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Tax Bill In Limbo After Rubio Say He'll Vote No; CNN, Paul Ryan Soul Searching; Fallout From Doug Jones Alabama Victory; Bannon Strategy Backfire; Presidential Lies. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired December 14, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: It's going to be a great show, you won't want to miss it. Gather up the family, grab your tissues and get ready to be inspired.

It is top of the hour everyone, thanks for joining us. This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon it is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. And we are live with a new developments tonight. The Republican tax plan in limbo with news today that Senator Marco Rubio is a no vote unless he gets the increase he wants in the plan's child tax credit. It comes on the same day sources tell CNN that house speaker Paul Ryan is doing some soul searching and might be thinking about leaving congress next year.

The President expressing his displeasure in no uncertain terms. And don't forget the bruising defeat of the President's candidate in Alabama's senate race. All in all, not such a great week for this White House. I want to bring in CNN political commentator Scott Jennings and Alice Stewart and political strategic Rick Wilson. Good evening to all of you. Thank you for joining us. Rick, I am going to start with you, let us talk about this tax bill. Senator Bob Corker is leaning no, we don't know if Republicans can get Senator Marco Rubio on board, maybe he is trying to negotiate there. Both Senators McCain and Cochran, they're currently out for medical issues. Do Republicans have the votes they need to get this bill through?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It is a very narrow thing. And Mike Pence better not wander too far from the senate, because the clock is running. And the number of folks that are wavering on this thing is growing by the -- seemingly by the minute. And I think one thing that we've seen about the tax bill is the sense of its fragility with members who, you know, are harking back to the fact that the Republican Party used to be about fiscal discipline and not blowing up our deficits by a trillion dollars or so and not stacking the tax plan's deck.

So I think there are some real concerns. And, you know, obviously Senator Rubio's concern is that he wants to do something to move some very small percentages to try to help middle class families in this bill with the same proportionality that folks in the very upper tier are being helped. He is getting a lot of pushback on that. I think there's very delicate situation in the senate. I think the illnesses of two key members are very problematic. They're not going to get any Democratic support on this bill. So it's on life-support right now.

LEMON: I've got to say, I'm going to bring in Scott here, I've got to say, Scott, Republicans seem certain, they've got to get something done, it's going to be passed. But look at the landscape just over the last week. I have a funny feeling. I'm not so sure about that. What do you think?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I do think they need to get this done. They need to get this behind them. They need an accomplishment for the year. Look, I think they need to find a way, just to speak in political raw terms --

LEMON: Before you finish, though, do you think it's on life-support? As he just said?

JENNINGS: Well, I think life-support to me is a term that means you're about to die. I don't think it's about to die. I think they're definitely on the operating room table right now and the best doctors that the Republican Party has are putting it back together. And so I think that Marco Rubio is negotiating, and that is the wages of having such a narrow majority. Everybody is a king maker in a bill like this. Look, I think there has to be some tinkering. And I think they will get it done. But more than anything, I think the Republican Party has to refocus the national political conversation on the economy.

It is unheard of for a President to have such a low job approval while at the same time the American people have such a high opinion of how the economy is going. And so until the Republicans can find a way to tie those two numbers together, which historically they are, we're going to have a real rough environment in the midterm. So I just -- the tax bill, everything that is going on right now, needs to be talked about in terms of the economy is going well and it's because of Republican principles and enthusiasm in the economy over the Republican direction.

LEMON: Alice, I think Scott has a very good point there, but I think maybe it's because this administration is doing things that are so unpopular. When you look at -- they wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare or the affordable care act, most people didn't want them to do it, they thought every time they did it, what they presented was bad. This "USA today" university poll finds only 32 percent of Americans support this tax bill. That is the lowest support for any bill that they had seen in the last three decades. So the question is, if you listen to what Scott said, you know the economy is booming or what have you, why move ahead with this legislation that people don't trust?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What the administration is banking on and hoping on is what they've been pushing the last few days, is that the results of this tax reform will be immediate and swift and positive for the American people. And they hope that those results will help offset some of their concerns that we're seeing right now in this period. The President was pretty clear yesterday to state that the IRS is already making plans to implement this. Speaker Ryan did the same. And look, what they've been saying for quite some time is that for the average American family, this would mean 2,000 extra dollars in their pocketbooks at the end of the year.

[23:05:10] To the question of whether or not this is on life-support, I would look at it more from the standpoint, they're in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, and members of congress, well they got to do something, they need to hit a home run on this tax reform plan, because they need a legislative accomplishment. So far they've had bicameral success with regard to this plan they have on the table. Both the house and senate have given each side's plan. They need to really work, they have to get something done. They realize they need to get something done right now, but it also has to be right. I hope they will continue to get back to the table and work on a plan that is satisfactory to everyone.

LEMON: You know more about sports than I do, is that basketball references? I'm kidding, that was a joke. I know that was baseball.

STEWART: Baseball.

LEMON: Rick listen, I have to ask you, close friends of house speaker Paul Ryan tell CNN today he is soul searching and it's possible that he could leave congress after the mid-terms next year if not sooner. But the White House says Ryan told Trump that he is not leaving. Take a listen, and I want you to answer.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President did speak to the speaker not too long ago. And made sure that the speaker knew very clearly and in no uncertain terms that if that news was true, he was very unhappy with it. The speaker assured the President that those were not accurate reports and they look forward to working together for a long time to come.


LEMON: Is that right, Rick?

WILSON: I spoke to someone in Ryan's inner circle today who said to me that while the soul searching aspect of this is true, this is sort of like Paul Ryan's Mt. Everest. He is going to climb it, get to the top, and after that, you have to reassess what you want to do next. But there was no plan apparently in Ryan-world or in Ryan's head to leave after the mid-terms. This seemed like a story that got some legs underneath it. To the ambitions of other people who would like to be speaker at some point sooner than later, pushing that out there a little bit.

LEMON: No way!


WILSON: I think there was a little Capitol Hill politics involved in this story. I know.

LEMON: That could never happen, right? So what kind of message is the White House sending with language like that, do you think, Scott? JENNINGS: Well, look, I think as a Republican who believes that the

Party needs to be cohesive going into a midterm, I'm encouraged to hear the President would be upset about a Paul Ryan leaving, because we need the Paul Ryan Republicans. You need the Trump Republicans. You need the McConnell Republicans. Everybody needs to be on the same page. And to hear that the President would be upset about Ryan leaving tells me they are largely on the same page and that the President believes Ryan is working hard to enact his agenda. There's a lot of people out there right now that do want to push a story line about Republican civil war and Republicans aren't getting along and the President doesn't get along with the legislative branch. I honestly think a lot of this is bunk. If you look at what's happened in the last quarter, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan have teamed up on various things. This tax bill, when it gets over the line. Trump and McConnell doing Judges. They've had a pretty successful couple of months here. That kind of momentum could carry them into the new year. I'm encouraged to see the cohesion that starting to bud among the three guys.

LEMON: I haven't heard that word since I was at LSU in the '80s, "bunk." Bringing it back. Alice, when did this bromance develop between the President and the house speaker? Now he loves him? Isn't it more of a love-hate?

STEWART: I think they both realize they both need each other. I think for some time, you know, Ryan and McConnell both thought, we're the king of the hill and we've got this. But they realize they all have to work together. I didn't take what Sarah said today as the President threatening Ryan anyway. I think he would genuinely be upset if he left, because they've kind of gotten momentum with regard to tax reform, they'll hit the ball out of the park in the next few weeks or so.

I think they realize they have to work together. But from Ryan's standpoint, look, he was made for this moment. He loves these geeky numbers. He loves this tax talk. And from his standpoint, if this is able to be accomplished and we're able to have monumental tax reform which is something he is wanted for many, many years, if he were to decide to go, this would be a perfect time for him. But I for one would hate to see him go. If he was even thinking about it, this would be an opportune time.

LEMON: I remember when he was on the ticket, even before that, people would talk about how much he cared about every profile was about tax reform and he carried this binder around and that is all he talked about. Rick, can we get your piece in the daily beast, titled Steve Bannon's con game is over, and I wonder what you mean by that. You say, yes, Donald Trump gets the base riled up, his rock bottom approval rating means he also activates women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and every demographic group that doesn't fit into his 1950s, or is it 1850s, fantasy of what America looks, works, and feels like. They hate him so much they'll crawl across broken glass to vote against him and any candidate he endorses. Does this mean this play to the base strategy has backfired and they'll stop using it, maybe?

[23:10:22] WILSON: Oh, I doubt they'll stop using it. There's a certain mule-ish stupidity about people -- they get dug in on a particular strategic approach, but I do think you are going to see, the lessons of Virginia are very important. The lessons of Alabama are important too. You had a petri dish where Bannonism should have absolutely overcome anything, including Judge Perv. The fact the matter is, a lot of things we're seeing in all these down ballots races, there's a Newtonian physics to the way Trump -- the action may activated Republican base, but the reaction is now almost disproportionate to what he accomplished and getting the base fired up. And getting the narrow spectrum of issues that really turn on the Trump/Bannon base, things like immigration, and Trump's sort of racially inflected, you know, attacks on things like NFL athletes. He has managed to activate entire segments of the population, even if you bring home the entire base, in most places in the country that aren't Alabama, that aren't, you know, deep, deep red states, you end up in a situation where the folks on the other side of this equation are so angry and so motivated that he becomes a touchstone.

And of course Bannonism is even uglier in a lot of ways than what Trump does. And so you end up with this situation of, Steve Bannon would love to destroy the Republican Party and replace it with whatever the hell is in his head with some sort of new nationalist- populist Party. But folks are rejecting that. And these down ballot raises, Republicans, my friends and clients, they're scared to death that you're going to get a lunatic Bannonite primary challenges that pushes you not just out to the right, but out past the orbit of Pluto in a crazy spectrum of things. I think a lot of people are calling it after the last couple of election where Bannon has basically been the skunk in the garden Party.

STEWART: I wish Rick would come out and say exactly how he feels.

LEMON: He never says how he feels or writes how he feels.


I saw you nodding your head though, Scott. We talk about the strategy that this administration, especially President Trump, and Bannon I'm sure, realizes the base, they hate Hillary Clinton more than they love Donald Trump. They love Donald Trump but they hate Hillary Clinton more. Is the problem for the GOP that Democrats hate Trump more than Republicans love him?

JENNINGS: Well, the Republicans have to come to grips with the fact that in the President's first midterm, historically speaking, the Party that is out of power, it gets really mad that they just lost the election and they all get together and try to win. When you're in that position, as the Democrats are in now, they don't have to be for anything. They just have to be against something. What they're against today is the presidency of Donald Trump. He is got a low approval rating. They're against the policies that are being put forward by the Republican Party. But they're not really advocating for anything new or exciting. They're just coalescing around their anger after having lost the last election. So when you have that enthusiasm in the out Party, you've got the historic tide running against you, you have a President with a low job approval, you have a lot of factors that are pointing towards a very tough midterm. What can you control? Here's what you can control. Candidate quality. In Alabama we saw a terrible candidate.

LEMON: That is what Rick just said.

JENNINGS: You cannot afford to go down the same road in all these senate races like we're looking at in Arizona, Nevada, and then Steve Bannon's talking about remarrying some of the President's best allies in senate races? That would be a recipe for disaster. In the Democrats get control of either chamber, it will be the functional end of this President.

LEMON: I got to go.

STEWART: We haven't seen the last of Bannon that is for sure.

LEMON: Thanks Scott Jennings, Rick Wilson and baseball fan Alice Stewart.

STEWART: Thanks Don.

LEMON: When we come back, Presidential lies. Shocking stats on just how often that President Trump says things that are simply not true and how he compares to President Obama.


[23:17:57] LEMON: I don't want to sugarcoat this or talk about it because facts matter. And the fact is, I hate saying this, President Trump lies. He lies about little things like how big the crowd was for his inauguration or how many times he has been on the cover of "Time" magazine. He lies about big things, calling the Russia investigation a total fabrication, it's not. Or about who benefits from his tax plan. Every time we talk about this, the pretty's supporters insist that President Obama lied too. Well, here are the facts. "The New York Times" compared President Trump's false statements to President Obama's. They used a conservative standard, a demonstrably false claim, not a fudge, not a misstatement. And they applied the same standard to both Presidents. They found that in the first ten months of his administration, President Trump made 103 statements that were just not true. In his entire eight-year presidency, President Obama made 18. Those are the facts. Here to discuss, CNN contributor Michael D'Antonio, the author of what just happens to be "The truth about Trump." Michael, listen. Why does this President lie so much?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think in some ways it's just salesmanship. You know, he came up as a fellow selling hard, first it was real estate, then it was casinos, then it was golf courses and hotels. And, you know, there are some old fashioned salespeople who think that you say whatever it takes to make the sale. And you compare this with most other Presidents who have been attorneys or in Jimmy Carter's case, nuclear physicists, and they often deal with facts. There's two ways of looking at the world. I think President Trump is very committed to closing the deal. And he'll clean up the mess later or have someone else do it. But in the moment, it doesn't matter if he is hewing to the facts. He wants to get us to go along with him. [23:20:07] LEMON: Here is an example of one of 18 lies that President

Obama told.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country.


LEMON: So Obama did not have a lot of small donors, but definitely not the majority, I should say he did have, I want to get that right, I don't want to tell a lie here -- he did have a lot of small donors, but definitely not the majority. So I want to play now, this is a lie from President Trump.

It is a tweet, sorry. It says, "Terrible, just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism." That was a huge false claim, false charge, absolutely no evidence there. I've heard him at campaign stops when he was out campaigning, stumping for Roy Moore, just at the Alabama-Florida border, saying, oh, it turns out I was right about that. No, it was wrong, it was an absolute lie. How significant is the way this President lies?

D'ANTONIO: Well, you just put your finger on one of the other elements of what he does. And that is where he goes back and insists that the distortion that he offered months before actually is true even though the world has moved on and has determined that it isn't true. He is not really focused on the reality that we inhabit. He is focused on the thing that he wants to accomplish for himself. So in this case, he is very competitive with Barack Obama, he is very resentful of those who bring up these instances of misleading statements and outright lies. So when he is before a friendly audience and he is sure that none of them are going to fact-check him, he'll go back to it. We've seen that in other cases, where he regrets apologizing or regrets correcting himself, because he feels he is somehow weaker in the eyes of the audience and really he is playing to an audience, not so much the electorate, by admitting he made a mistake.

LEMON: But he also tries to discredit people telling the truth. We all remember, President Obama "if you like your doctor, you can keep them" line, but it did not continue with that false claim and then President Trump is different as we had been saying, when he is caught saying something untrue, he doubles down and gets personal and again, discredits the person telling the lie, telling the truth. Why is that?

D'ANTONIO: Well he told me, President Trump told me he saw that Obama had made a mistake by admitting that he was wrong, when he said you can keep your doctor. He thought that President Obama should have stuck with his original story, because of the appearance of appearing to correct himself suggesting there's something wrong. And, you know, I think this goes back a long way with him, where he is talked his way out of trouble many, many times. In fact who else could have gone bankrupt spectacularly once and then gotten people to give him money again and done it again and people give him money again. He goes on for four big bankruptcies when anyone else would have been told to go away. But yet he does sell his point of view very effectively. He is charming in way, you know, as much as you might be exasperated by him, there are lots of people who are entertained by this. Lots of people who say --

LEMON: We saw that with the election, Michael. If you look at New York City, the people of New York, New Yorkers knew, they knew -- there were folks around the country who didn't know and are buying into a lot of the lies that this person told. He was elected President of the United States, because of what you said.

D'ANTONIO: During the election we were told to not take him seriously, but then we were told that we should consider him a serious candidate, seriously but not literally. He does get away with things that other people don't get away with. Before I go too far with that, I have to remind myself, and we have to understand his ratings in the polls are very low. The Party may be turning away from him and the Steve Bannon with doing things so, the percentage are not going to be with him forever. We may see in 2018 that this catches up with him at last.

LEMON: When we're talking about how he sort of is hurtful to people he disagrees with, the President, he talks about people he is feuding with. We saw this with Mika Brzezinski. Has he always been this way?

[23:25:00] D'ANTONIO: He has always been this way. And actually even the broader way that he attacked the press is something that goes back a long way with him. He is talked about how he considers the media dishonest for more than 20 years. His opponents are always bad people and those who agree with him are always the good guys. This is the way I think of establishing the rules of the game. Here again is a key to understanding how the President views the world. His game is succeeding in promoting himself in his own interests. He defines that by winning the argument in this moment, not tomorrow, and not for history's sake, but in this moment. For him it means deny any responsibility, then turn and attack your opponent. So if it's the fact checkers, and those are mostly found in the press, he'll attack the press. If it's his opponents, he'll attack them, either way, he is right, we are wrong and really it's because he says so.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Michael, I appreciate it.

When we come back, why sources say Senator John McCain's senate colleagues are worried about his condition. We are going to ask our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta for his analysis. That is next.


[23:30:29] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: New concerns tonight about the health of Senator John McCain who is battling brain cancer. Sources tell CNN the Arizona Republican is looking increasingly frail. McCain's office released this statement yesterday. "Senator John McCain is currently receiving treatment at Walter Reed medical center for normal side effects of his ongoing cancer therapy. As ever he remains grateful to his physicians for their excellent care and his friends and supporters for their encouragement and good wishes. Senator McCain looks forward to returning to work as soon as possible." I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, everyone is praying for Senator McCain. Our viewers know you're a practicing neurosurgeon. While we don't know the specifics for Senator McCain, what could those side effects be?

SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's been five months now since his diagnosis. Don, there's a few things that come to mind. When someone has some sort of problem, it's either the tumor, his brain cancer, has progressed. It could be the treatment itself, the radiation, the chemotherapy is causing the side effects, as was described in the statement you just read. Or some combination of both. Typically when it comes to side effects from this sort of thing, it can be headaches that become profound, interest can there can be weakness on one side of the body, significant fatigue, or the things that people think of with chemotherapy, nausea that he needs to come into the hospital to be treated. It's probably in that category of things, because either of the side effects or because of the tumor itself, Don.

LEMON: The last couple of times I saw him on camera giving sound bites, he was in a wheelchair. So we know he is dealing with that and those side effects.

GUPTA: There's no question. The wheelchair itself, it's interesting, he has significant steroids that he has to take as part of his therapy. My understanding was those steroids actually had weakened some of the ligaments and tendons, specifically the Achilles tendon. People develop pain. These are some of the side effects, again, associated with the therapy, even more so than the cancer itself. But, you know, for the patient, it's all part of the same thing. You feel fine perhaps one day and then you feel miserable. And, you know, to the point where you need hospitalization.

LEMON: You were the first journalist, I believe, to break the news that Senator McCain had brain cancer, you were the only doctor given permission to speak with his doctors at the time of his diagnosis. What can you tell us about his prognosis?

GUPTA: Don, this is one of those tough things. In medicine we have all these data and all these statistics and you look at thousands of patients and you make projections and predictions based on that. But as you know, Don, because we've talked about this sort of thing before, every patient is a statistic themselves, right? So everybody's going to be a little different. If you look across the board, and this is sort of the tough part of the statistics, average survival with this sort of tumor, called a glioblastoma, is around 14 months. You may remember Senator Ted Kennedy, Don, had the same tumor, he lived just about 14 months. That is the type of prognosis. It's one of these tumors we have not done a good job of with medicine. The prognosis of 14 months is almost exactly the same as it was when I finished medical school 24 years ago now. It's a tough one. But McCain has, even after his initial therapy which was an operation that he had back in July, I remember his doctors said, look, he needs to stay put for a couple of weeks, and a few days later he is back in Washington. So he is John McCain. He defies, certainly defies probabilities and statistics. So, you know, we'll have to wait and see.

LEMON: I remember during the health care vote, we were all like, wait a minute, he was just in the hospital. He is back. And I mean, and was just as feisty as ever, which is the way everyone loves him. Speaking of that, senate Republicans, Sanjay, are hoping Senator McCain makes it back to the floor by early next week, because they want to get -- you know, they have this stuff to take care of before the end of the year. Taxes is one of them. Tax reform. What's the likelihood that that happens?

GUPTA: What I will tell you is typically when someone is dealing with this, it is a roller coaster ride. It is ups and downs. So you described that people have said that he looks frail, and you can understand why. He is in the hospital, obviously, now. But if you can treat what, again, they're describing as the side effects of his therapy, he could rally. I mean, you can decrease the swelling that occurs in the brain. Don, what happens is you give radiation to the brain to kill the remaining cancer cells. That is a good thing, but it also causes some impact on the surrounding brain, the brain starts to swell, someone has headaches, they don't feel well. You can decrease the swelling in all sorts of different ways, that is what likely happening in the hospital right now is and if that swelling decreases, you could feel a lot better. So it is possible that he may improve, may go down again, and improve again. That will likely be the course over the next several months for him.

[23:35:34] LEMON: Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: You got it, Don, any time.

LEMON: When we come back, more and more accusations of sexual conduct by men of power. We are going to tell you who is being accused now and what the repercussions are so far.


LEMON: I want to turn now to the increasing accusations of sexual harassment or assault against powerful men in America. Here we go, PBS is suspending "The Tavis Smiley Show" due to what it calls troubling allegations. Lawmaker Morgan Spurlock admitting to past sexual misconduct and now stepping down from his production company. "Variety" reporting that three more women have come forward accusing actor Dustin Hoffman of assault. Then there's a long list of politicians facing a variety of accusations, including President Trump, former President George H.W. Bush, Minnesota Senator Al Franken who says he will step down in the coming weeks, Congressman Franks of Arizona has resign, Blake Farenthold of Texas deciding not to seek reelection, Rubin Kehuene of Nevada, Nevada still in office refusing to step aside. John Conyers of Michigan, has resigned. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore lost his election bid this week. Kentucky state representative Dan Johnson committed suicide after sexual assault allegations. There's a lot there, and there are more that we can discuss. I want to talk about this with Peggy Drexler, a research psychologist, also CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer and Bari Weiss, an op-ed writer and editor for "The New York Times." Thanks for joining us. That is a long list.


LEMON: What do you think of that, as I was reading it, you know it struck me, all of these men is just over recent months?

WEISS: And in a very limited number of industries. This is really so far and frankly pretty high class industries. It's in Hollywood, it's in politics, and it's in the media. We haven't even touched sort of blue collar industries where I can't even imagine how rampant this must be.

TARA SETMAYER FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER: You've seen stories come out in the restaurant business, women are coming out and suing companies, I guess it's been inspired now for people to come out, outside of industries that we've seen, the music industry, Russell Simmons is in some serious trouble, it's been reported the NYPD is opening an investigation into sexual assault allegations against him, pretty vicious, violent ones. It's sad to see that we are still facing this kind of culture, and so widespread. But the upside of it is that women now can finally, I think, feel safe in coming out and telling their stories.

PEGGY DREXTER, RESEARCH PSYCHOLOGIST: I agree. That is a good thing.

LEMON: Because you said women are now realizing their stories have worth, their stories are worth talking about.

DREXTER: And they can have a voice. I think what has been going on in the more glamorous industries is that men have a higher level of testosterone, and I think what happens is they use their desire, they act on their desires rather than their intelligence. And I think that is going on for a long, long time. I think that there's no reason for a woman to have to modify her behavior or what she wears in order so that she wouldn't be attractive. This is the Ohio representative, Marci Kaptur, who said women should think about how they dress. I don't know if any of you remember the Loyola memo where the legal interns were told they shouldn't wear short dresses and low cut blouses and nothing was sent to the men. It's endemic in our culture. And it's sad. And it's a good thing that women are talking about this.

LEMON: These are new times. I want to play something, we have so much to talk about. This is Congressman Blake Farenthold who is accused of verbally abusing staffers and using sexually demeaning language in his office, apologizing for his behavior. Watch this.


REP BLAKE FARENTHOLD, (R) CORPUS CHRISTI: I never served in public office before. I had no idea how to run a congressional office. As a result I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional. It accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off color jokes, and behavior that in general was less than professional. I understand fully that this issue has become a political distraction. And that I would be forced to engage in a month-long campaign for personal vindication. Therefore I'm announcing my decision not to run for reelection.


LEMON: Is that enough, Bari? He is not resigning.

WEISS: That is one of the worst apologies I've seen. He is blaming it on the fact that he is a political rookie? Everyone knows what's right and wrong behavior. At least in an apology like Louis C.K.'s, he is admitting he had a compulsion. There has been a real spectrum of apology. I think Morgan Spurlock's one of the most interesting because he knew he had done sort of terrible things in his past and I got out ahead of any accusations that were going to dog him.

[23:45:02] What is interesting about his apology is that in a way, it's sort of representative of the lumping together that is going on in the movement. He apologized for an incident that he says the woman experienced it as date rape, he also apologized for infidelity against wives and girlfriends and apologize for verbal harassment. Those are all very different moral unaversive.

DREXTER: He talked about an instant where the woman left and she had, had, had to say that she was going to tell other people if she didn't get money. Now, that is not an apology. Is he sorry or is he sore?

WEISS: Well, he didn't name her.

SETMAYER: He knew he need to get ahead of this because so many titans are dropping like flies, he thought if I preempt this, which is what most crisis management professionals tell you to do. Maybe he thought this would temper his punishment, perhaps.

LEMON: You mentioned Louis C.K., I forgot --

WEISS: Did you forget that that happened?

LEMON: Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein. We haven't discussed that. Quickly about Blake Farenthold, the decision to finish his term, will that damage the GOP when Democrats can point to people who are resigning?

SETMAYER: Of course. My question is, Paul Ryan, where are you? Speaker of the House? This guy just admitted that he was too incompetent to be able to run his congressional office and that he behaved like some kind of out of control frat boy. So that means he is qualified to remain a member of congress? That is insane. So I think that Blake Farenthold should absolutely step down just like others did, because his behavior was completely unacceptable as well. And even -- in his congressional office, you actually had a male staffer come out and corroborate some of the stories of the female staffers and tell stories of his own, he was the recipient of sexually inappropriate comments coming from the Congressman, which is a different case than a lot of these other instances where you have a male colleague admitting this guy was inappropriate.

LEMON: Stick around, I want to talk about that, I think the #metoo movement is great, but as we say, men should start a #wetoo movement. It shouldn't just be about women saying this happened to me. It should be a #wetoo moment, sometimes we're like cave men, and we don't get it. We're going to talk about that, next. And what the #metoo movement, has it -- some people are worried it's going to go too far, right, I'm trying to say this sensitively, people won't hire women, and these incidents are not going to be believed. We're going to have that conversation when we come back.


[23:51:41] LEMON: We're talking about the avalanche of sexual harassment and assault allegations. Back with me now, Peggy Drexler, Tara Setmayer and Bari Weiss. Bari, you wrote a great column for "The New York Times." They believe all women movement creates new problems while solving old ones. Explain.

WEISS: I think the sort of shift that we've had a major cultural shift in the past three months, one that I celebrate. We've gone from sort of a reality in which women were disbelieved, they were written off as liars, as being paid off, you know, floozies, I can go on and on. We've shifted radically in the other direction to the point where, certain men are falling, their careers are being ruined based on one or two anonymous allegations. My fear is this movement could sort of tip from one that is about justice to one that is about sort of vendetta. That concerns me. It's not that I don't think we should believe women. I think we should. I think we should listen to women. But I think that all claims need to be investigated. It concerns me that we're not having due process in all of these situations.

LEMON: You got a lot of criticism for that.

WEISS: I did. It's hard to say that right now.

SETMAYER: When we had this conversation a few weeks ago with the George H.W. Bush allegations, I said we need to be careful the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other way, because there are different degrees here. Sexual assault, we don't want to muddy the waters or dilute those occurrences with people who may have felt uncomfortable in the workplace or there were maybe inappropriate comments made, that is not the same as someone who is sexually assaulting you, groping you, forcing you into a sexual situation. I don't want to see an overcorrection or the danger of women weaponizing this now and using it as a vendetta, to get back. That could happen too.

LEMON: Do you think it runs in the #metoo movement?

DREXTER: What I do think, you might not be assaulted, but a man -- two out of three men, there was a study, thinks it's all right to keep asking women to go out with them, to, you know, get involved, that if they say no, it doesn't mean no. And that is part of our culture. It's deeply ingrained.

LEMON: Can I ask you something as a psychologist?

DREXTER: Please.

LEMON: I was at a dinner last night with -- it was four or five men just sitting around. And they were saying, in our society, women -- men are taught that they have to make the first move. Women don't make the first move.

DREXTER: Absolutely.

LEMON: So men are now concerned that, whether it's a co-worker or friend or whomever, whoever it is, and they think something may be there, they're not sure if they ask someone out or try to kiss someone or try to whatever, that they're going to end up in H.R., end up on a police report, when all they were doing was maybe a bad flirt job or whatever, they were attracted to someone.

DREXTER: I know -- sorry, go ahead. I was going to say, one kiss or asking out a person once, this is not equivalent to that.

LEMON: But isn't it how the other person receives it, doctor?

DREXTER: No. No, no, no. I think that is minimizing it, I really do. These are men who are stalking, in many ways, who don't think the rules apply to them.

[23:55:00] LEMON: We're talking about extreme cases where people are assaulted. But there are cases --

DREXTER: That isn't even assault. That is harassment.

LEMON: Do you understand what I'm saying?

WEISS: It's degrees. I know men right now who after they hook up with a woman or have sex with a woman, they make sure to have a written documentation the next day. They'll send an e-mail or send a text saying, I had a really great time last night, how about you? And the reason they're doing that is because they're terrified that god forbid someone interprets something the wrong way. I'm experiencing this. I'm now looking back at past experiences I've had with an elevated different self-awareness and consciousness about them. I think that is great. I think it's great that people are sort of now looking back at their histories in a new way. But that can also lead to instances where you thought something was ok, now you look at it and you're like, wait, was that harassment or assault? I'm not sure.

LEMON: We're going to get to the conversation. I'm out of time, I'm sorry. I just need to clarify something we said earlier in the show when we said there were three women in President Trump's cabinet. There are three female cabinet secretaries but the U.N. Ambassador Nicki Haley and small business administrator Linda McMahon who have cabinet level status in the White House, so it's a total of five, I wanted to make that clarification for you. That is it for us tonight, thanks for watching.