Return to Transcripts main page


McCain Gives A Message To Washington; Trump, I Am More Presidential Than Anybody Except Lincoln; President Trump On Fate of Sessions, Time Will Tell; Senators On Hot Mic. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired July 25, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:15] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: A tale of two leaders in their own words. This CNN Tonight, I am Don Lemon. President Trump speaking to a cheering crowd in Youngstown, Ohio tonight says this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more Presidential than any President that is ever held this office that I can tell you.


LEMON: Meanwhile Senator John McCain a former presidential candidate returns to the senate just 11 days after brain surgery and he says this.


SEN JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I hope we can again rely on humility on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other, to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us.


LEMON: Two speeches, two American leaders. Which one sounds President to you? Let's get right to CNN Presidential historian, Timothy Naftali, Political Analyst Kirsten Powers and Former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum a CNN Senior Political Commentator and CNN Political Commentator Matt Lewis, so good to have all of you on, Tim, you're first, you are the historian on the panel. Here's what President Trump said.


TRUMP: Political correctness for me is easy. Sometimes they say he doesn't act Presidential. And I say hey, look, great schools, smart guy. It's so easy to act presidential. But that is not going to get done. In fact I said it's much easier, by the way, to act presidential than what we're doing here tonight, believe me and I said - (APPLAUSE)


-- And I said with the exception of the late great Abraham Lincoln I can be more Presidential than any President that is ever held this office that I can tell you.



TIMOTHY NAFTALI, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, CNN: First of all I'm not sure how many Presidents he can name other than President Obama. The issue for him has always been that he wanted to be different, he wanted to change the norms, he promised his base that he would not act like any other leader they'd ever had before. But you know what being Presidential is not all about what you say or what you tweet, it's about what you achieve. So far as Senator McCain reminded us today, besides the elevation of Neil Gorsuch, this President has achieved very little.

LEMON: He said to his colleagues we've accomplished nothing but Neil Gorsuch.

NAFTALI: You want to compare yourself to Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, to Ronald Reagan. Go ahead. You have to do it in terms of achievement and so far he doesn't have many to point to.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's delusional. I mean there's no other way to put it. It's distorted reality, because there's nothing, as you said that he could point to that would suggest that he has done anything that would put him on par with Abraham Lincoln or really any of our Presidents. And so, you know if you can't get anything done, if you can't even achieve one of your primary promises, something that your political party has been promising for seven years and you control every branch of the government, then obviously its complete lunacy to say something like this.

LEMON: Rick.

RICK SANTORUM, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: What I'd say is that he has accomplished much within his administration on an administrative level. I think he is definitely changed the tone in Washington D.C. from a regulatory state to one that is allowing more free enterprise. Everything from the work that is being done by Jeff Sessions on immigration to work at the EPA, work at department of labor, there are a lot of things going on to the regulatory process, and spending a lot of Obama era regulations and rules that are definitely making a difference, but having said that I agree with the two previous commentators that he hasn't had a whole lot of legislative successes and he needs to get one. I am here in -- I was talking about health care and working with them to try to get them engaged and involved and actually helping President Trump come up with a plan that actually can pass, if and when it gets to conference.

[23:05:12] LEMON: Matt, go on.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When I hear him say Presidential, to me that doesn't mean does he roll back regulations or not? It's about reverent -- we have reverence for Presidents, it is a temperament. These are people who are on Mt. Rushmore. And in that regard he is not at all Presidential. I mean Donald Trump is Presidential in the same way kid rock will be senatorial, which is to say not at all. That is not necessarily a horrible thing. I mean, you know as was said earlier Donald Trump didn't run to be Presidential, he ran to shake things up and to be different.

LEMON: Matt that is a very good point. That is why so many people may have voted for him. Maybe they didn't want someone Presidential. But he opens himself up for criticism. And who sits there and says I am the best? I am better than this person. Humility goes a long way. If I said Walter Cronkite had nothing on me and Edward R. Muro wishes he could fill my shoes, it's absolutely ridiculous. Even if you though -- one thought that, they certainly wouldn't say it. Go on, Matt.

LEWIS: I think that is right. I'm not a historian. But I would say you go down the list of people like Lincoln and these August figures that we revere, Trump is nothing like that. It's been said before but maybe the aforementioned Teddy Roosevelt, maybe Andrew Jackson. That is the model for Donald Trump it is not Abraham Lincoln.

LEMON: Let's move on and talk about, because the hits just keep on coming when we're talking about Jeff Sessions. Today here is what President Trump said on camera.


TRUMP: I want the Attorney General to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before at a very important level. These are intelligence agencies. We cannot have that happened. You know many of my views in addition to that. But I think that is one of the very important things that they have to get on with. I told you before, I'm very disappoint would the Attorney General. But we will see what happens, time will tell.


LEMON: So Senator Santorum, you think Sessions shouldn't have recused himself but think he is doing a good job as A.G. What do you think the President should do?

SANTORUM: Look, I don't have any problem with the President calling out members of his cabinet and everyone else and not following what he wants to do, I don't necessarily agree with him when it comes to Jeff Sessions that he is not doing a good job on really following through with what Donald Trump promised during the campaign. And I am disappointed that the President seems to be fixated now on calling Jeff Sessions out again and again, because Jeff Sessions is carrying his water. If Jeff Sessions is doing a great job on the policy front as you mentioned. I didn't agree that Jeff Sessions should have recused himself. I didn't think he had to. I know those are part of regulations. Those are regulations that can be interpreted by the Attorney General and I think he could have held firm and not done it and I understand why Donald Trump is disappointed that he did it.

LEMON: Regulations 28 c f r 45.2, those are Justice Department employee shall not participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution, if he has personal or political relationship with an elected official or candidate and so on. And he did it because he thought that he had to do it. He said it was simple -- this is his testimony. He said, it was the law and it was in his opening statement in the Intelligence Committee, he believed it was the law. He said I recuse myself not because of any asserted wrong doing on my part during the campaign but because a department of justice regulation required it. That is what he said.

SANTORUM: I just disagree with him. Because if that was the case, if you have an affiliation with a political candidate, obviously he did before he took the job and I don't think he made it clear based on that he was going to recuse himself. I just disagree with Jeff on that one. Having said that I think he is doing what the president wants him to do on a lot of other important issues.

LEMON: Ok. Let's move on because I want to talk about this moments is between Republican Senator Susan Collins and Democratic Senator Jack Reed, listen.




REED: I mean, I don't say that lightly and as a goofy guy. Of a, and you know the -- this thing you know, if we don't get a budget deal --

[23:10:11] COLLINS: I know.

REED: We're going to be paralyzed. DOD is going to be paralyzed. Everybody is going to be paralyzed.

COLLINS: I know. I don't even think he knows there is a BOC or anything. I really don't.


LEMON: So I call that kitchen table talk and also commercial break talk even from people who are supporters of whatever. They say one thing in the commercial break and you say wait where did that come from? When you say things that you don't necessarily want to say in public what you really feel. Am I wrong about that?

POWERS: Look, Susan Collins was obviously never a big Trump fan. But I think even among -- I think people would be surprised at how many people talk like that who are in the house or in the senate and who are concerned about Donald Trump and who will not come out publicly and say it. I know for a fact there are a lot of people who feel this way and I think the reason they're not coming out is Donald Trump is a means to an end for Republicans. So whether they think he is crazy or not, he is the only way they thought they were going to get their tax reform, the only way to crack down on immigration or whatever their issue is, he is the only way it's going to happen. So they're holding their tongues, because they want the policies done that they believe in.

LEMON: Matt. Is he the only way they will get this done or the only way, the best way to get this done is to continue to keep a Republican majority in the house and in the senate, because even if the person in the White House is a Democrat, don't they have more power if they keep their majority?

LEWIS: I think this fell in their lap. They did not think Donald Trump was going to win and you got to dance with the one that brunt you. There's also the aspect that the base loves Donald Trump. You know we saw it in West Virginia. There are a lot of regular Americans. Certainly a large percentage of the conservative base loves Donald Trump. So if you are a Republican elected official, your best bet is to sort of just try to ride this out and get as much as you can out of it. That is clearly the calculation at least.

NAFTALI: I agree and I think what's going to happen is we're going to be looking at the Republican polls to see if they generally support Donald Trump and if you see that number dropping, watch as members of congress start to distance themselves from him before 2018.

LEWIS: Another interesting point that may not be obvious is a lot of these big donors and different states and Texas and Florida, you name it, California. People think that lot of these big conservative donors is like establishment types, if you made a billion dollars in business, you must be rational and you must be serious. You must be an establishment like Republican. No. They're actually much closer than the Republican base than who are saying the center right journalists and the operatives.

LEMON: Tax cuts and you know all of those things that go along with it.

LEWIS: So not only do this politician have to be careful to keep the base happy, they probably have a donor in their home state who loves Trump.

LEMON: He was letting Senator Collins know he was in her corner. For it good of the country, the President needs to start focusing on the budget. And she is worried about the elimination of the transportation and housing programs and they are critically important to the local communities. They release statements talking about their hot mic moments. That is important to get that in. Stick with me everyone, when we come right back.


MCCAIN: I stand her today looking worst and I am sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Senator John McCain back on the Senate floor days after a

major surgery and cancer diagnosis. We are going to show you a lot more on this dramatic return next.


[23:18:03] LEMON: Senator John McCain recovering from brain surgery returned from the senate today to cast a key vote in favor of moving the health care bill forward. And it was an emotional moment, my panel is back with me and I want everyone to listen to some of Senator John McCain's impassioned message to his colleagues.


MCCAIN: We've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find way to win without help from across the aisle. That is an approach that is been employed by both sides mandating legislation from the top down without any support from the other side with all the parliamentary maneuvers that requires. We're getting nothing done, my friends. We're getting nothing done.

And all we've really done this year is confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Our health care insurance system is a mess. We all know it, those who support Obamacare and those who oppose it. Something has to be done. We Republicans have looked for a way to end it and replace it with something else without paying a terrible political price. We haven't found it yet and I'm not sure we will. All we've managed to do is make more popular policy that wasn't very popular when we started trying to get rid of it. I voted for the motion to proceed to allow the debate to continue and amendments to be offered. I will not vote for this bill as it is today. It's a shell of a bill right now. We all know that. If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then let's return to regular order. Let the health education and labor and pensions committee under Chairman Alexander and ranking member Murray, hold hearing primary for the bill out of committee with contributions from both sides.


[23:20:04] Something that my dear friends on the other side of the aisle didn't allow to happen nine years ago, we are an important check on the powers of the executive. Our consent is necessary for the President to appoint juries and powerful government officials and many respects to conduct foreign policy. Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President's subordinates. We are his equal. We don't hide behind walls. We breach them. We are a blessing to humanity.

What greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep America the strongest, inspiring inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice, that is the cause that binds us so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us. What great honor and extraordinary opportunity it is to serve in this body.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: What do you think, Matt?

LEWIS: I love John McCain, obviously. I think all Americans are keeping him in our prayers. It was uplifting that was senatorial, that was Presidential. I would say though if you want to drill down on the actual substance. John McCain talked about returning to regular order and having a bipartisan approach to health care. He could have voted against the motion to proceed, most likely then Republicans would have had to work with Democrats. It's interesting that he had this call for a bipartisan approach to fixing health care but actually helped give I think Republican as chance to do this on a party line vote.

LEMON: Sam, what do you think?

SANTORUM: Couldn't disagree more.

LEMON: Go ahead, Senator.

SANTORUM: Just couldn't disagree more. This is the game in Washington for a long time. You go and do what the Democrats want to do. That is bipartisan. For them to actually come over and try to repeal Obamacare and to something and create something better, that is not bipartisan. Bipartisan is trying to fix a horrible system. This is the filter by which we see a lot of the news through and it doesn't work. What John McCain was saying is right. The Democrats didn't allow this debate to happen for many years. You want to talk about getting nothing done. Which by the way has continued and I agree with him.

LEMON: Why isn't it not bipartisan to say we have something in place, a lot of people rely on it, there are parts really good, really bad and get rid of the really bad parts and work on the good parts, who cares what you call it, what we care about is the American people?

SANTORUM: I couldn't agree more and I've been working with John McCain on another solution that he believes and I believe actually could and should get bipartisan support. Whether it will, I don't know. We've been working to try to craft something out --

LEMON: Can I ask you something Senator?


LEMON: Is there nothing -- is there anything about the affordable care act that you like?

SANTORUM: Actually, not very much. No, I don't. The idea we're talking about is to do --

LEMON: So there's nothing you like about it?

SANTORUM: No, I'd like to take the affordable care act and get rid of all the provisions of it, not all the taxes and take that money and send it to the states and do what we did in 1996 with Bill Clinton's support and almost 20 Democratic senators and say Washington shouldn't be managing this very personal, very diverse area of the world, which is health care. We should get that munity to the that's and allow for innovation, allow for experimentation and dynamism that what the economy needs and not run out of Washington that is why I don't like Obamacare because it's run out of Washington and destroy --

NAFTALI: Senator, if it weren't for the affordable care act, do you think Republicans would be talking about protecting people with preexisting conditions? You had time. Do you think Republicans would be talking about insuring young people, people under the age of 26 to be carried by their parent's insurance programs? Do you think if it weren't for Obamacare that we would be actually discussing the expansion of Medicaid and protecting that expansion in certain states?

[23:25:00] I think that we actually are talking about a bipartisan issue but things are so partisan in Washington, Republicans are not willing to admit that it's thanks to Obama that the nature of the debate over health care has changed and now the Republicans are actually trying to actually meet the national demand for the benefits that Obama brought to this country. Whether you like it or not the whole debate has changed. There's no way that you can just repeal Obamacare with nothing to replace it and that wouldn't have happened without Obama.

LEMON: He says all that we have accomplished was to make a non- popular bill more popular.

SANTORUM: This is what I would say to answer your question. As you know most people with preexisting conditions were already covered, one by federal law, and mostly by state laws. Obamacare covered very few people on that provision. You are right that Obamacare dramatically expanded Medicaid. I can tell you very few want to expand Medicaid and we're working on giving the government a flexibility to design a different system, as opposed to a very bureaucratic system like Medicaid.

POWERS: I think the people who had the preexisting coverage where people already had insurance and it lapsed -- but if you let your insurance lapse you lost your job, if you got sick and had to get your job or something and you had a preexisting condition, you were pretty much screwed for the rest of your life. I think you're down playing it a little bit in terms of what Obama did, Senator. The Republicans had a lot of time to come up with a power when George Bush was president and they never did and the only reason they're talking about it is because President Obama changed the dynamic of this conversation. Now people expect the government to provide some sort of safety net for them. And so I think because something exists, it's a little unfair for Republican to expect Democrats to come and dismantle something they created as a legacy of the last Democrats president and that they believe works. And so it would behoove Republicans if they really want to get something done and they need to be bipartisan to try to fix Obamacare and that there are problems with it and it can be fixed.

LEMON: that got to be the last word. Matt you don't get to speak right now.


Thank you very much all of you. When we come back the President attacking his own Attorney General, but why isn't he taking the approach that we expect from him instead?


TRUMP: You are fired.



[23:31:39] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: President not letting up on his public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying today that he is disappointed in him and blasting Sessions in a tweet as very weak. To discuss the author and Investigative Journalist, Vicki Ward, William Cohan is here the author of Why Wall Street matters and CNN Political Commentator Alice Stewart, a Republican Strategist Contributor Michael D'Antonio the author of The truth about Trump, good evening, so good to have all of you on. Vicki when asked about the future of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump said we will see what happens. Time will tell. The President can fire Sessions if he wanted to. Why doesn't he just say you're fired?

VICKI WARD, AUTHOR AND INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Great question. You know he doesn't really like to fire people. I was speaking to Sam who worked on his campaign who he did fire, quite unusually. He said it was very, very difficult for him. He did it face to face but he views the people who he hires as family and we know when he was in real estate he had a very lean organization at Trump tower. It's very unusual for Donald Trump to fire people. He doesn't like to do it directly. I read reports just before now that there are a lot of people inside the White House like Steve Bannon pushing him really not to fire Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions has a tremendous amount of support in the base. A lot of Republicans are really worried that firing Jeff session would be a really, really bad political move for this President.

LEMON: So a lot of political in it.

WARD: Yes.

LEMON: Haven't we talked about this before? Haven't you told me he hates to fire people? I think it was you.

WARD: It could have been either one of us.

LEMON: Speaking of William Cohan, remember this guy. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You're fired. You're fired, you're fired. You're fired.


LEMON: Where is he?

WILLIAM COHAN, AUTHOR OF WHY WALL STREET MATTERS: Apparently, Don, if I've done my homework properly, he wasn't the one doing the firing on the apprentice. He was merely reading a script about who he was told to fire. So, even in his singular role as the one who fires people, he was not even doing the firing. He was following the apprentice script.

LEMON: You mean reality TV there's a script? My gosh, shocking.

COHAN: Yes. Where there's no script apparently is in the White House right now. That is where there's no script.

LEMON: That was sarcasm for folks that believe that reality TV is really reality TV that there is no script to it, but as you were saying about Vicki said?

COHAN: I apologize for being tongue and cheek. I think Vicki is absolutely right. This is a guy who doesn't like confrontation. I think it's worse than that. I think he gets some sort of sadistic pleasure about enjoying watching poor Jeff Sessions twist in the wind as he has been doing for the last week or so. It's kind of painful to watch and I might add the new addition to the White House, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be having a grand old time acting as though he is going to fire people and in fact firing people today. So, there you go. Anthony's going to do the firing.

LEMON: Michael when the President fired the FBI Director James Comey, he didn't even do it himself. Comey was fired by a letter that Jeff Sessions of all people wrote and it was hand delivered by Trump's long time bodyguard (inaudible) -- is this a strategy of managing people out the door as opposed to leading?

[23:35:12] MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think both of your guess got it right. That Donald Trump doesn't like to fire people and he actually finds it more comfortable to confront someone who is low on the poll. He is more powerful individual is the less likely he is to engage in direct confrontation, but there's also an element of disruption here, which is classic Trump. He is letting Sessions know that he is unhappy, but he is also signaling everyone in the administration that you're not secure and this idea of system wide insecurity I think is a long standing strategy for him. He doesn't want anyone to get too comfortable. But if something has to be done he is not likely to do the deed himself.

LEMON: Yes it is interesting, you remember during the whole Corey Lewandowski thing, he said it was Jared and Ivanka who wanted Corey out and that the president didn't want to fire him. Does Donald Trump always have this passive aggressive management style, Michael?

D'ANTONIO: He is a very passive aggressive kind of guy with an emphasis on the aggressive. He likes to be aggressive in public and if it's a weapon like a tweet or a public statement he can make, he is happy to appear aggressive there. But in private he is actually often a pussy cat.

LEMON: Yes. I'm sure lot of people at home is going really? What do you think, Alice?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the word of Michael, but I am not really sure I would use pussy cat to describe Donald Trump.


This is a pattern. He did the same thing when it came to letting Corey Lewandowski go, Comey and Flynn. He let someone else do the dirty work and the President stayed behind twitter when he was doing local criticism. When the President today comes out and says Sessions is weak, I think that is very confusing, because one of the reasons he brought him on because Sessions was so strong and one of the key issues that the president is compassionate about which is immigration. I think that is something the Attorney General is still fighting hard for today, ruling out a new crackdown on sanctuary cities and he is also executing the President's policies -- it's unfortunate that president doesn't recognized what Sessions know what he is doing to execute the policies and he is so focused on the fact that Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe which he really needed to do given the fact he shouldn't be investigating a situation that he was involved with through the campaign. In my opinion Sessions made the right choice to recuse himself and unfortunately the President can't get past that.

LEMON: Alice and the rest of the pane had a lot more to say right after this.


[23:41:57] LEMON: Anthony Scaramucci has only been in the White House Communications Director for a couple of days but he is already shaking things up in the West Wing. Back now with my panel, Mr. Cohan, President Trump's new communications Director told reporters tonight he does not plan on firing anymore people until he reviews the communications department. If leaks continue, he is going to let everybody go. Is this the kind of fighter Donald Trump's has been looking for?

COHAN: I think so. He said repeatedly that in the last few days that he wanted Jeff Sessions as Attorney General to start plugging the leaks in the intelligence community. Anthony Scaramucci comes in on Friday and is already talking about firing people, who had been leaking supposedly in the communications office. It sends a very powerful signal. I'm sure there's a lot of people who are quite nervous as a result of this and I'm sure that is exactly what Donald Trump -- he is not going to do anything that Donald Trump doesn't want him to do and he'll do everything Donald Trump wants him to do. This is exactly coming from Donald Trump. I'm sure these leaks are not just in the communications office. And is he going to start policing people in the rest of the White House too.

LEMON: And Vicki the irony is that when he said he wants to stop leaks then what happens?

WARD: I did notice, but I don't know if you did that Anthony's first firing somehow got leaked to Politico today. I like Anthony Scaramucci and I think he could be very effective. You have to give him props for -- he was like cast into the wilderness by Reince Priebus in January and now he is back, you know seemingly running the show in the White House in a matter of months.

LEMON: The thing is here's what the scuttle but was and Alice I'm sure you know about this. Anthony Scaramucci was believed to -- get a bigger role earlier on I should say, at the White House and then the scuttle but was Reince Priebus was torpedoing him from doing it and there's no love lost there.

STEWART: You took the words out of my mouth. There's no love lost between Reince Priebus and Anthony. But that happens when you have and administration like this or a campaign or even a business, you're going to have people with differences of opinions and different agendas. But the reality is, now all of them realize they're on the same team, they're loyal to the President, they're loyal to the office of the presidency and Reince Priebus has his role, Steve Bannon has his role and now Anthony has his and what I'm hearing and what we're understanding now is that Scaramucci is going to crack down on making sure the communications shot works together, cracking down leaks and making sure the President does all he can to stay on message. You're going to have people that but heads but in the end of the day what we're seeing right now is people taking shape and people loyal to the President and certainly to this country.

[23:45:06] LEMON: Michael, here is a word the President use as lot. Watch this.


TRUMP: I know them all. They're killers. They're negotiators. I'll be using our best sharpest killer business people, if one of the people that I know, some New York killer builder or somebody built that building, it would have been up two years ago.

They're killers but this is what we want negotiating for us.


LEMON: Did Scaramucci fit that killer?

D'ANTONIO: I don't know him well enough but I know that President Trump was raised with his father whispering this mantra in his ear, you're a killer, and you're a king. Scaramucci I don't think wants to be in king, he recognizes the scepter, he is only one king and he is in the oval office so if the President wants him to be a killer, I'm sure he'll try to accomplish whatever the President orders. The problem here is that every White House really since Nixon has leaked like crazy and every White House has tried to plug the leaks and it's hit or miss. There are so many examples of president's cracking down and yet more and more leaking happens and a lot of that depends whether people are on the same page and also how threaten they feel, especially legally.

LEMON: I mean and that is the way many people, Americans get to know the wrong doing is through the leaks. Many have said Scaramucci is what Donald Trump sees when he looks in the mirror. I want you to check this out. It's from the daily show, by the way.





LEMON: I mean they're New Yorkers. They talk with their hands. Come on, Vicki what do you think?

WARD: I think Anthony's saving grace is he is seven inches shorter than the President. The President doesn't like to be over shadowed.

LEMON: That is pretty funny. You have to admit. Love having you all on. See you soon. Thank you so much. When we come back, stay up late and join me with a sneak peek at her new project.


LEMON: You watch our very own Alisyn Camerota every morning on CNN new day, she is not just a friend and a colleague but she is also the author of a new novel that is being described as "The devil wears Prada," meets primary colors a story of a young reporter who lands a job at a big-time cable news station. You talk about what you know. Alison Camerota joins me now. She certainly is -- you're describing it that way. Everybody's describing it that way.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, ANCHOR NEW DAY, CNN: I have seen it written devil wears Prada of cable news. I like that description.

LEMON: The chapter entitled "The impossible dream," where you talk about going for an interview, right? And then the person asks the fair news network. You ask isn't that already CNN. This is about what you know. You're not basing it on one particular experience, right?

[23:50:07] CAMEROTA: No, it's my experience basically of 25 years over my career, boiled down into her, Amanda's trajectory.

LEMON: Amanda Gallow.

CAMEROTA: Amanda Gallow of a year and a half basically. She figures it all out in a year and a half what took me 25 years to figure out. But it's set at fair news. And what fair news is, it was sort of my imagination, my utopian dream of some day being at a network where people didn't try to put you in a partisan box of some kind. It would be a big tent for left and right and old and young and north and south. Then as you'll see in the book, it ends up being like a Frankenstein monster. LEMON: For those of you who don't know it, Alisyn, you've been on in

the morning since you've been at cable news. You came from Fox and anchor the weekends at Fox. I would watch you and Dave on weekends at Fox and text message and.

CAMEROTA: We always appreciated knowing you were watching.

LEMON: When you first came to CNN, you had a co-anchor back in the day.

CAMEROTA: Very handsome, dashingly handsome.

LEMON: The character is based on somebody everyone thinks is (inaudible).

CAMEROTA: It's Don Lemon, the torrid affair that you and I had.

LEMON: Let's talk seriously about the book. You write when you go into your boss Benji and he is concerned the attention your segment on abortion is getting on twitter. They said that I was right wing, anti-abortion woman hater. When I was challenging the male, they said I was a left wing liberal baby killer. Those were the more pleasant ones. Benji snorted, and then you must be doing something right, he said. Do you agree with that, because you recently quit twitter, because of this craziness like this?

CAMEROTA: Look, you know that feeling of depending upon what segment you do, and then social media can light up with calling you names and trying to put you into a box. You're either a conservative maniac or you're a liberal left wing nut. And I do think there's something to that. Then you must be doing something write if you get hate from both sides. It's unpleasant regardless of what side it comes from. People have a hard time fitting me into some box which I've seen as sort of a feather in my cap.

LEMON: Don't you hate it. Sometimes twitter and the outrage, its faux outrage where people are one upping each other that create this false narrative that is not necessarily true about you or your work.

CAMEROTA: For sure, I mean this is why I broke up with twitter. I wrote them a Dear John letter. I was tired of that sort of toxicity. In the book, I should let people know, social media ends up being sort of a character in the book, Amanda, and our protagonist has to deal with a lot of social media hate and the social media love. That is also a drug, when you log on, people feed you with you're so great. That affects your brain centers and lights them up too in a certain way. A lot of tweets and Facebook posts from the book I took verbatim from my account. My imagination couldn't make up something more vivid than real life.

LEMON: Can we talk about Fluke that you mentioned in the tweet in the book. His name is Victor Fluke, an outside Presidential candidate, a huge personality coming straight from Hollywood. People think that is based on Trump but it's not actually.

CAMEROTA: Well, the genesis of this character, I started writing this book in 2012, during a different crazy Presidential race. Just to remind people.

LEMON: We forget about that.

CAMEROTA: We forget about that, because 2016, eclipses everything. 2012 was also a fascinating race. There was just to remind people, Michele Bachmann was in the race, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Herman Kaine, and Newt Gingrich and so I started writing it around an episode with Herman Kaine because my boss at the time, Roger Ailes of Fox News liked what he stood for. He liked he was a successful man, he liked he was an outsider, this pizza magnate with a very simple economic plan of 999 and all these crimes.

LEMON: I was just writing 999.

CAMEROTA: And he was very funny and (inaudible). So I got the idea for this outsider larger than life, Presidential candidate, who the boss in the book wants to keep having on. So you might have to treat him with kid gloves so he keeps coming back on.

LEMON: It's interesting, as you were mentioning all those people, going back over 2012, 999 came up and then what's his name, I forget his name. I forget a third. Now he is head of that department Perry.

CAMEROTA: Oh, Perry.

LEMON: Then Michele Bachmann was tip of the spear. You have all of these characters who have these things, 47 percent.

CAMEROTA: Mitt Romney.

LEMON: That got Mitt Romney in trouble.

CAMEROTA: In fact, it was a cell phone catching that Mitt Romney saying that. And that also, there's a chapter in there motivated by some of that.

[23:55:08] LEMON: It really is fascinating and so good to see you my friend, best of luck with this.

CAMEROTA: Thank you my dear, thanks so much.

LEMON: Good luck with that guy in the morning. I'm sorry about that.

CAMEROTA: Chris Cuomo is not that bad. He has really good days and he is funny and also handsome.

LEMON: You can say that because you have to work with him. I don't.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my god. You love him. You guys have a bromance.

LEMON: He is my bratty kid brother. "Amanda wakes up," a novel by our very own Alisyn Camerota. Make sure you go out and get it read. It's fascinating. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.

LEMON: that is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching us. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.