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Awaiting Senate Vote On GOP Tax Bill; CNN Poll, 33 Percent Support GOP Tax Plan; Donald Trump Jr. Slams Russia Investigation; Trump's Shifting Tone On Russia And China. Aired 11-11:30p ET
Aired December 19, 2017 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:42] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, live with the breaking news, senate voting any minute now on the Republican tax bill. Couple of technical bumps in the house forcing the revote tomorrow but the bill is still expected to reach the President's desk shortly after. Straight to Capitol Hill now. Phil Mattingly is there he has been pulling some long hours, and he is following it all for us. Hello Phil, what's happening at this hour?
PHIL MATTINGLY, NEW YORK BASED CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well senate is starting to move through debate. Going to get to the point they're closing that debate up. This result is a foregone conclusion we know the Republicans have the votes however the process will take longer than expected. The house passed the tax bill 227-203 earlier today and senate was supposed and send it straight to the President's desk big signing ceremony planned for Wednesday there was a hold up, because of the senate rules, allowing Republicans to pass on a simple majority vote those rules found something in the senate Republican bill actually ran a foul and because of that two minor technical provisions are being strip out, that means it will have to be sent back to the house. Don I know you want me to go in deep detail about senate bunch of reconciliation rules. I know but to give a short summary of what is going on right now that doesn't endanger the bill, Republicans are still in position to get this to the President's desk tomorrow. Just going to take a little bit longer, if you look at the grand scheme of things here, Republicans about to do an over haul of the tax code, doing in a partisan manner, no Democratic supporting this, they repeatedly coming to floor on the course of the last couple of hours for a tact this bill say it is too slanted towards the corporate side of thing, but hasn't stopped Republicans on the verge of passing but with every single member of the Republican are conference who is present voting yes.
LEMON: Phil Mattingly will be covering it all. Thank you sir, appreciate it. I want to bring in now Mark McKinley he is a former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain and executive producer to ShowTime's "the Circus" is here for our far side chat this evening. Thank you sir for joining us now. Listen I want you to listen on this two different takes on today news. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: This promise being kept today is one of the
most important things we can do to get the U.S. economy growing faster and help people get bigger paychecks to have a fairer tax system and to simplify the system so people can have more peace of mind.
CHUCK SCHUMER, INCOMING SENATE MINORITY LEADER: This tax bill will be an anchor around the ankles of every Republican they haven't learned it yet, they will learn it next November. Republican will rue the day they passed this bill and the American people will never let them forget it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You heard what Paul Ryan said, but opponents of this are saying. Trickle down never works who is right, will Republicans ride this bill to success in 2018 or will they rue the day.
MARK MCKINNON, THE CIRCUS ON SHOWTIME CO HOST: Well I think that is what you expect from the leadership of the Democrats Party and Republican Party and the answer probably lies somewhere in between. The bill pushed through on the parts and basis, no Democrats. The congressional budget office will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit which is kind of an odd approach for Republican, not typical. And a lot of special interest components to which in any tax bill, like the ridiculous carried interest provision. He said originally wouldn't be good for him but clearly is good for him. At the end of the day this is a very important win for Donald Trump and the Republicans. Legislative win they needed badly. I think the answer to what this will be, let's have this show a year from now and see how it worked out, but the fact is the economy is growing at a very good clip right now and came in at 1.9. Donald Trump now at about 3 percent or more with Donald Trump that is a 50 percent growth rate for Donald Trump. If this gives confidence for more businesses to hire more, spend more, put more money in wages and paychecks so people have more confidence that will be a big deal and the end is success of that is the case.
LEMON: Let me ask you, how did Republicans manage to make a tax cut unpopular? 33 percent Americans support this.
MCKINNON: Well great question. I think your colleague John King hit it earlier today when he said with the perception and distrust of congress today, congress could pass a bill giving everybody an apple pie and suddenly people will be feeling very bad about apple pies.
[23:05:15] They would have an unfavorable opinion about apple pies. The fact is the congress itself is unpopular. People don't trust congress and nobody thinks they will get a tax cut. Interesting thing about some of the poll something that they say it's a very unpopular tax bill only 17 percent respondents think they will get a tax cut when in reality 80 percent will. When the facts line up and people realize oh, well actually I did get a tax cut I think the perception about the tax bill will change over time.
LEMON: The tax cuts for the middle class are not permanent, they are temporary, and they are based on a timeline. MCKINNON: That is true. I think Ryan's goal and everybody else is to
make them permanent. When that comes up it will be very hard including for any Democrat to vote against extending those, because it's one thing to give people a tax cut, but to take it away is very, very difficult. Not often done in congress. I think it will be made permanent at some point.
LEMON: Same with health care once you get it hard to take it away.
MCKINNON: Hard to take it away. Very hard to take it away. So I think they will be made permanent overtime.
LEMON: Let me put this up, this according to a nonpartisan tax policy center, it came out today. You can see the richer are going to get the bigger tax cut here. Both in dollar amounts and percentage of your income. Could you blame someone in the middle class for wondering why rich people get more money and higher tax cut under this plan?
MCKINNON: No, not at all. That is a result you get when you run things through. It's not bipartisan. I think Republicans were so anxious to get a short-term win to get a legislative victory that they didn't really understand the ramifications the long term impact of how Democrats can attack this bill to say it did more for the rich than the middle class it's a debate we'll have. In the long run we'll see what happens to the confidence to businesses whether the wages come down, whether people spend more whether they feel good and confident about the economy and if they do if there's substantial growth will take care of a lot of problems over time. It's a big if too.
LEMON: You're a Republican but you're also a sensible Republican, why are people out talking about the tax bill the way you are and why won't Republican just say, well at least the ones who are putting this bill just to say listen, we need a win. So work with us on this one.
MCKINNON: Well I think what voters want is just candor and authenticity and it baffles me the extent to try to spin something when it is obviously something completely different. Republicans are making a big bet that by giving money to corporations and to other well-off interests that they are going to increase wages and it's the old trickle down. You know we've done this experiment before with mixed results, but in is Trump's turn. He is got to win. Republicans are in control of congress and we're seeing the result of what happens when Republican are in control. They got their executive and got their own the board which they need by the end of the year.
LEMON: It's because of how people feel about congress that agrees is unpopular any time you deal with taxes it's going to be unpopular also has to do with the President at 35 percent lowest he is been in our polling. Why is the president with a booming stock market, a strong economy, he is going to have a win when it comes to taxes, why's he have numbers that are so bad?
MCKINNON: I think a lot of it has to do with the chaos.
LEMON: The rhetoric. MCKINNON: Oh, sure. It's rhetoric and he is been communicating to
his core base of constituency's not broadly to the middle or Democrats and people feel he is been very partisan that he is attacked everybody across the board except his base and he hasn't governed in a way people are used to seeing Presidents do. This is a very conservative base strategy by Donald Trump and he suffered for it. But listen, the thing that strikes me about the poll is his favorable ratings are so disconnected by the economy normally we see those numbers are very close parallel in other words, if people feel 50 percent confidence in the economy in the way things are going, that is generally the way they feel about the President. So that shows how much the problem President Trump has personally when he is so disconnected with economics number that is are better.
[23:10:15] LEMON: Yes and with the stock market and everything booming. He ends his first year with lower poll numbers than any president in the first year of office. He is historically unpopular in nay measure. The question is, what is in-store for year two? Because you know in year two, we know that is an election year a mid- term year.
MCKINNON: Well it is an election year as I have been alluding to. If the economy is booming and wages are up and people are feeling good that is going to make up for a lot of problem so and I think is an opportunity too now he has got this kind of w on the board, he has a win, and he likes winning, we know that, I think if he could go to infrastructure which is something Democrats like. I argued a long time Donald Trump may be the only President that could get a big infrastructure bill done a typical Republican President would never spend the money required and if it were Democratic President Republicans would never are vote for it. You could argue Donald Trump could be the only President to get a massive infrastructure bill done and in doing so would be an opportunity to reach out to Democrats get an infrastructure bill done with good economy on the back of it could help.
LEMON: Do you think Democrats will ever work with this President? They seem really a verse to working with this President.
MCKINNON: Great question, Don. I think that is a consequence of how he came out of the gate. In other words, I would have argued strategically to do infrastructure out of the gate. My old boss George W. Bush did on education, find an issue get with Democrats early in the administration, because by doing the way he did it, I think Democrats felt burned early on and said we're never going to help this guy. That may be the case going forward on infrastructure. On the other hand Democrats want to go home and show results and infrastructure is something Democrats just love. There's a possibility there.
LEMON: I always enjoy our conversation. Thank you mark McKinnon, I appreciate it and if I don't see you again Merry Christmas.
MCKINNON: Thank you Don.
LEMON: When we come back the president's son slamming the Russia investigation using his comments to blast a number of number one enemy of Trump White House and that is Hillary Clinton.
[23:16:01] LEMON: Donald Trump Jr., railing against the Russian investigation tonight. President's son blasting Robert Mueller's team and complaining about having to testify about that infamous Trump tower meeting with Russians. Let us discuss now with Congressman Eric Swalwell a Democrat on the intelligence committee. Good evening sir.
REP ERIC SWALWELL, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Good evening Don, how are you doing?
LEMON: I am doing well thank you sir. Donald Trump Jr. spoke to a gathering of conservative college students tonight, here's a portion of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., OLDEST SON OF DONALD TRUMP: As Charlie alluded to earlier I have now spent 23 hours testifying about a 20 minutes meeting. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state spent 11 hours testifying about Benghazi where she was the secretary of state where people died and she lied about it, saying because of a YouTube video.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well some of those 23 hours of testimony would have been in front of you at the house at the intel committee right?
SWALWELL: That is right, Don. It's actually quite shocking to hear him talk about our interview and say something other than a father-son privilege that he made up. So I welcome him talking because there was a lot we wanted to hear from him that he wouldn't tell us because he invoked this privileged privilege as we would call it.
LEMON: Just a bit ago deputy FBI Andrew McCabe wrapped up a meeting with the House intel committee after being question for eight hours. McCabe has come under fire from Republican to his wife's ties to Clinton allies and his name coming up in text messages between FBI special agents that were removed from special agent Mueller's team. Where do you stand on McCabe's performance and can you tell us anything about today's meeting.
SWALWELL: I can't Don, but what I can tell you from what I learned on the house judiciary committee that Robert Mueller and FBI team made the right call when agent's work was called into question because he had demonstrated a perceived bias and that agent was immediately removed from the investigation. Compare that, Don, to President Trump. He learned that his national security advisor Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI and he kept him on long as he possibly could until it was made public by the Washington Post. For over 18 days he stayed on. Finally when it became a public relations problem, he was fired. This team Bob Mueller and the professionals around him, they heard a perceived bias and the agent was removed, that is what you do when you have an issue on someone on your team, not what you do is what Donald Trump did with Michael Flynn. So I will take the Mueller team any day over what we have seen in the White House.
LEMON: The President's legal team wrote a letter to congress complaining about Mueller's team acquiring emails from Trump's transition team and the Mueller team is pushing back, releasing a statement, essentially saying not so fast these e-mails were acquired legally. What is your read on this situation?
SWALWELL: Right we are talking about public e-mails, saying Bob Mueller access transition team e-mails on a .gov email account, where there was no expectation of privacy just as the FBI agents were on their work phones and their text messages were released to the media the night before Ron Rosenstein testified to the house judiciary committee. And the transition team emails are being reviewed by Bob Mueller and for even better reason anything come before it which is they may have been working with the Russians which is under investigation. I don't think that will stand up as a legal argument or keep them from being admissible if they have to be in court.
LEMON: Congressman, I want you to take a listen to this, this is from an interview from Chris Christie, and he did it on MSNBC earlier. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: He deserves scrutiny, you know why, because he was involved in the transition and in meetings that call into question his role.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:20:05] LEMON: Is that just bad blood between Christie and the Kushner's or does he have a point there?
SWALWELL: No he has a point it's not just Jared Kushner's involvement in the transition it's that he also attended June 9th meeting that he met with sanctioned Russian bankers during the time of the transition and so there's a lot of questions about the relationship that Jared Kushner had that he did not disclose and only acknowledged once press report or our investigation were able to expose them. What you see these aren't coincidences you see family members, campaign team members and administration team members having contact with the Russians, not disclosing them and being confronted with them and minimally acknowledging them. It's a pattern the public needs to know about. What do the Russians have on President Trump, why does he treat them so favorably?
LEMON: The question is Chris Christie could have answered that question a number of ways, he could have deflected. Why do you think he is talking about this? Why is he discussing this? Why did he answer that way?
SWALWELL: I don't know, Don, I hope he is being candid has he is known to be from time to time. Sometimes Democrats like it sometimes we don't. His assessment matches up with I think an objective assessment of what Mr. Kushner's role was during the transition role was which was troublesome and worthy of scrutiny. LEMON: The President has insisted a number time that he is not going
to fire Robert Mueller, but his allies in congress and his allies in the media had been working overtime to discredit Mueller investigation. Is that risk tainting any findings that the Mueller investigation may come up with?
SWALWELL: I think firing Bob Mueller would be obstruction of justice and would also pulverize the team's investigation and set it back. Best thing we can do is to have bipartisan legislation to protect Mueller it's not just the President's wishes to get rid of Mueller it's what we are hear from the conservative voices of media and those on the house judiciary committee, I think right now if you listen to Republican on the committee, they take credit for it. Based on what they said FBI Director Wray and Ron Rosenstein so I'm very concerns, but it's public sentiment I think that hopefully wins the day and the public is largely behind Bob Mueller in the independent investigation.
LEMON: As you know the president has released his national security strategy yesterday and a portion of it reads, today actors such as Russia are using information tools to an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks and personal data. The American public nad private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life, but does that passage different to you than other comments that we heard from the president about Russia?
SWALWELL: I agree with that passage, but I don't have no reason to believe Donald Trump read that or has actually signed off on that because everything he says is 180 degrees in the opposite direction. He acknowledged when he saw Vladimir Putin at the aegis summit that he took Putin at his word that he was not responsible for the campaign and it was insulting that he had to keep raising it so thank god we have so many who care so much about our country to protect it from Russia and other actors who would meddle I don't believe that is because it is coming from the top.
LEMON: Congressman thank you. Always a pleasure to talk to you.
SWALWELL: Of course my pleasure Don.
LEMON: When we come back the President's son had more to say tonight including pushing the Russia conspiracy theory. I am going to ask the former director of the CIA what he thinks about.
[23:28:10] LEMON: Donald Trump Jr. slamming the ongoing Russian investigation. I want to bring in our CNN national analysis General Michael Hayden a former director of the CIA and a former director of the national security agency, good to have you on.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Evening.
LEMON: Donald Trump Jr. just spoke to a group of college students this is a portion of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP JR: I'm glad this is coming out now because it is good because real people have to see this. My father talked about a rigged system throughout the campaign and people say what are you taking about? It is, you're seeing it, there is, and there are people at the highest levels of government that don't want to let America be America. They don't want to let the little guy have a voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: People at the highest level of government who don't want America to be America. Does it sound to you like Donald Trump Jr. is pushing conspiracy theory about America's government?
HAYDEN: I have to confess when I first heard that this evening it is scary, an appeal to the heart of atrocity and challenging the patriotism for the folks who work in the United States government. We have good institutions in this country. They are imperfect. They make mistakes. We have imperfect people that send messages they shouldn't send about doesn't undercut the legitimacy of these institutions. We're now seeing a constant attack not just from the administration but from congressman as suggested as other members of the Republican Party attacking the institutions of the American government. It's those institutions, the rule of law, and the processes that keep us a free people.
LEMON: Why would the President's son say something like that?
HAYDEN: I don't know is that Don Jr. has been marked by cool, calm judgment in his public utterances in the past. What it suggests to me in their heart of hearts they don't think this investigation is going to a happy place at least not from their point of view. I'm not from predicting criminal indictments about collusion or anything but as the investigation goes on we learn more and more about the synchronization of the Trump of activities of the Trump campaign including with the President's son with WikiLeaks and the actions of the Russian federation.
2DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Do you think it has any kind of that he may be concerned about the personal consequences of himself, his family, his father?
HAYDEN: Sure they are family with concerns for one another that is human and understandable, you know you need someone around this group who advises them that number one this is not wise on their behalf and the collateral damage they're doing to American institutions. Belief in the American government and integrity of the American system. Don, my great fear based on that earlier quote we're going to do long-term damage on things we depend.
LEMON: Our reliable institution that is made America great to begin with. Interesting because most would say if their father was President they would leave the presidenting up to the father and commenting as well. Wise to do that. Former director of national intelligence James Clapper joined CNN yesterday to talk about President Trump's relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset. That is what he is doing with the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Here's what clapper went on to say that he meant that in a figure active way. But I'm curious your reaction to his comment.
HAYDEN: I agree with Jim particularly since he qualified it saying he is speaking in a figuratively sort of way. Look, Vladimir Putin is a case officer. Case officers attempt to influence other people we got this little tool we use, how do you influence others, money, ideology, compromise, ego. Putin will pull the level that is most of use to him in all of his relationships, so it's not surprising he would try to do it with our President and frankly in this case the technique that seems most prominent, the one he appears to be most using is appeal to ego.
LEMON: I want to read something, this is Sally Yates, the former Attorney General of the United States. I wrote an op-ed to USA Today she said, I was sure values include another essential principle and that is the rule of law. The promise of the law applies equally to everyone that no person is above it and that all are entitled to its protection. The rule of law requires a strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House on criminal cases and investigation, this wall of separation is what ensure the public in hand to have confidence that the criminal process is not being use as a sword to go after once political enemies or as a shield to protect those in power. It is what separates us from an atrocity. Are you concerned that our country could be moving away from the democracy that we were founded on?
HAYDEN: yes, I got a great deal of confidence in American political culture of the American people that has already suggested Don, American institution. Miss Sally Yates is pointing out something quite real, this attack as I said before on the institutions under cutting of legitimately of processes, imperfect as it may be on which we all depended and Don in that article, she went on to talk about the critical role of truth in sustaining the American democracy and see that under attacks as well in our institutions.
LEMON: Yates also went on saying there is a moment to return to core values do you agree with that? What kind of effort would that take?
HAYDEN: Don, I've spent more time reflecting and reading the papers in last two years than over 50 years of my life. We're returning to basics. My great hope is after this period we emerge with a greater, deeper understanding and appreciation for what makes America to refer to the quote from Don Jr. before.
LEMON: Amen. We are almost a year into Trump's presidency. How are American institutions holding up you think?
HAYDEN: Actually pretty well that sound you hear from Washington is actually the sound of American institutions pushing back, whether the law enforcement, the courts, the press, American intelligence, Don we've even had moments we have the NFL and boy scouts of America pushing back.
[23:35:10] LEMON: The President expected to be exonerated from this whole investigation do you think that will happen? If he is not what will happen there?
HAYDEN: Don, I have no insight into what Bob Mueller's doing in the details and the evidence that he is building and certainly I am not a lawyer, but if you ask me as a layman where this ends up unfortunately it probably ends up in an ambiguous place, we may see indictments for activities like tax, money laundering or registering for agency of foreign power, so on, on the core question of collusion may not be enough evidence to show any crime and what we will have is people who thought there was collusion going in will believe there's collusion going out, people with a contrary view whether have their view equally sustained and we'll be left in this whether world without resolution.
LEMON: Thank you sir. It is always a pleasure.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, the president made a late night TV great again? Brian Stelter is here. He is going to break it down for us.
[23:40:27] LEMON: Your likely not laughing at the White House but President Trump is giving late night TV comics a lot of material to work with and fans can't seem to get enough. Senior media correspondent Brian Stelter takes a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever stop for a moment and think to yourself it's only been ten months of you Donald Trump.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Late night comedians have been laughing all the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wonder if you remember water this time. Do you have any water? Someone tell him he can't drink water like that.
STELTER: Everyday something new to mock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is how a baby drinks out of a sippy cup.
STELTER: It's a new day to shop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day I wake up terrified at the notion he is the President of the most powerful nation of the world, but I must admit every day I also wake up knowing he will make me laugh. STELTER: TV ratings usually dip after a presidential elections but
not this year, Trump has made late night great again. They channel its anti-Trump feelings of their fans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully that will be a great, great beautiful Christmas present.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry the last person I want to get a Christmas present from is Donald Trump.
STELTER: There are dozens of reasons why the president is stuck with historical low approval rating and late night, a contributing factor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is so unpopular pretty soon will be Fox and Friend.
STELTER: With Trump's approval in the mid-30's Jimmy Kimmel thinks that still seems too high, but he knows Trump's base is still with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don't care what he does. He would have to eat bucket of Kentucky fried bald eagle and wipe his mouth on the confederate flag to go forward.
STELTER: About 35 percent of Americans supporting Trump are probably not watching, but some of the 59 percent who disapprove are grateful that this comics are speaking out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The real loser here is Donald Trump.
STELTER: When Trump falters when he falls these shows rise, yes they joke but they tackle serious issues too including health care policy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance would never get health care insurance because of pre-existing condition.
STELTER: Jimmy Kimmel stand out moment of the year. Flirting healthcare access.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should not matter how much money you make. I think that is something whether you're a Republican or Democratic or something else, we all agree on that.
STELTER: Some conservatives denounce Kimmel for confusing the facts. Trump himself has complained about the venom coming from late night. Even at one point saying should we get equal time but so far no pro- Trump show has emerged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The war on Christmas is soon over, it will soon be replaced with the war on North Korea.
STELTER: There is more to come next year. Stephen Colbert with an animated spoof our cartoon President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our cartoon president coming soon. STELTER: For now eleven months in the audience is cheering these
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 37 more months to go. Or less. Hey could be less. Never know.
LEMON: And it could be more as Brian just said before. Brian Stelter is here with me with along with the former editor in chief of Ebony magazine Kierna Mayo and comedian John Fugelsang saying. When we come back I'll ask all of you was this a pivotal moment in late night.
[23:47:41] LEMON: Host Jimmy Fallon took a lot of heat for this moment, messing Donald Trump's hair during the campaign. Lots of fans didn't find it funny and TV host Steve Harvey got blow back. Remember this meeting with Trump during the transition. Brian Stelter is here, Kierna Mayo and also by the way we have former editor in chief ebony magazine and comedian John Fugelsang Sirius XM radio host and the host of HXTV, thank you all for joining us. Both of them Brian you first, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Harper receive a lot of backlash, Steve Harvey regret that meeting, he said, meeting with Donald Trump was the worst mistake of my life. Why do you think they both face such an animosity for this?
STELTER: This cultural backlash to Donald Trump is like nothing we've seen before, the country is so polarized, and people are forced to takes side. Even Taylor Swift is criticized for not commenting on Donald Trump that is the weird environment, a polarized environment that we're in. Fallon has tried to change his tune, become more critical of Trump made more jokes about Trump but viewers has spoken they have chosen Colbert and Kimmel over Fallon.
LEMON: Fallon was number one right? Kimmel and Colbert were like between two and three.
STELTER: Colbert is firmly in first place and rising head and shoulders above the rest.
LEMON: Kimmel at two and Fallon has slipped to three. He is said he doesn't want to do that kind of comedy.
JOHN FUGELSANG, COMEDIAN: He is doing political events not political in terms of taking on policy they are making fun of Trump as a guy that they had never done before, but that said Colbert with the advantage of being the progressive political comment to begin with, so I think Hillary Clinton have been elected, it would have gone another way, ratings wise I think David Letterman would have been winning that slot right now.
LEMON: Why is that?
FUGELSANG: He had Trump on many times he hosted Trump a number of times on the show and toyed with them like cat and mouse.
LEMON: Much like Howard Stern.
FUGELSANG: Even more so, I do think Fallon messing with Trump's hair was an awkward moment when Jack (inaudible) and was never seen and broadcast again. I don't think Fallon's rating tumbled just because of that. I do think it had Hillary Clinton been elected most likely there wouldn't be resistance in the air and he would still be number one.
[23:50:14] LEMON: How do you know the numbers would be on Hillary Clinton as president?
KIERNA MAYO, SR VICE PRESIDENT INTERACTIVE ONE: I just know you don't get to tussle someone's hair and dehumanize them. I think that is a visceral and immediate reaction.
LEMON: It was immediate, and it's interesting to watch the ratings go from there, and I think other late night hosts realized it and took advantage of it certainly Colbert.
STELTER: President Obama appear on a late night show. He was criticized, but in humanized people, I think a lot of people liked seeing the President in an informal format. Colbert would love to book President Trump, but (inaudible)
MAYO: And he'd never show up.
STELTER: Because that is a bigger point. He won't do it.
LEMON: Because remember when President Obama would slow jam the news?
STELTER: That is exactly what I think. Those are popular clips, but we don't see President Trump looking for those entertainment formats.
FUGELSANG: You're forgetting Fox and friends, America's favorite entertainment morning show.
LEMON: It really is an entertainment morning show. They don't consider themselves part of the news.
STELTER: No they consider themselves opinion, a lot of folks think it is a conservative entertainment.
LEMON: That is often your counterpart on Fox News will say this program and that program is not considered news, but the people at home don't know.
MAYO: That is what I am going to say. To the lay person news and news is news. You turn on your television, you consider it.
LEMON: And they're saying these people don't have to be accurate and factual, because they're not part of the news division. There are a lot of real journalists at work there.
STELTER: Trump's approval ratings is it related not just to the news coverage on channels like this, not just because of lack of accomplishments, but also because of these late night shows. People soak up information in different ways now. Whether it's a joke on Kimmel's show, it explains his approval ratings.
LEMON: I want to bring up something Alec Baldwin did his usual portrayal of the President on Saturday Night Live and also referenced me and poke Omarosa. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I can settle down and be super Presidential, that is until Don Lemon says something mean about me and I can tweet the n-word. Even worse it is Omarosa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, let me in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quick, someone turn off the lights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see in there Donald. No one kicks Omarosa out the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, get away from the window right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a tough cookie. I think we're going to have to move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What is it about Omarosa that seems to insight such strong feelings for so many?
MAYO: For black women? I just came from a conference of all black women ever, Republicans, Democratic, independents, April Ryan, everybody, we're ready to trade Omarosa. Just the bottom line is that she represents no one, but herself at all times. And she doesn't do that well. I don't know if anyone has seen this YouTube tape of her recently, but the level of ridiculousness, and the fact we've been forced to entertain her as an entity as something serious, it just doesn't live with anyone's common sense. Folk's good common sense says no to Omarosa.
LEMON: She is universal.
FUGELSANG: She became as famous as an apprentice candidate that she got to be on celebrity apprentice. She was that disliked she qualified as a celebrity.
I don't think she has the ability to anchor a show. I'm honored someone I sat next to on a Wendy Williams show got a White House e- mail address. But I do think the petulance that made her famous that ultimately made her useless in this administration. STELTER: She brought up something really important --
LEMON: Hold on, what are you doing? You're not saying anything about Wendy, right?
FUGELSANG: Not anything bad about Wendy, but Omarosa was always very nice to me as well, but she became famous for bad behavior she became famous for being --
LEMON: Here's what I found interesting, there was a point when people like me and people like you would only be seen in a clip on the daily show to criticize something about what the news.
STELTER: Yeah, you weren't getting talked about on "SNL."
LEMON: But now we're being used to criticize the administration on late night TV. Maybe if you had a project or book or some big story like Katrina, but now it seems like every night I never know what show I'm going to show up, sometimes I take my own popcorn.
STELTER: It's because these shows, they are taking the news seriously and then making fun of it. They are acknowledging what's going on in the world, quoting from the CNN's of the world and then usually adding this anti-Trump twist.
[23:55:13] FUGELSANG: You are right, but it is important to remember that that clip Kimmel is correct. He is not going to lose the base. The base would abandoned him unless maybe he did a black lives matter march and then married Liam Dunham at the end. The base is immune to the barbs of late night comics. It took six years before George W. Bush's popularity took a hit with base from late night comics. I think it is rather impressive with this 30 percent. See how long and devotedly this 30 percent holds.
STELTER: I still like to watch a pro-Trump comedy.
MAYO: I think you guys are all part of the sideshows, we are right now in the Trump show. And I do think that media is centered as a key player, so there's no way that comedians can work around you. They've got to go through.
LEMON: Thank you. Fascinating conversation. See you guys soon. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you back here tomorrow.