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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Expected To End DACA Program; South Korean Navy Holds Live Fire Drill In The Waters; Hurricane Irma Strengthens To A Category Four Storm. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired September 4, 2017 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is a naked appeal to his base, is that what it is?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: He is doubling down -- in so many ways President Trump has been doubling down on his base rather than doing what Presidents normally do, which is to build bridges, to try to build that base. And in each case, he is doubling down in ways that I think are really damaging to his own popularity but also to the country as a whole. And at enormous cost to these young dreamers.

LEMON: Appreciate your time.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you.

LEMON: Good to be with you, thank you.

This is CNN breaking news.

LEMON: Here's the breaking news at the top of the hour. South Korea's navy conducting a major live fire drill in the waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula. It's a show of force in response to North Korea's massive nuclear test. This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon, thank you so much for joining us. The official in Seoul reporting signs of Pyongyang may be preparing to test yet another intercontinental ballistic missile. Also ahead more breaking news. Hurricane Irma strengthens into a powerful category 4 storm out in the Atlantic. Florida and Puerto Rico each declare a state of emergency. We're going to take a look at Irma's expected track. I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. But we begin this hour, the hour ahead with reactions in North Korea's massive nuclear test. Here's CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This live fire exercise by South Korean forces, a direct military response to the north's largest nuclear test. Army and air forces simulating an attack on North Korea's nuclear test site. Even as North Korean state media said new threats to the U.S. including Guam, one editorial saying every time the U.S. goes crazy talking about sanctions and war our will of vengeance will become hundred and thousand times stronger. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley very much in the hardline mode back at Kim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants. We don't want it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Intentions pushing defense secretary James Mattis to exactly where he never wants to be -- center stage at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY GENERAL: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: But are there credible military options without thousands of casualties?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER NSA DIRECTOR: But I think Secretary Mattis was doing was simply trying to convince the north that we have this option, and they cannot be certain we would never use it under certain circumstances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: It may be the most critical decision ever for Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE WARREN, MILITARY ANALYST, CNN: How much of a price we are willing to pay? How much we are willing to bleed to accomplish our objectives. This is a decision not for military members. This is a decision for elected political leaders to make. And they always have to weigh the cost versus the benefit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Short of U.S. attack, the Pentagon could send an aircraft carrier off shore, the "Ronald Reagan" is nearby. More bombers could be sent. South Korea and Japan both upping their missile defenses in cooperation with the U.S., but there is no indication Kim Jong-un is listening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANG KYOUNG-SOO, ACTING DEPUTY MINISTER, SOUTH KOREAN DEFENSE POLICY (TRANSLATOR): We predict that North Korea could fire an intercontinental ballistic missile to show they've obtained the means of delivering a nuclear bomb to the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Some U.S. Military assets could move closer to the Korean peninsula in the coming days. Nothing has been announced yet. But the bottom line is would any of this change Kim Jong-un's mind about proceeding with his weapons program? The betting money is it won't. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEO)

LEMON: Barbara thank you very much, I want to bring in CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, Colonel Steve Warren and Colonel Cedrick Leighton. Gentlemen good evening, thank you so much for joining us. Colonel Warren, the situation appears to be escalating. How close is the U.S. to some sort of military action with North Korea, if any?

WARREN: Well, I think you have to remember that the U.S. Military is prepared to fight at any moment. In Korea they have a saying, it's been there since I patrolled in Korea, it's -- ready to fight tonight. So the U.S. Military remains ready. Whether or not that decision is about to be made, I don't think it's quite there yet, but we are always going to remain ready.

[23:05:00]LEMON: General Hurtling, to you now, South Korea's defense minister says he was willing to review a plan of deployment of American tactical nuclear weapons to the Korean peninsula. What do you think about that?

MARK HERTLING, RETIRED ARMY FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL: It's an interesting dynamic. It's another factor. We've given up nuclear weapons on the peninsula decades ago, Don. Just bringing up the topic is probably part informational to show North Korea that we're thinking about it. I don't think personally that that is going to happen any time soon. There's no need to have them on the peninsula itself if we want to deliver nuclear weapons they can be delivered in other ways.

LEMON: Let's talk about this hydrogen bomb Colonel Leighton that North Korea tested. The most powerful test to date, more powerful than the nuclear bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan in World War II. How does this change the dynamic here?

COL CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), MILITARY ANALYST, CNN: The big change is that it shows that North Korea is not only serious about its nuclear program it's got something in terms of actual material that can be used. We don't know exactly if it's a hydrogen bomb but the betting is it could very well be. It looks similar to a U.S. model that is called the w-80 that was used as far back as the '60s. There are certain similarities that we already have in the U.S. arsenal. It leads one to potentially look at it as, yes, this is a big game changer and the way we interact with the North Koreans and heightened tensions further along on the Korean peninsula and East Asia.

LEMON: General Hertling, I'm sensing you want to add to that. HERTLING: What's fascinating is the fact that we're watching all of

this occur and it's something I heard you talk to some of your guests earlier tonight. They were all talking about the bluster of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the things he said in the statements today. For those who have served on the peninsula, we're used to that. That is always gone on not only with Kim Jong-un but his father and grandfather before that. What's different this time is now there's a little bit of bluster on both sides. Secretary Mattis' address, as Steve mentioned a minute ago, was terrific because it was very precise and succinct on what we would do if the North Koreans launched anything toward either our allies or our friends in the area or our own territory. So that was a warning. But all the other things, you've also asked your guests about, do you think this is going to increase the potential for war? In the past anyone that served there would say, no, this is just the yearly bluster by the grand leader in the north. But this year because there's bluster on both sides, I was doing a little re-reading today, Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August," whenever you have people doing things like this on both sides, it could bring about unintended consequences. That is what concerns me.

LEMON: That is very concerning to many people. Colonel Warren, what is the China factor here? Because President Trump tweeted this. The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea. He is taking aim at China there. What's our next move and will threats like this work?

WARREN: He is certainly taking aim at China. I think there's this idea that somehow China has their finger on the North Korea switch and that we only pressure China enough they'll flip the switch and the North Koreans will behave. I don't believe that is the case. I think the Chinese certainly have some influence on the North Koreans, but I don't think the North Koreans are simply going to roll over and do anything the Chinese ask. Furthermore, I'm not convinced the Chinese feel that it's in their interests to help us with this North Korea problem. I think the Chinese like a buffer state there in North Korea, and I think they're satisfied to let it kind of continue to boil along despite perhaps what we heard in the U.N. today.

LEMON: Speaking of the -- go ahead, colonel.

HERTLING: Don, one thing I'd add is the timing is terrible on this right now because China is undergoing an election season. Mr. Xi gets elected again, probably I think the date is the 18th or the 19th of October. So there's about another six weeks where he is focused on internal politics in China. He is not all that focused on what the United States wants him to do with regard to North Korea.

WARREN: Let's not forget. The U.S./China relationship is large and it's complicated. With the Chinese and the U.S. have interests in the South China Sea and there's interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Africa, and all of these different -- you know, the weegers and counterterrorism. So there's such a large and complex relationship that to kind of shed light on only one piece of that relationship will be a little misleading. [23:10:00] LEMON: Colonel Leighton, speaking of unintended

consequences General Hertling mentioned or I think everyone has talked about that or at least mentioned it, it wasn't this long ago that we heard this from the current President of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more 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 state, and as I said, they will be met with fire fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Colonel, that didn't stop anything, did it?

LEIGHTON: Not at all, Don. The real problem with that is it should have actually been used in a situation where the North Koreans have actually done something where they've attacked something and, god forbid, caused the loss of life somewhere. This is the kind of behavior and the kind of rhetoric that really escalates things needlessly. When President Trump did this, he set in motion a kind of scenario that could result in the types of miscalculations as General Hertling mentioned, that were prevalent during the start of World War I with the Guns of August and other conflicts. War is a series of potential miscalculations. If you start doing things like this, then you risk getting things to a state where they careen out of control. When that happens, nobody knows where the train will go.

LEMON: Colonel, should the U.S. accept North Korea as a nuclear power?

HERTLING: That I think is one of the most difficult questions. The de facto answer is they are at least a nuclear state, whether or not they're a nuclear power that really depends on their ability to actually deliver a missile to an intended target. They may not be there yet. I think it would be too early to say they should be admitted to the de facto club of nuclear nations. That is a real serious step. It, of course, would be a very -- basically a loss of -- would mean a loss of face for the United States. It would be a dangerous precedent in many ways for us if we allowed them into that club, but we may not have a choice in the long run.

LEMON: Colonel Warren, same question.

WARREN: Yeah, I think this is a nuclear nation. They have nuclear weapons. They have some capability to deliver those weapons either short range or medium range, eventually long range. What we have to focus on is putting away these sort of pipe dreams of denuclearizing the peninsula. That toothpaste won't go back into the tube. It's time to look at what can we do to contain this threat.

LEMON: I'll ask you the same question. But it is still with this, is it still possible to negotiate? HERTLING: Well, I think it's always possible to negotiate, Don. The

answer to your question is should we accept them? Yes, because they are one. Are they a rogue nuclear nation? Are they a pariah? Yes, they are. The negotiations should focus on how do we control and make sure they don't do anything stupid with these nuclear weapons. We've seen this occur in other states. There's no governing body across the world that says a nation can or cannot be a nuclear state. It's what they do with the nuclear weapons that we try to bring the governments into the fold. In this case you have an autocratic dictator who is a little bit of a rogue and it becomes almost a terrorist nation in that regard. That requires negotiation and a whole lot of diplomacy.

LEMON: General Hertling, Colonel Warren and Leighton, thank you so much. And thank you for your service. I appreciate your time.

WARREN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, the President expected to announce he'll end President Obama's immigration program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came here as children from being deported. We'll go behind his decision next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:17:41] LEMON: Sources telling CNN that President Trump is expected to announce, possibly tomorrow, that he is ending the immigration program known as DACA, which stands for deferred action for childhood arrivals. It protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children from deportation. The President delayed taking action for six months thereby giving congress time to come up with a fix. Let's talk about this and what's going to happen. CNN Political Contributor Maria Cardona is here, a syndicated talk radio host John Fredericks a former coach of the Trump campaign in Virginia. So glad to have both of you come on especially on this holiday to inform our viewers. Maria you first, if the President rescinds DACA, what will it mean for the immigrant community and their children who are undocumented but have been here since childhood?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it would mean yet another big slap in the face by this President who really does not understand what the immigrant community and immigrants have contributed to this country. I think it would be a heartless act and an unnecessary act. If he really wants to urge congress to get a legislative solution, which is really what we need at the end of the day to fix this once and for all, then he should do it by his own will and by trying to convince his own Republicans and congress to do what's right and do what is sensible.

This is something that the majority of the American people including Republicans, including Trump voters agree with, to give these kids a pathway to citizenship, to give these kids the opportunity to live out the American dream in a country that they know, that they love and they don't know no other country. They're as American as you and I Don.

LEMON: John, you don't think it's a good idea. You think it's a good idea to get rid of it.

JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: Of course, Don. We have a rule of law in this country. If you have no laws, you have no country. When the President -- when Obama did this originally, he acted in an unconstitutional manner against the laws of the United States, Don, and he admitted that several times. So Trump has no choice.

LEMON: You mean -- you're talking about executive order?

FREDERICKS: When Obama made the executive order that was an unconstitutional order that he said five prior times he couldn't do. Put that aside. That is already done. Here's the bottom line. This President campaign on getting rid of DACA for 18 months. Elections have consequences. It amazes me, Don, it amazes me whenever this President follows through on a promise, and the elites in Washington and the establishment Republicans are shocked. You know why? Because they don't follow through on anything. These Republicans who are going to back amnesty, here's what they do. They go back to their constituencies, they tell them one thing, then they go to Washington and they do the exact opposite. They go home and they lie, then they go to Washington and they do whatever Wall Street says, the chamber of commerce says and their donors say. This is -- you have to fix the rule of law, Don.

LEMON: Let me ask you this. You're saying that the former President, the executive order was unconstitutional. So all the executive orders that this President has signed, are they unconstitutional?

FREDERICKS: Don't confuse the issue, Don. We're talking about --

LEMON: But you're saying it was unconstitutional, an executive order and this White House says that its biggest accomplishments have been executive orders. I'm just asking you are they unconstitutional as well?

FREDERICKS: None of the President's executive orders have been declared unconstitutional by the President. President Obama said they were unconstitutional before he even executed it. That is the problem.

CARDONA: That is not true.

FREDERICKS: But the bottom line is -- look, we allow 4 million legal immigrants in the country annually to take jobs away from Americans. 4 million! Through green cards, work visas, student visas and et cetera.

LEMON: This doesn't really bear out that people are taking -- no, it doesn't. The facts don't bear that out.

FREDERICKS: Don, wages have been stagnant in this country for middle and low income workers for three decades.

LEMON: That has nothing do with immigrants.

CARDONA: Yeah.

FREDERICKS: Rich get richer, wealthy get wealthier.

LEMON: You're making the immigrants boogie --

FREDERICKS: They are the boogiemen. Don its economic reality that the liberals don't want to acknowledge.

LEMON: I'm just giving you the facts. The facts don't bear that out. That is a great talking point for conservative radio.

FREDERICKS: Growing --

CARDONA: If I could jump in here because I really have no idea what John is talking about because he is using zero facts as per usual for somebody that wants to argue that immigrants should not be welcome in this country.

FREDERICKS: That is not what I said.

CARDONA: Our economy depends on --

FREDERICKS: He did say they should follow the law.

FREDERICKS: They should follow the law.

CARDONA: My point is -- my point is --

FREDERICKS: Cheap labor.

CARDONA: My point is about DACA, these dreamers, if we get rid of DACA completely, then our economy is going to lose $4.65 billion in the next -- $465 billion in the next ten years. These are kids who contribute greatly to this economy. Immigrants contribute greatly to this country, undocumented immigrants contribute greatly to this country and that is something that people like John and other Republicans who don't want to see immigration grow in this country don't understand that we're a country whose economy depends on immigrants, documented, yet and now undocumented. I agree that we are a country of laws, but guess what? The rule of law does not exist in a vacuum. It exists to make sure that they serve people's lives. And immigration laws no longer serve the way that we have our economy set up. So we need to change those laws.

LEMON: John, listen to what the President has said about dreamers in the past. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody. Some absolutely incredible kids. I would say mostly. They were brought here in such a way -- it's a very, very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart. We love the dreamers. We love everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So John, President Trump's saying this is all political that

he is trying to please the base and pass the buck and not take responsibility for a decision that will affect millions and many say is cruel. Is there truth to that and is that Presidential leadership on a tough issue?

FREDERICKS: Well, look, I think you heard what the President said. This isn't an easy decision for him to make. But we do have laws in this country that have to be followed. But look, I've got a big heart also. And that is for American workers whose wages have been stagnant for 30 years. These are the facts. You just can't make up stuff like that.

[23:25:11] CARDONA: But that is not the fault of these dreamers.

FREDERICKS: In mail, the mail African-American community between 18 and 25 is higher than ever. Why? Jobs are going away. Jobs get shipped over. And there's the factor of --

LEMON: John, hold on.

CARDONA: But that is not --

LEMON: Maria and John, listen. Again, that is a talking point. The facts don't bear this out. You know why jobs are going away?

FREDERICKS: Sure, Don.

LEMON: Automation. People need to be retrained. Technology. That is why jobs are going away. They're not going away because undocumented children come over or dreamers come over and stay. In many ways dreamers add to the economy. They go on and become successful citizens. There's less crime among people who were dreamers.

FREDERICKS: Then come here legally, Don. Follow the law.

LEMON: That is understandable. But don't give the talking point that they're taking jobs.

FREDERICKS: That is not a talking point. It's the facts.

CARDONA: No, it's not.

LEMON: It just simply is not.

FREDERICKS: Workers gone up in the United States in the past --

LEMON: That is true but it has nothing to do with dreamers. You are conflating two different issues.

FREDERICKS: No, I'm not.

CARDONA: You say -- follow the law. You say follow the law, but these dreamers came here through no fault of their own. Some of them had no idea that they had no status until they graduated from high school. In of them are summa cum lauds in their high school classes. Many of them bled and have died in our military. We had one who died this past weekend trying to save people in Houston. And this is the way that we treat them? We are better than this as a country. This is a country that values this kind of work ethic, and we should show it.

LEMON: I've got to go.

FREDERICKS: So Maria, you basically, you basically want to make up your own laws, right? If you agree with the law --

CARDONA: No. I want congress to change the law.

FREDERICKS: -- Scrap it --

CARDONA: To serve what the situation is today.

FREDERICKS: He is given them six months to do that. Let's see what they do.

CARDONA: Let's see what they do. Republicans haven't been able to do it in the past.

LEMON: Thank you, John. I appreciate it.

CARDONA: Thanks Don.

LEMON: We'll speak to one of the dreamers whose life could be drastically affected by the removal of DACA. A man who was brought here at the age of 2. He is going to join me, we are going to discuss what is next for him and what he is worried about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:31:27] LEMON: As we've been talking about President Trump is expected to end the DACA program that protects young undocumented immigrants who came in United States for being deported. Most don't even know of a life outside the United States. Enrique Ramirez is a DACA recipient perhaps more commonly known as a dreamer. Enrique, thank you for joining us. You heard the conversation before. What did you think about the dreamers somehow are taking the jobs of Americans and are causing wages to be stagnant? Do you agree with that?

ENRIQUE RAMIREZ, DACA RECIPIENTS: I don't agree with that at all. I didn't agree with a lot of the points I heard. I especially liked the point you made that we didn't -- a lot of dreamers, including me, didn't make the choice to come here. You said I was 2 when I came to the U.S. I don't remember anything about Mexico or the place I was born. The only country I know is the United States, and I've lived in -- I grew up in Houston. My parents thought that schooling was important. Since I've been here I've tried my best. I graduated at the top of my high school. I just graduated from Harvard. All these schools have invested so much money in me. When I hear that DACA is going to end, from an objective standpoint it sounds like a bad call, because I won't be able to give back to my community. I won't be able to give back some of the investment that is been placed in me now by Texas. Now I just started my first year at the University of Texas School of law. And if DACA goes away, I won't be able to become a lawyer. I won't be able to practice. I won't be able to put to use all these degrees I've had.

LEMON: How do you respond to when someone says you should do it legally, the fact is that your parents or your guardian, whoever, brought you here, broke the law and someone has to suffer the consequence of breaking the law, that there are laws in place. How do you respond to that?

RAMIREZ: I think I would first make a distinction between the decision my parents made and the decision I had. I had no decision. Like you said earlier, I don't know -- Mexico is not a country that is known to me. I'd respond with please, let me know how I can follow the law. I'm more than willing to comply. I'm a huge patriot. I want to comply. I'm even studying the law and trying to figure out how best to be a citizen even since I was young. I'm an eagle scout. My brother and I who is also undocumented was heavily involved in the boy scouts. If there's any country we love and we love to follow its laws is the United States. The only country we know.

LEMON: I want to play something Enrique. This is something from interviewed before he was President, Donald Trump did back in 2012. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: As an example you have people in this country for 20 years. They've done a great job. They've done wonderfully. They've gone to school. They've gotten good marks. They're productive. Now we're supposed to send them out of the country? I don't believe in that, Michelle. And you understand that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Basically he is describing you. So what goes through your head when you hear him say that?

RAMIREZ: I believe him. The night of the election I remember where I was. I was with a group of undocumented students at Harvard. I was one of the few who was skeptical about whether Trump would follow his plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. I heard this.

[23:35:00] I thought he really meant that he had a soft spot for dreamers like me and the other Harvard students that I was in the room with. And now I'm losing that hope because of the announcements he is come to make. I don't know and he is known to be unpredictable. I guess those are also words that he said to get some kind of support, and there was no intention or, you know, a follow-through on that.

LEMON: You said that you're losing hope. How are you -- is there a sense of fear among dreamers now of what the President might do?

RAMIREZ: For the past five years that I've had DACA, I've had the ability to get jobs and apply to fellowships and even study abroad and participate in all kinds of programs, I was able to lose the fear of being deported that I lived with before having DACA. And this last week I held orientation my first week of law school, I started having realizations that that fear is going to have to set in again. It hasn't been nice at all. I'm also from Houston. And my family home experienced a lot of flooding and everything. It's been a lot. That is one thing that really stuck out with me this week is that every time I drive, my license will expire once I'm not able to apply to DACA anymore. Every time I want to drive my mom to a doctor's appointment or any sister to church or anything, I'll have to be conscious that one mistake, I roll a stop sign or one infraction could send me back to a country I don't know and I could lose, you know, everything I've worked for so far.

LEMON: What do you say to the President right now if he is watching?

RAMIREZ: I would tell him to not discontinue DACA, please. It's changed my life. It's changed the life of my siblings. It's changed the life of so many hard working undocumented students who just want to get back and who don't know any other country, are deeply patriotic. We all want to make this a better place.

LEMON: Thank you. Enrique Ramirez, we appreciate your time.

RAMIREZ: No, thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

LEMON: When we come back, the President has three major crises on his plate tonight. His decision to end DACA, threats from North Korea, major damage from hurricane Harvey. How is he dealing with all these issues? We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:41:18] LEMON: The damage from hurricane Harvey and the North Korean threat and now questions surrounding the fate of DACA, President Trump has his hands full. I want to discuss this now with CNN political commentator Scott Jennings, Marc Lamont-Hill, Mike Shields and Keith Boykin. Good evening, gentlemen. Holiday weekend, thank you so much for joining us. So Marc, you first. You say President Trump ending DACA is an assault on our civil liberties. Explain that.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not just a question of civil liberties. It's a question of what's fair and what's just. You played sound this hour from President Trump himself saying, hey, this is something that I won't do. There's no logical reason to do this. And now we enter a moment where he is doing the exact opposite. The question is why. It seems to me at a moment where President Trump is being assailed from many sides, he is creating another smokescreen by creating a solution to something that is not really a problem. He did this before with trans-soldiers in the military a few weeks ago. He is playing to the chief, he is playing to the extreme part of his party to gym up support and in a moment when he was lacking support and in doing so, he is jeopardizing the lives and the livelihood of nearly a million people who are simply trying to continue to live in the only country they have ever known. LEMON: Mr. Shield, do you say this is mostly about President Trump

keeping campaign promise. Here's the reporting in "The New York Times" last week the President asked, this is a quote, his aides for a way out of a dilemma he created by promising to roll back the program, so what's the thinking behind the President's decision.

MIKE SHIELDS, FORMER RNC CHIEF OF STAFF: It's not a dilemma he created by making this promise. This is being challenged in court and there is a deadline this week. You have his Attorneys general were going to force the administration to defend the government's position in court. And that really prompted the President to act. Look, I've got a big prediction for you on your show here. The congress will actually support the DACA, the dreamers, they'll pass legislation, which is what should happen to make this legal because it was illegal when President Obama did it. It had to be made legal by the congress. And President Trump will sign it into law. What he is saying is I don't want to do this. I kind of have to do it. I'm giving you six months to create a deadline. Things only happen when there's a deadline. Let's create a deadline, force congress to do something on this and they may put enforcement, they may put border funding for the wall and things to keep conservatives happy. It will wind up on President Trump's desk and he'll sign it. That is my prediction for you. We just won't have a situation where he has 800,000 people separated from their families and deported out of the country.

LEMON: Keith, you're shaking your head but I guess it isn't in agreement.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just hope that Mike Shields is right. I don't think that is likely to be what happens. Clearly setting a deadline wasn't enough to get congress to act. There were repeated deadlines and congress failed to do anything. The fact that they are attorneys general who want to sue and have threatened to sue should not be a reason to put 800,000 people's lives in jeopardy which is what President Trump is threatening to do tomorrow. If that is the case, then why couldn't the administration just continue to pursue the litigation aspect of it? Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions is refusing to defend the constitutionality of this. This is prosecutorial discretion. It's prosecutorial discretion. This is what the executive branch does. They have the right to determine how to administer the laws, to determine which cases would be pursued and which wouldn't be pursued.

SHIELDS: I'm sure you didn't think that on the travel ban executive order when that was challenged in court.

[23:45:05] BOYKIN: When travel ban was struck down by a federal court. Let it go to court. This has not been struck down as being unconstitutional. There is no federal court that ruled on DACA is unconstitutional.

SHIELDS: The difference with this and healthcare is that I think Democrats will actually work with Republicans to vote and pass something for DACA whereas they wouldn't help on healthcare.

LEMON: Let me ask you something or Mike real quick, then I'll bring Scott in. Mike, then explain why not let it go to court? Because I think according to -- I forget who I had on earlier that they were threatening to bring it to court, that they weren't sure they were going to bring it to court. Why not let it go to court?

SHIELDS: Because then you're asking the administration to defend something that its lawyers and team had looked at and believe are unconstitutional, because of the policy behind it when that is not the proper way. This is the difference between constitutional conservatives that helped elect President Trump and Democrats and people on the left who say, let's just do this and the President can decide it whenever he wants to, because we have a policy we agree with. This should come from the congress. I think the congress will pass it. The President has put this on their table where it's supposed to be and say, no, I won't get dragged into court and defend something from the governments perspective in court that I actually don't believe is constitutional even though I want it to happen. That is why there were stories coming out that the President was really --

LEMON: Why not just say let's make this constitutional under the law, find out a way to do it.

SHIELDS: Because the way to make it constitutional is to have congress pass it. What Trump is saying in given six-month window to congress, he hasn't said it word for word, but he'll sign it?

LEMON: Go ahead, Scott.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: These dreamers deserve certainty. I think Mike is right, the way to give them certainty is for congress to pass a law. We've all learned here during the Trump administration following on an administration from another party, executive orders don't give anyone certainty because when the administration changes they can do away with the previous administration's executive orders. What the President has done is put this squarely in the lap of the congress. I hope Mike is right. I hope the dreamers get the certainty they deserve. It would be the compassionate thing to do. Mike is also right, if they do it, the President will sign it into law.

LEMON: Ok so Marc Lamont-Hill, since you brought this up, I think it was you. It could have been Keith. I'm not sure. It's been a long weekend.

LAMONT HILL: Don't get us mixed up.

LEMON: No, that is not it. I can't even remember earlier who brought it up. This has been a long week. Let's hear what President Trump has said on this issue. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're always talking about dreamers for other people. I want the children that are growing up in the United States to be dreamers also. They're not dreaming right now.

We will immediately terminate President Obama's two illegal executive amnesties. It's a very, very tough subject. We're going to deal with DACA with heart. We love the dreamers. We love everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So he is reportedly, Marc, giving a six-month delay. Is that showing heart?

LAMONT HILL: A generous read as has been said that he is trying to create a context for congress to push this forward so that it is a permanent law, so that it meets constitutional muster. So that the dreamers will be safe forever, that is a generous read, there is no reason to believe that is what President Trump wants.

LEMON: In there you saw he is for it and against it. Then sort of not sure where he is going.