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CNN TONIGHT

Trump lawyer Files Lawsuit Against BuzzFeed For Publishing Uncorroborated Trump Dossier; Trump Legal Team Prepares For Next Step In Mueller Investigation. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: ...new developments on the Russia investigation. President Trump's lawyer filing a defamation suit against BuzzFeed for publishing the infamous Trump dossier that included salacious details. That as Senator Dianne Feinstein releases closed-door testimony of a man whose firm paid for the dossier. Simpsons testified that the former British spy who wrote the dossier worked at the FBI because he believe there was quote a crime in progress. So much for the strategy of the President and Republicans who have tried to paint the whole thing as a partisan political attack. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Laura Coates, legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli and John Flannery, former special counsel to the senate and house judiciary committee. Good to have all of you on. Thanks so much. Laura, you first. CNN is learning tonight that the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has filed a defamation suit against BuzzFeed for publishing uncorroborated the dossier a year ago. BuzzFeed says, it's the subject of active investigations by congress and intelligence agencies. It was presented to two successive presidents and has been describe in details by news outlets around the world, it is interest to the public as obvious, this is the first on Trump's personal lawyer has attacked the free press and we look forward to defending our rights in court. What, if any, impact could that have the investigation?

LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Well the investigation -- this is a very strong first amendment claim by BuzzFeed claim. In the sense that Donald Trump is a public figure. And the reason they had an extensive citation about all the people who have cited their work is because you have to show actual malice and uncorroborated statements and the reckless disregard for the truth if it's published. And if you had some reason to believe it was not truthful, you have to pay the piper. Here with all the corroboration, and the mention of other intelligence agencies, really helps their argument, they had a first amendment right to write this. In terms of the investigation, you are seeing a pattern here where the President of the United States is trying to distance himself from anything that implicates either his campaign or tends to undermine his reputation in the community. That is a very separate statement in the court of public opinion, than one in a court of law, however.

LEMON: All right. Michael, Senator Feinstein defied her Republican colleagues and released transcripts of Glen Simpson's closed-door testimony. Simpson is co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm that was hired to do the opposition research on candidate Trump. It was Simpson who hired former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to do that research, and Steele compiled the dossier on Trump's possible Russia connections. So what stands out to you in the transcripts if you've had a chance to read them? John?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me. What stood out -- I thought you didn't go to me.

LEMON: That was like, that is a heck of a delay.

FLANNERY: Well, Michael Jackson has a better way of doing it than I do. The sense I got from it and the most important thing I thought was how he described -- Simpson described that they were reporting on a crime that was unfolding. And they thought they had nothing else they could do about it. And Simpson had to think about it and he went over it with Steele, and Steele felt the strongest that he had to tell the FBI about it. And what they talked about was the specific crime that concerned them, which was intercepting electronic information, e- mails and databases and so forth, in violation of criminal law. And so it also looked like, and what they were concerned about was, that they were compromising a Presidential candidate. That is, that they were getting information that they could use against him.

And they were thinking of Trump. And the way we look at it now, is that Trump was making a deal using that information for his own election in exchange for what he might do for Russia. And they also talk in that about the money going back and forth. And the associations with the mob in America and the mob in Russia. So there's a lot of good stuff in there that anybody should look at carefully. And I did have a chance to read the 312 pages, and there's a lot of it that is wasted objections in my opinion. But Simpson is very clear about what he did and why he did it, and the nature of the supervision and the independence, if you will, that Steele had in conducting his investigation and reaching his conclusions in six different memos before the election and one after the election.

LEMON: So, you're smiling, waiting to get in. Let me read this because I know you want to respond here.

[23:05:00] The testimony, though, seemed to indicate that the FBI believed some of what Steele had told them in the dossier. Saying this, my understanding was that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization. Our Jim Sciutto is now saying that is George Papadopoulos and when going out for drinks with someone. Do you think that the FBI saw Steele as an incredible source, undermines the President's assertion that Steele was a fake spy whose dossier is part of a sweeping political witch-hunt?

KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think -- you're accepting that on face value. I don't think that is established. Chris Steele says that is the FBI's perspective. But so what? Chris Steele also went to the FBI at a time when GPS was being paid by the DNC and Hillary's lawyers. So the timing is awkward to say the least, in terms of credibility, and I think that also with the first question we started with, that you addressed to Laura about Michael Cohen's suit. As she said "The New York Times" standard is very high for defamation cases. But Michael Cohen is not in the position of Donald Trump. And he is named in there. So to see a defamation case come outside of the parameters of the political arena, go into a court where truth is a defense, is going to be interesting, to say the least. And I think it may be more elucidating than some of the things going on in the political arena.

And if you're running one of the investigations in either the house or the senate, not Robert Mueller's and you have something like Senator Feinstein releasing an otherwise private transcript, then what do future witnesses do? Do they talk less? Do they come at all? They certainly would be presuming that there is no such thing as private testimony, if one Senator can simply release it. So I think that may change the dynamic for the witnesses, not in a way that the ordinary public will see, but it may slow the flow of information into the congressional investigations at least.

LEMON: Laura, before you respond to that, because Michael Cohen is saying that the allegations raised against him and there's a statement, but I don't have the transcript of it up on the screen. You want to put it up? He said, let me be totally clear that the allegations raised against me in the public square and raised largely by BuzzFeed, Fusion GPS and others in the press are based upon misinformation, unnamed and unverified sources. Their actions are so malicious, despicable and reckless, one can only presume that their motives were intentional. Then he was saying he was named 15 times in this thing. It's not all misinformation and I have to be honest here, unnamed and unverified sources, but that is his response. Laura, what do you say to that?

(CROSSTALK)

I'll let you get back in.

CUCCINELLI: Excuse me.

LEMON: Ken, let Laura first.

COATES: My name's Laura, not yours tonight. I'll be right back you.

CUCCINELLI: It's your name every night, Laura.

COATES: Wouldn't that be nice? In reality, we're talking about Michael Cohen and the issue is New York City versus Sullivan and the standard about actual malice and a public figure. It began with Dr. King and it began with a law enforcement official who didn't like his name in the paper. And so you have that issue that has never been about simply a President as the only standard or person who can be used to have that public figure. But what he is trying to suggest here is no different than say, what a Roy Moore has suggested or anyone else we've looked at in the press recently, who has tried to target the press's sourcing as why the information is libelous per se.

Meaning what you've written about me is so damaging to me, reputation wise and otherwise, that there's nothing else I can presume other than your intent. That is not how the law of defamation works. The presumption of intent doesn't hold all the relevant water. What should stand out to people here are two things. Number one, really, this takes away this idea that this was somehow a partisan motive if the testimony is to be believed. And I say that to suggest that here you have in evidence of something that somebody did not do in the Trump campaign. Donald Trump Jr. also had the opportunity to hear information and go to the FBI, and he did not. And it seems as though, according to the testimony, the dossier was intended to be presented to the FBI as a means of protecting the Presidential candidate of the United States, not to defame him entirely and not to condemn his campaign.

[23:10:04] And also, the actual audience that they went to was the FBI, not the Clinton campaign. Now those two things should suggest to people that there is not perhaps the partisan-based motive that everyone has attributed to it now.

LEMON: Go ahead, Ken.

CUCCINELLI: The dossier was paid for by the DNC and Clinton lawyers after the Washington free beacon handed it over. It was passed along. And if you're following the money that is where the money was at the time Steele went to the FBI. So, had the FBI jumped out and done anything publicly or publicly identifiable quickly, then it could have been an issue in the Presidential campaign. And when Steele is going in June or July to the FBI that may well have been the hope. Now, on the good side for Steele, if you want to paint him in the best light, he was concerned. He saw problems and he is an intelligence agent and he can put himself in the position of the other side and imagine what they might do and use this with. So there's a wide range of possible outcomes to this --

LEMON: But, Ken, I do have to say, just so we get the timeline right. Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the investigation say that the federal inquiry did not start with Mr. Steele's dossier. Early parts of which did not reach counterintelligence investigators at the FBI until August. It was after June and July, after the bureau's inquiry had already begun. But the officials have said that the dossier added material and buttressed what American law enforcement and spy agencies were gleaning from other sources. So that is from "The New York Times." stick around, we'll continue our conversation. When we come back, I want to know what you would ask the President if you were Robert Mueller.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:15:30] LEMON: There may be more Trump staffers preparing to leave the west wing, but what will that mean for the Russia investigation? Back with me now, my panel. John, you get to talk the most. Those two, they completely --

FLANNERY: They were good.

LEMON: What did you want to say quickly? Because I want to move on to the staffers leaving the White House.

FLANNERY: Quickly what I want to say is that we lose the perspective that, why is this libelous action now at the same time we're re- examining the transcript of Mr. Simpson's testimony? And if Mr. Cohen was so upset about that, it doesn't bother him until now from January of last year. So I think this is another effort by a person who you would think as a possible subject of investigation.

LEMON: Do you think it's coordinated?

FLANNERY: Yes, I do. Look at the timing.

CUCCINELLI: Guys, there's a one-year statute of limitations.

(CROSSTALK)

Virginia has a one-year statute.

FLANNERY: Why didn't he do it in February or March? Why is it today? You know, come on.

LEMON: Honestly, there are lots of people who wait until the end to see how much information they can gather before they can file a suit.

FLANNERY: And until today, how many people in the world were thinking about him as opposed to the President or anyone else who could be damaged by that report, because they haven't gone online to look at it, have any idea that he is in the report.

LEMON: I think the statute of limitations runs out tomorrow or this week. I'm going to ask you another question. And there's probably that big pause between my first questions to you --

FLANNERY: I was contemplating the beauty of the question.

LEMON: CNN is reporting that top White House aides have been told to make a decision by the end of the month, whether they are departing or staying through November midterms. One of the most senior names on the potential departure list is White House Counsel Don McGahn. He is not the only -- not only the President's counsel, he is a potential witness in this Mueller investigation. What impact would this have on the investigation, do you think?

FLANNERY: Well, could you have more chaos in this White House no matter who is there? The amazing question is why some people still stayed there. Would you want this on your resume? I think there's a lot of reason for people to leave, and we have openings all across the entire executive branch of the government, positions not filled. And Judgeships not even suggested, notwithstanding what qualities they may have. This government is entirely unstable, not just because the investigation, but because of every other element of the government that they can't implement, including this show earlier today in which the President doesn't even know enough about the elements of the deal about DACA and what the Republican leadership want.

LEMON: OK. Everything is -- I have to read this off my phone. I'm lazy to get new reading glasses. This is from Sarah Sanders. The President's team is working tirelessly to support an agenda that is making America great again every day. There has been no directive on staff departures and any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous fake news. What do you think of that, Laura?

COATES: Well, it's obviously the M.O. they're going to go with. And what's going to be publicized. But to be fair, the dragnet at the Mueller investigation and frankly the court of public opinion is cast quite widely around everyone associated with the White House. Even Don McGahn who is White House counsel, which means he is the counsel for the office of the presidency, not its occupant, finds himself cast in that dragnet and caught up in it when there's conversation, perhaps in that "fire and fury" book or other places, that he may have directed or been trying to massage and grease the wheel of Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself. So I expect there to be a lot of people who are reluctant to remain, even if they are, themselves, dedicated to public service, because frankly, I'm sure it will be expensive to be a part of this administration as time goes on.

LEMON: You want to weigh in on this? I have another question that you don't want to.

CUCCINELLI: Well, I must not be hearing you --

I think he is done for his job, I think he is done a very good job. He has a difficult boss, to be the lawyer for the office for. But he is done a good job.

LEMON: But the question is, the question is, though, what happens with the investigation if he does leave?

[23:20:00] CUCCINELLI: This President creates tumultuousness within his own office and staff. But General Kelly has brought more order than existed under Reince Priebus. I think Don McGahn has done a good job as one might expect for a White House counsel. So there are bright spots here that are helping the President along. And look, they've got 3 percent-plus economic growth. How much of that credit you want to give to the President

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: What effect does that have on the Russia investigation? That is the question.

(CROSSTALK)

CUCCINELLI: If you're going to make the lawyer a witness and then he leaves the office and I see no indications of that yet. But then you create complications, because now you have a new White House counsel, you've doubled the number of people in the position, and there's no way of getting around the White House counsel having to be a traffic cop for an awful lot of this information. No way around it.

LEMON: John, I've got 10 seconds left, and I have to get this in. The President has denied anyone in his campaign had contact with Russia. That has proven false. Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos. They all pled guilty to lying to the FBI on the Russia matter. Does it seem possible that Trump was left in the dark about all this?

FLANNERY: No, I don't believe it's possible at all. I think he is a control freak. Take what he did with his son's meeting on June 9th, when they were preparing the statement. You asked what questions you would ask. You sat through a description describing what happened on June 9th, and then you gave and wrote a statement that said it was only about Russian adoptions. I mean, there's no place to hide from the truth here, because there's been so many leaks and statements and testimony. We don't know who is cooperating. And McGahn is in a very difficult position, because I believe he was involved in at least one revision of the letter firing Comey. So it's just an impossible situation. The investigation is, I think, submerged the White House as a viable governing entity.

LEMON: Very colorful group that I have on, and I mean that not just literally. The yellow, the green.

COATES: Mine is called chartreuse, thank you very much.

LEMON: Chartreuse. And a red bow tie, could be burgundy.

CUCCINELLI: Al Gore paid $15,000 a month for fashion advice like this.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: See you next time.

COATES: Bye.

LEMON: When we come back. The President defending himself by comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. Just wait until you hear what Reagan's son has to say about that. He is going to join me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:27:07] LEMON: President Trump hosting a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House today for negotiations on immigration. What made the meeting extraordinary is that Session, nearly an hour long, was televised. A source telling CNN that was done on purpose to counter questions about the President's fitness for office. I want to talk about the Trump presidency now, with Ron Reagan Jr., the son of the former President, Ronald Reagan. He joins me via skype. Thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. You know, after the explosive description of President Trump's White House from Michael Wolff and the President pouring gas on the fire, we've been having a national discussion, Ron, of mental fitness for office. What's your impression of the President's fitness for office?

RON REAGAN JR., SON OF RONALD REAGAN: I have been saying since he was nominated, perhaps even before, that this is a man who is unfit for office. This is not a psychological diagnosis. I'm not particularly interested in what pathologies he may or may not have. It's a question of character, of personality. His behavior is erratic, impulsive. He doesn't seem to be really familiar with issues. He attacks people lower than him on the food chain, punching down. He has behaved in a way that I would describe as treasonous regarding the Russia investigation and he may be guilty of criminal activity. I would say that his mental status is up for question, but I don't say that as a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I'm not interested in that. I'm a human being. I can watch another human being and say, there's something wrong. And there is something wrong.

LEMON: You think the character issue is in some way worse? Because you're saying that the bigger problem for you is that you think he has character flaws and maybe there is something wrong cognitively, but that is not for you to Judge. Do you think the character issue is a bigger issue?

REAGAN JR.: Well, there's clearly something -- I'm not concerned about, as I said, about his pathology. I'm concerned about his behavior. His behavior is troubling. It is erratic, it is impulsive. He doesn't seem to really be familiar with the job he is been called to do. He says things -- he is dishonest. He says things that are untrue all the time. He claims now all of a sudden, apparently, that that voice on the "Access Hollywood" tape wasn't him. Even though he acknowledged earlier that it was. This is the sort of behavior that you might call delusional. And again, I'm not saying that as a psychiatrist, just as an observant human being.

LEMON: Let me ask you about your father. Because you have some experience -- you may have some experience with this. Your father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's years after leaving office. In the wake of the revelations in Wolff's book, he compared himself to President Reagan, tweeting, now that Russian collusion after one year of intense study has proven to be a total hoax on the American public the Democrats and their lap dogs, fake news mainstream media are taking out the old Ronald Reagan, playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence. Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.

What's your reaction to him making such a comparison?

RON REAGAN JR., AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ANALYST, SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Well, there's really no comparison to my father. Listen, presidents have maladies at times. Lincoln was depressed. Woodrow Wilson had a stroke.

Eisenhower had heart attacks. Kennedy had Addison's disease. Richard Nixon, who's probably the closest analog to Trump, apparently in the throes of Watergate was becoming somewhat unhinged, according to people who were around him.

My father was diagnosed in 1994 with Alzheimer's-related dementia. I mentioned that other people have mentioned that in the later stages of his presidency, he seemed to be struggling a little bit with short- term memory lapses and things like that. Could that have been a result of the early stages of Alzheimer's?

Possibly, because we now know as a medical fact that if you are -- that dementia, a late-stage symptom of Alzheimer's, emerges after about 10 years with the disease. Simple math tells you then that he must have had the disease in its early stages when he was president. But that's an entirely different thing than what we're witnessing right now. President Trump came to office unfit. He did not develop a malady at some point that rendered him unfit. He is characterologically, if not pathologically, unfit.

LEMON: Yes.

REAGAN: And that is for all to see. I know this is a difficult discussion for the country. We're not used to talking about presidents this way. And it makes us all a little bit uncomfortable. But we have to get used to, I think, the reality of what is happening and face it forth rightly.

This is not a normal man, normal president, in this White House now. And it's a danger to the nation.

LEMON: Well, I think it's interesting, because when it comes to -- I'm not saying that this president has any of those symptoms or if he has dementia or whatever his fitness is, but when it comes to mental issues, we have such a stigma with those issues.

And I think as Americans, as people, we should take that stigma off and we should be able to discuss these issues. Just as you said, it is uncomfortable, but it doesn't have to be uncomfortable. I'm glad you said what you said because many raised questions about your father's acuity when he was in office.

There's an op-ed. It is on CNN.com. The executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation as well as an author of four books on your father, he says that he underwent psychological and physical testing every year he was in office and doctors never found any sign of mental deterioration.

But did you ever see signs that might have been early indicators of Alzheimer's?

REAGAN: When we headed into his second term, I noticed that he, to me, and I'm somebody of course who knew him extreme well, he just seemed slightly slower than he used to be. But remember, this was a man in his mid 70s by that point. He'd been shot and nearly killed. It would not be surprising if he was just slowing down a little bit. But he did not have dementia while we was in office.

And I'm not saying that Donald Trump has dementia. Again, that's a medical determination that I'm not qualified, nor are you, to make that sort of determination. Frankly, again, I don't care if he has some sort of malady or pathology. I'm not worried about that. I'm concerned with his behavior, how this man is acting, and he is not acting like a normal, grown-up president of the United States.

LEMON: Your father underwent psychological testing as I just said in the question before. Every year -- you don't --

REAGAN: He had a physical every year, but I don't think he had psychological testing given to him every year. I never heard that.

LEMON: The Reagan Library says that, but you don't think that every year he --

REAGAN: This is the first I've heard of that.

LEMON: Do you think every president should undergo a physical and psychological testing when they're in office?

REAGAN: Well, it would be a good idea to have a physical every year. I think we get into some troubling territory, though, when you start talking about psychological examination. Who's going to perform that psychological examination?

They have a duty to protect the privacy of a patient in that case, as a psychologist. What should they divulge about a person's psyche? Again, I don't want to make it a psychiatric

[23:35:00] issue with Donald Trump. It is a behavioral issue.

LEMON: A lot of talk today about building the wall and about dreamers. How would your father, do you think, have treated these issues, Ron?

REAGAN: Well, when he was governor of California, my father signed what amounted to an amnesty law, which legalized many of the undocumented workers who were picking a lot of fruit and lettuce and things in California and vital to the economy there.

I suspect he probably would have done the same thing. There was not a racist bone in my father's body. You cannot say the same for Mr. Trump. He is fond of characterizing people in terms of their ethnic heritage and race and excusing white supremacy and the like. That's not at all my father.

LEMON: I have to ask you about the talk of a possible run by none other than you know who, Oprah, in 2020. With all the chaos of the Trump administration, another celebrity, you think, is that the answer for Democrats?

REAGAN: I have nothing against Oprah. She's a very intelligent and successful woman. I'm sure that she could handle the job much better than our current celebrity president is doing.

But I think it would be a mistake for Democrats or really any political party to assume that just because Donald Trump lucked his way into the White House, that it's a good idea to start electing as president people who really have no experience in governing or governments.

LEMON: Listen, last but not the least, Steve Bannon resigned as executive chairman of Breitbart News today. They say he resigned. Some say he was fired. Apparently shoved out after his comments to Michael Wolff. The mighty have fallen. How the mighty have fallen? What are your thoughts on that?

REAGAN: Well, my thoughts are that Steve Bannon was really never as mighty as people thought he was. Steve Bannon doesn't strike me as a particularly bright guy and the fact that he was, you know, hanging around with a guy like Donald Trump doesn't say much for him either. So I was never terribly impressed with Steve Bannon.

LEMON: Ron Reagan Jr., thank you so much.

REAGAN: You bet. Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, much more on Steve Bannon being ousted from Breitbart. What's going on inside the conservative news organization? I'm going to ask a Breitbart insider. That's next.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Steve Bannon stepping down from his leadership role at Breitbart News in the wake of the firestorm over his comments in Michael Wolff's bombshell book.

I want to talk about this with Kurt Bardella, he is a former Breitbart spokesman, and CNN political commentator, Alice Stewart.

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER BREITBARD SPOKESMAN: Without question. It reached the point of no return, where Bannon lost in the span of one week the perception that he had influence with the president of the United States, the financial backing of the billionaire Mercer family, and now his platform at Breitbart.

And I think for Breitbart, they have to make the decision based on really the Mercers with losing all of that funding, that Bannon was this untenable diminishing asset to keep hold on to.

And they really didn't have a choice at this point. Everybody's hand was forced here, Breitbart and Bannon, because Trump made it clear, it's either him or me, and everybody overwhelming stood with President Trump.

LEMON: Alice, what do you think? Did Bannon's exit happened because he lost the support of the Mercer family?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Certainly, without a doubt. And look, here's what happens when you're a figure like Steve Bannon. Look, you may disagree with his policies and how he went about executing them, but let me just tell you this, in my view, he's extremely smart, he's extremely well read.

He is someone who was really strong on the nationalist, populist movement, and did a great job in identifying that and rallying that base and getting them energized and engaged and latching on to Donald Trump and helping in his way, putting the president in the White House.

But the problem is, when you go out and you say disparaging things about the president and his family, and you don't walk that back or apologize for it for a few days, you get on the outs with the president.

And when the president takes away your funding by encouraging the Mercers to take away the money and then he gets ousted from Breitbart, you have no money and no message, it puts you in a bad spot. LEMON: Do you think he regrets calling Donald Trump Jr. treasonous

and other things that he said in this book "Fire and Fury"?

STEWART: Sure. And he said as much as that, in walking that back. But this is a case when this happens and you say things like this. I think it was a huge mistake for anyone in the White House to even entertain the thought of this Wolff author writing a book. You know, this is what they get when they do that.

But here's the case of Bannon getting ahead of his skis, getting a little too out there with regard to the media. And he goes from really with this movement being a trail blazer with Donald Trump to being on the receiving end of a flame torch from Donald Trump. And it's a case of the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And the interesting thing will be to see how Bannon recoups from this. I think we certainly have not seen the last of him.

LEMON: OK.

STEWART: He made a commitment when he left the White House, he will continue this movement, but it

[23:45:00] remains to be seen. Without the money and without the platform to engage voters and to recruit candidates and get the message out, it will be difficult for him to continue to do what --

LEMON: Well, he certainly has lost the microphone and he didn't drop it. I mean, he just lost it. This was a source inside Breitbart tells CNN, that, quote, everyone seems stunned. So have you spoken to anyone at Breitbart? Was Bannon a popular figure still internally there?

BARDELLA: No, I think that the only person who really liked the way that Bannon did things was probably Breitbart reporter Matthew Boyle, and he's a lunatic. So that kind of tells you, there was no ground- swell effort to try to keep him. There was no under-swelling of reporters and editors, you know, trying to get to the Breitbart editors, hoping that Bannon would be saved.

He is a figure that, I think, generates a lot of anger and resentment because he's a bully. You know, I watched him every day for two years, Don. Bully the crap out of everybody at Breitbart. Demean them, yell at them, curse at them. Just treat them like human garbage. That's not the type of mentality that inspires loyalty from anybody.

I think there are a lot of folks at Breitbart today who are going to wake up tomorrow breathing a lot easier, a lot happier. I can tell you, Larry Solov, the CEO of Breitbart now, and Alex Marlow, the editor-in-chief, they are in some level thrilled that the Bannon problem has been put to bed and they don't have to deal with his shenanigans, antics, and temperament anymore.

The problem that Breitbart now has, where are they going to be? For the first time since 2012 after Andrew Breitbart died, they now have no identity. And because of a massive campaign by (INAUDIBLE) sleeping giant, they've lost all their sponsors. LEMON: It's a heck of a position to be in. I got to run, Alice, but it is a heck of a position, and as I said earlier in the show, how the mighty have fallen. Interesting. Thank you. I appreciate both of your perspectives.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

BARDELLA: Thanks.

LEMON: When we come back, a new ruling tonight on DACA goes against the Trump administration. I'm going to talk to a man who quit the president's National Diversity Council because of his decision to rescind DACA.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We have some breaking news we have to report to you right now. A federal judge in California has ruled that DACA must remain in place for now, blocking the Trump administration's attempt from last September to bring an end to the program.

That coming on the day the president held a televised immigration meeting with top Democrats and Republicans at the White House, adding even more confusion to the Trump administration's immigration policy.

I want to bring in now Javier Palomarez. He is the president and CEO of U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who quit President Trump's National Diversity Council after the president's decision to rescind the DACA program. What do you think of what this federal judge has done?

JAVIER PALOMAREZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO, U.S. HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, you know, I understand the commitment and the impetus behind the judge's ruling, but the reality of it is that a solution will not be found by either a judge or a president. The only permanent solution that can be found must be found by our Congress. And I am very enthused over what I've witnessed today.

You know, I've had the wonderful opportunity to work with leaders like John Cornyn and Jeff Flake and Henry Cuellar, all who were part of the dialogue this morning. And I am very encouraged by this bipartisan approach to find a permanent and workable solution on behalf of these 800,000 young people who are in this country.

LEMON: Would you say, Mr. Palomarez -- I just want to let our viewers know that you were in today's bipartisan meeting, right?

PALOMAREZ: I was not in the meeting, I want to clarify. I had the opportunity to --

LEMON: You spoke to several people who were there.

PALOMAREZ: Absolutely.

LEMON: OK. PALOMAREZ: I spoke to John Cornyn's team yesterday. I spoke to them a couple of hours ago. I just hung up with Congressman Cuellar. I am very encouraged by what I'm seeing. There is a bipartisan approach to trying to find a permanent solution.

LEMON: They're reporting back to you that they think the negotiations are going well?

PALOMAREZ: Yes, that's what I heard. And again, you know, we look at this from an economic perspective. I'm not a politician. I'm a businessman. But when you look at this issue besides the obvious social aspects of it, there's some economic and commercial interests of this nation that must be taken into account.

And these are the kind of leaders that understand that. They understand that these 800,000 people have a 91 percent employment rate better than native born Americans. They have been heavily vetted by the American government. None of them have committed a crime.

LEMON: Before we run out of time, let me just ask you, what effect do you think that this judge's ruling, if any, will have on negotiations for a permanent solution?

PALOMAREZ: You know, I am encouraged by what I'm hearing from again, from the front lines, from people like Henry Cuellar, John Cornyn, Jeff Flake --

LEMON: You don't think it will upset the administration?

PALOMAREZ: I don't think so. I don't think so. I'm hopeful that these young Americans, these 800,000 contributors to the American economy will be protected by the actions of this bipartisan group that's looking for a permanent and workable solution --

LEMON: I agree.

PALOMAREZ: -- on behalf of the American people.

LEMON: I don't want to be rude. I just want to get as much in because we're getting close to the end of the show here. So, listen, CNN's Kyung Lah spoke with Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is in to the Arizona Senate race.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Let's hear what he had to say and then we'll discuss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you had to boil it down, is President Trump the reason why you're running?

JOE ARPAIO, U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: President Trump is one of the reasons, because I understand what he's going through, and I'm going through the same thing, believe it or not. People going after this person here. So I understand it. And there's a lot of link between what's going on there and what's going on with me, and I'm not done talking about that. So, I want to do something to try to not just help

[23:55:00] the president, to help the people of Arizona, because I represent Arizona, but also help my country. I still have some life left.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, as you know, Arpaio is known for his hard line stance on immigration, often controversial tactics. What do you make of a Senate run?

PALOMAREZ: You know, I can only tell you that my friends like, again Jeff Flake and John McCain, both from the state of Arizona, they know better.

These are real Republicans, real conservatives, but compassionate conservatives that understand the contributions that the immigrant community has made not only to Arizona but to the entirety of the American country.

These are the kind of people that we need to be looking to for resolution --

LEMON: So what you're telling me is you don't think he has a chance?

PALOMAREZ: I hope he doesn't. I hope that the people of Arizona know better. You know, after people like John McCain and Jeff Flake have served, I think they set the standard, and that's what we need to look for not only in Arizona but all over this country.

LEMON: I really appreciate your time, Mr. Palomarez. Thank you so much for coming on.

PALOMAREZ: Thanks for having me, Don. God bless.

LEMON: See you next time.

PALOMAREZ: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.

[24:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)