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Bannon Returns To Breitbart As Executive Chairman; Gingrich, Trump More Isolated Than He Realizes; President Trump Fires White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon; Representative Lee, President Trump Agenda is Un-American; Susan Bro Will Not Talk To Trump. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 18, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:04] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN the most trusted name in News.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Steve Bannon out tonight as President Trump's chief strategists, this is CNN tonight. I am Don Lemon, didn't take them long to find now jobs. Bannon back to the old job as executive chairman at Breitbart news and promising tonight more like threatening of course the opposition, whoever that may be in his mind. Bannon going so far as to say now I'm free, I've got my hands back on my weapons. I want to get to my panel, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, assistant editor at the Washington Post, political commentator Margaret Hoover, a former White House staff member for President Georg W. Bush, contributor, Michael D'Antonio the author of the Truth about Trump and legal commentator, Matthew Whitaker. Hello to everyone on the panel. David, you first, Bannon is fired. Fired at the end of a week where the President's terrible response to the events in Charlottesville backfired. Are we looking at an effort to change the narrative here you think?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don, I think the timing as others had said tonight, it's an effort to change the narrative. It was as good a time as any for the White House to sort of come up with another big story to move on from another big story. But I do think this is more symptomatic of what a bigger failure in this Trump White House, which is that they have found out six/seven months in that presidenting is hard. These are the guys who came to the White House saying they were smarter. They were going to overturn the apple cart, get rid of the establishment and do things for the American people.

And you were talk to our colleague. And he believes he can be more effective going back to running Breitbart and being an ally from the outside, which I'm sure is his approach, but what I read into that is it was too hard to actually govern and get things done. They haven't been able to do the basic blocking and tackling of what it takes to run the country. They didn't know what they were doing. They wound up essentially having to get rid of an entire staff and now you have someone like Bannon who is an interesting guy but he goes backing to Breitbart basically saying it's easier to be a bomb thrower than to actually try and run the country. LEMON: Margaret, I want to say high water -- low water mark for the

presidency this week and I'm going to paraphrase because Newt Gingrich saying things like his presidency is in jeopardy his ability to govern at least is in jeopardy this week after his reaction. What's your reaction?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I couldn't agree more with Newt Gingrich. This has been a week for many, many Republicans where there's been a real line in the sand that you either -- as the president's comments last Tuesday, as a Republican, I need to see every single Republican take a stand or going to be on the side of moral equivalency and not condemning real hate of our darkest crimes our politics or standing on the side of right and justice and the greatest principals of America, the declaration of independence.

That we have equal opportunity, that all individuals are created equal and condemning the really terrible things Trump said. That is what I need to see from every single Republican this week. This news about Bannon, I don't buy the rabble rousing that he is going to be worse outside the White House than inside the White House. He is going to retreat to an echo chamber and those people, who read it, are already believers. He has lost his ability outside the White House to be influential, to actually making a difference in policy. And frankly, in his tenure in the White House wasn't that effective in national policy anyway. He had a few high marks. The travel ban was a high mark for him, a low point for the country. The carnage, those terrible words also Bannon but beyond that, where is the wall? Where is the neo-isolationist foreign policy? Bannon has been a failure. It's good riddance. But it doesn't at all for bode good news for a Trump administration.

LEMON: I got to get the other panelists in, but real quickly. Doing it on a Friday, is this an attempt to change the terrible narrative of the week?

HOOVER: In the old world we used to do things on Friday so nobody noticed, but these days breaking news every five minutes, regardless whether it's Friday or not.

LEMON: I don't think these changes the narrative at all. I think it draws more intrigue as to why. So Matthew in an interview with the weekly standard, Steve Bannon is quoted as saying the Trump presidency we fought for and won is over. We still have a huge movement and we will make something of this Trump presidency but that presidency is over. It will be something else. There will be all kinds of fights, and there will be good days and bad days but that presidency is over. So the Trump presidency is over. That is string words, is this message to Bannon's populist supporter? Or is it a message to Trump, what is it?

[23:05:31] MATTHEW WHITAKER, LEGAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think it's a message to a lot of folks that supported Donald Trump and his new Republican agenda. Things like neo-isolationism, and more of a global populist message. Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania quite frankly and connected to those voters, I think Bannon is saying we're going back to sort of the establishment Republican White House that many of us know and some of us love that is kind of -- stays on message.

LEMON: It's a rallying cry. It's over and everyone's like no, we don't want it to be over and so they're going to try to pull it back into something else that they want. I mean Michael, do you agree with that? Because a comment like that won't go over well. I don't think with this president.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What I feel, Don is that we're seeing ever expanding circle of chaos and the first circle is inside of Donald Trump's head. So, the chaos starts there and it goes out into the oval office and the White House and into the country. So in this case we may have one less character to follow in this narrative, one less subplot, but he is going out into the world to distribute the chaos there, to encourage it in the media and in the streets.

The problem here I think is it's not really a base that is representative of an electoral majority. So the Republican Party is ill served by this and ultimately the country is ill served. The people who energized Trump's campaign may have been this Breitbart crowd but the voters who put him in included all of the Republican main stays. So the President, who seeks to govern, needs them as well.

LEMON: Go ahead.

SWERDLICK: I just wanted to jump in with a quick point, to go back to Matt for a second. He used the term neo-isolationism, which is a new one on me. But we invented this new nomenclature. The alt-right, on and on it goes. The one thing -- the one thing we're not seeing from any of these camps is conservatism. There is no Calvin Coolage, Berry Goldwater, conservatism going on in the establishment or Breitbart, alt-right, or whatever. This is just something totally new and divorced from whatever came before.

LEMON: Margaret, listen I want to put this picture up. I'll describe it to you. This is a picture of the President. By the way he was on the phone with Putin. This was back in January. Every one of these people around him is gone except for the Vice President. Priebus is gone, Spicer's gone, Bannon's gone, and Mike Pence is the only one who is still there. This picture tells a thousand words, doesn't it?

HOOVER: It's a White House that is finding its way slowly but surely and some people called it the (inaudible) of this White House.

LEMON: Margaret, these are the biggest jobs they have. These are the people who shaped the presidency and shaped the legislation and the message for this administration.

HOOVER: Yeah, but what we've learned is the only person changing anything is Donald Trump. First of all the majority of them weren't there anymore. And my co guests were just talking about where is the modern American conservative movement? That is Mike Pence. Health care didn't get through, tax reform is looking terrible. None of the legislation achievements that we have (inaudible) has happened. So all we've gotten is chaos in a west wing, no policy proposals. Or no policy victories passed with a unified party control in the senate and the House of Representatives. So, yeah, we've looked at probably the least successful eight months of a presidency, certainly in my lifetime, maybe in the last half of this -- second half of the 20th century. It's damming. It's very damming and incredibly disappointing. Not just for Republicans, but for all Americans.

LEMON: So much winning that I'm tired of winning. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.


[23:13:50] LEMON: President Trump and his new chief of staff John Kelly firing Steve Bannon from his key White House. Back now with my panel, I want to put this up, this is -- I want you to take a look at this. This is from the President's twitter page. He just change it today, these are the folks who are around the President. This is the header on his twitter page. These are his key advisors. What do you make of this David Swerdlick?

SWERDLICK: Well, a couple things. First in that picture the folks who are gone, all the folk whose have been driven out of the White House in the last couple of weeks are not in that picture. It's also not a super diverse picture. Mostly white men --

LEMON: Super diverse?


SWERDLICK: No, but look. Don, you don't -- clearly it's not diverse. But you don't have to have diversity to get things done. You should have diversity. Let me be clear about that. But if you're a President actually acting on behalf of the broadest possible constituency, if you would like Donald Trump said, even though it wasn't always taken as sincere that he wanted to represent everybody, and then you should be enacting an agenda for everybody. But what has become clear in the last six/seven months, we got a long way to go in this administration, but so far he is enacted an agenda that has catered to the smallest possible base, that core 35 percent of support that he is hanging on to and that is reflected in the fact that their influence is shrinking, people don't feel like they've had success.

[23:15:23] LEMON: Margaret does this help with this week?

HOOVER: No, it doesn't help but it is worth mentioning. I mean, look at this White House, this west wing. This is not a diverse group of individuals ethnically or in terms of their backgrounds. But this is also an administration that is advertised that they would be. They're not trying to grow the tents. This is not a version of the Republican Party like the part of the Party that I claimed the Party of Lincoln and wishes it was the Party of Lincoln. That is not who Donald Trump is. He is not who he is trying to be. I will say again that back drop Rex Tillerson today made some very interesting and very welcome comments about the need for the state department to reach out to represent the American populous in its work abroad to have new policies that will explicitly court African Americans for foreign service positions in the state departments and the state department abroad represents the diversity in the United States and that against a back drop of this conversation is starkly in contrast to the photo you just showed.

LEMON: Yes. He talked about civil rights today, which was encouraging. But Michael, earlier this week the President gave Bannon what people call a kiss of death like he has done so many times before. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Michael Flynn, General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he is been treated very, very unfairly by the media.

Also with us is a famous local resident, the pride of Kenosha. Reince Priebus, my chief of staff? Where is Reince? What good man. There he is.

Reince is good man. You know Sean Spicer. He is a wonderful human being. He is a nice man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he your press secretary today and tomorrow?

TRUMP: Well, he is doing a good job.


LEMON: And all of those good and wonderful people gone. He was assembling the best and smartest people to be in the White House. What's going on here?

D'ANTONIO: Well, the truth is, Don that he actually doesn't know that many people. This is why the line up in the photo that you just saw was so homogenous. Why he is struggled to fill his administration. He is not broad in his experience. When he praises you, it will be a very generic kind of praise. He is a very nice man, he is a wonderful person. You're in trouble when he says that he likes you like that, because you're going to be out of a job very soon. Because you and I are secure, because he doesn't like us very much and that means at least we'll hold on to our jobs.

LEMON: Matthew sources are telling CNN Jim Acosta that Sebastian Gorka is also on thin ice. With the way this week is going down, do you think he survives the weekend?

WHITAKER: He probably will and will look for a strategic time where they need to change the narrative and make it about the professor or Dr. Gorka. One thing on the Bannon situation, maybe one of the first 20/20 move for the re-elect, because what I saw Breitbart, when it was most effective, was in eliminating the 17 competitors and spreading news articles and the mention that they have the third most likes on Facebook, that is a very broad ability to get news out and negative headlines.

LEMON: Yeah. So listen, with Bannon out, Gorka reportedly on thin ice. The president is losing a lot of allies in this. I want you to take a listen. This is Newt Gingrich on Fox News earlier. Here it is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think he is in a position right now where he is much more isolated than he realizes. On the hill he has far more people willing to sit to one sited and not help him right now. And I think that he needs to recognize that he is taking a good first step with bringing in the General Kelly. But he needs to think about what has not worked. And you don't get down in the 35 percent range of approval and have people in your own Party shooting at you and conclude that everything's going fine.


LEMON: So you have people that are saying, Margaret, that inside the White House, it was devastating, Newt Gingrich's comments today. The comments that he made today, that one, a man on the island and the other one about his presidency or his ability to lead is in real jeopardy. What does he have to do to win over some allies to his administration?

[23:20:10] HOOVER: Listen, Newt is an ally. Let's be clear Newt Gingrich is an ally. He talks to the President from time to time. He also know very well and said when he really wants the President to hear him, he goes on Fox News. So Newt Gingrich is very clearly communicating to the president that great step with Kelly but you need to do more and by the way, Newt Gingrich would be happy to be of service in that effort. Let's take everything Newt says with a grain of salt. Wall Street journal had a great editorial today that said for all of the people who have real experience, who are patriots, who care about the country and serving the President in the west wing, despite the moral compromises and moral failings that Trump has demonstrated this week, those responsible individuals ought to continue to serve their country and mitigate the damage that Trump is doing to the country and potentially internationally. So people like Newt Gingrich, who do have real experience in leadership and legislative achievement and victories would be -- would help Trump, frankly, in this White House.

LEMON: I've got to run. Thank you all. I appreciate it, coming up, Steve Bannon threatening tonight that he is going to crush the opposition, now that he is back in charge of Breitbart news. That is next.


[23:25:19] LEMON: With Steve Bannon out of the White House and back in the media, does the White House have a new enemy or possibly an ally? Let us discuss now Kurt Bardella is a President of endeavor strategies and a former Breitbart spokesperson and Sarah Posner is a reporter for the investigative fund at the nation institute. Good evening to both of you. Kurt, you first, so here we are, Bannon's out of the White House, back at Breitbart, where senior editor at large Joe tweeted this simply #war and then a few hours later Steve Bannon to the Weekly Standard "now I'm free. I got my hand back on my weapons." someone said it's Bannon the barbarian. I'm definitely going to crush the opposition, there's no doubt. I built a machine at Breitbart and now I'm about to go back knowing what I know and we're going to rev that machine up and rev it up is what I'll do. What does that mean for his political enemies who are still inside the White House first?

KURT BARDELLA, MEDIA CONSULTANT FOR BREITBART NEWS: Take cover. They're subtle, if anything I guess. I think that for those remaining in the White House, the so-called west-wing Democrats, that Bannon's like to call Jared, Ivanka, Dina and Garry Cone, they're coming for him and I think it's going to be not really aimed at Donald Trump specifically but at the people around him. And I think that it also is going to extend to members of congress and the congressional leadership and House Speaker Paul Ryan and senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, other Senators like Jeff Flake, John McCain could come into fire. They are going to go --

LEMON: Do you think those people are really worried about Bannon and Breitbart? One of my last guests Margaret Hoover said, it is an echo chamber. He has already won those people who are already inside the administration and can't really do much damage to people in the White House who really have bigger influence than a website.

BARDELLA: I think the lever that will be interesting to watch is if they start steering away from Trump and Trump's numbers fall. Think about it, Trump can only fight so many fronts of a war. He has been fighting against what he would call the progressive left, the fake news media, and the establishments on the hill obstructing him, the Democrats in congress. Can he really add that conservative right to that list too and survive?

LEMON: All right. Good question. Sarah you interviewed Bannon at the Republican National Convention and you said he probably told you, we are the platform for the alt-right, white supremacy, neo-Nazi -- what is he going to do for them now.

SARAH POSNER, REPORTER, INVESTIGATIVE FUND AT THE NATION INSTITUTE: Well I think he was proud he provided a platform for the alt-right. I think there are many hard core people in the alt-right who would consider Breitbart what they call alt-light, not quite white supremacist enough for them. But he is going to continue to stir up a lot of these culture war kinds of issues. A war against the press, a war against what he likes to call globalists, not just in the White House but just more generally. He is going to create a lot of ugly scenes in the media, on social media and I think that the main effect of him leaving the White House perhaps won't be on the White House itself and how he might affect Trump or the people within the White House, but how he is going to affect conservatism in general and our politics in general and the media coverage.

So I think he is going to put the Republican Party to a test. They've been reluctant to distance themselves from Trump, to really directly condemn Trump over many things but most recently his reaction to Charlottesville and I think he is really going to put them to the test. Do they want the alt-right to be the mouth of the Republican Party or do they want movement conservatism as we've known it for the last 30 or so years to be the Republican Party?

LEMON: So where might this go with the culture wars? What we are seeing happening in Charlottesville, the statues and all that, Kurt? What about the culture wars?

BARDELLA: I think we're going to have a very interesting situation coming up as some of these protests are going to continue going on, perhaps this week in Boston. I think the thing to watch for is how Donald Trump responds to that especially after the blowback that he got with his pathetic response to Charlottesville. If he calibrates it all and gives what people would Judge an acceptable response, will Breitbart and Bannon hit him for moving in the middle, that what they call it, for surrendering, for giving into the west wing Democrats and the establishment media? If Trump starts changing his rhetoric and the speed in which he responds to some of these incidents, I expect Breitbart and Bannon to come down hard on Donald Trump.

LEMON: You are agreeing with that Sarah?

POSNER: Yes. And I would, just to tie in another segment you had with Pastor Bernard. One thing to keep in mind is that Bannon definitely see as coalition with the Christian right as a very important key to his movement. He told me that in that interview at the Republican convention. He said without conservative evangelicals and Conservative Catholics, we won't have a big enough movement to push back what he calls the progressive left.

I think he is going to continue to try to do that to cater to the sort of reaction that a lot of the white members of Trump's evangelical counsel have had. They've rallied around him in the wake of the Charlottesville comments. They've said they're proud of him and they sort of project this well, it's just the media or political correctness that is demanding more of him and we're still behind him and we're still supporting him. And I would expect that alliance or that coalition to harden, particularly if Trump is pressured to say something decent.

LEMON: You mean away from him? Evangelicals will move away from him?

POSNER: No, I think they will harden in support of him if he keeps with the same sorts of comments he made after Charlottesville. If he caves on the, you know to the political correctness in the view of the Breitbart world, Breitbart, like Kurt said, I think would go after him. I think the evangelicals perhaps would be a little bit more forgiving of that sort of change.

LEMON: Wouldn't you think it would be opposite for the evangelicals who would (inaudible) the president who denounces his racism and hate, I mean --

POSNER: You would hope so but that hasn't been the case.

LEMON: Because -- Bernard was the only evangelical who has spoken out against the President. He said I don't want to beat the President up, but he didn't see a moral compass there. It's interesting not really a word from evangelicals.

BARDELLA: Maybe they should have abandoned him when he made those access Hollywood comments during the campaign. LEMON: It is mind boggling how that has not happened when you think

of the Christian right and you think of what the bible teaches it's the exact opposite of what the President said.

BARDELLA: Hypocrite.

POSNER: They see him as a strong leader who's going to carry out their political agenda and they will say God pick imperfect men to fulfill his purposes and so they make these kinds of excuses for him.

BARDELLA: -- Obama was in office.

POSNER: Right. Robert just tweeted just earlier tonight, well, one of the main evangelical supporters of Trump tweeted that -- now I can't remember the words. But he was again supportive of Trump and what he had said post Charlottesville.

LEMON: There's something in there about drinking the Kool-aide but I'll leave it at that. Thank you all.

POSNER: Thanks Don.


LEMON: Straight ahead the debate of the removal or not of the confederate statues. Some of which stand inside a U.S. Capitol building, for one Congresswoman is personal, we will see why, next.


[23:37:28] LEMON: Some in congress were calling for Steve Bannon's removal long before his firing today. Joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California. Congresswoman Lee, thank you so much for joining us, you have been calling for Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to be removed from the White House. So, what do you make of today, is this enough?

REP BARBARA LEE, (D) CALIFORNIA: No, it's not enough. First, President Trump should not have hired him to be the chief strategist. Also there's Sebastian Gorka, Steven Miller, there are many in the White House that reflect this alt-right white supremacy neo-Nazi agenda. What's important is that the policy agenda of these individuals, which is we've seen being so prominent in this Trump administration, that is the important part that we have to make sure is dismantled and destroyed. You know the removal of Steve Bannon, yes. First good step, but when you look at voter's oppression, when you look at a tax on inclusion and diversity for African American and young students of color, when you look at the immigrant ban, the Muslim ban, the deportation ICE raids, when you look at the transgender issue rolling back, not allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military, when you look at these very horrible backwards policies, t res individuals reflect the Trump agenda and that is what has to be stopped so we can move forward and create good paying jobs and address racism, white supremacy, bigotry and neo- Nazism in our country. LEMON: You mentioned Sebastian Gorka, you mentioned Steven Miller.

You want them to be removed from the White House as well. How would they make a difference to the president today?

LEE: Absolutely. Well, the President's agenda is an agenda, first of all that he has embraced. But he is got advisors who really advise him on certain policies. These individuals are advising him on counterterrorism, domestic policy and when you look at this Trump agenda, you know it reflects their views and this very un-American agenda and that is why we just have to address the individuals, first all of. But this is about the Trump administration and who he is and what he believes. He never would have hired these people and put them in such strategic spots?

LEMON: Let me ask you this. Some people say this is going to be to cover your rear moment. But according to CNN's reporting, this was in the works two weeks ago. This was before Charlotte. So he is not firing him or getting rid of him because of his racist attitudes or because he gave him some, you know a bad spin on Charlottesville. This has nothing to do with Charlottesville.

[23:40:22] LEE: He should have never hired Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon comes from the right-wing neo-Nazi racist Breitbart news. Ok. He should have never hired individuals who reflect this agenda. And so whether he fired him or whether Steve Bannon resigned today, I think what is important is that we recognize this agenda that is being promulgated and put together at the White House with Donald Trump as the head of this very un-American agenda and I think that is what we have to focus on so we can move forward.

LEMON: How should the President respond? Should we take another crack at trying to explain what he meant about Charlottesville?

LEE: People know what he meant. Remember Maya Angelou's quote?

LEMON: Tell you who they are -- yeah.

LEE: And so please. We know who Donald Trump is. I mean remember he campaigned based on the birther movement. He is the head of the birther movement. He started the effort to try to delegitimize our first African American President. And ran on an agenda on a platform we see being executed by his staff at the White House and some federal agencies. We know who he is and what he needs to do is you know help us move forward to address systemic racism, condemn the alt-right agenda, condemn the white supremacists and their agenda.

LEMON: Do you have any hope that if Bannon is gone and Steve Miller is gone, that you may be able to work with the President or have you given up hope, that this is his own beliefs.

LEE: This President has believes that I cannot accept when you look at what he has done and said. The denigration of women, immigrants, how he has just demonized immigrants, his Muslim ban --

LEMON: Do you think by removing these people you can work with him or do you think it's a fate complete? LEE: This president hasn't shown me that he is going to support equal

opportunity for all Americans. He hasn't shown me, he has to be the one to show me he is going to stop this whole effort of voter suppression and he has to be the one to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions stop rolling the clock back on criminal justice. And he has to show he believes this is an America for all Americans, I don't see that happening and so --

LEMON: Not to step on you, I just have a short time with you. But I don't get to have you on often so I want as many questions and answer as we can. We have been talking about confederate statues and monuments, you tweeted this, and you said serving in congress I walked past a dozen statues of men who wanted to keep my ancestors in chains. Think about that. So you grew up in a segregated south. Explain what you see and feel when you walk by these monuments.

LEE: I feel pain, I feel anger, and I feel suffering. I feel disappointment that our country has not -- is lifting up these individuals who were really individuals who wanted to keep African Americans in slavery and chains and who were bigoted, who were racist and they were not patriots. They were -- they committed acts of treason if you ask me and we still feel the pain of bigotry and racism in our country.

What do African American and other children think when they see these statues? And so I'm really pleased to work with Senator Booker. We will be in September introducing a house legislation called a house bill, calling for the removal of these statues in the U.S. Capitol and Senator Booker is working on the senate bill and we're going to ask everyone to come together to finally, once and for all say that these individuals should not be in public spaces where children and where African Americans and where people who feel this pain each and every day have to really feel it every time they walk through capital and see it and it's despicable and they need to go.

LEMON: What would you like the see your Republican colleagues doing right now, Congresswoman?

LEE: They need join us, first in saying that the agenda of the alt- right movement, white supremacist, neo-Nazis is not an agenda they embraced and work with us on an agenda that addresses systemic and institutional racism. Work with us in bringing up the voting rights act, work with us to get rid of this bogus voter whatever the President has in terms of his voter suppression efforts. They need work with us to create good paying jobs for everyone, work force training. Help us with our education, public education. Stop mounting efforts to privatize our public schools.

[23:45:23] I'm on the appropriations committee, Don. I see this each and every day in terms of the budget cuts and how they're severely impacting African Americans, people of color and low income individuals. They need to work with us to create an America that everyone really can uphold as their America. But when you look at a legislation-based support, they're giving tacit endorsement often times to this agenda that is totally unacceptable. And I think it is unacceptable to the country. LEMON: I think we got it all in, in the time allotted. I pushed you

a long a little bit so I thank you for your patience and thank you for coming on Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Thank you so much.

LEE: Glad to be with you, Don.

LEMON: And coming up Susan Bro, Heather Heyer's mother speaks out on Donald Trump and her reaction to her daughter's death.


[23:50:00] LEMON: The worst week of Donald Trump's seven months in the White House coming to an end. Joining me now, CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley the author of Rightful heritage, Franklyn Roosevelt and the land of America and Jarrett Stepman the contributor to the Daily Signal, so good to have all of you on. Thank you so much, Douglas I am going to start with you, Susan Bro, who is Heather Heyer's mother, Heather is killed in the Charlottesville protest last weekend, her mom is on "Good morning America" today and this was what she said when she was asked if she had heard from the president. Listen to this.


SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: I have not and now I will not. At first I just missed his calls. The first call looked like it came during the funeral. I did not see that message. There were three more messages from press secretaries throughout the day. I was home recovering from the exhaustion of the funeral and I thought well, I will get to them later and I had more meetings to establish her foundation. I have not really watch the news until last night and I am not talking to the President now. I am sorry after what he said about my child. It is not that I saw somebody else's tweet about him. I saw an actual clip of him on a press conference equating to protesters and like Ms. Heyer with the KKK and white supremacist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there something that you would like to say to the President?

BRO: Think before you speak.


LEMON: What do you think Douglas?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: What a great advice. Donald Trump needs to stop speaking so often. I mean he needed to make that phone call to her after the tragedy. The imperative was on him, to reach her. He missed the window. She has now realized he gave this sort of equal billing, equal condemnation of both peaceful protesters and the neo-Nazis that were there, so mother has the right, I feel to not want to talk to the president of the United States. It is sad, when President Obama was President he went to all the school killings and hug and gave consoled the family. Donald Trump seems to be dark hearted when it comes to this and he is more interested of rushing to the mic and making his political points than worrying about the pain in Charlottesville. He still has not talked to the mayor of the city yet. The mayor is asking him to call him and Donald Trump is not.

LEMON: His initial statement that he wanted to wait for all of the facts, but wrong. Jarrett, the protest started over a confederate monument. At least that is what organizers have said. That was the original plan when they filed to get the permit to march.

Do you think this is a strategic move by the President to play to his base and to cover up and distract from what's happening this week.

JARRETT STEPMAN, CONTRIBUTOR TO THE DAILY SIGNAL: Honestly, Don I think that this move by the white nationalist groups, the Nazi, it is frankly outside from the purview of the President. I don't think that President Trump gym up this particular protest which these groups that are so outside the mainstream of American politics. They really are extremist groups. I don't think the President, specifically to chin up support. I think these groups frankly get so little support from this country. Certainly, I was there this weekend and I think the general feeling is these groups do not represent the community there or the American people at large.

LEMON: What do you think should happen, Jarrett with these confederate statues?

STEPMAN: I think it is a complex debate. Groups like the one that showed up this weekend in Charlottesville. I don't think they represent the general opinions of the American people. The issue over the monuments is a larger one than, of course, the white nationals wanting to drag in a racial debate. That is a nasty and ugly thing. That is a horrible thing for this country. There was a larger debate over monuments and over the widespread attack, against American historical preservation in this country. That is a larger debate that I think a lot more reasonable Americans have a right to have. I don't think these extremist groups have the right to take these reasonable debates away from Americans and I certainly don't think that mob should be destroying and going after monuments. I think Abraham Lincoln straightly said, he warned of the danger of mob rule and attacking monuments, I think that we have seen in the wake of this thing is absolutely a wrong thing to do.

[23:55:10] LEMON: All right Doug, as a presidential historian, can you put this debate into some perspective of the final moments that we have here.

BRINKLEY: Well, I agree of what happened in Durham ripping down these statues where these have to go. Cory booker is onto something and the time to come to get rid of confederate statues out of the U.S. Capitol. I'm sitting here in Austin, Texas the capitol is just across from me and in the Capitol is a plaque, that has a confederate creed put up in 1959 that says, I am going to read it, one of the most important laws in history, the war between the states was not a rebellion nor was it underlying the cause of sustained slavery a plaque right now where slavery is not part of the civil war right next to an African-American senator's office. It is a giant memorial in the Texas capitol. Those things have to go. That came up in 1959. It is the Jim Crow plaque that put up because the south did not like the brown decision.

LEMON: Totally writing history.

BRINKLEY: Totally writing history, it is called the creed of the children of the confederacy and school kids come and look at that garbage.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.