks supporting the Trump enterprise. So it was perfectly legal but something that Trump would explain Trump's alliances and allegiances with Russia. And I wanted to add one other thing to how is everyone going to respond? There's a well known security program going on in aspen right now, Jim Sciutto is there. I didn't make it this year. You have Pompeo, homeland security and even Sessions here in D.C. today, all the cabinet secretaries publicly disagreeing with the President.

And that seems to me to be a loyalty test that Trump is losing. And so it's sort of shocking about -- Russia's involvement with the election, whether WikiLeaks is good or bad, whether they're responsible for 2016, all of the Russia stuff. They're publicly now on record saying they believe the intelligence communities and not Trump. I've never seen anything like it. Out of all three of them spoke today publicly and that seems to me, from a perspective of a team that seems not concerned about drinking the cool aid anymore. I think you're seeing hints of it as well with the cabinet.

[23:15:11] LEMON: It seems to be getting closer and closer to the things the President wanted to protect the most, the taxes, the family business and his family members. Is this why he is working so hard maybe to shut this thing down?

TOOBIN: Exactly. I think that is what it is. He is raged by this investigation. That it exists at all. Remember the reason he is so mad at Jeff Sessions is he recused himself. Which set in motion the process which wound up with the appointment of Mueller and now that Mueller's really starting his work, he is looking at the issue of motive. What is the possible motive for why the Russians might want to help Trump during the campaign? And the obvious place to look is financial. Was there some sort of financial relationship between Trump and the Russians that would lead to some sort of marriage of the minds there and that means he has to look at tax returns, business relationships, and that drives the President nuts.

LEMON: There is a -- don't protest too much factor to this. The President laid down a red line saying Mueller shouldn't look too far into the family's finances. Bloomberg reporter Greg Farrell has been doing digging into exactly that. I want you to listen to Nicole Anderson just a couple of hours ago.


GREG FARRELL, BLOOMBERG LEGAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: What we've learned is that he is taking a broad view of the investigation and not a narrow view. So what he was given in mid May is open to interpretation and anything related to Russia and that might have resulted in interference in the election. He is clearly going back more than a decade to any real estate transactions. He is clearly focused on any major transaction that has taken place. Like the miss universe 2013 in Moscow, etc., the flipping of the Florida mansion. In other words, he'll have to issue subpoenas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So do you know the exact financial interest he is looking into? Donald Trump had bought a mansion for like $41 million and sold it --

FARRELL: Four years later in March of 2008, having done almost nothing to it for 95 million to a Russian oligarch.


LEMON: So CNN hasn't independently verified the reporting but it seems Mueller is aiming directly at Trump's finances. If that is the case, Mueller's already cross that red line, right?

STEWART: When the DOJ gave the directive to Mueller in May, it was a very broad mandate. It was broad. It had to do with any links and coordination between the Russian government and the campaign. What happened then and become of that and the changing narrative is anything can come of that. And that is what Mueller's doing and all of the stuff is wide open for Mueller to look at. So in my view I think the administration should put it all throughout, put this behind him.

LEMON: Julia do you think because it change their stories so much and they had given the -- the President has given interviews and said things publicly that they have inadvertently broadened the investigation or helped?

KAYYEM: I put it differently. I think at least the interview yesterday will be used in an investigation that was already ongoing. The idea that Mueller wasn't already crossed that red line is I think naive on Trump's part. Anyone looking at this investigation who he was hiring -- I think he wanted to sort of say don't go any further but it's sort of too late. This is where I appreciate the calls for transparency and honesty. I think it's just too late.

And we have a tendency to think the cover up is worse than the crime. I don't know the theory of the case Mueller's following right now but I think we should look at the crime. All these interviews and the lying and the failure to disclose are just hints of what the underlying issues are, which is you don't want to show your financial dealings, your meetings with the Russians. And look we're not even talking about potential collusion during the election. This is all the other stuff and it may be all the above.

LEMON: So April as we mark six months, where do we go from here? I'm sure you have a crystal ball.

RYAN: Yes and I'm rubbing it now. I have no clue. This has tumbled so far backwards or down. Did you imagine this? You know six months ago when there was a transition of power on January 20th at 12:01? We could have never imagined this. This is a person who was a businessman, a ruthless businessman. They look like they have had their hands in the cookie jar. They have to come clean.

[23:20:30] LEMON: Thank you all, I appreciate great conversation. When we come back, O.J. Simpson -- Jeffrey, don't go anywhere by the way, O.J. Simpson in the news.

TOOBIN: 20 plus years we're covering that guy.

LEMON: 20 plus. Back in the news, soon to be a free man after nearly nine years in prison and that is got lot of people thinking back to the trial of the century and his not guilty verdict. We're going to dig deep into that next.


LEMON: Do you remember where you were when this happened?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The matter of the people state of California verses Orenthal James Simpson, we the jury finds the defendant O.J. Simpson not guilty for the crime of murder --


LEMON: How about during the slow-speed chase of the white bronco?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just throw the gun out of the window. We're not going to bother you. Just throw it out the window. Please. You're scaring everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: It's a crime that became an American and worldwide obsession.

O.J. Simpson found not guilty of double murder. But it didn't stop there. He spent nearly nine years behind bars for another crime on robbery and today back in the courtroom and back in front of a camera. He learned he'll be a free man soon.


[23:25:11] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is it better to be in the community than the prison?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I do have four kids. I missed a lot of time with those kids. I've done my time. I've done it as well and respectfully as I think anybody can. I think if you talk to the wardens, they'll tell you I've been -- I gave them my word, I believe in the jury system. I've honored their verdict. I basically spent a conflict-free life. I'm not a guy that ever got into fights on the street with the public and everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we have that you are currently very recently turned 90 years old. I'm sorry about that. You look great for 90.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He truly is remarkable. We want to move forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go into a hotel room in Las Vegas, bring along four other men with you. Two of them are armed and rob the two victims of property. What were you thinking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the perfect storm. We all ended up in Las Vegas. I was there for a wedding and he told me that the property was there and would I like to try to get to the property? And I said of course I would like to try getting the property.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he called me and said Bruce, I'm getting out, will you pick me up? Juice, I'll be there tomorrow. I mean that, buddy. My vote is to grant your parole effective.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I concur with the commissioner and agree to grant parole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Simpson, I do grant to vote parole when eligible and that will conclude this hearing.




LEMON: The whole thing has a lot of people thinking back to Simpson's double murder trial in 1995 and how the stunning not guilty verdict divided America and changed the media ushering in reality TV. Let us discuss now CNN Jeffrey Toobin who covered O.J. Simpson murder trial, Allen Dershowitz, part of the Simpson's defense team and CNN Legal Contributor Areva Martin. As I said do you remember where you were when this happened? I looked at Jeffrey Toobin. You were right behind him in the courtroom.

TOOBIN: I was behind Goldman in the second row. I looked a little different then and it was a long time ago but it was certainly an indelible moment and it's not an exaggeration to say it was a major moment in American history. It was a case that started as a celebrity attraction. But the issues of race, gender, wealth, class that we all learned about and explored.

LEMON: It changed the media and it did usher in reality television. I was working for the local Fox station and we suspend all programming. We developed a program called O.J. Today. And that is what we did all day, pretty much up until prime time and that was our entire programming for a year.

TOOBIN: And CNN did so well covering the trial as did court TV that it was one of the things that prompted Fox News to be created, MSNBC to be created. Both of which did not exist in 1995.

LEMON: What did you make of the ultimate decision of the parole board?

TOOBIN: I thought it was the right decision under the law. He had done his record in prison, which was spotless. The fact he is 70 years old. The fact he served the minimum sentence meant that he was entitled to parole and I thought it was the right decision. I think if justice had been served, he would be serving a life sentence for murdering Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.

LEMON: But he got so much time for this there was clearly pay back in some way.

TOOBIN: That is been my view.

LEMON: Alan, You were one of the attorneys who helped him get acquitted of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ron Goldman in 1995. What do you make of the fact that your former client will be a free man in the fall in October?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAW PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR OF "ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION": Well, I think it was the right decision but it should not have been necessary. The 33-year sentence he got was about 10 times longer than people would get for a botched robbery that involved friends and disputed property. Plainly the sentence represented payback for the acquittal that most Americans produced a result that was inconsistent with the facts of the case. And so this never compensated because he should have been out after one but it was the right result based on the law as Jeffrey correctly pointed out.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Areva, what did you think?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Oh, absolutely. I agree and I'm kind of shocked, Don at the responses I've been getting on social media all day. I've been called lots of names because I've been talking about race and the criminal justice system all day on this network as it relates to this parole hearing and it's funny to me that this is a country about second chances until it relates to O.J. Simpson. The whole concept that someone serves their time, they're a model prisoner, that they do the things asked of them to do while they are incarcerated and when it's time to be paroled and the parole commission says that they met all the requirements, they're a low risk offender and they're granted parole, now there's a sense he should serve this infinite amount of time not for the botched robberies, but for the alleged crime that happened in the 1990's which the parole board said they got thousands of letters of people urging them not to grant parole, because of the verdict in the murder trial.

LEMON: The interesting thing is that, you, as a person, you may not agree with the verdict, but the jury decided on the verdict and it is what it is. You may not agree with it, but you're willing to not agree with it but it doesn't mean you should be castigated for it.

DERSHOWITZ: I disagree. I think there's so much hypocrisy. If this were white policeman who, as in the Rodney King case who had severely beaten a black person and he got tried again as he did under federal law, many in the black community would take the opposite position. This is an issue where race often decides which side you're on and there are very few principled people who stick to the same view regardless of what the racial composition is and that is the real problem with American justice. People pick sides. Pick sides based on race, pick side s base on politics, based on a variety of factors. Gender and then they don't apply a single principal. They ask the question my grandmother used to ask. When I say grandmother, the Brooklyn Dodgers want you to say good or bad for the Jews? Is it good or bad for Republicans? Is it good or bad for Democrats? And that is not the way our criminal justice system operates on either side.

LEMON: Let's talk about what happened today, not the verdict back in the day. Because what happened today, I'm sure everyone will agree had nothing to do with what happened in 1995.

MARTIN: I just want to respond to Alan and talk about the hypocrisy. The hypocrisy here is there was a huge divide in the country around the acquittal with respect to O.J. Simpson and the thing people are castigating O.J. Simpson have stood by people who have done far worse than O.J. Simpson. We know African Americans are disproportionately impacted in a negative way from everything to how they're prosecuted to how they're sentenced. It's not apples to apples when you talk about black men in particular in the criminal justice system. They're not treated as Jews are treated. That is an unfair statement to me.

DERSHOWITZ: That is the problem when I hear black lives matter start to come out in favor of due process for white policeman and everybody, then I'll take that argument seriously. I haven't seen any evidence of that. Today black lives matter, only black lives matter and the due process --

MARTIN: Why are we talking about black lives matter?

DERSHOWITZ: Because you're talking about equality and I'm saying -- we don't have equality on either side. MARTIN: I'll take your argument seriously.

DERSHOWITZ: No. We have to do it before that. We have to treat everybody equally and we can't wait until the system improves before we have a single standard, we can't have affirmative action in the criminal justice system. That doesn't wash under American justice.

MARTIN: When you have an Attorney General and prosecutors that don't treat everyone equally. We have a system that disproportionally negatively impact African American.

LEMON: And thus Jeff what we said in the beginning how this ignited passions about race and criminal justice in this country. That is what this story did and does.

TOOBIN: That is what it did and for that, it's a small thing but perhaps we should be grateful because yes, this was a terrible tragedy. Two people lost their lives but that was a small -- there are a lot of people unfortunately who lose their lives in violent ways. We learned a lot and I think Alan, -- blacks and whites don't live in perfect equality in this country and the fact that African Americans have had terrible relations with the police, especially in Los Angeles, that is a big deal and that was a big reason why the jury came out the way it did and it's a big reason why in 2016 there was so much interest in the O.J. Simpson case, because it was in the immediate aftermath of Ferguson and black lives matter. Those issues are real and they are not just black people and white people have similar grievances. It's different.

[23:35:45] DERSHOWITZ: I agree with that but we have to remember one fact and that is the prosecutors in the case decided to bring the jury trial to central Los Angeles where they wanted to have a largely African American jury. Marcia Clark said she wanted to have nine black women on the jury. They were the ones who kind of introduced race. If the trial had occurred in the suburb where the crime had occurred --

LEMON: Alan, doesn't everyone --

MARTIN: Don, Don --

LEMON: Doesn't the prosecutor want to take the case where it's going to be favorable?

DERSHOWITZ: But that was a foolish decision.

LEMON: They ended up winning.

DERSHOWITZ: Who ended up winning?

LEMON: I am sorry, go ahead.

DERSHOWITZ: The prosecution ended up losing. And the reason they ended up losing -- the prosecution ended up losing because African American jurors were more willing to accept our arguments about police planting of evidence. If we'd had an all white jury, they would have said policeman are wonderful.

MARTIN: Because you had a racist detective caught on tape using the "n" word. Let us not forget that very important point.

LEMON: Thank you all I appreciate it. We have more on O.J. Simpson coming up tonight, but we have also some more breaking news about the President and changes to his legal team. CNN Gloria Borger has details when we come back.


[23:41:30] LEMON: More breaking news tonight. That is right, more breaking news. Sources telling CNN Marc Kasowitz, President Trump long time personal attorney, who has been the lead lawyer on the Russia investigation, is now being phased out. Joining me now on the phone is CNN Gloria Borger, Gloria you got this breaking news about Mark Kasowitz, what's happening?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what the President is doing is reshuffling his legal team. You now have a special counsel investigation that is really moving full steam ahead and I think the feeling inside the White House was that they needed a legal team with more Washington experience, more experience in dealing with a special counsel. And Mark Kasowitz, who was been the president's long time personal attorney, who was the lead lawyer in the Russia investigation, has now kind of been over taken and that is by a Washington attorney with a lot of experience who's going to be inside the White House, Ty Cobb and another attorney, John Dowd, who is going to take the lead along with Jay Sekulow, who will be the President's primary personal attorney for the investigation. So you see kind of a whole new legal team being set up and Kasowitz kind of becomes a victim in all of this, because this is not the kind of law he is used to practicing and they need people with more Washington experience, quite honestly.

LEMON: And that was said at the beginning when he hired mark Kasowitz for this Russia investigation. Was he the right person for this? And the President seemed to think so. There's also been a lot of turmoil, you touch on it surrounding this whole legal team, so give us some context here Gloria.

BORGER: I mean, I think the President has not been happy with the way this whole investigation is going. Obviously we spent a day talking about what he said to The New York Times. He wasn't happy about the special counsel in the first place and I think internally at the White House, he is made no secret about the fact he is not been happy about the way that this is all being handled and Kasowitz has been in New York. We need people here.

Also this evening, we've learned that (inaudible) the spokesman and the communications strategist for Trump's legal team, is also leaving. So you know what you essentially have is a wholesale changes here in the President's legal team, largely because they feel they need to take a different tack and they feel they need people with more experience dealing with the kinds of things that Mueller may investigate. And while the President may have been comfortable with Kasowitz when he represented him in New York and on a variety of cases, I think there was a sense this was not a good fit for the problems the President is having here.

LEMON: Gloria Borger with the breaking news. Sources telling CNN that Mark Kasowitz, the President's long-time personal attorney has -- who was a lead attorney for him on this Russia investigation is now being phased out. Gloria, thank you very much. We'll continue on with our breaking news. When we come back we'll be discussing the breaking news. O.J. Simpson wins his bid for freedom.

I am going to ask the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson on how she feels about the decision to grant O.J. parole.


[23:47:15] LEMON: O.J. Simpson could be a freeman come October. He was granted parole today after serving nine years for armed robbery. In 1995 he was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. So how is the family reacting tonight? Joining me now is Tanya Brown, sister of Nicole Brown Simpson. Thank you so much for coming on this evening.

TANYA BROWN, SISTER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON: You are welcome Don, good to hear you.

LEMON: I have to ask you how you're doing, you and your family. How you'll feel about O.J. Simpson will be free as soon in October.

BROWN: I talked to Denise just about breakfast this morning. She is in a different country and I didn't have much conversation with family today and to tell you the truth our life really does not revolve around this. It doesn't even revolve around the case in 1994 or Nick or O.J. I can speak for myself that honestly when the verdict was read again today, I turned off the TV and I began my work day again. If you can't control it, can't change it, you have to at least try to accept it and it works for me. I know it is what it is and it's cliche to a lot of people but it's what gets me through.

LEMON: It will take over your life. You have to continue.

BROWN: Absolutely.

LEMON: It had to be very difficult to listen to. You said you turned off especially when he said that he has let a conflict free life, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always thought I've been pretty good with people and I've basically have spent a conflict free life. You know, I'm not a guy that ever got in fights on the street with the public and everybody.


LEMON: Considering his history of spousal abuse, what did you think of that?

BROWN: I immediately said to my boyfriend and y I we were watching it together and I said really? I should probably play the 911 call and show the battered face, the bruised arm. When he said that, I kind of chuckled a little bit. Like, really? So there's a sense of denial there and a lack of sense of responsibility, still today.

LEMON: Some are criticizing the parole board's decision, because part of their job was to determine whether he would be a danger to others when he was released. Do you think they took the history of violence enough into account?

BROWN: They can't because what happened in 1994 and in the past by California -- by Nevada state law, he was released under that law, so I know there's disputes, there's arguments, there's fighting, there's disagreements and oppositions. The way I look at it, that is what the law said. That is what the parole -- it was granted. So, really there's nothing we can do about it so we got to try to accept it. Is he a danger to society? Who knows? I don't live in the what-if. You know, all you can do is just say, hey, buddy, you got ten years of parole, and you better not fib, if this is where you want to be. So it's -- he is going to be under an eagle's eye.

[23:50:31] LEMON: Tanya, you and your family said you were trying to move on, but your family and the Goldman family sued Simpson in civil court. You're owed millions of dollars. Simpson, he is going to get a big pension from the NFL, earn money from other sources. Will your family pursue him for those damages?

BROWN: Well, first I want to clarify, have all your viewers know at the Brown family did not sue O.J. It was the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson that was suing him. So if there were any moneys, any moneys collected, not one penny would come to my family. Not one penny and everybody always thinks it's the Browns and the Goldman's but it's not. So, any penny that would be collected would go to -- would go to Sydney and Justin, not the Browns. So we don't have -- we don't have our paws in that.

LEMON: Tanya Brown, thank you.

BROWN: You're welcome.

LEMON: Give my regards to your family.

BROWN: I will. I will. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: 150 million people tuned in to hear the live verdict read in O.J. Simpson's 1995 double murder trial. Here to discuss, CNN correspondent, Kyra Phillips, my former co-anchor. Kierna Mayo, the senior vice President of Interactive One. CNN political commentator Mark Lamont Hill, author of "nobody: Casualties of America's war on the vulnerable from Ferguson and flint and beyond." And NPTTV Critic Eric Deggans the author of "Race Baiter." how the media wheels dangerous words to divide a nation." So I have to ask you all, where were you when the verdict was read in 1995? KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I was working as a reporter in Los

Angeles. I'll never forget it, my co-anchor and I were in the live van and we were thinking, ok, there's a lot of evidence here, how is this going to go down? And I just remember hearing both of us, we were in shock. Were we blown away, we were very surprised what happened.

LEMON: Where were you, Kierna?

KIERNA MAYO, SR VICE PRESIDENT INTERACTIVE ONE: I was on the upper eastside by myself. I was a young reporter for a magazine called "City limits" and happened to be walking by a store selling televisions and all kinds of electronics.

LEMON: And you watched it from the --

MAYO: Literally I watched it from the glass in the middle of the upper eastside. Again, I'm this 23-year-old, 24-year-old young woman.


MAYO: It was not lost on me in that moment. I was having a very visceral reaction not unlike many African-Americans at the time, but there were no African-Americans around my. That was not lost on me. I remember the feeling like I needed to clip my sentiment and my feelings at the time.

LEMON: Mark?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was a senior in high school and they allowed --

LEMON: Oh, boy.

LAMONT HILL: Don't hate, Don.

MAYO: Obviously the baby of the group, don.

LAMONT HILL: Exactly. Don't be mad. I was a senior in high school. Everybody in the high school stopped to watch the verdict. That is how important it was. School stopped. Most of my high school was black. The moment they announced the verdict, you would have thought Philadelphia had won an NBA championship or something, everybody started cheering and clapping and hugging and only people who weren't happy for the teachers. Most the teachers were white. They were not only visibly angry, but they were saying I can't believe he got away with murder. They looked stunned. We looked happy. It reflects the divide.

LEMON: Eric?

ERIC DEGGANS, TV CRITIC PRICE: Thanks for making me feel so old, Marc. Basically, I was music critic for the Asbury Park press in New Jersey so I was in a newsroom when it happened and I remember the tension, white people didn't know what to say to me. When it happened, and I remember being a little insulted that people assumed that I was glad that he had been acquitted. When I thought he was guilty and was disappointed that he'd been acquitted.

LEMON: I got to --

DEGGANS: And the assumptions that people were making about how people felt about this based on their color was one of the things that really bothered me.

LEMON: I got to tell you, Eric, same thing, I worked for the local Fox station here in New York. The black folks looking at the white people, there are people crying, we didn't do it, and we didn't know what was happening. It was an uncomfortable situation. Kyra, as we've been talking about, race played a massive role in this trial. You have a special CNN report tomorrow about Mark Fuhrman, the tapes, became a focal point in the trial. You sat down with the woman who recorded these tapes. Let's watch this.


[23:55:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is Laura Hart McKinney, the writer who recorded conversations with Mark Fuhrman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing out of the --'s mouth, first five, six sentences, is a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And she has remained mostly silent until now. So she is telling her story, her truth and for the first time exerts from the Fuhrman tapes you never heard, vulgar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then Weinstein, she is a little five foot -- we call her -- are.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you arrest a violent suspect? Have a man do it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to be a borderline sociopath, got to be violent.


LEMON: Wow. CNN is the first's news organization to obtain these tapes including never before heard recordings. I'm going to watch this.


LEMON: What else are we going to learn?

PHILLIPS: Well, you know, I'm sitting here looking at these tapes thinking, it was so hard to listen to these and stomach everything that I heard. I can't even imagine what it was like for you guys to hear the "n" word over and over again, for it to play out in the trial like that. Well, now you're going to hear the other part of the tapes. Laura didn't know she was going to get involved with this trial, she didn't know it was going to turn into clips of the "n" word, there are sexist rants on these tapes that are appalling. Refer to female officers as split tail, one of the most disgusting, vulgar -- exactly, words you'll ever hear -- let me tell you, if I were his partner, he referred to me that way, I would have socked him between the eyeballs. My point is women, black women on the force, all women, they were scared. They were intimidated. This was a -- a man's world. And he was a big part of that and it not only impacted these tapes not only impacted trial of the century but created change and policy toward women and minorities in the LAPD.

LEMON: And that speaks to what happened, why the verdict. As Eric said, there were African-Americans who believe O.J. Simpson was guilty but because of Mark Furman and that --

PHILLIPS: Can I tell you, this weighs so heavily on Laura Hart McKinney. She has -- it's like for years she went under the radar because of what these tapes did and impacted that verdict.

MAYO: My thought, though, Don, just really quickly, is that Mark Fuhrman, particularly at that time for the LAPD, was so indicative of the larger culture.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

MAYO: Police culture in and of itself, bred him. He was born of that.

LEMON: You worked in L.A. working in L.A. at the time. Rodney King had just happened.

MAYO: Had just happened.

PHILLIPS: The tension was boiling.

LEMON: Absolutely. Eric, did the O.J. Trial shape perceptions of race in this country?

DEGGANS: I'm sorry, can you say that again?

LEMON: Did it shape perception of race in this country, the O.J. Trial?

DEGGANS: Yes. You know, what's interesting, we saw this revealed in some of the TV shows that came out last year. "American crime story: people v. O.J. Simpson" and "O.J. made in America. The divide and how black people saw the criminal justice system and how white people saw it and how that was all exposed through the O.J. Trial. What I liked about "American crime story," you got the sense that the prosecutors who were prosecuting O.J. Didn't understand these racial dynamics when they waded into the case and they were waylaid by it, laid flat by it because they weren't aware of what they were stepping into and they didn't understand the history of black folks' friction with the LAPD and --

LEMON: And Mark -- I'm sorry, we lost Eric. Mark, we're still seeing that play out today especially stories that concern race in this country and policing.

LAMONT HILL: Oh, absolutely. That is why I would say it's not so much the O.J. Simpson trial shaped perception, they reflected the perceptions. There is a long history of our relationships to law enforcement, criminal justice, et cetera. That is what you see right know after a Ferguson, after a George Zimmerman trial, Dan Wilson trial, the same people who had a problem with O.J. have a problem with Mike Brown or Trayvon Martin. At the end of the day, we have different sets of experiences. That is why black people were celebrating. Many black people were celebrating the O.J. Simpson verdict, not because people didn't know O.J. Simpson. Many of us, including myself think O.J. Simpson was guilty --

LEMON: I got to run, Mark.

LAMONT HILL: Ok. We can talk more about it again.

LEMON: Thank you, Mark, thank you, Kyra, thank you Kierna. And make sure you join my colleague Kyra Phillips in never before heard recordings of Marc Fuhrman CNN Special Report after O.J. the Fuhrman tapes revealed." airs tomorrow night at 10:00 and it sound riveting.

Thank you good to see you, good to see all of you, thank you. That is it for us tonight, thanks for watching.