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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Asked Why Are We Having All These People From ****hole Countries Come Here; Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:00:50] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight I'm Don Lemon it is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast and we're live with breaking news, the shameful racist comments by the President of the United States in an oval office meeting on immigrants complaining about immigrants coming from shithole countries like Haiti, el Salvador and African nations. Going on to say quote, why do we need more Haitians, take them out. Some of the top diplomat to discuss that tonight. Not only does the White House not denied any of this, they think it is good for them and will help with their base. Let's talk about with our CNN Political Analyst John Avlon is here, political commentators Margaret Hoover and Keith Boykin and conservative commentator Carrie Sheffield. Margaret I have to ask you as a Republican here. What does this mean for the Republican Party? What's this all mean to you? What do you think?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean my first reaction if you ask about the Party is this is the farthest thing from the ideals that I think the Republican Party intends frankly from the founding of the Party. The Republican Party is founded as a Party of abolition and suffrage how far we've fallen this is about country this is about the American creed, about a real disappointment and sadness that I feel that the President of the United States doesn't believe in the American creed. Which is that it doesn't matter who you are as an individual, where you are from, what your skin color is, what your religion is, what your gender is, anything other defining thing about you other than who you are what you bring to the table as an individual that you have a God-given right and opportunity in this country to apply those God-given skills and spark to the marketplace and our communities and that you are judged simply on that and no other marker and that is the American creed and if the American President doesn't believe that than we're in a world of hurt.

JOHN AVLON, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: And we're in a world of hurt. This is a President who keeps finding ways hit new lows and it debases the office, debases our history, and debases our country. And he seemingly doesn't care. They don't deny this. There are surrogates out tonight defending it, the fact that folks on the White House saying this is good for the base.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's gross.

AVLON: The worse kind of cynicism it transcends politics, it's pure ugliness and hurts our country on the world stage, because it is absolutely an insult to our immigrant are tradition, come from a President that shows outright contempt for immigrants over and over and this is straight up racist statement. No question about it.

LEMON: Here is what I want to know. From the Republicans in the room, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, David Purdue, Kevin McCarthy, Bob Goodlatte and Mario Diaz-Balart why don't had they say anything.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Same reason they didn't say anything when the President made comments about Charlottesville, same reason when he pardoned Joe Arpaio and when the President endorsed Roy Moore even after he said that he supported slavery. We have a Party that is complicit with everything that Donald Trump is doing. And I see Margaret shaking her head, I understand Margaret you are part of the Republican Party, but Donald Trump is the Republican Party now, and Donald Trump is the representation of what Republican Party will be going forward. The problem is, this is short sided policy, a perspective from the President because demographically yes you can win a debate for a year or two maybe even five or ten years, but the country 2044 whites will no longer be the majority of the country which means you really have to figure out how you going to build a country when you have a President that represents all Americans.

LEMON: Hold on I think Margaret should defend.

HOOVER: I know personally of the people in the room, the people you have out, Mario, Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, who I know personally I don't think (inaudible)...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: What did they say?

HOOVER: We don't know, we don't have the full (inaudible) I would imagine Mario is vigorously shaking his head at the very minimum. I mean come on.

[23:05:02] BOYKIN: No. There is no come on.

HOOVER: We don't know so let's not --

(CROSSTALK)

-- I know a lot of Republicans in the room do not believe it.

LEMON: No one said anything who was in there.

CARRIE SHEFFIELD, OPPORTUNITY LIVES: And I think yes it's important to note all of this right now is second-hand information. I'm not going to defend what has been reported in terms of the phraseology. I agree as a person from Utah, if this is true it's hurtful. I agree with that in terms of rhetorically. That said I have not heard said at the table that the President according to secondhand information said he would welcome immigrants from Asia so he is open from people coming from other countries --

BOYKIN: This is not good. LEMON: Let her finish.

SHEFFIELD: Can I please continue? So this really has to do more with the broader, if you dig deeper here, to the question of is the immigration policy based on skills, based on merit or is it based on natural disasters, based on war. Studies show that immigrants who are kept closer to their origin it's better for the immigrant and also better

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: We can debate all that but -- Carrie, Carrie, Carrie -- that is not what the President said. The President said, why do we have to take these people I'm paraphrasing, from shithole countries. He didn't say any of the things you said.

SHEFFIELD: As we all know Trump is a very blunt individual.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I think that is important. I will let you respond after this. Let me play this. You are saying similar things to what's being said on conservative media and also over at the Fox channel the other cable channel -- the Trump channel. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSE WATTERS, FOX THE FIVE SHOW HOST: If it's true this is how the forgotten men and women Americans talk in a bar. This is how trump relates to people. If you are in a bar in Wisconsin and you are thinking they are bringing in bunch of Haiti people or El Salvador, people from Niger, this is how some people talk, is it graceful, no, is it polite or delicate, absolutely not, is it a little bit offensive? Of course it is, but this doesn't move the needle at all. This is who Trump is. He doesn't care. If he doesn't care. There's so many more offensive things that are happening in this world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: This is utterly shameless that people would be such partisan hacks to find a way to justify this. They will hang their head in shame when they look back on that clip in few years. You talk about American tradition on immigration, it's about the statue of liberty, it is about bringing in people from war tore areas, and when the immigration law were change in 1924, it was to discriminate folks like my grandparents, and that is the American story, that is why we need to think bigger and condemn this. And when people say policy and rhetoric, unfortunately what this statements show the policy is being advanced by the administration on immigration has a racial unanimous to them. It's been revealed.

LEMON: Carrie let me ask you this before you respond, Carrie, Carrie, Carrie.

SHEFFIELD: No what Milton Freeman said about immigration you could either have open borders or welfare state you cannot have both. (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I was going to ask you what open borders has to do with calling countries shitholes.

SHEFFIELD: Has to do with the fact --

LEMON: Let me ask you this. No, no, I will let you finish but before we get too far from the clip -- what he said -- can we agree that the oval office is not a locker room. Are you okay with that in the oval office?

SHEFFIELD: As I said as a girl from Utah I agree with Mia love that this rhetoric I agree I want to see a shining city on the hill and see the language of Reagan and I hope the President will learn. On the issue of will, in the Washington Post according to national academy of science 58 percent of immigrants are on some form of welfare this is a problem what Milton Freedman is talking about so if you want to return to the roots of conservative understanding of welfare of having a basically a debt to GDP policy that is rational and not based on emotion. It's a problem.

BOYKIN: Republican strategist tweeted out tonight, I just retweeted 43 percent of these immigrants of this so called shitholes countries actually had bachelor's degree, compared to 33 percent of America in this country, so they are actually better educated than the people who actually live in this country. So don't try to slander them by saying that they all welfare is uneducated with this racist baloney. And for god's sake for one time let us have a President who lifts us up instead of brings us down. This is what's so disturbing about the rhetoric of Donald Trump I've never seen a President of any Party that has been as divisive as this President has.

[23:10:18] AVLON: Nixon tapes are an embarrassing to the nation, we never thought we'd see it broadcast in our real time in our time, given America today. We have more noble prize winners disproportionately immigrants. I think trying to dress this as a policy conversation (inaudible) I think really doesn't deal with the heart of what was the ugliness that was said by the President of the United States in the White House.

LEMON: Let us get to this then. That is why this whole talking point that this is about economic and not race is false. If you actually look at the numbers and read the numbers and do some research this is not about economics it's about flat out racism.

BOYKIN: If he says I want more Norwegians what's that about.

SHEFFIELD: And if he says I want more Asian Americans that is about.

BOYKIN: Have you never heard before, it's an insult to Asian Americans to suggest that they are somehow the only race acceptable to come in but other races are not. That suggests that Asian Americans are on a pedestal and they don't find it as a flattering portrayal.

SHEFFIELD: I think what Tom Cotton and other Republicans have said with the rubric they want is to have an immigration system that is based on skills and merit and what you're bringing in. No matter where they are coming in, wherever, it should be based on merit. Should not be a color-blind test.

HOOVER: What Carrie is trying to do is keep it often policy because that is what we all want to do.

LEMON: That is not what the President did.

HOOVER: That is what she is trying to do. Don't think she is trying to excuse his bad behavior.

LEMON: I agree.

HOOVER: I don't think we can have that policy argument in the face of the kind of ugliness you see from the President of the United States. Because it isn't honest about what he said and why he said it. So it's hard. And is the problem he then under mines his ability to be effective on a policy front by speaking this way.

SHEFFIELD: This is the problem it's no more Mr. Nice conservative problem. And was identified astutely in 2016 can had is when Republicans were polite and kind like Mitt Romney or John McCain who spoke eloquently and didn't say things that were hurtful. Those people were dehumanized by the main stream media and that is why President Trump was able to do what he did?

BOYKIN: What?

SHEFFIELD: In terms of this rhetoric.

LEMON: I'm not following what you are saying.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: None of the Republicans could get elected, Trump is the Republican that got elected with 78,000 votes in three state against weak Republican candidates and number of other dynamics so let us not say this is the key to Republican success, it is not, it is a key to demise -- look this is not the American creed, not the American religion this is something that unifies and brings our country together and he is not doing that.

LEMON: Anybody else? I'm going to go to break. I have so much to say and so much to get to about why this President was elected, why he said what he said, everyone keeps pretending it's about economics or about the worker who is voiceless in the mid-west it's not about that. We all know.

SHEFFIELD: That is a throw away.

LEMON: Yes.

SHEFFIELD: Entirely.

LEMON: Not entirely but it is a big part of how we got because it is for people who did not prioritize racism. Are you going to tell me during this election that he didn't say racist things? So if you prioritize racism in anyway how could you support this person if you prioritize that? So if someone says something about women or something about any minority group or any person if someone calls out someone's wife and compares them and says my wife is prettier than your wife that sort of behavior, if you say what do you have to lose. If you call NFL players sons of bitches, if you say people should be killed and then -- Mexicans are rapists and you say people should be killed and then they're exonerated. That means you looked at your pocketbook or whatever priority you had above racism and placed it there and kept pushing it down and making excuses for it. And sadly, women, especially women of color and black people and Hispanics and brown people and Muslims don't have that luxury to do it. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:17:32] LEMON: President Trump today slamming immigrants from what he calls shitholes countries Haiti, El Salvador and other African nations even going on to ask why do we need Haitians take them out. Here to discuss, damage all that is doing to the presidency, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, CNN contributor Joshua Dubois former religion affairs director for the Obama White House. So good to have all of you on. Let's educate folks. Josh you had written a lot about the impact a Trump presidency will have on civil rights, people of color, is there anyway interpret President Donald Trump's comments today other than being blatantly racist.

JOSHUA DUBOIS, FORMER RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS DIRECTOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Absolutely not. They are simply blatantly racist and they have an enormous impact on the office of the presidency. Here's the main difference between Donald Trump and the 44 Presidents that came before him. Many of those Presidents had significant flaws, there were good ones and bad ones and many somewhere in between, but at least they attempted to represent the best of the American instinct and the best of American character at least in public. Donald Trump doesn't even try. He is not even pretending to have anything more than the most base instinct, the most vulgar reactions and really degrading this office and I think we will see ripple effects of that for years to come. It's not just about the presidency, Don, it is also about families. In thousands of classrooms around the country tomorrow will be little kid whose families come from Haiti, from Nigeria, from Kenya, El Salvador and they will walk into that classroom and know that their President thinks that their country of origin is a hole and they will have kids looking at them and wondering how they feel. Is really degrading to both the presidency and our very families as well.

LEMON: Douglas I want to bring you in now. Some Presidents of the past have been known to be racist, you say President Richard Nixon would talk in under tones and private never in the public spear that was decades ago though is there any excuse for that kind of ignorance now in 2018.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Absolutely not, I mean Donald Trump is the most racist President since Woodrow Wilson at this juncture, shithole gate beats Wilson out. He has no compassion for people of the world, Donald Trump, it is not a partisan comment I am making. George W. Bush did amazing work with aids in Africa, saved millions of lives, Jimmy Carter won a noble prize for working with Norman in Africa doing crop yields increases, or fighting worm disease, river blindness, the Clinton foundation was all over Haiti when I was down there doing amazing work.

[23:20:16] All former President in recent times have love and compassion in their heart, Donald Trump has a heart of stone and he doesn't like these people. And I think we need to have religious leaders now speak out. People from the catholic church, Mormon Church. Tonight to me is some kind of tipping point. I know it's a Trumpism but there is no sane person can say this isn't just blatant racism that we heard utters out ever the American President's mouth. Where is Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton where is their tweet? They always want to do their interview on television. Denounce the President on this loud and clear. It's a loser in history hit your kite with on this one.

LEMON: Douglas I have to point out that President Trump was recording a statement for Martin Luther King Junior as his story was breaking about his remarks CNN John, he said this Trump gets away with so many gas in part, because he is white critics say, they describe him as the incarnation of the white backlash against the nation's first black president. No Obama, No Trump. So do you agree with that?

BRINKLEY: Well, look, I don't -- now that Martin Luther King weekend is upon us I don't think Donald Trump has any right to mention the name Martin Luther King he knows nothing about him, nothing about his historical legacy. As you well know Dr. King's letter from the Birmingham City jail was pleading with southern pastors, speak up. What's deafening tonight is the silence coming out of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln they're just sitting this one out. It's inconvenient for some. And I think Trump needs to pay a heavy price and Republican Party needs to distance them self very quickly.

DUBOIS: He has no right to speak the word king also has no right to speak the word Haiti. I'm not sure he understands Haiti's history this was a country of west African slaves, beaten down and subjected and put through the worse imaginable in history until 1791 they rose up and fought one of the greatest empires in the world the French between then and 1804 this band of revolutionary they won, they rose up and secured their independence for themselves. They had wonderful decades, some challenging, many in between. They had to endure everything from terrible political leadership to earthquake but are still standing, some of the strongest and wisest and most innovative people in the world. Trump next to Haiti I'd rather stand in Porto prince for a year than stand a few minutes in Trump tower in terms of the moral integrity standings of the Haitian people have.

LEMON: Thank you both I appreciate your perspective. When we come back, much more of the presidents racist comments about immigrants making a mockery of those words on the statue of liberty. Give me your tired, your poor your huddled masses yearning to be free.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [23:27:24] LEMON: President Trump shocking and racist remarks about

immigrants coming from shithole countries, sparking disgust tonight the White House not denying the president said it and even predicting it will help him with his base. I want to bring in our CNN political analyst Joshua Green, national correspondent for Bloomberg Business week. Political Analyst Molly Ball national political correspondent for Time magazine and political commentators David Swerdlick, assistant editor at the Washington Post. Good evening to all of you. Molly, going to start with you. What was your immediate reaction to hearing President Trump call African countries and Haiti shithole countries?

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Quite honestly it was, this again?

LEMON: Yes.

BALL: It just seems like this is Donald Trump's whole world view that he has been expressing, pretty much explicitly from the very beginning of the campaign and before that. This is a man who believes that people are different from one another, different kinds of people are better than other kinds of people. You know people from Mexico aren't as good as the people from America and people from certain countries he was reported a while ago as saying they all have aids he thinks in stereotypes, in a very broad brush, in many cases antiquated stereotypes about the world and what he thinks of this stuff it just comes out.

LEMON: Josh you say Donald Trump shows the coarsening of America. Talk about that.

JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR DEVIL'S BARGAIN: I bartended for years and Trump's language tonight sounds like what you would here from the guy at the end of the bar nobody wants to sit next to him, won't go home at closing time, he is the Archie bunker with a twitter feed is the way I think of it. First we heard him a couple of weeks ago in new York times article saying Nigerian live in huts and we talk about Mexican rapists and now Haitians from shithole country we're getting Donald Trump's world view why say it in front of a Democratic Congressman who are trying to strike a deal with Republicans on immigration, that is what they were doing in the west wing, all this does is set that process back further.

LEMON: We all know this is not the first time he is said something offensive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

When Mexico sends its people they are not sending their best they're bringing drugs, crime, rapists, and some I assume are good people.

Look at my African-American over here, look at him. Are you the greatest?

He is a Mexican, we're building a wall between here and Mexico.

His wife if you look at his wife she was standing there, she had nothing to say, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.

You had some very bad people in that group but you also had people that were very fine people. On both sides.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is a serious and offensive pattern with this President. David I mean, does he even -- does he not know he is racist?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is exactly that, a pattern. You have people defending the President and a lot of people criticizing him one thing you heard from literally no one was oh, I don't believe he said that. That doesn't sound like him at all. People heard this and said yeah it probably happened. So that is a big political problem for the President. The deeper problem you have a situation at a minimum, this is graceless, there's no generosity, it shows that he has no home training. On its face as you say Don a rational person looks at this and says how can you look at it and say it's anything other than racist. And then big picture this is the person who was elected and now speaks for the American people writ large.

This is who is speaking for us as a country someone who doesn't fundamentally understand or resists understanding that I heard Rick Wilson say this in your last hour, America unlike countries in the world is not a (inaudible), we are not an ethnic group we're an idea we're a constitution, we're a society, and we believe in something and it's a nation of immigrants. And he resists that.

LEMON: Josh, representative Rick Richmond the chairman of the congressional black caucus released this statement saying tonight the President's statement is further prove it's make America great again agenda is really a make America white again. What do you think? Is that his agenda?

JOSHUA GREEN, AUTHOR DEVIL'S BARGAIN: It's hard to argue against that. Not only is he specifying African countries as shitholes and hut dwellers, but he is saying hey we ought to have more Norwegians can you find whiter people than Norwegians? I don't think so.

LEMON: So you're hearing make America white again if you are white and are offended by that then you obviously have an issue. That is what he said, we want more immigrants from Norway instead of the shithole country which are black and brown people.

GREEN: Again Archie Bunker with the twitter feed. He got elected because he activated a lot of rural, white older people. I guess he has internalized the belief that look this is what works for me. I'm going to keep saying it. LEMON: Molly the White House is not denying what President Trump

said. In fact somehow staffers think it will resonate with his base. But shouldn't the President do more than simply appeal to his base? Shouldn't the president represent the best and not the worst of America.

MOLLY BALL, POLITICAL WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well sure. I think first of all it is not he plan to say this in advance on a staffer talk and this was a good idea. Wouldn't be the first time they to clean up his mess after finding out that he did something they would not advise him to do. The idea it is helping him is post hoc rationalization. I want to go back to something Josh said that I think is really important, because this idea certainly not going to help him make the deal that he wants to make on immigration it is starting to see like he is stopped trying to be better at presidenting, right? I mean this is not the comment of a guy who is trying to act right and walking on egg shells trying not to alienate people so he can get the deal done. I just finish writing out cover package this week magazine is about the relationship between Trump and congress at the one year mark and there was this feeling that having got the tax bill done, they are past hoping to control him but maybe felt good things could get done if he tried. Doesn't sound like a guy who is trying frankly?

LEMON: To Molly's point David, when she said they didn't think he would say it. Seems like an ad hoc sort of reaction from the folks who were there. They came out against this Wolff book so hard and he wrote the same thing in the book that staffers are often taken back by what the President says and they have to scramble and a lot of them think like this is too much. How did we fix this? So a lot of people have said what's written in the book is false but this -- one ever the scenarios that was spoken about very heavily in this book, a President who can't seem to control himself.

[23:35:04] SWERDLICK: Yes he can't control himself and look the book is its own topic. There are going to be quotes in that book that are challenged.

LEMON: They should be.

SWERDLICK: Yes they should be challenged. But the big picture of what Michael Wolff was getting at in that book it is sort of validated by an episode like what we see today. I think one of the biggest problems for his staff and for the President and for us as a country right now, is that when you have a presidency whose sort of (inaudible). If I can use that phrase is just aggrandizing President Trump. Is just getting him into the White House and continually pushing him out there as the sort of mouth piece for some sort of nasty ethos that a certain slice of the electorate likes, and not focused on policy. Not focused on really driving an agenda. When the President himself doesn't have a grasp on the fine details of that agenda whether today's slip up with FISA the other day with DACA saying sure I'll sign a clean DACA bill. You will rung into these problems because if all you're doing is talking and not actually trying to drive the point home about this or that legislation and if he is like an Archie Bunker this is where you wind out. GREEN: It's worse when you think about it. Are Trump said in that

highly touted oval office or meeting about immigration the other day, open televised, he would sign whatever bill congress send. And literally six bipartisan gang of six had agreed on a bill, had come here to present it and he dumped all over it and called immigrants shitholer's. I don't know. It speaks to the kind of eradicate and unstable portrait of Trump that has stood out most for me in Michael Wolff's book.

LEMON: Thank you Josh. Thank you Molly. Thank you David you're your fancy language. (Inaudible)

BALL: Is France shithole, I'm not clear.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Reason for being that is really his whole reason for being. Thank you all I appreciate it. When we come back seven lawmakers were present when the President made his despicable comments. Will any of them come out against him? Did any of them stand up to him in that meet?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:41:25] LEMON: Reaction sharp and swift to President Trump's racist comments about immigrants from shithole countries, what about the lawmakers who were in the oval office when he said all this. Let's discuss with CNN political commentator Jennifer Granholm and former Democrats governor of Michigan and Political commentator Kevin Madden our Republican strategist. My god, I never in a million years, look I'm older than I look, I like to think that.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You look good.

LEMON: Never thought I would be saying shithole on television or some of the words I've been saying on television in the last two and half years or having to call the President of the United States a liar, because he just flat out lies. It is a bizarre place to be in but governor, let's start with you. Thank you both for coming on.

GRANHOLM: Yes of course.

LEMON: Seven elected officials on both sides of the aisle that room when the President said what he said we are not hearing anything from them they're not saying it's outrageous maybe they will I don't know.

GRANHOLM: Yes maybe they will. Let's just say this is a test for them. Is a test for the Republican Party? Got a few people who have come out. I think it's a moment for them to be able to say this is not who we are as a nation. And to reject him. Honestly. I mean, Don, you have an international audience, right, if I had the power to apologize to the world for what Donald Trump was saying I would do it in a heartbeat, but I will say this to anybody who is watching on your international from your international audience that this is not who we are as a country. He does not represent the vast majority of Americans. We find him an embarrassment. And many of us are working to make sure that he is never, ever elected. And I would say that to the moderate Republicans, the Republicans who reject this, to the conservative Republican who reject this and the whole spectrum of Americans who know this is against our creed I would say this is an opportunity for us to stand up and say who we are. To be the country of statue of liberty and not the country of Pepe the frog. This is a moment for us to rise up America and say this is not who we are.

LEMON: It is pretty black and white, no pun intended with that, it's pretty clear. Nor have any of these issued a statement Kevin that I mentioned condemning the remarks, Kevin what do you think is that acceptable?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look I think two calculations are being made and both are wrong, first is maybe this won't get out. We learned by watching this White House that everything eventually becomes a breaking news story, because someone in the White House leaks it out. The second part which is more important to the overall democracy and the overall fabric who we are as a country is that some of these folks believe it is not their responsibility. That is where they are wrong. It is their responsibility. The old saying that all that is required for evil to prosper in this world is for good men to do nothing. Well it is time that the people who are in the room when the President makes these type of remarks that aren't typical to everything that we stand for as Americans confront the President and actually point this out and do so to their constituents.

[23:45:08] There's all sorts of reflects of calculation that members of congress or Senators make about alienating their base, but this is one the times it is really important to stand up and talk about who we are as a country and then talk about who we can be as a Party when discussing some of the differences amongst ideological opponents.

GRANHOLM: And also leading on your base too.

LEMON: We hope that could happen governor go on.

GRANHOLM: I was going to say everybody's talking about it's his base, you know, he has a moment to actually lead in this world. He can lead his base to something higher and not to the base. He can show them that this is not who we are. I mean, good grief, what is America if it is not this fabulous exceptional collection of people from all over the globe including people who were brought here and people who were originally here. I just think that the people who were in the room have an obligation, but I think all Republicans have an obligation, all people have an obligation. Kevin I so appreciate you standing up clearly and saying that tonight that a lot of people on your show tonight have done that Don. I'm curious if Mitt Romney would stand up I'm sure he probably would.

MADDEN: I expect he will. I hope he will.

GRANHOLM: It's a moment for contrast.

MADDEN: I hope you're right.

GRANHOLM: Yes.

MADDEN: This is time where moments like these leadership is forged, I think it is time for people to step out and say and confront the President say this is not going to go away everyone will wake up tomorrow with the pressure only mounting to condemn this type of rhetoric.

LEMON: Kevin and governor --

GRANHOLM: Instead of relishing in it.

LEMON: Thank you both see you next time. We'll come back, news tonight in the Russia investigation, will the president talk to Robert Mueller and who else knew about the infamous Trump tower meeting with Russian officials.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:50:57] LEMON: We have news tonight about the Russia investigation. President Trump apparently getting some pointed advice about whether he should talk to special counsel Robert Mueller. Here to discuss. CNN legal Analyst Kari cord row. Form counsel to assistant Attorney General for national security and John Flannery the former federal prosecutor for the southern district of New York. Good evening. Thank you both for coming on. Good to see you. John, multiple sources telling CNN tonight that close friends and advisers of President Trump are warning him against sitting down for of an interview with the special counsel Robert Mueller. What are they afraid of?

JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: They're afraid of a man, Trump Tourette's, I suppose and mixture of admissions and fantasy and him stumbling over himself. But this is really a bad game. I mean Seneca said fate leads you to destiny or drags to you it. One way or another he is going to end up in that hot seat short of invoking the Fifth Amendment. Because what Starr did with Clinton, served a subpoena. That is what I assume Mueller will do when he gets to the point in his investigation when he needs that information. It's going to be a disaster for Trump.

LEMON: Carrie, a source from the legal team says Trump got a little ahead of himself in his comments yesterday in yesterday's news conference about whether he would meet with the special counsel team in the Russia investigation. Who is the upper hand here? Is it trump or is it Mueller?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well I think the special counsel has a lot of leverage in terms of sort of setting the road ahead and determining who is interviewed and when there are going to be interviewed and what are they going to be interviewed about. The President will consult with his lawyers and they'll perhaps try to hold off the interviews for some period of time, if they can. And they'll try to negotiate the terms of them. The location, who is going to be there. What the substance of the interviews will be about. But when the special counsel decides that it's time to interview the President for purposes of continuing the investigation it's- it's going to happen one way or another.

LEMON: John, you know the ranking exact on the House Intelligence Committee says Republicans on the committee are blocking witnesses from being interviewed as part of the -- their ongoing Russia investigation. Including some who may have information on the June 2016 meeting at Trump tower. This is Representative Adam Schiff. He said this will earlier today on CNN.

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ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: There are individuals that were aware of the meeting and the purpose of the meeting that we would like to have come before our committee. We have requested that they be brought before the committee and asked the majority to do so. They have not been willing to do that. And I don't think we can do a complete investigation unless we take that step. And a great many others. These are very basic foundational investigative steps that we have not been permitted to do by the majority. And I hope we will, because there is no way we can represent that we are doing a thorough job if we don't.

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LEMON: So Schiff places the blame on Devin Nunes who at one point had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Why do you think Nunes is blocking the interviews?

FLANNERY: Well in the beginning you saw he had a favoritism if we can put it that little with the White House. And so he has decided to throw himself into the attack the investigation camp. And Adam Schiff is a worthy opponent, because Adam is former federal prosecutor. When he says maybe we have 30 witnesses and we need to see them and we're not that is important. One of them was Ivanka Trump who had a chance meeting with the attendees at the June 9th meeting. That is a clearly a critical meeting and they've done everything they can to keep people away from it. I'm sure the special prosecutor is ahead of everybody on this matter. Because we don't know exactly what he has? What we know publicly he says that is the center of the obstruction and the center of the connection with the Russians.

LEMON: I got to ask you, Carrie is the house investigation all but dead at this point, because of partisan infighting and bickering.

[23:55:00] CORDERO: The House Intelligence Committee, this investigation has to be on the last legs. People like Congressman Schiff and some of the other members of the committee have been trying to conduct a serious investigation, have been trying to get to the bottom of Russian meddling. But this intelligence committee investigation has become so polarized and so not conducted in a bipartisan way that I think at this point no matter what they come out with even if they were able to complete their investigation and issue some kind of report it's just not going to be credible. Because the chair has conducted it in a way that has not been transparent, has not been done in a bipartisan way. And so even if they finish it it's not going to be credible anyway.

LEMON: John, Carrie, thank you very much. I appreciate it. That is all we have time for.

FLANNERY: Thank you.

LEMON: It's been an interesting broadcast. Tune in tomorrow. See what's next. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. See you back here tomorrow.

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