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Trump's NFL Comments Not Dying Yet; Former White House Staff Projects Trump's Term; John McCain Blamed for Healthcare Bill Failure; Entertainers Goes Political; Victim in Charlottesville Violence Now Facing Consequences. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Breaking news, President Trump says this about Colin Kaepernick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And frankly, the NFL should have suspended him for one game and he would have never done it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
And that right there is a perfect example of this president using a shiny object to distract America from what may really be going on inside the White House.
Multiple people close to the president using words like unstable and unraveling to describe him. That's according to Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman, who also reports a former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon says he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of staying in office for his full term.
And there's this. The president's best friend telling the Washington Post he is shocked by some of Trump's rhetoric and insisting, quote, "he is better than this."
Imagine how all this is going over inside the White House.
Let's get right to CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, global affairs analyst, Tony Blinken, political analyst, David Drucker and Joshua Green. Joshua, by the way is the author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency."
Good evening to all of you. Dana, I want to start with you. After multiple reports of an unraveling President Trump in the White House he is back on his home turf with Sean Hannity for his fourth interview with Fox. The president was asked about Russia. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We have to know the truth. And also we can't let anybody play
around with our voters and our voter system. But I have to tell you this.
It's so important. But Russia was an excuse used by the democrats when they lost the election. They said--
They lost the election. They sat in a room and they said, wow, we look bad. The morning after in fact it's been written about, I guess, in various books or a book, but they said why did you lose the election? They said it was Russia. Russia. It wasn't Russia. It was a bad candidate. It was a candidate that didn't go to Wisconsin and Michigan.
Like they should have. It was -- it was a candidate that spent tremendously more money than I did, as you know, more than double, and didn't do well in Pennsylvania, this great state. Didn't do well in Florida.
Didn't do well in North Carolina or South Carolina. I mean, lost Wisconsin for the first time in decades. Lost Michigan. Now, with all that being said, bad candidate, but they said Russia. Then they say awe, and it was Trump that colluded with Russia. I'm saying, I did?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What do you make of that, Dana?
DANA BASH, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: OK. Well, first of all, I haven't heard any democrat, even Hillary Clinton and people who work for her, people who worked around her say that the reason that she lost was because of Russia.
Sure, they have suggested that Russia certainly contributed to the chaos that went into the election in 2016. But not that it was the reason.
Secondly, the whole question of collusion, that was, we learned, after the election, not until this year, was something that the FBI began looking into during 2016.
So I think that sort of sets that record straight. Having said all of that, I don't remember actually ever hearing the president say what he just said on Russia, that you can't allow them to be involved in our elections.
I mean, I'm not saying we should give him huge credit for saying what everybody has said in his cabinet, in his administration, in his party, never mind the democrats for months and months and months, but I don't remember him saying even something that basic with regard to getting to the bottom of Russia being involved. My memory of it is that he called the whole notion of it a hoax.
LEMON: Or fake news, yes.
BASH: So that sounded new.
LEMON: Yes. Tony Blinken, is that a different tone for him?
TONY BLINKEN, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: You know, Don, I'm not sure it's a different tone. It was kind of a throw away. He said we shouldn't let anyone interfere in our elections. I'm not sure he quite said it was Russia.
But you know, there's a larger thing going on here, and that's a total disconnect between the president virtually everyone around him, his senior advisers. There's been a lot of talk when it comes to the issues that I focus on, in North Korea, Iran, and so forth of the president engaged in some kind of elaborate good cop, bad cop routine with his administration.
But in fact, he's been a rogue cop, he's been out of phase with virtually everyone else. We're hearing from all the senior advisers stick with the Iran deal. He's about to try to get out of it. We hear turned down the rhetoric on North Korea, he ratchets it up. We hear we should try to resolve this crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, he's adding fuel to the fire.
[22:05:02] So, that's the larger dynamic that I think is going on here. And Russia actually is the one example where, again, virtually everyone in his administration has acknowledged Russia's attempts to interfere in the election. He's been the odd person out.
LEMON: Yes. He also talked about healthcare. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we thought John was with us and all of a sudden out of nowhere he voted against. So we end up losing by one vote. But here is the thing. We're going to get it. And you know, I would say never give up, never ever, ever quit. We don't quit. We're there. We're one vote short.
We're there. I actually think right now we have the votes, but we have to wait, we have to wait for a little while. We're going to do the taxes first. Hopefully we get that. We need 51 votes
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: Do you think you can get it done by the end of the year.
TRUMP: I hope so. I mean, who is going to vote against this? (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, David, he continues to say that he has the votes on healthcare. That is just not true. They don't have the votes, otherwise they would have voted on it.
DAVID DRUCKER, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: That's correct. They have a lot of trouble on healthcare. And one of the reasons is you've seen a disconnect between the republicans of 2010 that oppose the Medicaid expansion and the republicans of 2017 that all of a sudden have a newfound affection for the Medicaid expansion that was a part of the Affordable Care Act.
And that's one of the reasons why republicans in the Senate have had trouble coming together on an Obamacare repeal bill, let alone a full repeal.
I think right now for the president his agenda and his success legislatively is wrapped up in tax reform. I think that's one of the reasons why unlike healthcare there's actually been more focus from the White House, more message discipline, notwithstanding the president's Twitter freelancing, when it comes to tax reform.
The fact that he was in Pennsylvania actually talking about tax reform and it's one of the handful of events he's actually done specifically for this bill sets his effort apart--
DRUCKER: -- from what he did on healthcare, which was zero, except for carping and complaining about the very plans he was asking republicans to pass. And even though voters are not, republican voters are not holding him responsible for the healthcare failure and they're blaming republicans in Congress and they're having to deal with that and it's really hurt them. The president shares a large part of the blame for that.
And I think that's why we've seen a bit of a different White House when it comes to tax reform because so much is on the line for them.
BASH: Don, can I just add one thing about that response that the president gave on healthcare.
What happened in the interview on Fox right before the clip that you played was Hannity was egging on the audience about how horrible it was that John McCain gave the initial healthcare vote a thumbs down and helped sink the bill.
And the president didn't take the bait. And I just wonder if the very lengthy golf game that he played with John McCain's best friend Lindsey Graham had any effect on that.
LEMON: Yes. Well, let's hope it did at least. Josh, you're our Steve Bannon expert here so I want to ask you about something. This is Gabriel Sherman, he is reporting for Vanity Fair and he writes. He said, "Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn't impeachment but the 25th Amendment, the provision by which a majority of the cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment Trump said, what's that."
OK. "According to our course Bannon told people he thinks that Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making the full term."
Josh, are you surprised to hear this from the guy who was instrumental in getting this president elected?
JOSHUA GREEN, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, not really. I mean, Bannon is given to sort of excitability and, you know, wild eye concerns about things like that. In interviews with him in the past and he's identified two mechanisms that he worries about for Trump as far as impeachment or not being able to serve out his term.
One is that he would cooperate with democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. He would lose his base and republicans would then impeach him. And of course the other avenue is the special prosecutor investigation by Bob Mueller that is always kind of looming on the periphery.
I never heard it Bannon say -- I've never heard Bannon put a number on Trump's odds of survival and I reached out to a couple of people around him tonight who said that the Gabe Sherman story was fake news, but at the same time while I was speaking to them they also confirmed the basic thesis of Gabe's story, which is that the White House really does have a sense that it's spinning out of control, especially their inability to keep Trump focused on tax reform.
He gave the speech today and yet he's been fighting on Twitter with NBC, with Bob Corker and doing all sorts of things to distract from the task at hand.
DRUCKER: Don, I just wanted to jump in here very quick and note that I think Bannon's relationship with Trump is all about Trump -- Bannon's vision for the Republican Party and I don't think his loyalty to Trump has been about Trump and what he brings to the table so much as looking at Trump as an avatar to try and bring a cultural nationalism to the Republican Party to try and remake what the center right means in politics in America.
[22:10:12] Less about Trump more about that, and that's why I could see Bannon prone to talking about Trump as somebody that might not stick around simply because it's not about Trump for Bannon but about what he has represented to so many voters.
LEMON: More to discuss, everyone. Stick around. When we come back, President Trump is apparently not on the same page as Rex Tillerson when it comes to North Korea, and he says his opinion is that the only one -- it's the only one that matters, which may not be good news for the secretary of state.
LEMON: My panel is back with me. And we were speaking about Steve Bannon before the break, Josh, and I understand that tonight on the record you spoke to him talking about Eminem, calling him out for what happened last night. What did he say?
GREEN: Yes. I was trying to get his response to the Vanity Fair story. We got on the subject of the Eminem video from the BET Awards and the three star rabbit called out Bannon at one point. Just offhandedly I asked him what his response was and he said on the record my response to Eminem is honey badger, don't give a blank expletive.
So, the Pulitzer committee can just call me in the morning to -- that's the breaking news from Steve Bannon this evening.
[22:14:58] LEMON: Maybe if you had rapped it, it would have been different, Josh.
GREEN: Not a chance, buddy.
LEMON: Thank you. Tony, the president tonight was asked about the Iran nuclear deal. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I know exactly what I'm going to do, but I can't give it away tonight, but I'm going to be announcing it very shortly.
HANNITY: Why not, right?
TRUMP: I will -- I mean, there's no secret. I think it was one of the most incompetently drawn deals I've ever seen. A $150 billion given. We got nothing. We got nothing. They got a path to nuclear weapons very quickly. And think of this one, $1.7 billion in cash. This is cash out of your pocket.
Do you know how many airplane loads that must be? Did you ever see a million dollars like a promotion where they have a million dollars in hundred dollar bills. That's a lot of -- this is $1.7 billion. You'd almost say who would be authorized to do it and who are the people that deliver it? You may never see them again, right.
HANNITY: Plane loads.
TRUMP: But, just plane loads. So this is the worst deal. We got nothing. We got nothing. So I'm not giving anything away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Tony, what do you think of that?
BLINKEN: Well, you know, I have to question whether the president's read the agreement or understands what's in it, but the fact of the matter is the agreement stopped Iran from its relentless pursuit of material to make nuclear weapons and pushed that far into the future. And by the way, we paid for the deal with Iran's own money. This was
Iranian money it was frozen in accounts around the world from the sale of its oil. So it's a very good deal.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said eight times that Iran is complying with its obligations under the deal. Even the Trump administration has said two times that Iran is complying.
Now the president probably is going to turn around in the next day or so and say it's not despite the fact there hasn't been a single change in material fact. Iran is doing what it said it would do under the deal.
This is going to create a huge distraction. It's going to create a lot of tension with us and our closest partners. And by the way, when we're trying to see if we can get somewhere with North Korea, including possibly at some point getting back to diplomacy, whatever small prospect exists for that, that's going to get even less, even lower, down to zero if we tear up an agreement that the other party, in this case Iran, is actually making good on.
LEMON: So, Tony, let's -- Dana, let's talk about the president and North Korea. He talked about it again tonight, but earlier the president was asked if he has -- if he was on the same page as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think I have a little bit different attitude on North Korea than other people might have.
HANNITY: Your secretary?
TRUMP: And I listen to everybody, but ultimately my attitude is the one that matters, isn't it? That's the way it works. That's the way the system is. But I think I might have a somewhat different attitude and a different way than other people. I think perhaps I feel stronger and tougher on that subject than other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Dana, it's that kind of language that has folks on Capitol Hill concerned, right. Senators like Bob Corker questioning the president's fitness.
BASH: Yes. But I think more importantly in this case in the immediate future it's also very clear as if it wasn't last week or the week before, that he, the president, has a very different idea of what to do on a whole bunch of issues, but particularly North Korea than his own secretary of state.
I mean, he called him out on Twitter two weekends ago for going to try to talk to the North Koreans, saying don't waste your time, Rex. To his own secretary of state. I mean, Tony probably can't even fathom that as somebody who worked in the State Department. But beyond that if you look and listen to the president's language,
"I'm stronger and tougher on North Korea." Well, he's trying to kind of lead with the positive, but what he's really saying, because, you know, we've heard in from people who have talked to him about the way he talks about his secretary of state is that he thinks that he's weak, and that he doesn't think that he's up to the task on areas and policy-making like North Korea.
And it's just one more piece of evidence of that very troubled relationship, and that has real consequences for how the president can use him as a representative, which is his job, for the president around the world.
LEMON: You know, David, the president spent most of the day calling out and threatening the press. What are people saying about that behind the scenes in D.C.?
DRUCKER: Well, look, I think that anybody that either works in government or spends their life reporting on government and steeped in politics is concerned when the president of the United States treats the First Amendment like it's a throw away piece of paper that he doesn't have to pay attention to.
I think the larger implications, because, look, this is the kind of thing Trump does in some ways we're inured to it at this point. I think the larger implications for Trump's cavalier treatment of the First Amendment rhetorically is that there are other nations around the world that look to the U.S. either as a model for how they're supposed to treat their people or what they can get away with.
[22:20:04] There are autocrats and dictators, Vladimir Putin, the guy running Turkey, Venezuela, all of them have cracked down on a free press or a quasi-free press and they've turned it into a state operation where people can be arrested for reporting the truth and there isn't a freedom of the press.
And when they see the President of the United States backed by a Constitution and a First Amendment and a Bill of Rights talking this way, I think it gives them license to talk that way as well.
That's how they look at it, and it under -- it undermines our moral standing in the world such that when the president himself, who has spoken out very forcefully about the dictatorship in Venezuela and how they're mistreating their people and taking away their freedoms, I think it undermines the own case he has tried to make at times about freedom around the world and the U.S. standing behind people that want freedom.
LEMON: It would be nice, Josh, if the president understood that.
GREEN: It would, but I also think you have to look at the broader context here. Trump has been humiliated over the last few days. His secretary of state has reportedly called him a moron. The chairman of the Senate foreign relations committe, Bob Corker call the White House an adult day-care center. And the proximate cause of Trump's attacks on the media today I believe was an NBC report revealing that he had sort of naively asked to increase the U.S. nuclear arsenal by a factor of 10, at the same time he's cutting the budget.
I think partly this is a way to try and remind people that he's in charge, that he is the strong man and by picking a fight with the media, which is an old Trump move, he hopes to distract from some of these embarrassing stories.
BASH: He is--
LEMON: Now reportedly asking what is the 25th Amendment. I've gt to run, Dana. I'm out of time.
BASH: No problem.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. When we come back, the president claims the NFL is demanding that players stand for the national anthem. The problem is they're not and the NFL released two statements today to prove it. We'll break it down next.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president not letting up on his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Offering this advice tonight to league officials about Colin Kaepernick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Frankly, the NFL should have suspended him for one game and he would have never done it again. They could have then suspended him for two games--
-- and they could have suspended him if he did it a third time for the season and you would never have had a problem. But I will tell you, you cannot disrespect our country, our flag, our anthem. You cannot do that.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Van Jones, the author of "Behind the Messy Truth." He has a copy on sale. That's my copy tonight. Political commentators Ana Navarro and Ben Ferguson. So?
ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: We're in front of the mess.
LEMON: We are the messy truth. So the president saying, you know, Van, you first, that Kaepernick should have been suspended. He wouldn't have done it before. But these protests, they don't violent the NFL rules. This is a freedom of speech issue. VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Look, we have been trying to
get this point made over and over again. They're not protesting the flag. They're not protesting the anthem. No athlete has ever said one bad thing about a soldier. They're concerned about the neighborhoods they left behind where there's still so much injustice and poverty.
And that, conservatives are missing a golden opportunity to say I don't like the style of your protest, but the substance of your complaint. If you're telling me in America in your community you don't have opportunity in justice, I'm a conservative I want to come and help fix it.
Instead of calling them out, they could call them in. They don't do it because they would rather play politics and divide the country for their political gain as opposed of uniting the country for the country.
LEMON: That's a very good point because if you're in the rust belt.
LEMON: If you're in coal country, and you're a Trump voter, you don't have a job, you're aren't being listened to, you want people to listen to you, your issue that's affecting you, then why won't you listen to the issue that's affecting someone else? I think it seems to be hypocritical.
BEN FERGUSON, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think it's a little bit different than that. I think a lot of people say you have the right to protest. Do you need to do in a way that comes across as being disrespectful to men and women that have fought for this country and disrespect for the American flag to do it.
I also think there's part of this which is the conversation I have every day. Which is, Colin Kaepernick, I think, is very much becoming a hypocrite on this issue. The guy didn't even vote in the elections. He didn't even register to vote.
LEMON: That's all well and good.
FERGUSON: Well, listen.
LEMON: Listen, and I think you're right. Hold on. Hold on, because you're saying in a way that is fitting who is to say which way you should protest is fitting. It wasn't even as a protest to the flag until the president made it that issue.
As a matter of fact, as you know, Colin Kaepernick spoke to a veteran who said I think it would be more respectful if you kneel--
FERGUSON: Correct. LEMON: -- instead of sat during the national anthem. And the president made it into an issue. Why can't the president say there's a reason that Colin Kaepernick, as Van said, is not standing during the national anthem. I represent all Americans. Let's understand why he's not standing and see if we can come to some sort of agreement about it.
FERGUSON: Because look, I think there's -- I don't know if you're going to have a consensus as long as people simply see by a lot of these players flat out disrespect for the flag. Now, hold on.
LEMON: It wasn't seen that way until the president made it into an issue.
FERGUSON: Well, a lot of the players also didn't protest until they started protesting Donald Trump. You had whole teams stay in the locker room. You had whole teams--
LEMON: Because someone is telling you how to be an American. Someone is forcing -- why would you force -- why are you forcing patriotism on somebody?
FERGUSON: Let's be clear, no one is enforcing. The president has a right and I think this is an obligation, every president has an obligation to protect and defend the honor, the integrity of the flag, the national anthem because he's the President of the United States of America.
LEMON: Which is respecting that. But first of all, we don't even--
FERGUSON: No one is saying they have the right to protest, I want to make that clear.
LEMON: Everyone picks and chooses about, we don't even know if it's right according to the flag code to have the flag stationary behind him in that interview with Fox tonight because the flag is supposed to be free flowing.
FERGUSON: But every -- but most Americans--
LEMON: But everyone picks and chooses how they want to--
NAVARRO: That's right.
LEMON: -- respect or disrespect the flag. We all know it's politics and it's hypocrisy.
[22:30:07] FERGUSON: Here is my thing -- LEMON: Because if you're respecting the flag and the national anthem
and what this country is built on, the people who fought and died, fought and died for you to be able to protest whatever way you want to, that is the American way.
FERGUSON: Don, you know that it's inappropriate --
LEMON: You're not to tell people how and what to do.
FERGUSON: -- during the national anthem to chug a beer. The same way you know it's inappropriate to blow bubbles in church.
LEMON: I'm in a bar almost every weekend during football season eating and having wings and beer and everybody is chugging beers. And I look around and all these people who are screaming about people not standing--
FERGUSON: I'm saying when you are at the field you know it's different. Don't act like it's not.
LEMON: How is it different? Why is it -- why is it -- why is it even done?
FERGUSON: Don, first of all -- first of all--
LEMON: Why is it even done? Why is it even done?
FERGUSON: To honor -- let me answer the question. It's to honor the United States of America what we become as a country--
LEMON: We know we're in America.
FERGUSON: If you're going to ask a question at least me finish it.
LEMON: But you're getting some bull crap answer. No, no.
FERGUSON: You don't like my answer. You don't like my answer.
LEMON: Your answer is bull. It's not true because we know we're in America. It's not as if we're playing some international country. It's two American teams playing each other. We know we're on American soil.
FERGUSON: Don, Don, you're smarter than this.
LEMON: No, don't tell me I'm smarter than this. Yes, I'm smarter than the answer--
FERGUSON: You know when you go to Dame--
LEMON: I'm smarter than bull shit answer that you're giving. FERGUSON: But you put your feet -- it's wanted B.S.
LEMON: It is bull shit.
FERGUSON: It's not.
LEMON: It's total B.S.
FERGUSON: This is exactly the reason why so many Americans disagree with you because of the arrogance and lack of respect for the American flag--
LEMON: It's not -- listen, every day.
FERGUSON: And that's true because calling B.S. to stand for the national anthem--
LEMON: Every day in school -- every single day in school I stood for the national anthem because it's appropriate to stand in school. A ball game is a completely different thing and you just made the point--
FERGUSON: Any time.
LEMON: -- by saying the American flag eating chicken wings and chugging beers. So why would you eat and put it in that round.
FERGUSON: Now. I was saying at the game. You don't go and chug a beer when there's a flag on the field and the national anthem. That's not B.S., Don.
NAVARRO: But, ben, you can.
LEMON: Ben, if you want to in America--
FERGUSON: You can. It doesn't mean that's right. You absolutely--
LEMON: You don't have to go out on the field. Why--
NAVARRO: Let me ask you something.
LEMON: -- are they out there on the field, why are they going into the mix. Maybe you should ask that question. Go on.
FERGUSON: It doesn't mean it's the honorable thing to do.
NAVARRO: The definition of honorable, the definition of appropriate, the definition of whether you should do it or not is a subjective definition, right? There is nothing written in the Constitution that says you can't chug a beer or that you have to stand. And the Constitution does not cherry pick. This week I saw a lot of people who were applauding Mike Pence for protesting the people protesting. LEMON: Right.
NAVARRO: So they were applauding his right to stunt.
LEMON: Which was a stunt.
NAVARRO: Right. Fine. But you know what? Here is the thing. The U.S. Constitution does not cherry pick rights. We all have the same equal rights to protest. So you cannot on the one hand--
VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I agree with you.
NAVARRO: -- applaud Michael -- Mike Pence for protesting and have an issue with the football players protesting. Now, I do have an issue with Mike Pence spending my money to stage a protest. But I don't have -- if he wants to do it in his living room and kneel or stand or nap or scream or throw things at the TV, that's his right.
JONES: I just want to say to say.
NAVARRO: What he doesn't have a right to do is spend my money.
LEMON: Can you hold it after the break. We'll be right back.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Back now with my panel. We're having a quiet conversation. Van, you wanted to say something.
JONES: I was just going to point out that the prior President, Obama, he didn't like the kneeling either, but the way he dealt with it was not to insert himself into the private market and try and boss people around.
What he said was I really want Kaepernick to listen to the people who might feel offended and I want the people who might feel offended to listen to Kaepernick.
In other words, you can oppose the protest.
JONES: You can do it in a way that brings more unity and more understanding or you can do it as Trump did.
NAVARRO: And listen, you're being way too cerebral as usual and overthinking. This is not about what's the right thing to do or the deliberate thoughtful thing to do.
We just saw why Donald Trump is doing it. We saw that segment there of the republican base that when he was filming that show clap loudly when he fanned those flames again. There is a reason why he has been on this like a dog with a bone now for weeks and weeks and weeks despite 3.5 million Puerto Ricans living like cave people. LEMON: He's exploiting.
FERGUSON: Let's be clear. The majority of the American people in the polls say if the president is correct, you can't overlook and act like it's only--
JONES: You think--
FERGUSON: A majority of the American people think it's very simple--
JONES: I'm so glad you raised that.
FERGUSON: And I want to make things clear. In fact, a couple of people said something on Twitter and I want to make clear, you have the right to do whatever you want to do, right. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with it.
FERGUSON: Now, I'm not saying that the president -- and I think it's clear the president is saying, look, most people can't go do whatever they want to do politically at work. You can do it outside of work. The president is pointing you can do--
JONES: Ben, I want to make one point about the protests. I never got a chance to make--
FERGUSON: Sure. Go ahead.
JONES: The people raise this all the time. The majority of American don't like this, 60 percent of Americans don't like this. You know what that means? That makes these the most popular black protest in American history because during the Civil Rights movement 80 percent of Americans didn't agree with the freedom writers, 80 percent didn't agree with the--
LEMON: Always telling people how to protest. You don't like it when they scream.
FERGUSON: That's not true.
LEMON: You don't like it when they stand. You don't like it when they kneel.
FERGUSON: That's not true.
LEMON: This is an appropriate way -- you want people to protest--
FERGUSON: That's just not true.
LEMON: -- behind closed doors where it does not--
FERGUSON: No, that's not true.
LEMON: -- seek attention. Come on, man.
FERGUSON: I said this before. Colin Kaepernick, how many times did Colin Kaepernick go out when he wasn't registered to vote and didn't vote to a Black Lives Matter protest? How many times did he go to the inner city and talk about protest?
LEMON: Di you go to one?
FERGUSON: Yes, I did, actually, to two and I sat down with a core group of people in my hometown of Memphis to talk about it. So don't call out like that. That's not fair.
LEMON: I want to get this on. Rapper Eminem slamming President Trump in an explosive rap at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
LEMON: This blew up everywhere. I mean, when it happened last night, are you going to talk about this, are you going to talk about this and it's been going now for about 24 hours. Listen, protest music is nothing new.
JONES: Right. In fact, Woody Guthrie.
LEMON: This seems to take it to a whole new level. Because I looked at the 50, the 10, the 50 like, you know, biggest protests songs and there are a lot of them there by all different kinds of artists.
[22:39:59] JONES: Look, I think that hip hop, spoken word has been -- it started off as a weapon for the weak to speak out and to be heard and then it got turned into a bunch of stuff that you can't let your kids listen to for too long.
And so, I don't like some of the profanity because I don't want my kids listen to that but the idea that somebody is going to step on the stage and try and be relevant and use their art to make a difference, I think is a very good thing. And the fact that and I'm going to say it because the elephant in the room, the fact that he's a white male from the rust belt who is stepping up and saying it makes it even more powerful.
NAVARRO: Look, two things that I want to say about this. First of all, what Eminem said yesterday is what a lot of us have been saying.
NAVARRO: It is social commentary, political commentary. He has at times done that against Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, George W. Bush. This is not a Trump thing only for him. He comments on politics. It is, I think, part of that movement.
Also, let me tell you, I fled communism and I live in Miami where there's a lot of Cuban exiles. In Cuba there is a punk rock guy named Gorki who gets put in jail because he raps and because he sings against the government.
One of the things that makes America great, not great again, because America is great is the fact that in America our artists, our NFL players, you, me, and every single citizen has the right of freedom of expression, of freedom of speech, of freedom of song, even if it's in rap, even if it's whatever.
So that's one of the things that we have to respect and we believe in the Constitution and this beautiful, exceptional country that we call America.
LEMON: I just though -- go on.
FERGUSON: I love the fact that we have the right to do this. I worry about people that rap themselves around Eminem who in his albums talk about raping women, choking them to death and killing women.
I mean, this is a guy that is you look at his rap songs and the abuse towards women, talking and advocating for choking a woman while raping her in his lyrics, coming out and going political I think is a little bit opportunist because he has gone against everybody politically.
And it always seems to be right around the time he has a new album that's coming out. And people like Ellen DeGeneres who tweeted out, "I love Eminem." Go look at his lyrics and what he's selling to America right now. I don't think it's appropriate--
LEMON: Listen, that's all well and good--
FERGUSON: I'm going to hold a woman down and rape her--
LEMON: Let me ask you.
FERGUSON: -- to a grandeur.
LEMON: That's all well and good. And he is an artist.
FERGUSON: No, but that's a big deal.
LEMON: An artist -- no, that's what I'm telling you that, that you're right with that. And whether he should be doing it or saying it or not, but he's an artist and artists are given license sometimes to do it. Would you vote for him for president?
FERGUSON: For Eminem?
LEMON: Yes. FERGUSON: No.
LEMON: Well, you voted for a president who said similar things as him that you just said.
FERGUSON: Donald Trump never wrote an album -- let's be clear. Advocating--
LEMON: He actually said.
FERGUSON: -- for holding down a woman to her vocal cords and raping.
LEMON: He actually said I can grab someone, I said similar things. I didn't say exact things.
FERGUSON: Don, I came on this show and denounce it when that was said.
LEMON: But yet you still supported him and voted for him.
FERGUSON: The president never put out a rap and say I'm going to pop a cap in my girl if she doesn't get in line I'm going to rape her.
NAVARRO: Because she can't rap, right?
FERGUSON: I mean, to act as if--
NAVARRO: No, what he did do, though, Ben, he did go -- he did go and participate and endorse in a publicity stunt Eminem a few years ago in that publicity stunt convention. So, I mean.
FERGUSON: Again, I'm consistent in this. I criticized the president.
NAVARRO: You're consistent.
FERGUSON: When he said, I said it was indefensible and should not defend--
LEMON: But that's fine. We are criticizing. We just said Eminem maybe he shouldn't say those things but I asked you would you vote for him and you said no.
FERGUSON: No. But because of his politics is what I'm saying.
LEMON: But you voted for a president who said similar things. FERGUSON: First of all, I don't even know if the guy has ever voted to be honest with you. I would love for someone to write that article because I think a lot of these guys to go political they do it as opportunity to promote their album when they're not even registered to vote. I don't think they really care about politics. I don't think Eminem honestly really care.
LEMON: You said the same thing about the players.
FERGUSON: It's a fact that Colin Kaepernick protested, called out the protests, said he felt so much to kneel and disrespect the country--
LEMON: I've got to take a break.
FERGUSON: -- and didn't even vote. That's a fact.
LEMON: Here is what I think. I know we have to go to break. I just don't understand people who say that America you can do what you want, I can stand, you can kneel, because if you want to kneel down, if you want to lay down next to me then the--
NAVARRO: You're going to have to pick me up--
LEMON: -- but if you are going to lay down next to me doing the national anthem I may not like it. That's your business. I don't like it when people are arrogant enough to tell me or tell anyone who they should be patriotic and what they should do. That's pretty arrogant.
JONES: I don't like it when people have these standards for what football players do on a court--
JONES: -- or on a field or what a rapper does in a booth and have no standards for what the president does in the White House. And I think that is the hypocrisy that bothers me.
LEMON: OK. I got to go. Eminem we'll play the Donald Trump interview -- the Donald Trump thing that you talked about with Eminem and more when we come back. We'll be right back.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of course I'm right. I'm always right. I'm Donald Trump. I'm always right. I know a winner when I see one, and Donald Trump is telling you right now slim shady is a winner.
He's got brains. He's got guts, and he's got Donald Trump's vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Yes, that was today, just a few minutes ago.
JONES: No, no.
NAVARRO: Video clip for everything.
LEMON: That's bring him back them, he's praising back on a skit of an MTV in 2004. So that's a bit ironic.
NAVARRO: A miracle he didn't name him vice president.
LEMON: He's not saying anything now. He jumps on people who criticize him. Why isn't he saying anything about--
JONES: Because I don't -- hey, listen, you notice he never spoke back to Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama wore Trump out speech after speech. He never said a word. I think he knows who he can deal with and who he can't. I don't think he wants slim shady.
LEMON: Yes. We've got to talk about Van's book.
JONES: Thank you.
LEMON: "Beyond the Messy Truth." It's a new book that Van has it here on set. He told us we have to buy 20 each. But seriously, you discuss the failures of political parties to unite America.
[22:50:01] What do you -- what's happening with this divide in our country?
JONES: I mean, even tonight is kind of an example -- you guys are friends, you love each other, but when it gets to politics, it gets hot, it gets heated. We talk more about each other than to each other.
I've been as you know all around the country. I wanted to bring some understanding. I feel like I've been able to see now, having been in West Virginia, having been in Tennessee, having been in south central Los Angeles, having been in Native American reservations.
We have common pain across this country wherever you go. Jobs. Addiction. Poverty. Criminal justice system broken. Common pain, but no common purpose yet.
JONES: And so I am trying to actually -- we going to fight about a lot of stuff, but there are some things we could be working together right now.
LEMON: So I want to ask you this.
JONES: Yes, sir.
LEMON: All right. And you know.
LEMON: You know you're my brother, let me ask you.
LEMON: So what do you say to the folks, a lot of people who say we need more M&Ms and less of what Van says. If you are a person of color--
LEMON: -- and someone is saying I want to tell you what to do. You can't kneel down.
JONES: My goodness.
LEMON: I am a trans person and you tell me I can't be in the military. The only way I can be in this if I change. What conversation -- why do we need to have a conversation?
JONES: Look, there are -- look, there are some issues that we are going to have to fight about. We are not going to turn our back on Muslims. You got transgender soldiers. I'm scared, I'm not going. I'm glad they aren't going because, you know, and I respect them for that.
So there are some things that we can -- the DREAMers, you go down the list. But you can't have a country if all you do is fight about the stuff you don't agree on. The problem is we got stuff we do agree on and we're so mad about the other stuff we're not dealing with it.
The addiction crisis right now is killing everybody, black, white, brown, we're not doing anything about it, we could fix it tomorrow. I got stuff in the book about that. The whole question on the criminal justice system. A lot of what's driving--
FERGUSON: A lot of reform.
JONES: And you got a lot of republicans who know and want to make a change, we are frozen in place. The stuff that we're fighting about is keeping us from actually doing stuff on the positive agenda that we could get to.
So I just to want say a couple things here, I don't believe anymore that poor white folks being tricked into being mad at poor black and brown folks makes any sense, and I also don't think anymore that poor black and brown folks should be tricked into hating them. I don't care who they voted for. If you don't have a job, I don't have a job, we got more in common that we got this uncommon. And so by this I got to say and I'm willing to say it.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, Van. Thank you all. Nice work, great conversation. "Beyond the Messy Truth."
LEMON: By Mr. Van Jones.
NAVARRO: I'm going to write one that's just called hot mess.
LEMON: You left a word that starts with a. Hot you know what mess.
All right. When we come back, a black man badly beaten by white supremacist at the Charlottesville protest now slapped with an arrest warrant for assaulting his lawyer. He joins me next with the latest on the felony charges he is facing.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: In all the ugliness and violence in the deadly Charlottesville clashes last summer when white nationalists carrying torches took to the streets, you probably remember this shocking video.
A group of white supremacists beating counter protester DeAndre Harris. A black man inside a garage. Now a local magistrate has issued an arrest warrant for Harris. One of the white marchers claimed Harris assaulted him.
I'm going to bring in now Lee Merritt, he's DeAndre Harris' attorney to explain what's going on. Good evening, sir. Thank you for joining us. Your client was severely beaten by white supremacists in Charlottesville. Now there is a warrant out for his arrest, how did that happen?
LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR DEANDRE HARRIS: Well, essentially the city of Charlottesville is allowing these same white supremacist to re- victimize my client, DeAndre Harris. One on the word of a single extremist to a magistrate who went directly to a magistrate, he bypassed the normal process of filing a police report and then allowing for an investigation.
His word alone without any additional evidence, allowed far warrant to go forward against DeAndre Harris.
LEMON: The complaint was filed by a leader of the neo-Confederate league of the south, which is a hate group. That's according to to the Southern Poverty Law Center, did Cruz provide evidence of the attack?
MERRITT: Because the warrant hasn't been issued to my office yet, they said their policy is the only way for us to get to a warrant is when we turn DeAndre in which we set for a later date, with their permission.
I'm not sure exactly what is in it. What I can only presume is that he presented medical evidence of his injury which would be necessary for a felony charge. And a video clip that we've seen on social media of DeAndre swinging the flash light.
LEMON: Yes. That's what we want to note here, CNN made calls to reach Mr. Cruz for comments, but those attempts were not successful.
And then we're going to show some video that you provided. You say this video shows the incident that resulted in Mr. Cruz' injury and we need to make it clear that CNN has not independently verified the authenticity of this video and it's hard to positively identify Cruz is the victim of the attack in this video. So tell us what you say is going on in this video.
MERRITT: Well, what you see is Mr. Cruz and another white supremacist walking with his group when there's suddenly attacked by what appears to be two white people dressed in all black garb. I believe a white female and white male.
During that attack you see Mr. Cruz struck with a blunt object in the head and he falls and hits the concrete. This is after DeAndre Harris had already been in the hospital after he suffered a severe beating at the hands of white supremacists.
If Mr. Cruz was injured that day it was during this attack and had nothing to do with DeAndre Harris. I do not believe that the magistrate judge had a chance to see this and law enforcement officers have assured me they certainly didn't turn it over as a part of their investigation as they were not allowed to conduct their normal investigation.
LEMON: So do you think white supremacists are trying to muddy the waters surrounding the violence in Charlottesville to make it seem like both sides are responsible here?
MERRITT: Absolutely. This is a fulfillment of the president's statement that there was blame on both sides. Right now you have a clear victim. A 20-year-old assistant schoolteacher who was assaulted by six men who struck them with metal pipes and blunt objects, who suffered severe injuries suddenly being called a criminal himself.
This is a kid with no criminal history. A kid who is gainfully employed by the Charlottesville educational system. And who did nothing wrong. But based on -- based on the exception to the system, the word of one white supremacist, he's been called a felon, and he's being drug by through the system.
LEMON: Yes. Lee Merritt, thank you for coming on. We appreciate it, keep us up to date on what's happening. Thank you, sir. [23:00:03] MERRITT: Thank you.
LEMON: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. It is the top of the hour, 11 p.m. here on the East Coast. And we're live with new developments.