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POTUS Has Executive Time To Watch TV, Tweet; White House Lawyer On Mueller Probe; North And South Korean Negotiators Meet At DMZ For First Time Since 2015. Aired 11-Midnight ET
Aired January 8, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[23:00:00] ANA NAVARRO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ...because they're taking advantage of the fact that has not into the details, that he is not into the policy and that they can fill in the blanks whereby they can fill in the agenda, they can work with John Kelly, they can work with the cabinet secretaries.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Can that last for all four years?
NAVARRO: Yes. I mean, maybe not. Let's ask Bob Mueller who's got all sorts of interviews coming up with him. But you think Donald Trump is going to be working 15 hour days at 72, 73 years of age?
LEMON: Many people don't have a problem with him consuming television, but I think they all of us would want our President to be well-read and to know policy and know what's going on.
NAVARRO: You know what, that guerilla channel looked so good to me.
LEMON: I have to explain that, I think most people get it. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It's almost 11:01 on the east coast and we are live on the new developments tonight. New reporting about the possible interview with President Trump by Robert Mueller, sources telling CNN the President's lawyers expect he'll be asked to talk to the special counsel before the investigation wraps up. That as the President himself takes to the field tonight for the anthem at the college football playoff national championship game in Atlanta. Remember how he just could not stop talking about and blasting the NFL's anthem protest just a few months back? Well, take a look at this. The President singing along tonight, sort of.
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LEMON: But first the latest on Robert Mueller's investigation.
Justice correspondent Pamela Brown. Pamela, good evening to you. What are your sources telling you tonight about an interview between the President and special counsel Mueller?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Well, the president's lawyer interview request before the president comes to special counsel Robert Mueller as inevitable, they are preparing for that. They're discussing internally how to define the parameters of any such interview. Sources are insisting, Don, there have been no substantive discussions or active negotiations about this matter between the President's lawyers and the special counsel. But the expectation here is that those discussions will happen when they meet again. But you know, Don, no one things Mueller will wrap up his investigation particularly the obstruction of justice probe without an interview with the President. What that interview might look like, it's still unclear, but it would be a significant development and certainly as Don, the investigation is coming to a close, Don.
LEMON: Can we talk more about the parameters here, because the President's lawyers, what can they ask for not under oath or can they limit the topics the president could speak about the belt?
BROWN: They can certainly react all this things but ultimately it's up to Mueller in large part. It is clear that Trump's attorneys do not want their client to be interviewed by the Special Counsel team in a fishing expedition. They're looking at how previous administrations have handled requests like this in the past, as a basis for limiting the president's exposure whether he actually needs to testify under oath, whether he can provide written answers to questions from Mueller's team and whether the testimony should be recorded. It is unusual for a sitting President to speak directly to a special counsel or independent prosecutor who is leading an investigation. Previous Presidents have sat down for a deposition in a civil suit. But I'll tell you this, the President's lawyers do not want to end up in a situation like Bill Clinton where he was subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury. Because grand jury's don't allow defense attorneys in the room during criminal proceedings. He could be compelled, though, to testify before a grand jury, Don.
LEMON: Interesting. So is the White House responding?
BROWN: Yes, so Ty Cobb White House special counsel, he released a statement saying, for the record the White House does not comment on communications with office of special counsel out of respect for the OSC and its process. The White House is continuing its operation with the OSC in order to facilitate the early as possible resolution. It's clear there from that statement, Don that Ty Cobb and the other lawyers involved in this they want this wrapped up as quickly as possible.
LEMON: Pamela Brown, thank you for your reporting.
LEMON: Now I want to turn to CNN National Security Analyst James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence. Thank you, sir, for joining us. Happy new year to you.
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: The same, Don. LEMON: Director Clapper on the one hand you have Robert Mueller who's
an experienced investigator and on the other hand you have Donald Trump, embattled President of the United States, how do you think that interview would go?
[23:05:09] CLAPPER: That is a great question. I think, first of all, I completely agree with the point Pamela made. I don't see how the Mueller investigation could be considered in anyway complete or conclusive without such counter between Mueller and President Trump. I just -- I think it would be so much criticism from all sides about the investigation if that weren't to happen. Now, the key thing would be, you know, what are the ground rules that each side will try to establish? And will that result, for example, in a falling out where they can't come to an agreement on the rules of engagement for such an interview.
I thought Jeffrey Toobin earlier this evening made a very good point about don't underestimate the President's ability to run out the clock. And, for example, his attorneys want to set a time limit. Well, the President's a pretty good talker and he could use up a lot of that time. So this is going to be a very interesting dance on how they work this out, if they work it out.
LEMON: So what do you think of what Jeffrey said, talk a little bit more? Is that a good strategy for him? Because Jeffrey said the President knows how to filibuster, he can go on for a good 40 minutes. Does this necessarily good for him, this interview?
CLAPPER: That is something I think that he and his team need to think about. Some way or another it's going to get out what transpired during the course of this interview. So they're going to have strategies, the President's team, on just how to handle that and whether that is good strategy or not to use Jeffrey's phrase, run out the clock.
LEMON: Got it. So Director Clapper, Michael Wolff's book, "Fire and Fury," dominating the headlines in large part, because of the suggestion that 100 percent of the people surrounding this President their questioning his forgetfulness and speech. Here is what Wolff told me today, watch this.
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LEMON: I want to ask you about this, because you remember when Ronald Reagan was speaking and Nancy Reagan was finishing his sentences, I guess the media back then didn't really want to talk about, do you think it's proper for people to question the fitness of the sitting President of the United States?
MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, FIRE AND FURY: I think it would be irresponsible not to, of course.
LEMON: And so for those who are saying that it is grotesque and that it is awful and that it is an indignity to question the fitness of Donald Trump -- WOLFF: Yeah, those are obviously people who want to not to question
the fitness of Donald Trump. And they don't want to question the fitness of Donald Trump in part, because it's such a, unavoidable question.
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LEMON: So Director Clapper in August after the President held a rally in Phoenix, you told me that you questioned the President's fitness to be in office and wondered his motivation of holding the office. What do you think now?
CLAPPER: Well, the combination of the Wolff book, and let us just say for the sake of discussion, it's only half right, even then it's very disturbing. And I don't think its inaccuracies or mistakes in it -- I'm writing a book myself right now, so I am very sensitive. But I think the overall theme of it is unavoidable. And I was very concerned about the President's behavior during the rally in Phoenix and caused me to wonder about his stability and his stamina and all that. Now, people are claiming some very responsible people in responsible positions, Director Mike Pompeo as one of them, that he is fine. But I think I do agree with the author of the book that not to wonder, not to question these things and kind of look the other way is -- is dangerous and irresponsible.
LEMON: So you know you mentioned Mike Pompeo, but do you think that Wolff's assertion that 100 percent of the people around him, even his own family are concerned about him, do you think that is accurate?
CLAPPER: Well I don't know. I think he is convinced that -- Michael Wolff is convinced that is the case. So I think a lot of the book I think is where he is drawn inferences from what he was able to observe, vignettes that he watched, and he is drawn this conclusion that everybody around him feels that way.
[23:10:09] Well, now we're hearing that maybe not so much. But even so as I say, even if the book is only half right, it's still disturbing. And just the fact that the discussion of this is consuming the airways, the media is in itself disturbing.
LEMON: What are you hearing, Director, from your sources in other countries about Wolff's book and what has transpired this first week of the new year?
CLAPPER: I've spoken with responsible representatives of two countries that are very close allies, won't name them, of ours and with whom we have a very close intelligence connection. And they are concerned about it. They've been concerned about the President and his behavior ever since he was elected. And so this sort of heightens that angst among many foreign observers and friends and allies of ours. So it's worrisome for them.
LEMON: Before I let you go, Director Clapper, I have to ask you about North Korea. Tonight for the first time since December of 2015 North and south negotiators are talking in the joint security area, also known as the truce village. This is why U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley that the President needs to keep North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on his toes. I know you don't agree with that strategy, tell me why you don't agree with that strategy?
CLAPPER: First, I don't agree that anything we've done or said have prompted this meeting. I believe Koreans sought it out for their own reasons which we may or may not understand. I think it's a good thing they get together. They're not going to talk about the nuclear issue. This has more to do with local issues. Perhaps, for example, reopening the case on industrial complex, which (inaudible) the North Korean close then left which cut off their nose in spite of the face because of the financial benefit that accrued to them. So I think this is really good thing. I think it would be great if they could agree on a North Korean delegation showing up at the Olympics. I think this would be a calming influence and would lessen the concerns about the security of the Olympics. But I don't think -- again, my view on this is less said the better and not to react to everything that the North Koreans say in an equal reaction to it. It just doesn't do anything. And I don't believe that the reason they're meeting is because of President Trump's tweets.
LEMON: Don't go tit for tat. Thank you, Director Clapper. Always a pleasure.
CLAPPER: Thank Don, thank you very much.
LEMON: When we come back, President Trump certainly knows his way around a lawsuit. And he is given plenty of depositions in his time, but will any of that help him if he is deposed by Robert Mueller?
[23:16:58] LEMON: President Trump no stranger to depositions, but he has never faced a higher stakes interview than one with Robert Mueller. Let's discuss now, CNN contributor John Dean is here, a former Nixon White House council, and CNN legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli is here as well, the president of the senate conservative's fund. Good evening, gentlemen, so good to see you. John, sources tell CNN that lawyers for President Trump are expecting a request for the President to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller. And they're hoping to get some guidelines on the interview. How do you see this playing out?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I think the lawyers will try to get written interrogatories, which will not be acceptable at all to the special counsel, I think he would want to talk to the president. I think it's a high stakes situation to the President. He has a lot of experience with depositions, and I would tell you from the attorneys I've talked to it's not been a good experience with depositions.
LEMON: Written interrogatories mean written questions to answer.
DEAN: It is a written questions that are set forth and they're generally answered in a combination of the person being asked and the lawyers fashion them. And you can be very evasive, and there's no follow up on them. And they're not favored by most prosecutors or acceptable.
LEMON: It is not unheard of Presidents to be deposed. Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter have all given testimony in the past. So Trump's lawyers can't say it's unprecedented, can they?
DEAN: No, they can't, in fact what happened with Clinton he was subpoenaed by Ken Starr, and then they started negotiating rather than taking to the courthouse and insisting he come down to the grand jury, they worked out a negotiated deal where they broadcasted on a closed- circuit to the grand jury his testimony, and they also recorded it and later released it, which I think was very hard on the President.
LEMON: All right, ken, you're an attorney. So what kind of limits would you try to put in place for President Trump if he was your client?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all I agree with John. The first thing I'm going to try to do is get in written interrogatories if for no other reason I don't have this instant back and forth, I can have thoughtful, prepared responses. The President is known for his impetuousness. And this sort of environment is not well suited to that kind of personality. And having been a lawyer on both sides of many depositions, you know, you work with your client to be disciplined. And we've seen the President say with twitter and other things that is an area that he prefers to flaunt. But in a situation like this where I do think some back and forth, whether it's written interrogatories or sitting down for deposition with Mueller's team is likely, then that presents problems.
[23:20:00] And he is, frankly, going to have to do a lot of preparation. He is going to have to practice, and he is going to have to constrain himself in ways that he is not been in the habit of doing, including in business situations before he was President.
LEMON: What problems does this present? You said it presents new problems.
CUCCINELLI: Well, sure. I mean think about how a deposition goes if you're an attorney. You ask a lot of questions in similar ways that get to the same point and then you look for inconsistencies in how those answers come out. And also you want to get into a conversation, even an argument a little bit, not truly yelling at each other or anything, but in a contentious conversation with your opposing witness. You want them flowing freely, you want them speaking quickly.
LEMON: You want to throw them off their game, correct?
CUCCINELLI: You want to throw them off their game or rolling and a little angry at you and try to hit you. And that tends to dig their own hole.
LEMON: John, when Robert Mueller became special counsel he was given the authority to pretty much investigate anything he wanted. I know a lot say it's collusion and he is gone beyond the scope. And I'm paraphrasing here, why on earth would Mueller agree to any of these requests?
DEAN: I don't think he would agree to a request that is unsuitable to what he wants to do. He has the ultimate possibility of a subpoena. We know from Watergate that the court will enforce a subpoena against the President. And Nixon, for example, didn't testify while he was in office before a grand jury. He did testify after he left office, although he didn't want to. He had a special deposition hearing just for the grand jury. So Presidents can't run for the grand juries. That is a pretty clear law.
CUCCINELLI: That is true. I would agree with John on that concept, however, if you look at the Clinton example, for instance, they negotiated parameters that were a lot different than everyone else involved in the investigation. And the reason is very simple. He is the President. And that was true for Bill Clinton. It's true for Donald Trump. And I think you're going to see some parameters certainly set and insisted upon, because it is a little awkward to have to go to the court and try to tab the President in for a situation like this. I think that gives the President's legal team some negotiating leverage to define those parameters. And frankly, I don't think it's all that unreasonable. I don't think it would be very unreasonable on Clintons part, I don't think it would be very unreasonable on Trump's part.
LEMON: Ken, let me ask you then John you could follow up as well, the conversation I've been having with people, and if you are a Trump detractor, you want Robert Mueller to catch him in this sort of scenario or lie, if you will, and him to be driven out of the White House in handcuffs or what have you, how possible is it -- is it possible to arrest or prosecute a sitting President of the United States? Or if so how tough is it to do that? Ken first.
CUCCINELLI: Well, it is theoretically possible, but it is very, very difficult. I mean everyone in the executive branch stands in the person of the President. There is no Attorney General or Secretary of Defense and in the constitution, there's article II. And the inherent powers of the executive have been delegated but they all reside in the President. So a prosecution of the President under federal law is particularly problematic. Oddly enough, I'm a federalist, I think it would actually be easier if a President were breaking state laws, you might have quite a battle between federal and state government. But you don't have the constitutional issues related to one branch or another.
LEMON: We're in uncharted territory and unprecedented times here. But my argument it is very difficult to remove a sitting President from office, and also a bad precedent, because people would think they're abandoning the will of the people. 2
DEAN: Also contrary to the Department of Justice policy since 1973, renewed in 2000. They say a sitting President cannot be indicted. There are legal arguments against it, but it's never been tested. So it is the policy this special counsel has to follow of not indicting a sitting President.
LEMON: That is the reality. There's a lot of wishful thinking going on when people say impeach the President or the President's going to be convicted of a crime or removed from office.
All right. I want you to stay with me everyone when we come back, Michael Wolff telling me people in the President's in circle have brought up the 25th amendment at least 20 times.
[23:25:00] That is the amendment which could be used to remove President Trump from office. I want to ask both of you to weigh in on that and how likely and unlikely that is next.
LEMON: Michael Wolff telling me tonight that he heard President Trump staffers talking about the 25th amendment at least 20 times. That is the amendment that could be used to remove the President from office. So back with me now John Dean and Ken Cuccinelli so let's continue our conversation about this and let's talk about the 25th amendment. And you laugh and I can understand why. Earlier I spoke with Michael Wolff about his new book, and asked him about conversations happening with White House staffers and the 25th amendment. Here's what he had to say and then we'll discuss.
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WOLFF: It is sort of curious measure. And, you know, I don't know if it's half the joke, but it's one of the things they say well, that was weird but it's not 25th amendment weird yet.
LEMON: How many times would you say you've heard that?
LEMON: 20 times by top level people?
WOLFF: I don't know one -- well --
LEMON: In what context?
WOLFF: People talk, all of them talk about how alarming the President in his actions, in his conversation is. So therefore it's a measure, how alarming is it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What's your reaction when you hear that White House staffers have apparently brought up the 25th amendment that many times, ken?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly the way he explained it I get the joke in context. But I mean this as a media subject of discussion is a left-wing conspiracy theory. I mean this is to put in context, this is as credible a discussion in terms of likeliness of ever being utilized as the birther complaints were eight years ago. I mean we're in the same category, the same credibility to deal with it as sort of some honest news story. I get dealing with it as a joke as I heard Wolff describing staff members saying, oh, man, that one was close. I see that. This is very unconventional behavior President. And the people know that. But when it goes beyond a joke and becomes something people seriously discuss, then we're in la-la land. I mean we're in la-la land so much we need a passport.
LEMON: OK. The main person who trafficked in that theory about the birther theory was Donald Trump and now he is the President of the United States. So John, what do you make of this?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think Ken is right. I happened to work on the 25th amendment when I was counsel to the house judiciary committee in '65 when it passed the congress. Most of the work was done in the senate, but I heard all the hearings. The President to be unable to discharge the duties of his office was contemplated being in a coma or really out of it. So that was the only circumstance that I think was kind of contemplated for invoking the devolution of the duties down to the Vice President. And it's extreme. And I don't know what 25th amendment weird would be, because I don't think there's anything in that range that would qualify.
LEMON: So it's much more difficult to invoke than staffers are making it out to be, correct?
DEAN: It's more difficult than impeachment.
LEMON: Listen, I know I'm going to get people saying I use bad English -- I know I'm doing it on purpose. Why do you think people keep coming up with these theories about the 25th amendment, about moving article, I think it is article II?
CUCCINELLI: That is an easy question, Don. As John said it's a very hard standard, it's harder than impeachment. It includes the Vice President as a necessary Party.
LEMON: So then why continue on with the hearings to, to the lay person, average person listening at home, watching at home they'll say, well, if nothing can happen to the President, it doesn't seem he is going to be prosecuted or removed from office, why continue on with these hearings.
CUCCINELLI: Look, I don't think we should be talking about it. Frankly, it's not news worthy. It is a left-wing conspiracy theory at this point in terms of --
LEMON: Why continue the investigation at this point if the President appears to be above the law or there's no repercussion of this President.
CUCCINELLI: I think we're mixing subjects here form the 25th amendment and what you want to address.
LEMON: I think people ae thinking that this president will somehow be driven from office. That he will be somehow prosecuted for whatever it is Mueller may or may not come up with, we've been saying it's been very difficult to remove a sitting President from office, why continue on with the investigations? I think that is a very simple question.
CUCCINELLI: Ok, so the main reason presumably was simply to discover what happened over the course of the time period in question and then let the chips fall where they may probably in the political arena not in the legal arena. That would be the reason why.
LEMON: Ok, John?
DEAN: I think this is the reason this is counter intelligence investigation which has included the President as a potential target of it. And until we get all the answers, we don't have any answers.
[23:35:12] LEMON: We're saying all this but that is thought to say there won't be any repercussions for this President, correct?
DEAN: That is right.
LEMON: OK. Thank you gentlemen, always a pleasure.
CUCCINELLI: Good to see you.
DEAN: Thank you Don.
LEMON: When we come back what Ivanka Trump is saying tonight about Oprah's speech at last night's Golden Globes.
LEMON: Sources telling CNN that Oprah -- got Winfrey on the teleprompter, it's just Oprah, actively thinking about running for President. The at the Golden Globe awards, which focus on the me-too movement, felt like a campaign rally call.
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[23:35:10] OPRAH WINFREY, OPRAH SHOW HOST: And a new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight and some pretty phenomenal men. Fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say me too again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And Oprah has an unexpected fan, Presidential daughter Ivanka Trump tweeting, just saw Oprah's empowering and inspiring speech at last night's golden globes. Let's all come together women and men and say times up. I want to bring in now CNN political commentator -- I'm sorry.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Was that a question or not?
LEMON: Ok, let me introduce you guys first. CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, Angela Rye and Ayshia Connors a former deputy director of African-American engagement and Republican National Committee. Ok, it's surprising because if Oprah runs for President -- the reason I did that pause, if she runs for President she'll be running against Ivanka's dad and women have been upset with Ivanka, because they don't think in their estimation, she is looking out for them in the White House in her current job. Oprah has a big fan there. So what do you think of her response, Angela?
RYE: Well, I don't think much of her response. She is right, time's up. And I think that women regardless of their Party affiliation should be able to agree that men historically have used positions of power to oppress women particularly in the sexual harassment and sexual abuse and assault spaces. The problem -- small elephant in the room is her orange father who has been accused by more than 16 women of sexual assault. And I think that if she wants to deal with it she is got to deal with the person who sits in the oval every day for three hours not doing much before his day begins.
LEMON: Wow that was a lot of sass.
RYE: I try, Don.
LEMON: So David, you think that Oprah should not run. Why is that?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So first of all I just want to be clear, I think she would be formidable. She is attract the best campaign talent, she is raise money, she is inspirational to people. But once you get into the daily grind of the campaign and you're taking positions on issues, getting hit with research and trying to make that pitch to other candidates, of course Oprah is still Oprah. More famous, well, much more beloved. But you're running against seasoned politicians. I do think that she will remain popular, but it'll be tough. But the other thing about it, Don, is that, look, and it's understandable why people want a savior for either the Democrats or the not Trump forces. But the reality is that governing and being President is different than giving a speech. And I think that Oprah Winfrey would be strong, she could even win, but whether or not she is -- I don't see her and see a President.
LEMON: A lot of people say the same thing about Donald Trump and look what happened. I've got to say, though, as I was watching last night and Oprah, I think she was wonderful. Wow, which political speechwriter helped her out with that speech, and wow she is definitely running as soon as I heard that. But President Trump has said many complimentary things about Oprah in the past. This was on the Larry King show asking who he would want as a running mate if he were to run for President. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's an indescribable it factor that, you know, I don't think you can teach, they don't teach it in the warden school of business. There's just an it?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is true, folks. And with went to the warden school of finance. And I will say I am sitting next to it. There is no one ever --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a vice Presidential candidate in mind?
TRUMP: Well, I really haven't gotten there yet. I love Oprah. Oprah would always be my first choice. You know what, she is really a great woman, though. She is somebody that is very special. I have not even thought about it. I guess we'll see. We'll see. Maybe that is part of the whole process. And if she'd do it, she'd be fantastic. She is popular, brilliant. She is a wonderful woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:40:07] LEMON: I mean that is high praise, but the President was once friends with Hillary Clinton where and then when he ran against her the gloves came off. So how do you think he'd treat Oprah if she ran against him?
AYSHIA CONNORS, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN ENGAGEMENT, RNC: I think he would take her seriously. There's been rhetoric before when Obama ran and he didn't have experience. When Trump ran, people had the same kind of talk. That is the beautiful thing about our country is people can place limitations and say, well, you shouldn't do this because you're a celebrity or you shouldn't do this because you don't have experience. I personally don't believe in that philosophy. So I think President Trump and the RNC would take Oprah very seriously. She got the resources, she got infrastructure, she got the national name I.D. and I think it would be a really exciting and dynamic match up.
SWERDLICK: Don, can I make one quick point there? Look, I agree a lot with what Ayshia said there, he didn't have as much experience as a lot of other Senators, but he had been a state legislator, a U.S. Senator, he went to Harvard law school, a very standard resume for someone running for high office.
LEMON: Rick Durbin was a Senator, and people said he didn't have as much experience, but he certainly had some.
SWERDLICK: And he was a very good President. He could have used more experience, but he was good president partly because he had experience.
CONNORS: I don't think that was right, anyway.
RYE: And of course poor timing to say that he could use more experience because now there's somebody in there with zero.
LEMON: Don't go anywhere. When we come back, what the White House is saying about a potential Oprah run in 2020.
[23:50:47] LEMON: While Oprah really, will she challenge President Trump in 2020? Back with me David Swerdlick, Angela Rye and Ayshia Connors. Angela, the White House responded to Oprah's potential run and said they welcome the challenge whether it be Oprah Winfrey or anybody else. Is another celebrity candidate really in the way the Democrats should go in 2020?
RYE: I think what we need to evaluate in this country is what are the requirements for good leadership because right now, all we have exhibited is a leader we are afraid to even show our children in an elementary school that that is the way to lead, because he bullies even on social media, the very thing we try to teach children not to do. When I think about the baseline standards what's required for positive leadership, about someone who is inspirational and transformational and certainly far more than a cultural icon, far more than an American citizen, I think about a global citizen, someone who opened up a school in South Africa, the most philanthropic person in Hollywood, someone who is a humanitarian. At this point, perhaps we should think about what we need to be teaching our children and peers what's good about humanity. I think she represents that. Right now, when you are in a drought for leadership and what expectations should be in running this country and making it better, she absolutely fits the bill. Maybe it's time to expand what we look at for someone running for higher office.
LEMON: Angela, you guys know Lee Daniels is Oprah's friend. He was asked by TMZ if he thought Oprah would run for President. Let's hear what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think she is going to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't think she is going to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think she should though?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she would be the best at whatever she does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who would her running mate be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is not going to run!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That is so Lee. Lee is keeping her confidence. Lee knows why she doesn't want to run when he said -- he knows why. I can't speak for him. Ayshia, do you take her serious as a candidate or is America getting all excited for nothing?
CONNORS: No, I take her seriously as a candidate. I think she has the infrastructure and resources to be a viable candidate. I think the majority of the American people, they're above the politics. They're above the partisanship. They really want to see issues. That is something I would be interested in knowing, where does Oprah fall on the issues? If she does run, I would like to see where she would fall on that.
LEMON: David? SWERDLICK: Lee Daniels said something interesting. He is her friend.
He thinks she would be the best at whatever she did. In some respects that is true. She has Forbes says she has $2.8 billion. Donald Trump has $3.1 billion. They're about the same level of billionaire except she got hers from scratch whereas Trump inherited a multimillion dollar real estate empire from his dad. She is universally admired. There's a skill set about governing and running for office that I don't think she is been tested on yet. I think that is something that is to be determined and will be challenging even for someone as skillful as her. People have gotten to this point where we say we don't like career politicians. There's a reason they're called career politicians, because it's a career. You learn how to do it as you go along.
RYE: Don, can I just say, it's interesting that we put this requirement.
LEMON: I want to get something important in.
RYE: Really quick. We put this requirement on Oprah but don't even put that requirement on Donald Trump and we know she would be light years better.
SWERDLICK: I would say the same thing about Donald Trump. The person I covered most when I was a writer was Dr. Ben Carson. When I interviewed him one-on-one at the start of the last Presidential campaign, we went over and over on this. I was like, you're a brilliant brain surgeon. You don't know anything about governing. He was confident that he could do it better than Donald Trump was. Then Jeb Bush and so forth. That proved to be a struggle for him.
[23:55:10] LEMON: I want to get something because this really stood out to me. We've been talking a lot about this President and the White House. This relationship with the truth. Angela the President has been bragging a lot about things, including African-American unemployment rates. However journalist greenhouse tweeted this today it is great the jobless rate for African Americans has fallen to lowest level ever. Trump is boasting about this and saying the Dems had nothing to do with it. Under Obama it fell from 16.1 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent in January of 2017. It has since fallen to 6.8 percent. Is it fair for this President to be taking credit here for that?
RYE: Especially not fair for him to be taking credit for it when he thought she is same statistics from the bureau of labor statistics were false. Remember during the election when he didn't believe in this? Now he wants to take credit for it because they're positive numbers attributed to his presidency.
LEMON: All right. I have to go. Thank you all. See you soon. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow. Good night.