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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump's Attacks On The Press; Top Trump Associates To Meet With Mueller Team; Mom Charge With Felony; CNN Heroes. Aired 11p- 12a ET

Aired November 27, 2017 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:00:15] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast, and we're live with new developments tonight. President Trump doubling down on his attacks on a free and independent press today. He is complained on twitter over 100 times in the past year, over 100 times, about what he calls fake news. Here is his latest. Fox News is much more important than United States and CNN, but outside on the U.S., CNN international is still a major source of fake news, and it represents our nation to the world very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them. Well, CNN responded with this tweet. It's not CNN's job to represent the U.S. to the world. That is yours. Our job is to report the news, #factsfirst. Here's some of what CNN's reporters do here at home and around the world. And here's what it looks like.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Less than a kilometer away firing at Iraqi Special Forces. This is a constant day in and day out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They and we are caught in the open.

(GUN SHOTS)

A lot of our fighters (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Minutes into our flight now Sabena stops breathing. This young woman is going into cardiac arrest. It is aggressive, but I've just delivered a cardiac thump, a quick strong hit to the chest. Whether it worked or not, I can't say for sure, but she came back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So for the President of the United States who less than a year ago swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution including the first amendment which guarantees freedom of the press, for the President to tweet what amounts to an assault on journalists who actually risk their lives to report the facts, it's stunning. You know who the President does seem to trust as a source of credible news? Magga pill.com -- I hate to give them any publicity, but magga pill.com is a website which features the familiar themes of the alt right, warnings against the danger of immigration with a nationalistic theme. It also falsely accuses Hillary Clinton of involvement with murder and says that the laptop computer of Anthony Wiener has a recording of Ms. Clinton engaging in sex with an underage girl. It promotes a story about members of congress involved in satanic rituals and child sex abuse.

So how, may you ask, does this site ends up on the President's approved list of so-called news sources? Putting out a list of what it says are the President's accomplishments. There's not one bad word about Donald Trump. Nothing. Just criticism of all who attempt to stand in the way of what he may want to do. It makes you wonder whether President Trump understands what a journalist's job entails. Compare the sentiments of our current President to those of the third, of the third to hold the presidency, Thomas Jefferson. Here's what he wrote. It says, no experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying. In which we trust and which we trust will end in establishing the fact that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hither to found is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions. Who fear investigation of their actions?

Fear investigation of their actions. A federal investigation is now under way into Russia interference in the Presidential election. That investigation has led to criminal charges against former Trump campaign members. Surely that an uncomfortable fact for the administration, which we the media continue to report on. Mr. President, in case you're not absolutely sure. A journalist's job is to report the facts, not to tell you what you want to hear. Not to support your agenda, not to be a cheerleader. A journalist's job is to dig deep and uncover the truth, to give a voice for those who cannot speak, no matter how uncomfortable, even dangerous that might be.

And surely it is dangerous for a lot of people on these American shores and on a lot of other shores as well. So I want to bring in three journalists who have been witnesses to history. One is Dan Rather, the author of "What unites us, reflections on patriotism." and he is a host of AXS TV's the big interview.

[23:05:07] And CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein. And also CNN Global Affairs Kimberly Dozier. I am so glad to have all of you on. I was appalled by what the President tweeted. Dan, other Presidents have attacked the press, sometimes viciously but never like this President. Are you worried about the repercussions from this?

DAN RATHER, HOST AXS TV'S THE BIG INTERVIEW: Certainly I'm worried about the repercussions. But I trust the judgment of the audience, of the American people. But what you have, unprecedented. There's an effort to make this seem normal for a President. Never before had any President, that includes Richard Nixon, never had any President who's so continuously, so relentlessly and so unconsciously attacked Presidential institutions by name, individual reporters by name. Even mocking reporters, if you recall when he mocked the reporter for "The New York Times" with physical disabilities. This has been unrelenting. What he is counting on is he can intimidate the press. And by the way, not so much individual reporters. He wants to intimidate the corporate leaders of large corporations that control most of the major national distribution. And that is his game. It's two fold. One is to call attention away from the investigation, which you pointed out, continues on now. To call attention away from the investigation. And secondly to do intimidation.

LEMON: Can I ask you, because you were 1986, right were a man who a forensic psychiatrist later examined and found that he mode to be distrust and suspicion of the news media -- do you think this President is putting journalists at risk?

RATHER: I do. How much risk we'll see as time goes along. But you can't ignore those who light the fires of hate. And President Trump is stirring division. He is trying to get a certain amount of the population to not just distrust the press, but to hate the press. And he is the person lighting those fires of hate.

LEMON: Kim in 2006 you were critically injured by a car bomb in Iraq while doing your job as a CBS news correspondent. Do you think the President understands what journalist do, does he respect what we do?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Well, I know, Don, there are some people close to him who are well aware of what the press does and were actually aware of my injury. I'm not going to name names, but somebody very close to him visited me in the hospital room and told me later that he defended my right to get treatment at a military hospital, defended my right to be embedded as a member of the state, telling the tale of the U.S. Military on the battlefield and said that is what the military is out there doing. What I'm hoping is happening behind the scenes is that they're trying to teach President Trump the same way they've tried to bring him along on things like middle east policy.

Some sources tell me the first time they sat down with him and tried to explain why the U.S. has a presence in the Middle East, he didn't understand. So they tried to teach him in small bites, several small meetings. I hope what they're trying to do is tell him when you attack the U.S. Press, you're signaling to Vladimir Putin and countless authoritarian dictators around the world that, yes, you can go ahead and muzzle, assassinate, torture, jail your members of the press, because I'm not going to stand up to you and tell you to treat them well. I'm telling my own press to shut up.

LEMON: Listen, Carl, you've had adversarial relationships with some of the highest powers, with some Presidents. Why do you think that this President targets journalists in the way he does?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because he has total disregard for the truth and because he sees the press as an enemy. And he fears the press. He knows the power of the press, partly because he is a creation of the press, particularly the New York tabloids, which he manipulated for years. Look, there's no need for us to be on a soapbox here. What we need to do is exactly what we're doing. At CNN, "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "The Wall Street Journal" and elsewhere, and that is report, give the best attainable version of the truth about the President of the United States who is totally anomalous and aberrant in terms of the history of the office. What we're looking at, is what is news. That is the most important thing we do.

And right now there is one story. And that is Donald Trump, the question of his fitness and stability. And stability that is been questioned not by journalists, but by those in congress in private, by the military, by intelligence officials. But particularly all of these strands coming together, his competence, his character, the question of his possible criminality, it's all one story. And that is why he is on the attack, because he is playing to his base. He is the President of his base. He is not doing anything to bring the people of this country together. He is trying to create a space where he can continue to get the support of that 30 percent, 35 percent, 40 percent of the people through these attacks on the press as well as these other attacks and he is lying.

[23:10:43] What we need to do is keep our heads down, keep going after the story. We've done a terrific job of doing that not just on the air, but also the great newspaper, traditional newspaper organizations, which now are online primarily, "The Post," "The Times," "Wall Street Journal," others. And that is what we're doing. And that is why the way he acts the way he does.

LEMON: I think you're right. Not to a tutorial our own horn and get up on the soapbox, but I think if you attack one of us. You attack all of us. By attacking CNN, you're attacking "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," Fox News, NBC, ABC, all of it. And we all need to stand up for each other regardless of which organization we work for. Let me just say this because speaking of that, there's been a lot of talk about fake news. And there are even online sites -- Carl, you mentioned online sites -- that target reputable news organizations. Today "The Washington Post" revealed that a woman named Jamey Philips came to them falsely claimed she was in impregnated by Alabama Judge Roy Moore when she was 15. And during the investigation of their story, "The Post" reports that they saw Philips entering Project Veritas the New York offices this morning. "The Post" also posted this video asking the project Veritas founder if the woman worked for him after. And here's part of that tape. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Jamey Philips work at project Veritas? Did you guys send her to pose as a victim of Roy Moore to "The Washington Post"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm 15 minutes late, so I've got to run. But I will get in touch with you, ok?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So Project Veritas is an organization that targets main stream media. Dan, this is for you, including CNN. What's your reaction to the undercover attack he use to sort of bait and trick news organizations?

RATHER: Well, news organizations have to be on the alert for this. And my expectation is this will get this kind of operation, there'll be more of them. It'll get worse as this presidency goes along. As we've said any number of times, before, Don, what you have in President Trump, you have a man who's fearful. Basically he is afraid. He is afraid of what the Mueller investigation may turn up. He is terrorized and he is lashing out in every direction. And he doesn't have to give any orders to some of these reactionary groups doing some of these undercover things trying to trick reporters. The best thing we can do as reporters is to do our job. Just try to get the facts, try to analyze the facts to get the truth or as close to the truth as you possibly can and just keep on keeping on. That is our best defense against all of these things. As for fake news, let us note one of the biggest purveyors of fake news in the country is President Donald Trump.

LEMON: I want to ask -- Kim, I want to ask you about this, but while we're on this subject, one more response from Dan or Carl regarding the Nixon administration. I'll ask you, Carl, the Nixon administration, were you intimidated by the administration as much as this administration? Did they try to intimidate you as much as this administration is doing or say that the news is phony and fake, that it wasn't real? Did you face the same challenges during that time?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. The intensity was perhaps not as long and as direct, but, yes, Richard Nixon tried to make the conduct of the press the issue in Watergate instead of the conduct of the President and his men. Trump does it in a much more guttural, visceral, nasty out there way. And he lies with more frequency and compulsion than even Nixon did. But I think there's an important point to make here about CNN. And that is that we've become a metaphor that Trump is using for the press that does its job. That we're convenient, because we're so visible, because we're on the air we're not -- you know, the old- fashioned print press now online which is developing one story after another along with some of the on-air organizations including ourselves, that we're more visible and an easier target.

[23:15:11] So become this metaphor and emotional point for Trump and those who would be his supporters to attack. And so that is why I keep coming back to as Dan has reiterated, this idea we're doing our job, and the most important thing that we do is to determine what is news. And we have correctly made the determination that what is news is the conduct of Donald Trump in office as President of the United States, his conduct before he got there and how he is conducting the presidency. And there's one other aspect of the story.

LEMON: Quickly, please.

BERNSTEIN: And that is how effective he has been in getting part of his agenda done through executive action, not through legislation. But we need to do more about how he is relating his base, the people --

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned that.

BERNSTEIN: And how he is dismantling a lot of what he promised to do. That is part of the story

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned that because this Magga pill thing just saying he is done some great things, Kim, what's the danger for this President? Retweeting organizations like this Magga pill and what message of the leader of the free world sending to other leaders with the tweets he sends out?

DOZIER: Well, for other leaders what a lot of them -- what their diplomats who represent them tell me is they see him as a bit of a joke when he retweets things like this. But he gives sites like this credibility. One contrarian note I'd like to strike is, yes, we as journalists are under fire in a very personal way by this President. But that means we all the more have to in the case of regular reporters out there, try not to give our opinion, try not to get down in the dirt and fight it out that way. We should be fighting with facts. We should be fighting with straight stories so that the American people can look at what we're reporting and go, ok, that is a straight shooter, I can trust that.

LEMON: What would you like to see moving forward, Kim? The same?

DOZIER: Well, it's tough. I would like to see if the President feels that he is being unfairly attacked or misrepresented, then attack the facts that he believes are wrong rather than the individuals. But it also goes the same way for journalists. It's really hard when you're under fire like this not to take it personally and not to start letting your opinion creep into your reports. And I've seen other editors -- I as an editor am trying to tell my team we have to stick to the story, because that is the way we're going to win the American people's trust. And those who left us win them back.

LEMON: Dan, your book is titled -- hold on, Carl. I'm running out of time here. Your new book is called what unites us, reflections on patriotism. You travel a lot. What are people telling you on the road? Because I was just on vacation I was at red state Florida, and it was interesting to hear what people have to say about this administration, even supporters of the president say I don't know what he is doing right now, I don't understand it, and I want to give him a chance. Do you find that we're even as divide times we are united or more divided?

RATHER: Well we are more divide, because there is a concentrated effort beginning with President Trump to preach division. But I spent a lot of time in Texas and I grew up with and among and still spend a lot of time with people who are fervent Trump supporters. I took a trip this summer with my grandson up through Oklahoma, Nebraska, and South Dakota. I talked to a lot of people, Trump people. Many of them are embarrassed by what the President says and his tweets. But they say, listen we couldn't -- and their argument is, not that agree with them, but the reason I voted for President Trump is at least he is shaking things up. But I will say this, I think the continual tweets that are child-like and derogatory, the wink-wink to neo-Nazis and the clan is having an effect, even on some of the most -- strong supporters of President Trump.

LEMON: Yes, it's wearing thin. And I've noticed it, too. And I sat here, I think I've told all of you, during the campaign when everyone was a doubter especially progressives and liberals saying this guy is never going to be President, don't underestimate him. I said all the time I like this guy, I like what he has to say, I'm going to vote for him. And now I'm hearing the opposite. It is wearing thin even (inaudible).

[23:20:10] RATHER: As you said. You talked to Fox News and some others are going to say its wishful thinking, for liberals and Democrats, but it's real.

LEMON: No, it's not.

RATHER: You did say President Trump support is suddenly crashing away from him.

LEMON: No it is not.

RATHER: But he is hurting himself by not trying to be President of all the people.

LEMON: Absolutely thank you. That is it everyone. Thank you. When we come back, I'm going to talk to the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and I want to know what he thinks about President Trump's attacks on the free press and how they align with what Russian President Vladimir Putin is doing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump's attacks on the press go well beyond anything we have seen before in this country. But they sound an awful lot like you might hear in autocratic regimes around the world. Joining me now is CNN national security analyst James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence. It's always great to have your expertise.

[23:25:01] JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: Thank, Don.

LEMON: The President is attacking the free press like we have never seen before. Is this undermining the constitution, you think?

CLAPPER: Well, I think it is. And I spoke about this in an interview with Jake Tapper last February in which I expressed concern about the assaults on our institutions. And this is last February. Externally from the Russians which is continuing and internally from the President. I spent a lot of my life, about 50 years either in the military or in civilian capacities helping to defend these freedoms of ours. And to have the President of the United States attack the free press, which is fundamental pillar of this country, it's one of the in things that distinguishes us from so many other countries, many I've been to. And when you look at how the media or the press has suppressed in places like Russia and China and then to see him apparently resonate with that and do the same thing here is very -- it's dangerous and disturbing.

LEMON: Co-sign on it. I'm glad you mentioned Russia because Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law mandating that some foreign media outlets be listed as foreign agents. Russian officials say they're just responding to the U.S., saying the Russian state TV, R.T., right? But Russia doesn't have a free press.

CLAPPER: Exactly.

LEMON: So what are the implications in this move?

CLAPPER: Well, it's the same old same old in a place like Russia or China. In fact right now China is undergoing one of its most repressive put downs of human rights since 25 years ago. And the way they suppress access to the internet. And so the implications for these countries -- the implication for me is I don't want the United States to become, you know, fall in that pattern. That is very disturbing.

LEMON: I thought it interesting the President was tweeting about CNN international. And I guess now since he is traveling internationally, he is realizing the scope of CNN around the world. He didn't get it before, and now he gets it now and he is trying to undermine CNN international. Because CNN presents to the world.

CLAPPER: Right.

LEMON: What this President does and says.

CLAPPER: Well, I can attest how pervasive CNN is overseas based on my many trips. And for me that was the standard. And when I got to hotel room first thing I'd tune in was CNN. And it has huge impacts all over the world, and people watch it widely. And that is a good thing.

LEMON: Listen, I want to ask about the former CIA Director Michael Hayden, because after that tweet, he said if this is who you are and who you are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it is not possible from me to consider an American president capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, our free press and the first amendment. What do you say about to those remarks?

CLAPPER: Well, for Mike Hayden, who I consider is real artisan with the language, he is leaving absolutely no doubt about where he is coming from. And I completely agree with Mike. And he spent a lot of his life and I've spent a lot of mine defending these very freedoms, freedom of the press. I say that as someone who's had my ups and downs with the media. I certainly understand the importance to this country and our values of having a free and independent and objective media.

LEMON: When the President took office, even on the campaign trail they said he is going to do the pivot. But many had hoped once he took office, he would sort of moderate his behavior, he would grow into it. Do you think that will ever change?

CLAPPER: Unfortunately, no, I don't. I don't see him changing. He is in his 70s, and I can attest as somebody else in his 70s, you don't change that easy. And I don't see that happening regrettably. I wish it were true. I had hopes at one point that he would change and he would grow into the job and be a uniter of this country instead of a divider. He seems to thrive on fostering schisms and discord and polarization in this country, which to me is exactly the opposite of what a President should be doing.

LEMON: Director Clapper, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: thank you very much. When we come back, the latest on the Russia investigation.

[23:30:02] Has the President's former national security advisor already flipped on him? And how worried should President Trump be about what Michael Flynn could reveal?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Michael Flynn's legal team has shut down his communication with Donald Trump's lawyers. What does that say about where the Russia investigation is going? Let's discuss now. CNN national security analyst Steve Hall, he was a chief of Russian operations at the CIA, and two former federal prosecutors. Renato Mariotti who is running for Attorney General in the state of Illinois and John Flannery. It's my first night since vacation. So if you guys will just pardon me for that. We learned over the holiday weekend that lawyers for the former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, no longer communicating with President Trump's legal team. Perhaps is this an indication Flynn is preparing to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation? What do you think?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think no question that is the obvious take away. It looks like Flynn's team is doing that. And I have to say, Don, it's a bit of a surprise.

[23:35:00] I always thought that Flynn's team would expect to get a pardon. I mean after all if you believe James Comey, which I do, the President asked him to let Flynn go, essentially let him go. And, you know, that suggests obviously a very close relationship between the two men. And what we've seen from Manafort's team so far has been defiance, like they're expecting a pardon. So I expected Flynn's counsel not to act like a typical lawyer in this situation. It makes me wonder if Mr. Flynn's son is driving this. There's been a lot of talk, and I believe CNN has reported as well that Mueller is developing evidence to Flynn's son. And if the President is not willing to pardon Flynn's son or perhaps a states A.G. like Mr. Schneider has in New York has evidence of a state crime that couldn't be pardoned, that may be explaining why Flynn is willing to flip.

LEMON: So John, you know Jay Sekulow, a Trump attorney. He is pushed back on the idea that Flynn has flipped on Trump saying that no one should jump in to any conclusions yet. What's your read on the situation?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Maybe he should know more about criminal law. The thing about a joint defense agreement when you withdraw from it, it means you're no longer jointly defending yourselves. And I think that often in these cases when you have something to offer, it's a race to the prosecutor's office to see if you can cut a deal. And Mr. Trump is not a guy who's loyal to anyone including his own son-in-law. So to expect him to actually bail you out with some Hail Mary pass to pardon at the right time, I think that is a lot to expect and I think if I were counsel to one of these gentlemen, I'd be saying let's go make a deal if we can. That is the first conversation is similar criminal cases, can we settle this and not spend several years fighting with each other.

LEMON: Steve Hall's sources interviewed by the special counsel are telling CNN that Flynn is in trouble for not reporting payments from the Russian government including for the trip to Moscow in 2015 when he sat next to Putin at a banquet in Russia. From what you know of Russian intelligence, what was Putin up to?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Don, there's any number of different ways to try to get at somebody like Flynn. I've always thought Flynn was one of the most important if not the linchpin in all of this. Because he would be the perfect guy if you're a Russian intelligence officer to target. I mean he is going to have great access as the national security adviser. As you mentioned, he is taken money from the Russian government, he is shown interest in that money. He is also been a pretty pro-Russia guy with some of the positions that he took. So you've got somebody has the perfect makings for at least the source of information from a very deep inside the White House, and perhaps even a bit of influence, someone who can carry out your requirement and you tasking's in the White House from the Russian side.

My former boss, John Brennen, said a lot of people commit treason and don't even realize it until way down the road. If that is what's happened with Flynn, that is Mueller is looking in to, it'll be interesting to see at what point down that slippery slope he was. We knew he accepted money already, so perhaps that is being focused on. But it'll be interesting to so how far the Russian intelligence service actually got with him. What were discussed in those meetings? Those are all things that only Flynn can talk about, and I think the Trump administration is now worried about him talking to Mueller.

LEMON: And what about Hope Hicks being interviewed as well by the investigators in the counsel, Renato?

MARIOTTI: Well, she is going to be an important witness. And one of the interesting things that she is reportedly able to talk about is there's this Trump tower meeting with Donald Trump, Jr., and the statement that was released afterwards by Donald Trump, Jr. was allegedly dictated by the President of the United States. And so Hope Hicks was involved in that. I suspect Mueller is going to have some very difficult questions for her about what parts of that statements were the President's, what parts were Donald Trump, Jr.'s, you know, what did the first draft look like before the final draft? What changes did they have? What did the President know about that Trump tower meeting? What independent knowledge did he have? So a lot of questions there. It's long been reported that Hope Hicks is a conduit to the president of United States. That during the campaign if you wanted to talk to Donald Trump, you go through Hope Hicks and there's no special privilege between Hope Hicks and the President of the United States. LEMON: What about Don Megan? Is there a special privileged there?

Because Don Megan is also, no?

MARIOTTI: Great question. The answer is no. Under existing D.C. Circuit precedent, under federal court precedent in D.C., no, there is a case in the in the Clinton administration.

[23:40:05] LEMON: Thank you Steve, thank you Renato, thank you John. That is all we have time, but I appreciate it. See you next time. When we come back, the desperate mother of a 9-year-old getting bullied in school taking measures in her own hands. How her mission to collect evidence of what was going on, now has her facing felony charges and jail time. We're going to talk to the mother. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A Virginia mother tries to protect her 9-year-old daughter from bullies and ends up facing felony charges. CNN's Alison Kosik has the shocking story.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

SARAH SIMS, VIRGINIA MOTHER TRIES TO PROTECT HER 9-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER FROM BULLIES: There's nothing fair about this.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Sarah Sim's 9-year-old daughter told her she was being bullied at school, Sims tried to get her help. She called and e-mailed the administrators at Ocean View Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. No one answered, but she kept trying.

[23:45:02] SIMS: If I'm not getting an answer from you, then what am I left to do.

KOSIK: Determined to get proof that the bullying was happening, Sims took matters into her own hands. She sent her daughter to school with a digital audio recorder in her backpack. In the classroom it was constantly running at her daughter's desk recording the school day. School officials found out about it, confiscated the device and called police who questioned the 9-year-old. Sims says the school never called her. One month later the Virginia mother learned she was in trouble with the law.

SIMS: Next thing I know I'm a felon. I've got felony charges and a misdemeanor when I'm trying to look out for my kid. What do you do?

KOSIK: Sims now has a rap sheet complete with a mug shot, charged with intercepting any wire, electronic or oral communication, which is a felony. And contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. Sims could spend five years in prison.

SIMS: This is ridiculous. They're reaching, and my thing is why? Why are you working so hard to vilify me instead of addressing this issue, why this even exists? The most part is what's going on in the classroom? KOSIK: It's been months, but Sims says school officials have yet to

return her calls and e-mails. Meantime her daughter still attends Ocean View Elementary School in a different class. CNN reached out to the school district and also the Norfolk police department which would not comment beyond confirming the charges. Don.

(END VIDEO)

LEMON: Thanks, Alison. And joining me now is Sarah Sims, the mother facing charges for putting a recording device in her daughter's backpack and her lawyer Kristin Paulding. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. How are you guys doing?

SIMS: We're good, thank you. How are you?

KRISTIN PAULDING, ATTORNEY FOR SARAH SIMS: We are good.

LEMON: Sarah, I am great. Sarah I'm so sorry you're going through this. You said your daughter was being bullied at her elementary school. Tell me what was happening?

SIMS: Georgia had been bullied in the school previously. In grade 3 she had been kicked in her stomach and hit with a jump rope on the playground, and I wasn't notified by the school. She didn't want to attend anymore, and she became very anxious about attending. I removed her from the school because she was refusing to go. She felt like she wasn't protected. When I got her to another school and had her there -- I apologize.

LEMON: That is ok. With all this attention you're dealing with, but let me ask you. You made repeated calls and e-mails to the school trying to get whoever was responsible, and you said you got no response. So you decided to put a digital recorder in your daughter's backpack. So what did you hope to learn? Tell me what happened?

SIMS: I was hoping to get a good idea or the environment of the classroom. After not getting any responses to the e-mail and the dismissive behavior that I've endured in the past and Georglin endured in the past, I thought it would be a good idea for me to do it on my own. I'm a full time student, so I don't always get an opportunity to be on the premises. So I thought this would be a good way for me to learn the environment all the way around.

LEMON: So Kristin I want to bring you in now, because Sarah was charged with felony use of a device intercept oral communication, which carries a possible penalty of five years imprisonment. She was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misdemeanor. What do you make of these charges?

PAULDING: Don, I was appalled when I heard of his charges. I have been practicing criminal law for ten years and I was shocked to see that the school would decide to go to the police department and ultimately charge this mother as opposed to sitting her down and having just a simple conversation about what were her concerns and how could the school alleviate those concerns. This was an issue that involved not only bullying from students but Sarah had a concern her daughter's teacher may have actually been speaking inappropriately to her. So the device was a way to make sure that classroom was a safe place for Georglin and unfortunately to this day we don't know what was said in this classroom on that day. We haven't heard the recording device.

LEMON: Sarah, why do you think the school called the police and didn't call you? Have you heard from them at all?

SIMS: I have not. I would like to know why I haven't heard from them. I have not been addressed. In fact it's not uncommon for me to go unaddressed. When Georglin was bullied earlier this year, in fact, she did not -- I didn't get a call. No one called me to discuss this situation with me. A week went by, the vice principal who wasn't even on premises, she is the one gave me a call to let me know that my child - did let me know about the altercation. The administration pretty much they -- they are not in communication with me.

{23:50:26] LEMON: Sarah thank you. Kristin, thank you as well. I appreciate it.

SIMS: Thank you.

PAULDING: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight voting is under way for the CNN hero of the year. Here is one of this year's top ten heroes. Meet Rosie Mushaley.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are so many often who are left behind. We can build their lives again. In the year 2000 I found a boy on my doorstep, and I took him in. I've never turned any child away. Most of them are abandoned by their parents, because of HIV and aids.

[23:55:07] We feed them. We clothe them. We send them to school. Oops. The basic things that we're giving them is the love. Our center now has become a sentiment of hope for the children. Everybody has got a dream and my wish is for their dream to be fulfilled.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Vote for Rosie or any of your favorite top ten heroes now at CNNheroes.com. That is it for us tonight. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)