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Potus Takes Questions In First News Conference In Six Months; President Trump Doubles Down In New Warning To North Korea; CNN, Manafort's Son-In-Law Met With Fed Investigators. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired August 10, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:17] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: President Trump answering more questions from reporters today than he has in six months. This is "CNN tonight" I'm Don Lemon. The President speaking for nearly half an hour today during his working vacation at his golf resort in New Jersey, here are the headlines on the subject of fire and fury, the threat to North Korea, saying maybe it wasn't tough enough. And noncommittal on the possibility of pre-emptive military strike against Pyongyang saying we'll see what happens. On the FBI's predawn raid on the home of his former chairman Paul Manafort "I was very, very surprised to see it." and insisting he hasn't given any thought to firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying I'm not dismissing anybody. Lots to talk about let's go right to CNN Alexandra Field, Alexandra is live for us in Seoul, South Korea tonight. Alexandra hello to you people on the Korean peninsula woke up not to one but two new statements from President Trump. What's the reaction there?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's happening once again, Don and people here know if Pyongyang was pushed by war of words into deciding to launch some kind of attack or retaliate for a perceived attack, it's believed their conventional weapons could kill thousands of people in South Korea before U.S. military might would overwhelm them. The South Korean government has been calling for dialogue to resolve the exceptionally tense situation. So people here are hanging on every word of this fiery rhetoric. President Trump doubling down on those threats earlier in the week, saying perhaps he should have spoken and issued an even tougher ultimatum, saying he wouldn't rule out a pre emptive strike, saying there would always be consideration for negotiation.

Certainly that is the direction the South Korean government would like to see all of this move in. But they are standing closely with the U.S. Government, with President Trump. They have condemned Pyongyang for the provocative actions, they have said further provocation would warrant a military response and we are learning now that the U.S. National Security adviser South Korean national security advisor have spoken in the last few hours since President Trump's comments, the South Korean side now saying the result of that conversation was a reaffirmation of this two administrations are working together step by step to try and resolve the mounting tension here. Don. LEMON: Alexandra Field, thank you very much. The war of words with

North Korea reaching a flash point after two days of threats and counter threats, President Trump vowing fire and fury against Kim Jong-un on Tuesday and doubling down twice today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The North Koreans said yesterday your statement on Tuesday was nonsense. That is the word that they use. Do you have any response to that?

TRUMP: Well, I don't think they mean that and I think it's the first time they've heard it like they heard it and frankly, the people questioning that statement, maybe it wasn't tough enough. They've been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years and it's about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and for the people of other countries. So if anything maybe that statement wasn't tough enough and we're backed by 100 percent by our military. We're backed by everybody and many other leaders and I noticed many Senators and others today came out very much in favor of what I said, but if anything that statement may not be tough enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be tougher than fire and fury?

TRUMP: You'll see.

Obviously we're spending a lot of time looking at in particular North Korea and we are preparing for many different alternative events. He has disrespected our country greatly. He has said things that are horrific. And with me, he is not getting away with it. He got away with it for a long time between him and his family. This is a whole new ball game and he is not going to be saying those things and certainly not going to be doing those things.

I read about in Guam, by August 15th. Let's see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before what will happen in North Korea.

[23:05:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will you do?

TRUMP: You'll see and he'll see. He will see. That is not a dare. It's a statement. Has nothing to do with dare. That is a statement. He is not going to go around threatening Guam and he is not going to threaten the United States and he is not going to threaten Japan and he is not going to threaten South Korea. No. That is not a dare as you say. That is a statement of fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So the President refusing to back down. Where do we go from

here? Joining me to discuss all of this is Lieutenant Commander Steven Rogers a former senior military intelligence officer who was a member of the Trump campaign committee and General Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Ally Commander, so good to have both of you on, General Clark, you first. You say there is no military option but you wouldn't know that from listening to the Commander and chief, would you?

WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Well, there of course is a military option. I mean you can attack North Korea and we know how that would go. We shut down their air defense, block their communications. Give them shock and awe and then go in and try to take it apart. But you're not going to get away with that without their firing on the civilians in South Korea and possibly Japan. How bad would it be? It could be very bad and after it's over and we're in there, we don't know what China's going to do. Maybe China comes in from the north, because they don't like the fact that the North Korean government's going to collapse. So yes, there's a military option. It probably involves 10s of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, including of hundred thousands of dual national citizens. In Seoul 30,000 Americans, their families and in South Korea there's lot at stake here.

So there's no clean military option. There's no way to snap your fingers and say all right. Since you wouldn't give us your nukes, we'll take them away from you. So where do we go from here? Here's my point, Don. I think the President owes it to the American people and the people in Asia to go to the last mile to avoid the use of force if possible. And what that means is he should send an emissary in and he should see that emissary should look right in the eyes of President Kim and say back off, don't do this. You find your own way out of it and we'll have a dialogue and see how we're going to move forward from here.

Because one of the most important lessons is you use force only as a last, last, last resort. The reason is because the outcome is unpredictable. It almost never works out the way you think it's going to work out. Look at what happened in Iraq. And it's a lot easier to get into a war than to get out of a war. So I'm all in favor of standing up to North Korea. I think it would be wonderful if we could take away their nuclear weapons some way that is reasonable. I agree with what Bill Richardson said earlier in the program, but for goodness sakes, the President of the United States has a moral responsibility to the people in the world, not to push this thing without having exhausted all other options to resolve it.

LEMON: Can I ask you something? You don't think it's realistic for them to get rid of nuclear weapons. I've been asking most of my guests here, my experts. You think it's time to accept them as having nuclear capabilities?

CLARK: I don't know what accept means, but I know this that they do have nuclear capability and I'd like to be able to talk them out of it but I don't think you can sort of, just wave your hand and say impermissible. You give it up or we're going to blow you off the face of the earth. That is not the right approach to this country. You've backed them into a corner. This is a guy who kills his relatives to stay in power. There's no reason to think in a lose it or use it situation, he would suddenly become a humanitarian and in that case, I give up. I don't want these innocent people killed.

LEMON: Lieutenant Commander Rogers, is it possible to have North Korea at this point get rid of his nuclear capabilities?

STEVEN ROGERS, SENIOR MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, U.S. NAVY: We're going to have to make sure that we get rid of tell the. We have to go to the last mile and we are at the last mile. 40 years of dealing with this nation -- and Don, you said earlier and absolutely correct. There's no blame here. Every administration prior to President Trump did the best they could to get this nut to the table in North Korea and the fact of the matter is it's failed. Sanctions have failed. Diplomacy has failed, conciliatory gestures have failed. Now President Trump inherited this and he is realized and I'm sure he has spoken to his fine Generals that none of that has worked so the time has come to get tough and I've said repeatedly over and over again we're not going to war.

[23:10:13] I think the President of the United States has, in a unique way strategically put this whole mess in China's hands. China is going to have to act. They do not want a war either. So at the end of the day, I think everybody should settle down and let's just give the President the time he needs to work on what he is trying to do here and I believe he is trying to bring them to the table. You got to get tough with these people and the President's a tough guy and he is making sure that leader in North Korea understands exactly what he is saying.

CLARK: I want to come in and make a couple of points, because we've been in this dialogue now continuously for over 48 hours. There a lot of people who refer to him as a nut, a paranoid, etc. But think about this way, this is a man who has been ruthless in maintaining power. And North Korea's objectives have never changed for over 60 years. They want the United States out and they want to take over South Korea. And they have relentlessly pushed their nuclear weapons program so that they have the security to stand up to the United States of America. Even this latest threat of the four missiles around Guam was a cleverly delivered threat. Kim didn't do it himself. He had a General go out and does it and he said it was being planned, that it would have to be approved. So he left himself a margin for error.

We're not dealing with a nut here. We're dealing with a very ruthless, determined adversary, and one thing I learned from my time at the top of the U.S. Military chain of command and going through the Pentagon and a lot of other experiences in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc., is treat your opponent with respect. Understand him. Don't brand him as a nut because he disagrees with you. He sees it a different way. You got to get inside his heads if you're going to beat him.

LEMON: Listen. Let me ask you this because the Director of national intelligence, James Clapper, was on the 10:00 hour on the top of the hour and he is saying he is concerned about all of this rhetoric that is been happening now and concerned that we're somehow going to back ourselves into a war one that could have been prevented. So what is the danger of all of this ratcheted up rhetoric. You, General Clark and I'll get a response from you.

CLARK: The problem is when you engage in it directly, you have no buffer. There's nobody to sort of rebuke and say he is a little carried away and you're in it personally.

LEMON: But the lieutenant Commander says he believes we're not going to war but Clapper's saying there's a definite possibility if somebody doesn't take it down a notch.

CLARK: The thing about it is you have in North Korea a persistent six decades negotiating and rhetorical style of demanding to have the last word. They always give the last threat. So when you get in that kind of hyperbolic escalation, they're going to keep threatening and ratcheting up and when you push them into a corner, we don't know what this guy really is going to do because he wants his regime to survive, but if you put him in a corner where it is either use them or lose them, he could very well decide if he doesn't use them, he is lost anyway.

And someone sited earlier the example of Muammar Kaddafi earlier in your program. That is a perfect example of why it's going to be very hard to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons. Because we persuaded Kaddafi, not three years later they said this is a good time to get rid of him. Let's get rid of him and we did. And I'm sure that every dictator in the world looked at that and said that is what happens when you deal with the west and the Americans and you don't have nuclear weapons. So we've got some credibility problem here going forward. First thing stabilize this, stop the escalation of rhetoric. Deal directly with the North Koreans on this and see what we can do about his weapons.

LEMON: I know you want to respond Lieutenant Commander but I have to run so we'll have you back. Thank you both. I appreciate it, General thank you for your service.

ROGERS: Thank you so much.

CLARK: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, the President saying today he has no plans to fire Robert Mueller as the Russia investigation heats up. New details of what Mueller is looking into and who he is questioning now, that is next.


[23:18:38] LEMON: President Trump insisting today that he has no plans to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. I want to talk about this, the latest on Russia investigation with CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem a former department of homeland security official and Legal Commentator Matthew Whitaker a former U.S. Attorney, good evening to both of you, thank you for coming on, Juliette, you first. CNN has learned that Paul Manafort's son in law has met with the department of justice investigators within the past few months. Why would they need to meet with him?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they are exploring the connections between Manafort and his financial dealings and Russia. Just taking a step back, reminding everyone Paul Manafort was the campaign manager for the Trump campaign. Not an insignificant figure and who is subject to a no notice review of documents in his own house and now the investigation is looking at people around him. The son in law is actually about it to be, if not is a former son in law. There was a divorce, I believe this year, which also suggests there might be you know people willing to talk against each other, who might not others with have been willing to speak. This is like -- let's just say this is not an episode of the Walton's anymore. This is a high drama stakes going on amongst Manafort and of course the Trump family.

[23:20:00] LEMON: Interesting. So Matthew, we have also learned that Paul Manafort has found new legal representation. His new lawyers are said to be experts in tax investigations, so is there significance there?

MATTHEW WHITAKER, LEGAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, he did go from a big law firm to a more boutique firm that does specialize in tax crimes. And I think if you read between the lines that everything out following in this case and it sounds like they had focused on two pieces of information when they did that search want at his house. One was his tax return and the other was foreign bank account records which would be very hard to get if the bank did not have a U.S. location or branch. So it's very difficult to get foreign bank records from banks outside the country that don't have a presence in the United States. I have a feeling those are the key documents and this move to get the new lawyer almost confirms that is where this case is going.

LEMON: Do you think that is where it's going, Juliette, when you see tax investigation experts, rather than the big firm as Matthew said?

KAYYEM: That is absolutely right and I think people that know this new firm understands that the investigation is not simply looking at collusion. That is not the sole mandate of what Mueller is allowed to do. It's to look at the potential influence of what might have driven the Trump campaign, the Trump organization, the Trump family or President Trump himself to act or behave in certain ways. That does not have to simply be to win an election.

It can be to protect financial dealings that were not disclosed because the tax returns were never disclosed by Trump. If you look at Mueller's team, there's a lot to suspect that this is heading towards a financial investigation and so Paul Manafort is smart to counter with experts himself.

LEMON: All right so as the Russia investigation rolls on, President Trump has said that he has no plans to dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President, you've thought about, considered the dismissal of special counsel.

TRUMP: I haven't given it any thought. I've been read about it from you people. You are saying I am going to dismiss him, no, I'm not dismissing anybody. I want them to get on the task but I also want the senate and the house to come out with their findings.


LEMON: So Juliette, can Mueller and everyone who is awaiting his findings breathe a sigh of relief now?

KAYYEM: Until Chris Cuomo is on new day tomorrow morning. I mean he is been - President Trump has been back and forth on this issue for a long time. He gets angry at Mueller and tweets something out. He gets reprimanded by Republican senators and goes quiet. I don't believe a word from President Trump on this specific issue regarding his consistency or support of Mueller at this stage. If you are Trump or the Trump family at this stage and you're looking at what's happening with both Paul Manafort and stories that we're hearing about Mike Flynn, you've got to be nervous about this investigation. The problem is Mueller's too far along now. This investigation is before grand jury we believe and from reporting. We do know subpoenas and investigations are ongoing. It is just simply too late, you are firing would have implications that Trump probably knows he could not control.

LEMON: So, Matthew, he also said he wants Mueller and his team to quote get on with the task. Where did this newly cooperative Trump come from, do you think?

WHITAKER: Well I think the tone has changed since he brought inside the White House, Ty Cobb. I think you've seen a different approach. I think the tweets going after the Special Counsel have diminished and I think that is brought the seriousness for him and especially inside the White House. The two figures that are keys to this right now are Manafort and Flynn, as she mentioned. And I would point out as a former prosecutor and someone who's also defended the wrongly accused, Manafort and Flynn are having a tremendous amount of pressure put on them. And we're seeing that especially manifest in Manafort right now with trying to get them to actually cooperate with the investigators, to sit down, to give a proper interview or -- and to understand the scope of this campaign, because as Manafort was the campaign chairman for five or six months, I think rightfully the special counsel's going to determine he might know if there was coordination between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

KAYYEM: Can --

LEMON: Go for it. Go ahead.

KAYYEM: Just to pick up on what Matthew said and the pressure that both Flynn and Manafort are feeling is it's unlikely that both of them will be offered the golden ticket. That in fact this is somewhat of a race to see who can prosper evidence about collusion of financial dealings, because one of them does not want to be left out in the cold. And that is why this investigation is so intense right now and you're getting these stories every 12 or 24 hours.

[23:25:14] LEMON: Let talk about that predawn raid, because the President addressed it at Paul Manafort's apartment and we just learned about it this week but here's the President.


TRUMP: I thought it was a very, very strong signal or whatever. I know Mr. Manafort -- haven't spoken to him in a long time, but I know him, he was with the campaign for a relatively short period of time. I thought it was a very -- they do that very seldom. So I was surprised to see it. It's pretty tough stuff. To wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that is pretty tough stuff.


LEMON: He talked about the raid being a signal. Do you agree? What type of signal do you think Mueller might be trying to send here?

WHITAKER: I think it's a strong signal, I think it is a tough signal, but I also think it was directed at Paul Manafort. If it was truly a no knock search warrant where they kicked down the door essentially, those are very dangerous, fraught with peril. I can't imagine they thought he was going to flush his computer or tax returns down the toilet like you would see in the case like this and I think it's concerning on both sides from a law enforcement perspective as to why they would do that and from Paul Manafort, why did they think, maybe from talking to the son in law -- there's a really interesting story behind this that we have yet to hear.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. When we come back, President Trump taking a shot at Mitch McConnell today, would the battle with his own party escalate? Or could they all get on the same page.


[23:30:53] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: President Trump, for the second day in a row, publicly calling out Mitch McConnell saying he is disappointed in the senate majority leader, telling him to get back to work and just listen to his answer to reporters' questions today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Consider stepping down (inaudible)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'll tell you what if he doesn't get repeal and replace done and if he doesn't get taxes done, meaning cuts and reform, and if he doesn't get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn't get them done, then you can ask me that question.


LEMON: McConnell is popular among his colleagues and Trump need him if he wants to get his legislative agenda pass in congress, but the President has shown repeatedly he is not afraid to take on his own party's establishment. Here's senior national correspondent Alexander Marquardt.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Donald Trump's surprise victory made a President out of a proud political outsider.


TRUMP: It is time to drain the dam swamp.


MARQUARDT: Voters (inaudible) now in office with Republicans also controlling both houses of congress the President is still a fighter, even against his own party leaders and staunch allies.


TRUMP: I am disappointed in the Attorney General.


MARQUARDT: Especially when the going gets rough.


TRUMP: So far senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare.


MARQUARDT: During those failed efforts to repeal Obamacare, the President clearly distanced himself from the party he leads, using his beloved twitter account, writing for years even as a civilian I listened as Republicans pushed the repeal and replace of Obamacare. Now they finally have their chance and then it's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back do very little to protect their President. So who really represents the Republican Party? The man who fought his way to the White House or the people who are already in the trenches?


AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: There is a big difference between Trumpism and what he represents for Republicans and traditional Republicans who want to do things like more traditional tax reform, want to campaign against abortion on the social issues. There's a big break there.


MARQUARDT: Trump has famously flipped parties a number of times.


TRUMP: In many cases I probably identify more as a Democrat. It seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.


MARQUARDT: He has blasted pillars of the GOP like John McCain and George Bush.


TRUMP: People think he is been a horrible President, possibly the worst in this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: And the White House he has mainly been in sync with the

GOP when it comes to issues.


CARPENTER: Trump and the Republican have been around for so long. Do agree a lot on the issues. Where they differ is style and how they conduct themselves in private. The only reason they've been hanging together this long is because they do have mutual goals.


MARQUARDT: Goals they say are harder to accomplish with this chaotic, combative White House that have shown it is more than happy to shift the blame, Alexander Marquardt CNN New York.

(END VIDEO) LEMON: Thank you Alex. When we come right back more on the President's attacks on his own party's majority leader. What his fighting words could mean for his relationship with the Republican Party.


[23:38:16] LEMON: The President has been taking shots at Republican leader Mitch McConnell all week long. The President is not the least bit afraid to take on his own party. Here to discuss Syndicated Talk radio Host John Fredericks and Republican strategist Rick Wilson. Gentleman, good evening, John, you just heard Alex's Marquardt piece. This is before the break. Does Donald Trump really represent the Republican Party?

JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: Well, Don, what Donald Trump represents is a political movement in America that is economic and an uprising against the elites in Washington that have sold out the American worker for years. Listen Mitch McConnell lives in an alternative D.C. Universe. LEMON: He represents the Republican Party.

FREDERICKS: No, he represents the Trump movement. Mitch McConnell lives in a D.C. Universe where accountability doesn't matter, results don't matter, and deadlines don't matter. Timelines don't matter. Nothing matters to these people except raising money and getting re- elected. They accumulate power and money while getting no results. The American workers --

LEMON: I got you. I got you. Rick, you have a new piece titled when will Republicans learn that Donald Trump hates them? You say Republican elected officials are at best props and extras in the apprentice, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Do you think the President believes in the Republican Party and its agenda? Similar questions I ask John.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No. Donald Trump was like a pirate sailing and flag of convenience when he ran as a Republican. He doesn't really have any Republican values. He is more of a status and authoritarian. He doesn't believe in personal freedom or limited government.

[23:40:00] And I just want to introduce John to one simple concept. Congress is a co equal branch of government. They don't represent the Trump movement. They don't represent the Trump hoard. They represent their individual states. They represent the issues and these are their constituents and so Mitch McConnell has a caucus in the senate where they have 52 members and they have a variety of different interests and drivers for their behavior. So they're not all going to say whatever crazy thing came off of Donald Trump's itchy twitter finger today, I'm going to alter everything, my beliefs and my state and everything else. These guys represent their people. They are not there to serve Donald Trump. They're a coequal branch of government. I know the constitution is a sort of inconvenience for the Trump world but it's something that folks like John should re-familiarize yourself with.

LEMON: You want to respond?

FREDERICKS: You know Rick that is an unbelievable statement Rick. You just don't get what's happening out there in America, because you're another one of this never Trumper people that don't why he won and don't understand the movement and don't understand the people behind him.

WILSON: I understand why he won. He won because he was a celebrity, John. This is not a revolution. John, let me acquaint you with something, John.

FREDERICKS: Oh, now you're going to -- go ahead.

WILSON: This is not a revolution, John. This is a guy who is mentally unstable. He is not a conservative. He is a statist. He is a guy who doesn't understand the slightest thing about the fundamental tenants of conservatism. He doesn't believe in individual liberty as a conservative ought to and he certainly not a person who respects the rule of law. He certainly not a person, who believes in the constitutional separation of powers and the constitutional role that the congress and the courts play, so this is a guy who doesn't represent his base, I get it you're part of this big populous yeah, yeah, yeah. It's great, fun enjoy it. But don't pretend it is conservative and don't pretend it is constitutional and don't forget it represents the values of this country that Republican and conservatives in this country have run on and believed in for generations.

FREDERICKS: Of which Rick Wilson is the master of the conscious conservative movement. Rick that was a great (inaudible) delivered by a heritage foundation white paper that you found someplace. You have no idea what's going on rural, real America with working class Americans whose job as government has shifted overseas and wages have gone down. The elites and in urban America make money no matter what happens and working class Americans have been disenfranchised.

LEMON: John can I jump in and ask you think is.

FREDERICKS: -- an opportunity to get back in the fold.

LEMON: You just said he doesn't represent the Republican Party.

FREDERICKS: As we know.

LEMON: It sounds like you're sort of agreeing with what Rick says and if Rick says it's a coequal branch of government what does that have to do with him being --

FREDERICKS: There's nothing to do with the coequal branch of government. We're not talking about the political party we are not talking about the constitution. Rick is talking about a political Party who has failed its base.

LEMON: But he is saying that they are there to serve that their constituents. They are not there to serve the president, so if they're answering to the people at home, then why should they answer to the President? That is not their job.

FREDERICKS: The majority of this people that are in Republican leadership are there for one reason, they are there to serve their donors and their money making base. That is how they get reelected. Don, they accumulate power and money in America with no results. We gave them --

LEMON: But are they there to serve the President?

FREDERICKS: They're there to serve the people who voted for this President. They had 15 candidates representing them. Every one of them got smoked.

LEMON: It sounds like you are saying the same thing though, he is saying -- you're saying he is there to serve the people and he is saying they're there to serve the people.

FREDERICKS: He got elected on an agenda that he wants to see passed. LEMON: I'm talking about the law makers in Washington. You're saying

that they're there to serve the people and he is saying they're there to serve the people. So what do you disagree on?

FREDERICKS: The agenda, Don. We disagree on the agenda. Mitch McConnell got on TV and said Donald Trump's expectations are way too high. We have artificial timelines. People that are going to their jobs every day, they have a timeline, they have a deadline, they have expectations. If they don't perform, they get fired. These people keep making money no matter what happens.

WILSON: John listen, I know you're doing your filibuster thing but listen, one second. The fact the matter is this agenda of Donald Trump, you guys who are fanatic about Donald Trump which I get your enthusiasm. The high schools quarterback circling the parking lot. I get it. But the Donald Trump agenda it's some random accumulation of his impulses and urges every day.

[23:45:00] He doesn't have an ability to lead a party. He doesn't have an ability to lead a movement. These guys in congress don't trust in him, don't believe in him because Donald Trump is erratic. He is not mentally well. These guys have gone to meet with him come out and go oh, my lord, he doesn't know anything about this. They're on their own. He is constantly dragging other distraction into every legislative fight. This is not the guy who helping them in any way to pass an agenda and the fact of the matter is, again they represent their states. They do not work for Donald Trump. If you think they work for Donald Trump just because he --

FREDERICKS: I said they work for the American people, Rick.

WILSON: And the American people in the several states -- John, I'm sorry it seems like an art fact to you. These guys are supposed to represent the law -- these folks are supposed to represent their states and follow the constitution and Donald Trump doesn't have the sovereign power to tell congress. You will do this on this date. You will pass this bill on this date. I know it would be comfortable if you could get rid of all the pesky divided government and have a single unitary leader in the White House but that is not how it works.

FREDERICKS: This is turning into a -- I'm talking about the Republican Party --

WILSON: Master of arguments. I think you're incorrect.

FREDERICKS: These insults that you are slinging --

LEMON: All right John, I want you to respond to what he said but I have to take a break. So we will be right back.

FREDERICKS: We won, you lost.

LEMON: We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: All right back now with John Fredericks and Rick Wilson. So

John, Mitch McConnell is the latest in the string of people to find themselves in the hot seats and today the President was asked about Sessions and McMaster, both of whom have been taking fire in recent weeks. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How would you categorize your relationship with Attorney General Sessions? Have you guys spoken about your differences that you had in the past?

TRUMP: It is what it is. It's fine. He is working hard on the border. I'm very proud of what we've done on the border. Very proud of General Kelly what he is done on the border. One of the reasons he is my chief right is because he did such an outstanding job at the border.

[23:50:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you have full confidence in the National Security Adviser

TRUMP: Yes I do. General McMaster, absolutely, he is our friend, he is my friend and he is a very talented man and I like I am and I respect him.


LEMON: It is not a ringing endorsement of the Attorney General, John, what do you make of that?

FREDERICKS: Well, look, Jeff Sessions has been the intellectual leader of this movement for a very long time. I am happy they are talking and I hope it stays. As far as General McMaster concerned, there is a real issue here, because General McMaster has been the architects over -losing two wars along with General Petraeus who is a felon by the way, they have lost two wars and now he is advising the President, trying to get him to send in another 5,000 troops in Afghanistan.

We have no AUMF and I just want to make everybody aware, this President campaigned vigorously on getting us out of the Middle Eastern wars. We have no strategies in Afghanistan and no one has any idea of what the end game is. Petraeus just in an op-ed and said we are going to stay there perpetuity and here is the bottom line, our men and women and our sons and daughters coming home in body bags, without legs and limbs, we have no AUMF reauthorization and there is a lot of people that make a lot of money off of these wars. So I have a real problem with McMaster. There is an ideological battle going on the West Wing right now, Bannon is right.

LEMON: Go ahead Rick, because I see you shaking your head.

WILSON: Look I am going to say this bluntly, I have known McMaster since the Gulf War, known him a little bit over the years and the fact matter he is one of the most distinguished military leaders in this country. The White House, you should wake up every day as Americans with a sense of relief that there is a grown up in the White House who is purging the Banknotes and the Flynn spies and this crazy Alt- writers who are trying to ease their way to the National Security mechanism. The fact the matter is that if you don't have a Henry McMaster inside the White House and you don't have a Jim Mattis defense. We'll be in a situation where our country is demonstrably not safe and we'll be in a situation where our country is in the hands of people who should never have security clearances and much less of the NFC staff.

This is not a guy. Frankly, Petraeus, did he make a mistake? Absolutely he did. He owned up to it. But the fact the matter is he is -- honest to god, John, you are not with carrying a shine box. That is a guy who serves his country his entire life and has a distinguished military career. McMaster of this purge idea that you dream of that you are ending up with the alt right and the pro-Putin segment as our national security adviser, it is a great fantasy on your side. But I am sorry. I am hopeful to have John Kelly keeping him out of there and have McMaster continue to purge the rest of the minions there.

FREDERICKS: You know, Rick, you are the master of the crazy buzz word. You are the champion of the neo conservatives that keep on getting us toggle in to this --

WILSON: What's a neo conservative mean, John?

FREDERICKS: Warmongers that won't let us get out of the Middle East war.

WILSON: A warmonger.

FREDERICKS: Let me tell you, the President, he campaigned very enthusiastically and vigorously on getting us out of these Middle Eastern wars.

Right now we have General McMaster trying to send another 5,000 troops to Afghanistan. Can anybody tell me what the objective is? When we are getting out and we have been there for 17 years. He is trying to get--

WILSON: Come on.

FREDERICKS: They should get the hell out of there because there is no objective. These people have been fighting each other for 3,000 years. Let the Russians deal with it, let the Chinese deal with it, and let's get out.

LEMON: Rick, I got 20 seconds if you will.

WILSON: Listen, the security of this country depends on a whole variety of difficult choices all the time. The idea that you are just going to pop us out in the Middle East and pull us out of the Iraq tomorrow, great you had given the entire region to Iraq, good job, excellent plan, let's do that right away, really smart.

Anyway, we got a sure set of heads there. We should be grateful that we have McMaster and Kelly right now as defense.

FREDERICKS: That is all you want.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


[23:59:03] LEMON: New York City is often thought as a concrete jungle and for many families living in poverty, green spaces and affordable fresh food can be hard to come by. This week's CNN hero was volunteering on a school on Harland and was shocked to discover that many students could not properly identify vegetables and led alone incorporate them in to their diet. So, he planted the seed for solution. Meet Tony Hillary.


TONY HILLARY, CNN HEROES: Students come in here and they fell in love with the land. In a baffling city like the New York City, finding an oasis like this and you can go in, and everything seems to slow down. This is their dreams' safe place.

Look at that. It is not just growing the vegetables. It is growing the children.


LEMON: To find out how his urban farms or sowing seeds of hope. Go to, while you are there nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, that is it for us tonight, thanks for watching.