Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump Defends Flynn's Lies With Lies About Hillary Clinton; Mueller's Investigation. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired December 4, 2017 - 23:00   ET


[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: And I say to the end of the segment, I mean it. Thank you for saying it, brother. See you next time. All of you. This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It's 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. We are live on the news tonight on the Russian investigation. What did the President know and when did he know it, and is his tweet evidence of attempted obstruction of justice? The President continues to defend Michael Flynn despite a bombshell guilty plea from his former national security advisor. And he continues to slam his favorite target, his election opponent. I want to you to listen to the President, what he said today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly. He is led a very strong life, ask I feel very badly, John. I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it's a shame. Hillary Clinton on the Fourth of July weekend went to the FBI not under oath, it was the most incredible thing anyone's ever seen. She lied many times, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and it's like they ruined his life. It's very unfair. Thank you very much.


LEMON: So the President defending Michael Flynn, an admitted liar with lies of his own about Hillary Clinton. James Comey testified under oath that Hillary Clinton did not lie to the FBI, that there was no basis to conclude that. Let's get to CNN legal and national security analyst Asha Rangappa, CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller former special assistant to DOJ and CNN legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli. Good evening. Thank you all for coming out. Asha Rangappa good to have you with us.


LEMON: I want to start by taking a step back and looking at the big picture in all of this, the back and forth. The bottom line is a hostile foreign power interfered with our election, caused massive chaos in our political system. Why doesn't the administration see this as a threat that it is?

RANGAPPA: That is the question. You know, I did counter intelligence investigations, and chasing spies is like chasing ghosts. They don't leave a trail. They are not like terrorists. They're not going to blow things up and leave bodies. But this was still an attack. It was an attack no les if ISIS had done something, but it is easier to ignore and easier to deny, because no one can see it. I think that is part of the problem here.

LEMON: Ken Cuccinelli, we have learned that the incoming administration was willing to interact with and even reach out to the Russians. The question remains why and did Russians get something, what did they get in return?

KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all in a transition period, I don't find that at all unusual. I don't think it should be found unusual. You're putting in a new government in place, piece by piece. And while Flynn was gone very quickly from the administration, he was coming in as national security advisor, it's not unusual or I don't find it untoward that he would be reaching out to foreign powers including our enemies just to make contact, to start the introductions, start having conversation.

And in the case of the Russians, look, they asked him, look, don't go crazy over the President, meaning President Obama's actions here. Give us a chance to get in there. As far as we know so far there's nothing more than that. And, you know, that works to America's advantage. It didn't work to America's disadvantage to tamp the Russians down. There might be other questions farther into the future. But I don't find that at all unusual during a transition period.

LEMON: Well, there are two people sitting here as you were speaking and you are nodding this way, and they're going the opposite way. And one of them is Michael. Michael, why do you disagree?

CUCCINELLI: That is why we are all here.

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So I learned in the eighth grade one government at time. And what that means is while you're in the transition, if Ken were right, that all they were doing was saying hi, we'd like to have coffee when we get into the White House on January 20th, fair enough. But that is not what they were doing. They were saying to Russia, don't react to the Obama sanctions. And they were selling another idea to the Russians and the Egyptians about not responding to the settlements issue. These were two very complicated foreign policy matters with the United States government, with President Obama as President --

LEMON: Let me explain and let you finish, because this is December 29, OK Michael I will let you finish, but I want to lay it out for the viewers so they know what we're talking about. It is a key date in understanding how Michael Flynn ended up where he is today and how we all got here today. That is the day that President Obama announced those tough new sanctions that you talked about against Russia. 35 diplomats expelled to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. And so that is also the day that Flynn reached out to Russia's ambassador Kislyak as well. So now go on and finish, because I'm wondering if there's any doubt in your mind those things are connected.

[23:05:09] ZELDIN: They're absolutely connected. Because what he says to Kislyak is, look, Obama just heightened sanctions. Please don't respond to them, because when we get in 20 days, we're going to have a new perspective on sanctions. Also they had a conversation with the Russians and also with the Egyptians. We're told Jared Kushner doing that, saying can you please delay the vote in United Nation Security Council on Israeli settlements? That which the Obama administration abstained from as opposed to vetoing, because they felt it was in the United States foreign policy interest to do so.

Whether that is correct or I incorrect is irrelevant to the fact that the incoming administration was interfering in the foreign policy of the existing government. To Ken's point, if they were just going to have coffee, fair enough. But when they start interfering in the foreign policy of the United States government, when they're not part of the government that is unacceptable. And there's a part of the Logan act which has never been used, but has been clearly violated.

LEMON: Ken, I've got a detailed question for you. Ken what is reaction, I got to get you in. What are you thinking?

CUCCINELLI: Well, first of all, I think I made it pretty clear this wasn't about coffee. I think I was accurate in what they were talking about. And that was trying to keep the Russians from reacting to the Obama administration sanctions following the 2016 elections.

ZELDIN: That is what the Logan act can prohibit.

CUCCINELLI: Yes. Have you heard me argue with you, Michael?

LEMON: But your initial response was you thought this was completely appropriate and that was good for the American people. Did you not say that?

CUCCINELLI: Communicating with foreign powers, as I said, even enemies of the United States as they come into office. And I don't think it was inappropriate to try to keep the Russians from behaving in a way that would negatively affect the United States. I don't think that is a problem. I don't think that is wrong. And obviously what Carry Ford from Michael Flynn was that later on he lied to the FBI about those conversations.

RANGAPPA: Asha, this is December 29th, the date I mentioned before, OK. So then transition advisor which is K.T. McFarland later became deputy and e-mailed transition officials Thomas about a strategy to reassure Russia, as according to New York Times reporting this, as part of the outreach Mr. McFarland wrote Mr. Flynn would be speaking with the Russian ambassador Mr. Kislyak hours after Mr. Obama's sanctions were announced. Key would be the Russian response over the next few days. And they forwarded the e-mail to Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer and they all became key players in the administration. So it seems pretty clear there was a lot of discussion going on about how to influence -- influencing Russia's response. RANGAPPA: Yes and this was -- let's understand the significance of

this. We didn't just kick out 35 diplomats. Those were spies posing as diplomats. And it's a process called declaring them persona no non grata. It's incredibly serious, it very rarely done. And when you do it you do it to say one or two people. Obama expelled 35. It was the strongest response ever to a U.S. Cyberattack on our country. And it was intended to send a very strong message.

And the expected response, what would have been expected is that Russia would have retaliated by excelling 35 of our spies. Instead of what happened, and this is where I disagree with Ken, is that the expectations of the Russians were that this new administration would come in and help them out or be consolatory. And that backfired because in July congress passed a sanctions bill and that in retaliation Putin expelled 775 diplomats, basically decimating our intelligence and diplomatic capabilities there. So, you know, there were costs to this.

LEMON: I remember being on the air Cuccinelli and I am not sure if you are one, because you know why I remember it? Because I was doing the new day program filling in for Christ Cuomo, and doing this program at a time and I was exhausted, I remember every single guest I had on and kept saying one president at a time. This in u believable this is unprecedented. We are supposed to have one administration at the time. The incoming administration is interfering with current U.S. Policy. And I remember those arguments so vividly on the air. And again on that same day that I mentioned, December 29th. Ken, this is for you. Ms. McFarland e-mailed another transition advisor, this time unidentified with a troubling reference to the Russia and U.S. election, a saying, this is K.T. McFarland.

[23:10:0] She wrote an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before the Obama administration in retaliation from Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump's victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, which has just throne the U.S. election to him. So everyone, Ken, wants to know what she meant by that. What do you think? Had just thrown the U.S. election to him?

CUCCINELLI: You know, I think we're going to be seeing a lot more from Ms. McFarland -- Ms. not Mr. and in the transition period, I think it is ridiculous, there's just no evidence of that yet. There's no evidence of it. We're talking a lot about stepping back. This is part of the political question of a so-called collusion with Russia, but where is it? Asha has said these are people who don't want to leave a trail, but you've got to actually talk to people, you've got to move votes. I've been in elections. Where is it? And we're not seeing it. We saw google ads around Ferguson -- I'm sorry, Facebook ads around Ferguson. We had seen ads for Jill Stein, stuff for Bernie Sanders, stuff for Trump. But it's meaningless. It isn't even a drop in the bucket. It isn't even a drop in the bucket.

RANGAPPA: Ken, you did not find it suspicious at all that at very opportune times big cashes of stolen e-mails were suddenly released that tended to favor one of the candidates? That was just something that magically happened on its own? That is called a hacking effort. It was done by a foreign power.

CUCCINELLI: These e-mails that supposedly the Russians had that Hillary kept in her basement, we never got those. We never got those. So this whole chatter especially in the summer of 2016 never bore in any fruit to the extent there was any fruit. And frankly Trump was pretty upfront about it and, look it was among his many - call them unusual side of statements, saying hey, Russia go ahead and release e- mails if you've got them. That didn't impress anybody at the time. It doesn't look pretty now. But it doesn't look like there was anything clandestine going on.

LEMON: Michael, quickly.

ZELDIN: In the collusion inquiry, there is matters that need to be investigated by Mueller. The Trump tower meeting with Don Junior on June 9th, the release of WikiLeaks through Don Junior's efforts as well. So there are collusive activities, conspiracy to violate the federal election laws, conspiracy to violate the hacking -- anti- hacking laws, consumer fraud and protection acts. There are lots of things here, Ken, that are on the front end of what we might be seeing on the back end, which is this sanctions deal during the transition.

LEMON: I've got to go.

ZELDIN: It's not so simple, Ken.

LEMON: I've got to go because I feel like it's one big -- did you see ground hogs day?


LEMON: That is what I feel like every day especially when I hear about her e-mails, my gosh it 2016 all over again.

RANGAPPA: There's just one question you need to ask in all of this. Why are they lying?

LEMON: That is what I've been asking the entire time.

RANGAPPA: If it was all business as usual, why are they lying?

LEMON: They were just having a cup of tea or coffee. Answer in my ear was no, and it came out of my mouth.


Thank you I will see you guys next time. When we come back, the Russia investigation turning into a dramatic battle between President Trump and Robert Mueller. The President who shoots from the lips versus the law enforcement guy.


[23:17:25] LEMON: Donald Trump has never faced an adversary like Robert Mueller and ultimately the Russian investigation hinges on who gets the upper hand in their battle. Let's discuss this now. CNN Contributor Michael D'Antonio, the author of it truth about Trump, and Garret Graft also a CNN contributor and author of the threat matrix, inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the war on global terror. So good to have both of you on, gentlemen. Thank you for joining us, Garrett I will start with you. We have two huge forces going head to head here. The President and Robert Mueller. Given these, what you have written here expensively about Mueller. He is a lifelong law enforcement guy. So how do you think he is approaching this whole investigation?

GARRETT GRAFT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think you have to understand Bob Mueller has someone who has given effectively his entire career to the Justice Department. I mean this is someone who has risen to the top of the Justice Department actually twice, and then the second time starting back on the bottom and worked his way back up. And he is a dedicated career prosecutor, the longest serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover himself appointed to top positions by the last five Presidents. This is someone who has an incredibly straight and narrow moral compass.

LEMON: Michael, listen, unlike Mueller Trump is someone we can't keep things close to the vest. He sends multiple tweets an hour on what seems like whatever seems to be on his mind. Do you think Mueller and his team are sitting there going, do you see the last tweet, that is an admission of this, here where we should look into it? I'm serious.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it already has played in to everything we know about not only the scandal involving Russia's involvement in the election, but the cover-up that seems to have ensued since. And the way the President's handled Comey, so much of what's going on has been revealed by his own words. Whether it's on twitter or an interview with a reporter or some other means, this man just can't stop telling us what's on his mind. And we've got as Garrett said, one very, sober, deliberate man who's committed to it truth and committed to service his whole life. And then we have President Trump. And there couldn't be two more different human beings in conflict on earth, I don't think. So we are seeing something rare and perhaps unique in our history.

[23:20:15] LEMON: I wonder if it's just us, Garret. I don't know like the President Mueller seems to have a flair for the dramatic as well. He releases these announcements that leave us all wondering what his next move is going to be. Does he like this drama or this is just going by the book, this is how it is?

GRAFT: Yeah, I think what you're actually seeing is a lot less drama from Bob Mueller than you could imagine. I mean he is running -- the reason it seems so dramatic to us on the outside is because of just how leak-free this operation has been. I mean he has assembled a team of people, many of whom have worked with him for years before in high pressure situations, who have deep respect for him, for the mission of the Justice Department, for the tenants of the law that they are trying to enforce. And so we are -- we are being surprised by them, because we know so little about what they're doing behind the scenes. And in some ways that is why this seems so dramatic. If he was out there sort of giving us weekly updates, sort of taking the spotlight in the way that he very well could have chosen to take it, I think we would be seeing a very different investigation unfold. LEMON: So let me ask you because we learned on Friday that Mueller

accepted a single charge against Michael Flynn. So based on what you know about him, is he getting something for a charges, this is a serious charge but seems to be the lightest if you look at what he is accused of.

GARRETT GRAFT, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, it seems very clear from this plea agreement on Friday that this is as part of a cooperation deal where Michael Flynn has delivered key evidence in this investigation on someone else. You don't normally get in an investigation a lot of credit for, as they say, cooperating down. That is sort of giving information on people below you in a conspiracy. And so there are a very small number of people that we could be focusing on that Michael Flynn could be giving valuable evidence on his point.

LEMON: Like?

GRAFT: I think you're looking at a pretty small group, many who are in the Trump family themselves, possibly Mike Pence. There aren't a lot of other names out there. But this is the second key piece of secret evidence that we know that Bob Mueller now has. Because we know George Papadopoulos in his previous guilty plea gave some sort of key cooperation that has not yet been made public. So we now know to your point, there are two more dramatic revelations. That we should expect out of the minimum.

LEMON: OK so Michael, let me ask you, Garrett says, he mentioned family members, there are only two, it could be Jared Kushner or Don junior and he mentioned the Vice President Pence. So how do you think the President will respond if his own son-in-law, his son and son-in- law are implicated in this?

D'ANTONIO: Well, he is in an awful position. If you imagine that the FBI may have been investigating Flynn all the way back to last summer or the summer of 2015 and then 2016, he could have -- the FBI could have caught members of the Trump family on wiretaps or other surveillance means. There could be ample evidence against both of these men. And if that is the case, then the President is faced with dealing with a son-in-law who could be in serious trouble or his own son in namesake, Don junior. I do think the President is inclined to save himself and his presidency first. But I think it would be almost impossible to imagine him serving up these family members as well.

LEMON: Will he pardon them?

D'ANTONIO: So there could be pardons. Who else would he pardon? I'm sure that he would. And we haven't mentioned Ivanka and what her role in all of this may be. She was someone who attended an awful lot of meetings and participated in a lot of conversations herself. And then she is married to one of the key figures. This is all Shakespearean, Greek, you choose your great tradition and there's a tragedy in this.

[23:025:02] LEMON: Listen, I don't know, but in the beginning she was selling jury and people thought that was a bit offensive. But he seems to do just do interviews and speak quietly, but doesn't really have any power. Supposed to soften him, but it's not working. She is sort of a foil.

D'ANTONIO: When Japanese Prime Minister Abe was the first person to visit then President-Elect Trump, Ivanka was in the meeting. So I think there are a great many very important meetings she attended. And she was there to advice. She is actually been the most trusted member of the family where the President is concerned ever since she became an adult.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. Always a pleasure.

When we come back, how does a twice divorce admitted a daughter who has a tenuous relationship with the truth, yet the support of the evangelicals, the Reverend Franklin Graham even says President Trump has taken a strong stand for Christianity that any other president in history. Well, my next guest who once headed up the office of faith based and neighborhood partnerships has some pointed insights on that for you.


[23:30:22] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: President Trump getting constant support from many evangelical leaders including Franklin Graham, for son of legendary Billy Graham. Franklin tweeting, never in my lifetime we have a President willing to take such a strong outspoken stand for the Christian faith like Donald Trump. We need to get behind him with our prayers. But Joshua DuBois who President Barack Obama former religious affairs director took issue with it tweeting this, dear Franklin Graham, I was in the room when your father prayed for President Obama and President Obama began to pray for your dad. It was just the four of us sitting there. I agreed that you had become so divisive. I pray that you'll have a change of heart. Joshua DuBois joins me now. We invited Franklin Graham as well, but he is not able to join us. We are so glad to have you. Thank you very much. Why did you feel that way about Franklin Graham's tweet and explain why you replied the way you did?

JOSHUA DUBOIS, FORMER RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's just a sad situation. I have the greatest respect for the Graham legacy. Billy is working for his 100 year, Franklin's done tremendous work through his non-profit, Samaritan's Purse, but increasingly rather than being known for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and some other evangelicals as well are out there propping up the gospel of Donald Trump. They're tying up their faith to perhaps the most morally compromised problematic leader we've seen in the White House. And that is something that is deeply troubling not just for this moment that we're in now, but for the future of the Christian faith. And I thought that a statement like that should be responded to. In love and great respect, but responded to.

LEMON: I'm not judging the President, but here are the facts, ok? He is twice divorced, cheated on his first wife, maybe the other. We don't know. Why do many evangelicals continue to support and defend not only him, but Roy Moore as well, especially someone who's accused of doing what Roy Moore did and then being hypocritical about whether Democrats or other folks should resign or they should be employed? DUBOIS: Well, they will say it's about policy, they will point to

abortion. But to point to the Supreme Court, but my response would be to paraphrase scripture, what does it profit, these evangelicals, this GOP to gain the Supreme Court or keep the senate and lose their soul? We have to have certain moral guardrails in this country beyond which we just don't cross. And not supporting someone who's been credibly accused of sexual assault of an adolescent. That is got to be one of those guardrails no matter what side of the aisle that you're on. And yet here we are. And yet we have pastors and leaders out there creating biblical arguments for someone who's been accused of being a grown man trying to date a 14-year-old. That is been really problematic.

LEMON: I am not sure if you heard Bakari Sellers, Bakari was on at the end of last hour. I'm not sure if you heard.

DUBOIS: No, I didn't.

LEMON: This was his word, this was his assessment. And people on the panel agreed. I think he does have a point. What he said, listen, I have to point out the hypocrisy of he said, white evangelicals here, because those are the folks who are supporting Roy Moore and the President's policies and using scripture and the bible and on and on to sort of make excuses for it. What do you say to that?

DUBOIS: It's deep hypocrisy, and again it doesn't just matter for this election, but it matters for the future of witnesses in this country and the future of Christianity in the United States. There are people out there hurting that need the message of hope and healing that many churches are out there trying to give. But how are we going to believe these folks when the last person they're out there supporting is Roy Moore or Donald Trump? I think they're doing great damage to the future of the Christian church in the United States. And it is important for other believer, other Christians who disagree with supporting pedophile, who disagree locking their arms with Donald Trump to speak out. The other thing that is important about Trump not just his record and his family and divorce and so forth, he said in 2015 that he has never asked god for forgiveness. That is a profound notion that you've never done anything that you feel bad about, that you feel you need to repent for? Franklin Graham and Billy Graham, their message is repent for the kingdom of the lord is coming. And Donald Trump has never felt he is had to repent for anything? There's a level of hubris there that I think is really troubling and dangerous. And I don't think the church would be wrapping their arm around him.

LEMON: And Roy Moore he is accused of doing those things. I don't know what's happening here, and I'm sure as a Christian and as a faith leader, do you wake up every morning and say what is going on, America, what's happening?

[23:35:19] DUBOIS: You do. And at the same time there are folks who are troubled. There are even conservative evangelicals who are troubled by Roy Moore and by Donald Trump. We just need more of them to spoke out. Because right now the loudest voices are the most divisive voices are the ones who are tweeting, who are speaking, who are doing press conferences, who are inviting Roy Moore to their churches. We need folks that are in the middle, maybe some conservatives, folks who even supported Donald Trump in 2016 but recognize now that he is morally problematic. We need them to speak out and to let their voices be known. That is the only thing going to change this things, when people of moral courage decide to raise their voice. I hope it happens in Alabama and the rest of the country as well.

LEMON: Well, Josh DuBois is - you make complete sense tonight even though you are not getting as sleepy as a (inaudible). You have a 2- year-old named August, so no sleep for you, right?

DUBOIS: No sleep. About to get a couple of hours now.

LEMON: Congratulations. Merry Christmas.

DUBOIS: Thank you. Merry Christmas to you.

LEMON: When we come back a tweet from the President causing controversy. And maybe getting him in hot water legally. Feels like ground hogs day, to you? Certainly does. Well the difference is this time the President and his staff are claiming he is not responsible from the tweet from his own account.


LEMON: President Trump venting on twitter. But his attorney is claiming he is responsible for a key tweet from the President's account. Joining me now CNN political commentator Scott Jennings and Angela Rye. Republican strategist Rick Wilson. Hello to all of you. Scott, after a quiet hashtag Flynn Friday on his twitter feed, President Trump let loose over the weekend. Tweeting 18 times since Saturday. But the most controversial tweet by far was this one. It said I had to fire General Flynn, because he lied to the Vice President and FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition was lawful. There was nothing to hide. Trump's attorney John Dowd said he drafted the tweet, but the tweet has sparked a conversation on what Trump knew and when he knew it. How significant is this tweet, you think?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's very significant. And I'm very worried about the public relations advice the President's lawyers are giving him. Let's go back to Friday. I actually thought the Attorney Cobb on Friday, his statement about Flynn trying to characterized him as an Obama administration person was kind of amateurish and then on Saturday, my goodness, I hope they're giving the President better legal advice than communications advice. I think the President was being well served over the weekend. And whether he gave this terrible advice on the tweet, he probably ought to be fired. And if he told the President and cleared this with the President, he should be fired for giving him bad legal advice. So this is bad all around, and it doesn't serve the President's purposes at all.

LEMON: America and folks watching around the world, that is Trump supporter speaking. JENNINGS: I am a Trump supporter and I want the president to succeed,

but he is not going to be able to succeed if this is the kind of advice he is getting for these lawyers.

LEMON: here is what I have to say, Rick, there's one way -- we were just talking about this in the break. One of the guys in the studio said how can we believe any tweet that is coming from the President's twitter account actually came from him? And I brought up the point that when President Obama tweeted, he would sign it. When the first lady tweeted, it would be MO on it. That doesn't happen with this President. So we don't know who is tweeting for him. How can we take what comes from his account, as the official word from the President of the United States? We don't know whose tweeting it. It could be a low level staffer.

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well Don, I do recall that our friend Sean Spicer came out and said very early the administration you should regard tweets as official statements from the President.

LEMON: So did Sanders.

WILSON: So of the 3,000 odd tweets the President has ripped out there from his itchy twitter finger in the last eight months or so, we don't know which ones were from his head. We can tell the style, some of it is obviously the press office or some adult in the room. But, you know, when you get the typical Trump tweet with the grammatical and spelling errors. This tweet looked like a Trump tweet to me, frankly, as a sort of student of these things, archeologist of Trumpism. It's going to be very curious. I'm sure Robert Mueller will inquire who wrote the tweet who for sure looked like he admitted obstruction of justice.

LEMON: Listen Angela, Trump and his team, they want us to believe Trump was not responsible for that tweet. But no one ever denied it was Trump when he lavished praise on Vladimir Putin, when accused of President Obama of wiretapping Trump tower, when he accused whole countries of being dangerous to America. Did you buy Trump attorney's the claim that Trump didn't write that tweet?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I actually think that he may not have written the tweet. I kind of agree with Scott here, it could be someone else. And I would agree with Rick also that he does typically have spelling and grammatical errors. And there aren't a whole lot there. This is actually like, you know, it has subject, noun verb agreement. Like there's some fundamentals in writing that seem to exist in this particular tweet. So I'm like maybe he didn't write this one. However -- there's a big however. LEMON: Having said that.

RYE: Right, having said that, what it happened was I believe that Donald Trump still approved this message? I don't believe anybody can get ahold of Donald Trump's twitter account that he doesn't say this can go on.

[23:45:12] So even if he can't write that well, I do believe that he said this message could go up. I do believe that he knew that General Flynn lied and I do believe that even if he didn't write this tweet and he tries to say in some way that he doesn't recall any of this happening in this way, there's still enough that existed before. We can take the Lester Holt interview, Don, where he says the reason why he fired Comey. So there are a number of things that exist beyond these -- again, I don't know how many characters on twitter now, way beyond 140. But there's a lot there. We just don't need this anymore.

LEMON: To Rick's point, Scott, isn't this the problem with the tweeting? When the tweeting sort of becomes the official word from the President coming from the podium in the White House, it's his official word, his official word. And then all of a sudden he didn't tweet that, so we don't want it to be the official word. Does it really matter who wrote it because as Angela said, he had to approve it. It's coming from his official account. That is how he feels his is Trump's stamp of approval.

JENNINGS: It is a big question. It may not matter politically or any given day functionally, but legally. I mean in this particular case, remember, this has legal implications. And so I'm sure they want to distance the President from his tweet, because they don't want him to face the legal ramifications of what it might mean. I actually don't have a problem with the President communicating this way. And Trump's obviously used social media and twitter and other tools to get messages out to people during the campaign and sense he took office. But I would prefer it if messages, particularly ones of this gravity were vetted by people who actually understood the ramifications of what they're doing. I mean if Dowd is saying he dictated the tweet to the White House social media Director and he put it out, I feel bad for Dan, because I am sure his legal bills just went up exponentially. Because he'll be the next person on Mueller's speed dial to come in and answer questions about it. So I don't have a problem with the President communicating this way. If all we had here with Dowd to Scuvino to the world, that is serious problem when we're dealing with matters that have serious legal implications for this presidency.

LEMON: I want to talk about taxes and Roy Moore when we come back. Don't go anywhere.


[23:51:17] LEMON: Back now with Scott Jennings, Angela Rye and Rick Wilson. So Rick Trump support among the rank and file Republican congress seems pretty secure right now especially while they're trying to get the tax bill passed. What happens after that?

WILSON: Look I've said this for a long time, Don. The only thing the Republican caucus is focused on this year and that really matters. They really didn't give much of a damn about Obama care repeal the tax bill was always the peak of the mountain top. The tax bill was always the mighty white whale swimming out there they had to get for a lot of different reasons. And they're going to stay focused on that. I've had many members say to me I'll put up with anything I have to put up to pass the tax bill. Whether you agree or disagree with it, the centrality of the tax bill to the Republican caucus is everything. After this happens then we're in a situation no more worlds to conquer in some big meaningful way. Because everything after this is pretty sticky stuff. They don't want to go into the immigration bill and digging into the things out there on the agenda and there is worried once there is no tax bill to focus on Donald Trump will become bored and restless and start tweeting things that make life very difficult for 2018.

LEMON: Let's talk about Roy Moore now. Angela Rye. More than a dozen GOP Senators said that Roy Moore should withdraw from the race in the allegations against him are true, including Mitch McConnell but over the weekend he back down according to Moore's campaign the President called Moore from Air Force One and said go get them, Roy. Today former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tweeted this, he said, Roy Moore in the U.S. senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation, Lee Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor and our integrity. So what do you think is going on here? Do you agree with Mitt Romney, interesting?

RYE: Absolutely I agree with Mitt Romney. And it's so interesting, Don. I mean 2012, I thought that Mitt Romney was the worst thing walking. And I'm like if god would have told me we would have been here I would have taken Mitt Romney in a minute not over Barack Obama. But I'm saying if he would have run this time. I think that is what's fascinating to me Don is not only clearly the conflict in the Party whether talking about Republican Senators or house members who are in the Republican conference or talking about the commander in chief himself who was quiet on Roy Moore for some time, because of his own allegations and accusations that exist against him. I think the bigger challenge is now for the RNC. They're having a lot of explaining to do to the more reasonable donors in their Party that are trying to understand why in the world they are financing this senate race in Alabama for a pedophiles. Pedophiles normally go to jail, they don't go to Unites States senate.

LEMON: Scott you want to weigh in on this.

JENNINGS: Yes, look. I've been against the Moore candidacy from the beginning. I'm disappointed in the people in Alabama namely the governor didn't take steps to move the election back to try to give the Republican Party a chance at a better candidate.

LEMON: What's going on here Scott then? Tell us.

JENNINGS: Well I think the President is going to regret supporting Moore win or lose here, I think the party has already lost. I agree with Mitt Romney the Moore candidacy is going to be a stain on the Republican Party. However, I would say this if Roy Moore goes to the U.S. Senate which could easily happen if you look at the surveys out there. I do believe he is face an ethics investigation. A lot of people in Alabama said well the allegations are old, no court has found Roy Moore guilty. The only due process some of these accusers may get is a chance to tell their story under oath to the senate ethics committee.

[23:55:06] RYE: Yes. JENNINGS: A so if getting Roy Moore -- if there is a silver lining to

winning this race it's giving all this women a chance to tell their story under oath. Here is the thing, if Roy Moore says they're liars then he should welcome it, because they have to go under oath and tell their story. If he comes to Washington let's bring all the accusers to Washington, because I want them to have their day in front of somebody where they can raise their hand.

LEMON: 15 seconds, Rick. Go ahead.

WILSON: I think Republicans are going to regret embracing Roy Moore because there are poll ratings with women are going to drop faster than Roy Moore's trials. He is a high school cheer leading tournament. This is not a good situation, this is a guy who is filthy and perverse individual, and he doesn't belong in the U.S. senate.

LEMON: Quite a picture you painted for us.

RYE: That was disgusting.

LEMON: There. Wow. Listen, I got to ask you.

WILSON: I aim to please.

LEMON: Angela I got to ask you. There is some announcements tomorrow coming from Conyers, I just got a few seconds left. What do you think we are going to hear, take us there if you can?

RYE: I think that Congressman Conyers is tired. I don't think that he is going to remain in the house. I think that he has been battling with the decision for some time trying to figure out what's in the best interests of him and family. That is probably what you're going to hear.

LEMON: Thank you all have a good night. See you next time. Thanks for watching. I will see you all right back here tomorrow night.