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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Slams Russia Probe As A Hoax; Trump In Alabama; Trump To North Korea; Trump in Alabama; Trumps Talks Football And Head Injuries; Rosie Perez Lends Helping Hand To Puerto Rico; CNN Heroes. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired September 22, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[23:00:00] RENATO MARRIOTT, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I agree with you. And frankly, speaking as a lawyer, Facebook's got very good lawyers and one thing those lawyers are telling Facebook is when the Justice Department looks at there's any liability for Facebook, which is something people have been asking me a lot about on twitter and I'll be writing about soon, one of the factors that they're going it look at is how cooperative Facebook was, how cooperative they were with the government, how much they came forward. And so not only is there a P.R. component to it, which I agree is part of it. I also think that part of it is a legal component where being as cooperative as possible with authorities is the best way to ensure as little liability as possible for them.

LEMON: Jamil, I'll give you the last word.

JAMIL JAFFER, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY LAW: Well, look, Don, I think Renato's right. I think it's important the government and Facebook work together on this effort. I think Facebook's made some good progress in the last few days. What they're going to do with congress to disclose the ads going forward. And so I think there's a real opportunity for the government and industry to work together. A lot of people talked about the need for regulation, laws. I think when you're talking about technology you have to be very careful when you talk about regulation because technology moves very quickly and so -- and there are important American values at stake, the first amendment and the like. While we don't want foreigners interfering in our elections and that is clearly what happened here we also want to make sure we don't overregulate or over legally try to put too many laws in place here in an area that is very dynamic.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Thank you all. I appreciate your time. Have a good weekend.

MARRIOTT: Thank you.

LEMON: This is "CNN tonight." I am Don Lemon its 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast, and we've got breaking news on big stories for you tonight. President Trump speaking to a cheering crowd in Alabama doubling down tonight on his rocket man rhetoric against Kim Jong-un. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And he has set off a firestorm with his dig at Colin Kaepernick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out. He is fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: President Trump also blasting Senator John McCain tonight for announcing he'd vote no on the GOP's health care bill. I want to talk about it with CNN's senior political commentator and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, one of the architects of the Graham-Cassidy bill. And also Barbara Boxer. She joins us now. I can see we're getting her shot set up there. So Senator Santorum, I'm going to start with you. This afternoon John McCain announced he cannot in good conscience, he said, those are his words, vote for the Graham- Cassidy proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. You worked on the drafting of this legislation. Can it survive this blow?

RICK SANTORUM, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yeah, it sure can. We have -- there's still votes out there that can be gotten. And look, as anybody who's ever worked in the United States senate knows, no vote is counted until it's counted. And some people may say they're not supporting it -- John McCain gave three reasons. One was a congressional budget office score. Well, there's going to be a congressional budget office score before the vote. So we're down to two reasons. By the way, neither of which are about the bill. He is actually told Senator Graham and others that he actually likes the bill. He thinks the bill is the right approach. He thinks the block grant is fine. He said his governor Doug Doozy has been a strong proponent of this bill, it does a lot for Arizona, and it's going to be beneficial to the state. You know, it is not something that he disagrees with philosophically. He just doesn't like the process.

LEMON: But two things. It's only a partial score from the CBO. It won't be a full score from the CBO. And Senator John McCain has said really -- not commented on the legislation. What he has said is that he wanted to go through the normal process, he wanted a bipartisan bill. That doesn't accomplish any of that. So you're not going to get John McCain back. No matter what. So what --

SANTORUM: All I would say is people -- we're going to have a hearing on Monday. We're going to have a CBO score on Monday. We're going to have --

LEMON: Partial CBO score. SANTORUM: Well, partial in what respect? I mean, with respect to the

budget act? The budget act says the congressional budget office has to give what the impact is on the federal budget. Everything else that CBO is doing is not required under the budget act.

LEMON: With respect to the number of people who could or will --

SANTORUM: That is right. That is not required under the budget act.

LEMON: But that is important for viewers and for people who are Americans, don't you think?

SANTORUM: If you believe CBO, and I don't think anybody in the congress, Republican or Democrat -- some want to believe CBO because it's actually -- it supports some of the things they say. But even Jonathan Gruber, who is one of the architects of Obamacare, throws away the CBO estimates that literally millions of people, more than half the people they say are going to drop coverage, because of the Republican plans, ours or anybody else's, they say are going to drop plans simply because the employer man -- the individual mandate goes away. Jonathan Gruber wrote an article that said that is just ridiculous, that is not the reason people drop coverage is because the government's not forcing them to get.

[23:05:00] LEMON: Let me ask you, Senator Santorum, then who are they supposed to believe? The Republicans who want this bill? The Democrats who don't want this bill? Or the non-partisan CBO?

SANTORUM: I think what they have to believe is what's actually before them. Look at what the bill does.

LEMON: Isn't that what the CBO does?

SANTORUM: Well, no. I mean, look at what the bill does. The bill takes $1.2 trillion, all the money that is spent on Obamacare with the exception of the money that is taxed on the American people, working men and women who are getting taxed right now by Obamacare for not buying insurance, we're going to stop taxing people who are being punished by Obamacare for not purchasing insurance. We're removing that tax. And we're going to remove a tax which is actually starting this month -- excuse me, next month on employers. I don't know if you know this, Don, but President Obama delayed the implementation of full Obamacare. Full Obamacare was an employer mandate. There's about $5 billion in tax bills going out next month to employers, about 90,000 employers in this country, and it's going to probably cost five to ten billion dollars for them to have to comply with all the accounting they have to do, this is --

LEMON: I want to get Barbara Boxer in. And I didn't have her responding. I was doing my best to channel you. Barbara Boxer. Because her shot wasn't ready. But how do you respond to what the Senator is saying?

BARBARA BOXER, (D) FORMER US SENATOR: Well, you know, I served with Rick. Hi, Rick.

SANTORUM: How are you doing, Barbara?

BOXER: For many years. And Rick Santorum would no sooner vote for anything if it didn't have a score. So let's put that one aside. You cannot say you're a fiscal conservative and push ahead. Secondly, not one thing my friend said that addressed the issue here. What does this mean for America's families? And that is what's important. And that is why John McCain is so brave to do this. Because what he is saying is when you have a bill that is going to essentially throw a hand -- these are my words. Throw a hand grenade into the health care system, which is 1/6 of our economy, millions of people got health care, because of the affordable care act. Now you're just trying to meet an artificial deadline and what is going to happen to our families is terrible. Don't listen to me. Listen to the American medical association, the cancer society, the diabetes association. Even the health insurance companies. You can just go on and on. Jimmy Kimmel. People who know. They've had to deal with pre-existing conditions. This is not the way to govern. And I am so touched by John McCain because --

LEMON: Can I ask you something?

BOXER: -- he once again has put his country ahead of anything else.

LEMON: Can I ask you something? Because John McCain is calling for -- Rick Santorum and I were talking about this before you joined us. He is called for regular order, a bipartisan approach. Is that realistic at this point?

BOXER: Of course it's realistic. This is an artificial deadline. Can you imagine bringing up a bill like this, Don and Rick, and you've got 90 seconds to two minutes to debate it? This is all baloney. There is no rush. When the Democrats did the affordable care act, Republicans kept saying we were being partisan. But we accepted over 100 amendments from Republicans. It took us months and months to do that bill. So what John McCain is saying, let's not throw a hand grenade into the system. Let's slow it down, take a deep breath, let's make sure that people are going to be kept whole while we debate, put every proposal on the table including this one --

LEMON: But Senator, the --

BOXER: -- and let's see where we need to go.

LEMON: Senator Santorum and others who support the bill, their argument has been that there is no time, that premiums are going up when it comes to the affordable care act, that it's collapsing and -- this is their language. Collapsing under its own weight. There's no time. Time is running out. How do you respond to that?

BOXER: Well, it makes no sense because we do have problems with the exchanges. But that is only 6 percent of the people who have health insurance get it that way. Medicaid is fine. We know Medicare is fine. We know that we have to deal with some of the problems. But again, we have 20 million more people who are covered. They can go to sleep at night. I know the days -- I've got to tell you something. When I was a Senator, I was there 24 years, people would tell me, and this is fresh in my mind, that they get down on their hands and knees, when they were in their 50s, and say I can't wait till I turn 65 to get on Medicare, I'm so nervous if something happens to me or my family. We have addressed that issue. And when you play back Senator Santorum's words, which are -- you know, he is good at presenting a case.

LEMON: And I want him to be able to respond. But go on.

BOXER: There's no emotion in it. There's no talking about our families. The fact of the matter is Obamacare or the affordable care act, either way you call, it it's being subverted by this President doesn't like it and he has cut out all the funds to advertise the exchanges, but we still are signing people up. And we can fix it. Last point I'll make.

[23:10:10] LEMON: OK.

BOXER: Let's bring back bipartisanship. Lamar Alexander, Patty Murray. I just talked to Patty before I got on the show. She says she is so excited to work with him. She loves working with him. Let's get back to those days when Republicans and Democrats worked together.

LEMON: Rick, I want to give you the last word, and I want to give you a chance to respond. Go ahead.

SANTORUM: On two points. First, on Patty and Lamar. Lamar Alexander said at a lunch I happened to be in attendance to it, that there was no bipartisanship going on and Patty Murray actually wouldn't negotiate any changes to Obamacare there or anything substantive that could be passed in the United States senate. Basically, the Democratic demand was just give us the money and you're stuck with the way it is right now. That is the bipartisanship --

BOXER: No.

SANTORUM: Well, I'm just telling what you Lamar Alexander said. That is number one. Number two, I love this --

BOXER: Not true.

SANTORUM: -- idea that somehow or another if you're out there advocating for a system that you believe better treats the people of this country is that you don't care about families. I'm someone who's on the Obamacare exchanges. I'm someone who has a child with pre- existing condition. I'm someone who pays $30,000 a year for health insurance for affordable insurance, for a silver plan on the Obamacare exchanges. The bottom line is most people can't afford, very few people can afford $30,000 insurance. If that is affordable to you, Barbara, if that is affordable to you Don that is great. It's not for millions of Americans. This system is broken. And the bottom line is I'm out here fighting for it, doing this out of my own time, because I want American families and people who have children with disabilities to have the ability to get affordable insurance --

LEMON: But would your insurance costs be -- SANTORUM: And the way to do that is to get the money closer to the

people, allow innovation, quit doing this one size fits all everybody --

LEMON: But with all due respect, Senator work your situation be worse, wouldn't you actually pay more if you didn't have the affordable care act, if you weren't on that plan? Couldn't you be paying more money than the $30,000 you're paying now?

SANTORUM: Let me just say this. I believe that we should have pre- existing condition coverage, and the Graham-Cassidy bill actually is better -- let me just say this one more time. Is better --

BOXER: No.

SANTORUM: It is better at pre-existing conditions. Let me explain why. I wrote it. So let me explain why. I helped write it with Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy. Because it says that every state has to comply with pre-existing condition. But if you don't want to comply with it, if you want to waive it, you have an extra added burden that the Obama -- that the ACA, Obamacare doesn't have, and that burden is you have to prove to the secretary of health that you can provide affordable and accessible health care to people with pre- existing conditions --

LEMON: But you still have the option. What the fact check shows you said --

BOXER: That is not what the experts say.

LEMON: Yeah, that is --

SANTORUM: Because they haven't read the bill -- excuse me. They haven't read the bill.

BOXER: Yes, they have read the bill.

SANTORUM: No, they haven't, Barbara, because the bill hasn't been released. So don't tell me --

BOXER: Rick, calm down. Calm yourself.

SANTORUM: I'm not going to calm down.

BOXER: Calm down.

SANTORUM: I'm passionate about this.

BOXER: Rick, you're losing it.

SANTORUM: I want to make sure that people and families get quality care.

BOXER: Take a deep breath.

SANTORUM: And right now they're not getting it. BOXER: Take a deep breath. I'm doing this on my own time as well.

Rick, I know you well. And you got very excited. I appreciate it. The fact is the experts who know this, who understand this, people who have looked at this, have told us very clearly that it's true. There's words in there, keep the coverage for pre-existing, but there's no cap on it. So you could tell someone, yeah, your kid is born with a defect, but it's going to cost you, you know, thousands of dollars a month.

SANTORUM: Excuse me.

BOXER: And that is a fact. And Rick --

SANTORUM: With all due respect --

LEMON: I've got to -- I've got to go.

SANTORUM: The language says affordable and accessible. And that has to be signed off by the secretary --

BOXER: I feel like we are back in the senate.

SANTORUM: Just telling you what the language is.

BOXER: You cut out all the money -- you cut out all the money for Planned Parenthood. You're leaving 3 million people without that. Come on --

SANTORUM: Reallocate the money to other women's health clinics --

BOXER: I want to --

LEMON: One at a time. But go on. We're going to take a little more time. Go on.

SANTORUM: First off we're not cutting money for women's health care. The money for Planned Parenthood is being reassigned to other women's health clinics. That is number one.

BOXER: Rick, no one wants it reassigned by the men of the senate. No one wants it reassigned by the men of the senate. You and I have gone on for years and years on this subject. People want to be able to go to Planned Parenthood. And you have cut out the funding. That is 3 million people. And the fact of the matter is every single group that we trust, the American cancer society, you name it, they oppose this bill.

[23:15:03] And why don't you just admit that we should do the regular order, get back to regular order, hold hearings, have the experts, you can testify, I can testify, people who are in that --

SANTORUM: As a matter of fact, I am testifying. I am testifying on Monday.

BOXER: Whoa. Well, I'm not. So that is --

SANTORUM: Well, I am.

BOXER: I'm glad you're --

SANTORUM: Because I actually had something to do with this bill and I know what's in it.

LEMON: I think you guys are testifying right now.

SANTORUM: And a lot of these organizations who are opposing this bill haven't read the bill. The bill just was finalized today. So here's what I would say. Watch the hearing on Monday. I'll be there. I'll be testifying before the senate finance committee. And look at the report, look at the score, look at how it treats states. Most states in this country actually do better under this plan, get more money --

LEMON: We'll have you back on. After that why don't you come back on and we'll discuss this.

SANTORUM: Love to do that.

LEMON: Thank you, Senator.

BOXER: This bill is a disaster.

LEMON: Thank you.

BOXER: And I'm proud of John McCain.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. I appreciate. I'll see you next time. When we come back, President Trump blasting Kim Jong-un again tonight, calling him little rocket man. But what will happen if North Korea makes good on its threat to test an H-bomb over the pacific?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The President in his speech tonight blasting Kim Jong-un, saying "rocket man should have been handled a long time ago." but could North Korea make good on its H-bomb threat? Joining me is Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and best-selling author. Also CNN military Analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling and Ambassador James Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Good evening to all of you. So good to have you. James let's start with you. President Trump doubled down on his rhetoric against North Korea at his rally in Alabama tonight. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now he is talking about a massive weapon exploding over the ocean. Pacific Ocean. Which causes tremendous, tremendous calamity. Where that plume goes, so goes cancer. So goes tremendous problems. And I want to tell you something, and I'm sure he is listening because he watches every word. Maybe something gets worked out, and maybe it doesn't. But I can tell you one thing. You are protected. OK. You are protected. Nobody's going to mess with our people.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERS)

Nobody is going to play games. Nobody is going to put our people in that kind of danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[23:20:07] LEMON: Jim, how do you think North Koreans will react?

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Well, they would react negatively no matter what he says, but I do think he would be better advised to speak softly and carry a big stick. The things that are going to happen and go wrong if he should detonate an H-bomb up above the pacific would possibly include knocking out GPS satellites. If they're near -- if he is near South Korea, if it's detonated near South Korea or Japan, knocking out their electric grids with electromagnetic pulse. There are a lot of things that Kim Jong-un could create that would be terrible. And I don't think that President Trump has hit on them yet.

LEMON: Mark, listen. The claim that they're considering testing a hydrogen bomb, it sent shock waves throughout the world today. General Hertling, is it realistic, is that a realistic claim? What type of response would that bring from the U.S.?

MARK HERTLING, RETIRED ARMY FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL: Yeah, there's no indication right now that they can do that, Don. And that is not to say that we shouldn't be concerned about it because they could potentially do it in the future. The issue, though, is as they were bluffing, as the foreign minister of North Korea was bluffing this, saying it might happen, there are a variety of ways, I could probably outline about 20 different courses of action of a way that they might do it if they had the device that they could put on a rocket and launch over the pacific ocean. If it's an atmospheric blast, if it's an ocean-level blast, different things would happen. If they give a warning beforehand so ships and airplanes could get out of the area. You know, this could knock an airplane out of the sky. It could cause problems with navigation in the ocean. It could kill a lot of people if it's a near-ocean blast. If it's an atmospheric blast like admiral Woolsey said -- or I'm sorry, Ambassador Woolsey said, it could cause EMP problems. But none of that is -- there's no intelligence that they can do that, they can launch it in the middle of the ocean. But the other thing you have to concern yourself with is North Korea's not any signatory to any non-proliferation agreement. So if they were to do something like this, they're literally not violating any rules of law or laws of land warfare. It would be a test. It would all depend on what the results of that action would be, whether it killed people or caused a great deal of disruption and what our reaction might be to just provocation.

LEMON: But either way, don't you think it would be catastrophic?

MICHIO KAKU, THEORETICAL PHYSICIST: Yes. This represents a very dangerous escalation in a very volatile area. Think back as to what actually did happen back in 1954. The United States detonated the bravo test, 1,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, but a Japanese fishing boat wandered near the kill zone of that H-bomb test. The results were horrible. 23 seamen came down with radiation poisoning. Blood came out of their gums. Hair fell out. Nausea. Skin lesions. Now, replace that fishing boat with a cruise boat. Replace that fishing boat with a navy vessel. Anything could go wrong to set off an international incident. And just remember that what happened to the people of the Marshall Islands. They had to evacuate. They went back. It was too radioactive to go back to the Marshall Islands. They were evacuated a second time. They came down with elevated rates of birth defects, cancer, thyroid problems. So something like this could have international implications if something goes wrong and radioactive fallout spreads in the area.

LEMON: Yeah. Jim, this is all very frightening. What are the possibilities? Because there are some who say, well, it's never going to happen. But I mean, sitting here listening to Michio and listening to Mr. Hertling, General Hertling, I mean, how possible is this?

WOOLSEY: I think it is quite possible and it does not need to be a huge blast to cause a great deal of difficulty. Blast is not what's relevant. It's really the gamma rays. And if you were talking about generating an electromagnetic pulse, which I think is the most dangerous thing because it could take out the electronics of important areas either in Asia or if they should get it over here to the United States on a satellite above the United States on a satellite, then detonating would knock out our electric grid. So there are some very serious problems that could be caused by this. The EMP commission has gone into substantial detail, very distinguished physicist on it, has done into substantial detail on these points, and an America without an electric grid is like what the situation is in Puerto Rico now. You -- everything stops.

[23:25:10] LEMON: Possibility. How likely? Is it realistic?

KAKU: First of all, I don't think that the North Koreans have a true H-bomb. An H-bomb is a two-stage device or a three-stage device, depending upon uranium and hydrogen. The last detonation they had was about five times or so more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. It was probably a boosted weapon. In other words, on a two-stage device but a 1 1/2-stage device. They're fudging it basically. However, I don't doubt that one day they will be able to do this. The same thing was said about China back in the 1960s. People said China would never be able to create a hydrogen bomb. Well, they did. In fact, the last detonation was in 1980, was a Chinese hydrogen bomb. So I think that even though they don't have it now, I don't think that they have it, I think it's only a matter of time before they do and we have to act as if they will get it.

LEMON: Frightening prospect. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Up next, Friday night lights for the President in Alabama. His speech in front of the cheering crowd. President Trump takes on the NFL and one player in particular.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he is fired?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

2330

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:30:22] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: In his speech tonight President Trump had a lot to say about one of his favorite topics, his promised border wall, among many, many other things. Let's discuss now. CNN political contributor Maria Cardona is here. Political commentators Matt Lewis, Andre Bauer, Marc Lamont Hill who joins us via skype. Maria, is your family okay?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, they are. Thank you so much for asking, Don. But it's going to be a tough road to recovery for the 3.5 million Americans that live in Puerto Rico. But thank you.

LEMON: We're glad they're ok. Thank you very much for coming on tonight. So Maria, tonight the President brought up his plans for a wall along the border with Mexico. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall is happening, folks. OK. Believe me. The wall is happening.

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

In fact, you probably saw, you know, we have a wall up there now. And we're renovating it already. It's being made pristine, perfect, just as good as new, although we may go a little bit higher than that, but that is okay. And we're building samples of the new wall. You know, it has to be a see-through wall. I don't know if you know this. Frankly, I didn't know it until about a year ago. As much as I say. If you can't have vision through it, you don't know who's on the other side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: A see-through wall? What's your reaction?

CARDONA: It's interesting because I think the more that he talks about this the more that it seems that he is trying to go in the direction of when there is no --

LEMON: There's a space there now, it's see-through.

CARDONA: Right. Exactly. What I'm saying is when there is no physical beautiful brick wall on the 2,000-plus-mile-wide border between us and Mexico, he can say to his audience, oh, I never really talked about a physical wall. Look, I talked about a wall having to be see-through, et cetera, et cetera. Because he knows that a physical wall the way that he talked about during the campaign and what he has promised his base is not going to happen. It is not feasible. The majority of the American people don't want it. Frankly, the majority of Republicans on the hill don't want it either.

LEMON: Yeah. Who said that is not true? Is that Andre? Go ahead.

ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Andre said that. And that is not true. The majority of Americans do want borders. They all realize, look, when we go through security at the airport it's to protect everyone.

LEMON: There's a difference between borders and a border call.

CARDONA: Security is not a physical border wall.

BAUER: Every time we come back into the country.

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, but Andre -- Andre's doing a sleight of hand here. There's a difference between saying that Americans want borders and that Americans want security and saying that Americans want to build a wall or a fence or some other physical mechanism to really alienate and act as a form of state violence against people south of --

BAUER: That doesn't alienate anybody. Even the Vatican has walls. We have locks on our doors. It doesn't mean we don't want to keep people out. But we want to protect our family more than anything. Even in the neighborhood we live in. Because we love people. This is a great country. But we don't everybody just cache in anytime they want to come into the country.

CARDONA: Nobody's saying that, Andre. Nobody is saying that.

BAUER: That is why you and I have to go through security. And the American people do want a wall. They want something to keep people from just walking in without a checks and balances system to know who's in this country.

LEMON: But Andre, don't you think it would make -- your argument would -- you'd have a more plausible argument if the Vatican wasn't just a couple of thousand acres rather than 100 -- a couple of hundred acres rather than thousands of miles? Because the whole idea is not about a border. It's about a physical wall. I think Marc does have a point, that there's a difference there between a border and a border wall.

BAUER: Well, a wall keeps people from crossing your border. It makes it a whole lot more --

LEMON: There's a fence there now. I think people do want something there --

BAUER: It ain't working, Don.

LEMON: But do you think that a border wall --

CARDONA: Actually, it is, Andre.

BAUER: It's working more under Trump than it was working under Obama.

CARDONA: No. If you look at what is going on --

BAUER: Yes.

CARDONA: -- with the numbers, under Obama the immigration -- undocumented immigration into this country through the southern border was net negative, Andre. Ok? Yes, they have come in less and less because it started under Obama and because of Trump's rhetoric they are coming in less and less. But that means that the border security measures that had been put in through the eight years of President Obama are actually working.

LEMON: I've got to --

CARDONA: So let's fix this immigration system in a possible way.

LEMON: I've got to talk about something else I know you guys are going to enjoy. The President also weighed in on the NFL and referenced Colin Kaepernick, formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, who drew national attention for refusing to stand during the star spangled banner. I want you to take a listen to what the President said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[23:35:10] TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he is fired? He is fired!

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee, things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Marc, what do you make of this kind of message coming from the President of the United States?

LAMONT HILL: This may be one of the most vile and disgusting things that President Trump has ever said in a very long and impressive list of vile and disgusting things. To call people exercising their first amendment rights to protest injustice sons of bitches when you don't have that kind of language, he doesn't have that kind of language for Al Qaeda when they were cutting Americans' heads off. He didn't have that kind of language for people who were white supremacists, anti- Semites walking through Charlottesville. In fact, he called them very fine people. So an anti-Semite is a very fine person and somebody who's protesting injustice and violence against vulnerable people is somehow an SOB? That is a terrible language. It is a disgusting language. But it's reflective of a deep white supremacist impulse in Donald Trump's mind, spirit, body, and politics.

LEMON: Marc is not the only one voicing that, Matt. Bakari Sellers you know him well, he tweeted this out tonight. He said "you all remember Charlottesville, white supremacists, very fine people. Black NFL players, sons of bitch that is need to be fired." what do you say, Matt?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I look -- first of all, I'd say that there's no doubt that Donald Trump has this weird, you know, intensity toward certain things and he -- has he ever said anything bad about Vladimir Putin? I don't know. But let's put that aside because I think you're right about that. That is a fair point. Bakari scores one there. I actually agree with him on the NFL, though. I've quit watching the NFL myself. I've got hours of time on Sundays free. It's amazing what happens when you don't watch the Redskins lose every week. But look, I think, you know, there's a lot of reasons to sort of be upset with the NFL right now. Concussions. But one of them is these are -- the people have fought and died for this country. We just had 9/11 a couple weeks ago. And here you have millionaire NFL players that I am paying money to like wear their jerseys and watch on TV who are not even willing to stand up for our national anthem. I do think that is a problem. And look, if you are an employee and you're putting on -- if I own the San Francisco 49ers or whatever and you're part of the NFL, you're part of my league, you're putting on our uniform, you're on the job and you're not going to stand up?

LEMON: Okay, Matt. Matt, Matt, Matt, let me make a point. Hold on, Marc. Because as you were saying that I was thinking there are millions of people of color who are at home saying the exact same thing about President Trump. You're a millionaire slash billionaire who's put on this suit to be the leader of the free world and still you can't stand up to bigotry and racism and white supremacists and anti-Semites and call them sons of bitches? Instead you call people who are protesting the country --

LEWIS: I'm not a big fan of Donald Trump either.

LEMON: Why the double standard? Don't you understand why someone would feel that way about him?

LEWIS: I'm not a fan of Donald Trump either. But I would be very upset if he refused to stand for our pledge of allegiance or our --

LEMON: You do at times defend him.

LEWIS: Sure. Of course. When he is right.

LEMON: You're not defending the NFL. You're saying you wholeheartedly cast out the entire NFL because you agree apparently with what the President says. Couldn't the same be said about the President, what you just said about the NFL?

CARDONA: Do you think he has the right to do what he is doing?

LEWIS: That Donald Trump has the right to --

CARDONA: No.

LEWIS: Or Colin Kaepernick?

CARDONA: Kaepernick.

LEWIS: Well, he does. And he is also out of the NFL because he is not a good quarterback. I think part of it is a publicity stunt.

CARDONA: That has nothing to do with it. He has the right to do this.

LEWIS: If I were the coach --

CARDONA: He has the right to do this. And to your point --

LEWIS: He has the right to do it and to pay the consequences. And to pay the consequences.

LEMON: Exactly. Absolutely.

CARDONA: And that is fine. But he has the right to do it. And when you have a country where the President of the United States fails time and again to stand up for minority communities and this is the only way that a person like Kaepernick has that kind of voice to be able to do it on behalf of millions of minority --

LEWIS: So the only way he can express himself despite -- the only way he can get his message out -- the only way he can get his message out is to refuse to stand up and honor this country, all the people who've died defending that flag, so that he has the freedom to be --

[23:40:03] LEMON: Exactly. Maybe he is honoring by paying his taxes, maybe he is honoring it by --

LEWIS: He has that freedom.

LEMON: He does. And listen, I think many people agree with you. He suffers the consequences but he has the right to do it but I think your facts are wrong when you say he is not a great quarterback. The facts don't bear it out.

LEWIS: He was once very good. I'll give him that.

LAMONT HILL: It's a couple of things. First of all, several years ago he was in the super bowl. There are people right now holding clipboards as third-string NFL quarterbacks who are literally working at department stores last year. To suggest that Colin Kaepernick is not one of the 70 best quarterbacks in the world is just absurd. But it's also absurd to say that because he is not in the NFL he is not a good quarterback. He is clearly being blacklisted. He is clearly being blackballed here. And yes, you talk about NFL owners. NFL owners own teams. They don't own NFL players. But part of the problem is this plantation logic that says we are somehow because we're your employer we somehow own and you we can determine your actions.

LEWIS: Do you think CNN could fire me, if I tweeted something inappropriate? Come on. Am I on a --

LAMONT HILL: There's many people --

LEWIS: Is this my plantation because I could get fired if I did something --

LEMON: Do you think they would fire you for not standing up for the -- that is a whole different thing. You're comparing to-two different things.

LEWIS: You know what? They would have the right to do it. They could do it.

LEMON: I don't think CNN would fire you for that. But go ahead. It would be absurd.

LAMONT HILL: I come on here every week and talk about white supremacy, I say Donald Trump's a white supremacist, I don't stand for the national anthem, I don't stand for the national anthem and CNN still employs me. Its plantation logic to think you can control people's minds and bodies and politics which is what they're attempting to do with Colin Kaepernick. Also not standing for the national anthem isn't inappropriate or wrong, it's something you have a different point of view on.

LEWIS: It's unpatriotic is what it is.

LAMONT HILL: Let me respond to that. Ok. First of all, you don't get to define patriotism for everybody else. People didn't die for the right to stand for a flag. They died for freedom and justice. And Colin Kaepernick is putting his knee down because there is an insufficient amount of freedom and justice for vulnerable black and brown people. When somebody dies in this country we put the flag at half-mast. We have a flag but we put it at half-mast. Colin Kaepernick's body is standing at half-mast every time he puts his knee on the ground because he is saying that America is not free yet. And yes, he is a millionaire athlete. That is why we should be honoring him. He has everything to lose. Colin Kaepernick has privilege. He has access. He has money --

LEWIS: Why didn't he do this when he was in the Super Bowl? Why didn't he do this when he actually was a good quarterback, in fact a great quarterback? Very good. He didn't do it then. Why is he doing it now that it doesn't matter?

CARDONA: Would it have bothered you less if he had done it then?

LEWIS: No, it wouldn't have bothered me less.

CARDONA: He is got --

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: He can buy TV time.

LEMON: All right. Maria for the win on that one. I think there's a very good answer to that because maybe when he was winning there were -- you know, there weren't the high-profile cases of people being killed that we saw. So anyway.

CARDONA: It's the time we're living in.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you all. I have to go.

CARDONA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: Great conversation. When we come back, a former football player weighs in on what President Trump said tonight about the NFL and players who protest the national anthem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump's comments tonight about NFL players who protest the national anthem setting off a storm of criticism. Here to discuss, Marvin Washington, a former NFL player, and CNN analyst. Sports analyst Christine Brenan, a columnist for "USA today." so good to have all of you on. I'm sure you heard that conversation before. It was heated and it was very interesting. I want to get your reaction to a comment by President Trump just a short while ago regarding the NFL. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[23:45:13] TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he is fired?

(APPLAUSE)

(CHEERS)

He is fired!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So of course he is talking about Colin Kaepernick formerly of the San Francisco 49ers not standing for the national anthem and taking a knee, what is your response?

MARVIN WASHINGTON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well I think its par for the course for 45 and I don't think we need that type of rhetoric right now. Colin Kaepernick is just exercising his first amendment right and freedom of speech and freedom of expression. And this country was founded on civil disobedience. Colin Kaepernick is doing something -- I grew up during the late '60s, early '70s. And we had the socially consciously athlete. And I think that he is bringing back that tradition and he is protesting civil rights and social justice or lack thereof. And I'm for it. LEMON: Christine, what do you think?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Don, I think we're going to see potentially more NFL players taking a knee this weekend than we ever would have thought, maybe even college players too. The reaction, as your show has exhibited --

LEMON: Because of this?

BRENNAN: Absolutely. For example, you have Steph Curry talking about not coming to the White House and that he is out there with that. I think the reaction is just building. You saw the reaction obviously on your show. My sense is that people are going to be angry about this and that players are angry about it. Obviously for all the reasons we've been talking about. The racial connotations. The fact that Trump will talk about this, but not other things. So we'll see. But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see more protests this weekend, at least in part because of what the President said.

LEMON: Do you think the owners, do you think they realize what -- and maybe the President -- do you think they realize what's happening, that instead of -- by their criticism they may be fueling -- I wouldn't say backlash but fueling the protests.

WASHINGTON: I think owners are -- they pretty much are trying to concentrate on the season and next game so, they've kind of tempered down talking about him, because they're all about the next game and the next day. But this type of talk right here is going to bring more protests like Christine said. And it's going to permeate down to the college and the high school level. I can see this happening starting tomorrow and going on to Sunday and Monday.

LEMON: You think it should?

WASHINGTON: I think players should have the right to express themselves, and I think they will to a certain extent.

LEMON: I want to talk about CTE now and Aaron Hernandez. A doctor in Boston at Boston University who was examining Aaron Hernandez's brain concluded he had suffered from severe CTE. Take a look at the pictures of his brain. Just to clarify to our viewers, CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which is a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries. Marvin, you have been trying to create awareness about CTE and other brain injuries. Why is this such an important issue? And what do you think of Hernandez when you look at that?

WASHINGTON: It doesn't surprise me at all. I kind of called it this when Aaron Hernandez was going through this a couple years ago, when he was first arrested. There was a few guys that I think have CTE. One of them being Lawrence Phillip. Lawrence Phillip committed suicide last year. I reached out to Dr. Bennett Amalu and told him to get his brain. This is something that is a safety issue in the NFL. Unless they get their hands around this, in 20 years I don't know how the game is going to look because youth participation is down. It's down 10 percent in California over the last ten years. It's down in Texas. So this thing is bringing awareness to parents to say I don't want my kid to have a disease if he plays this game.

LEMON: I even though, Christine, on long island where I know people live there and they say -- who go to high school there have and have kids in high school there, are saying the football programs are being shuttered because parents don't want their kids -- one of the reasons is parents don't want their kids involved in this. I want your response. But let's play what the President said about football and head injuries. And I'll get your response. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Because you know, today if you hit too hard, right? They hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game. They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really beautiful tackle, boom, 15 yards. The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she is so proud of him. They're ruining the game. Right? They're ruining the game. Hey, look, that is what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Do you think that someone of the President's stature should be so dismissive? Do you think he understands what's happening?

[23:50:00] BRENNAN: I don't think he should be so dismissive. Maybe he is playing to his base. I don't know. But as a sports journalist looking at this, this goes against everything we are hearing from doctors, from science, from medicine about correct tackling. It's not to say the end of football, but it's to do it the right way, and I think Marvin's right, there are some major issues with high schools and the pipeline. What is it going to look like in 20, 30 years? But there's a more important issue about the health of young American athletes and obviously the president didn't seem too concern about that tonight.

LEMON: Marvin Christine, thank you so much. Fascinating conversation. We'll have you both back. When we come back, actress Rosie Perez on what she is doing to help the people of Puerto Rico in the wake of hurricane Maria.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The people of Puerto Rico struggling tonight with the devastation brought by hurricane Maria. Joining me now is actress Rosie Perez. Rosie thank you so much. I know this is near and dear to you. You have family members living in Puerto Rico. Have you heard anything? Are they safe?

ROSIE PEREZ, ACTRESS: Well, I heard from my cousin Marie about my uncle and my aunt. They're ok, but they have been without electricity since Irma and they have no water, running water, and their house is flooded. But people in Puerto Rico, we haven't heard anything. And my brother's wife, Jesse, is missing, and so he is going to fly down tomorrow morning. Thank god jet blue has their services going down there. And we're just hoping that it's a matter of, you know, that the cell satellite is out and they just can't get in touch with us. LEMON: Communications --

PEREZ: Just a communication issue. And right now because of the dam has broken and is overflowing into the town of Isabela, it will start to overflow in there, so we're pretty worried.

LEMON: You're very active. You have roots there. What is it like to watch? And I know that the reason you're here is because you want to do something about it, you want to draw attention to it. It must be tough watching this.

PEREZ: It is tough. It's agonizing. And what I want all Americans to really understand is Puerto Ricans are United States citizens and I hope that they show the same passion and support that they did for other fellow Americans in Texas and in Florida, and also we need to take care of the U.S. Virgin islands as well.

[23:55:00] You know, and it's just that with Puerto Rico, the history with the United States, Puerto Rico always gets the raw end of the deal. And right now with this flooding that is occurring, the devastation hasn't even began, because of the toxic ash dumping by corporations, coal power corporations, because of the superfund sites of hazardous waste. All of that is going to flow into all of that water. And so we don't know what's to come in Puerto Rico. And it's a very, very scary time.

LEMON: It is. Look at these pictures. I mean --

PEREZ: It's heartbreaking. And Puerto Rico was an environmental tragedy prior to hurricane Maria. It's going to be even worse now. And they need support. They need love. They need money. And thank god we have New York -- I have to give praise to New York. New York states men because Governor Cuomo.

LEMON: He is there. That is what I wanted to ask you --

PEREZ: Congressman Velasquez.

LEMON: So then tell us, then, the congresswoman Velasquez and governor Cuomo, anyone else? You want to mention before --

PEREZ: Well, they're down there with all the first responders, with New York power authority.

LEMON: So what's the plan? And that is what I want to ask you. Have you heard anything about their plan, what they're going to do once they arrive?

PEREZ: What they did today was to assess the damage, and they also brought with them an immense amount of supplies of bottled water supplied by Coca-Cola. Food, cots, pillows, blankets, generators. And then they're going to go back to New York and bring all their first responders down there. The mayor, Mayor Bill De Blasio has already sent down a bunch of first responders as well. And Mayor De Blasio is going to have a fund racer in Brooklyn at the firehouse on Fourth Avenue. So they're trying their best. And the best thing that has ever happened is that the governor of Puerto Rico reached out to governors throughout our nation and said we need help.

LEMON: I could see. I know.

PEREZ: It's a tough time for all of us, but we're going to pull through and Puerto Rico is going to remain strong, and we're going to get over this. We're going to pull through and the United States is there for Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico people.

LEMON: Thank you Rosie. We're thinking about you and everyone and your family down there.

PEREZ: Thank you for this time. I appreciate it. Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It can be hard if you are homeless or in foster care or living in poverty, it could even more challenging. This week's CNN hero knows this struggle. He ended up hooked on drugs and in and out of jail. When he finally emerged from this cycle he found a passion for car restoration. Now he is steering kids just like him toward the road to success. Meet Aaron Valencia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AARON VALENCIA, CNN HEROES: Kids were kind of gravitating toward the shop to see what's going on. So it's like let's have them come here and learn a trade, learn a lesson. The wiring, the fuel system, carburetor. And the whole time they're working we're dropping little bits of knowledge on how to make the right decisions in life.

We're not looking for perfection. We're just looking for better than yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Go to CNNHeroes.com to see Aaron and his kids build a custom lowrider. That is it for us tonight, thanks for watching.