Return to Transcripts main page


Lawmakers In The Room Confirm Trump's Comments, POTUS Tries To Deny It; Does Trump Love the Controversary Though? Trophy Sunday 9p ET/PT. Aired 11-12mn ET

Aired January 12, 2018 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:51] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight I am Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast, we are live with new developments tonight, President Trump trying to deny his racist oval office remarks calling African nations shithole countries, but Senator Dick Durbin confirmed Trump said it.


DICK DURBIN, DEMOCRAT: In the course of his comments said things which were hate-filled, vial and racist. I cannot believe that in the history of the White House in that oval office any President has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our President say yesterday. He said Haitians do we need more Haitians. And when describing the immigration from Africa that was being protected in this bipartisan measure that is when he used these vial and vulgar comments calling these nations shitholes.


LEMON: Senator Lindsey Graham who is also in the meeting said he stood up to the president after those comments, Senator Tom Scott says that Graham told him the reported comments are basically accurate. Tonight outrage building over those remarks.

Plus the president's long time attorney denies that Trump has a sexual encounter with a porn star after a report by the Wall Street Journal alleged the lawyer help facilitate six figure payment to the actress in October 2016 in exchange for silence. More of that story coming up just a moment. But I want to begin with a growing fire storm over President Trump racist trash talk.

Joining me now congress Cedrick Richmond chairman of congressional black caucus, thank you so much for joining us you and house judiciary ranking member are planning to introduce resolution to sensor the President over his shithole remarks, why take this action?

CEDRIC RICHMOND, LOUISIANA CONGRESSMAN: Absolutely. One, I think it's important for the American people to understand that this is not how we run government. This is not how we feel. But two, it's important for the world to know that this is not how Americans view Africa, Nigeria, Haiti, El Salvador we have to show the world we're better than this, he may be our President, but is not the moral compass of the United States.

LEMON: Do you think Republicans will come on board to formally reprimand the President?

RICHMOND: I think few will, more than likely most will not. Unfortunately in Washington if it's your President you ignore the bad stuff and with this President it seems they ignore the bad stuff every day. This is not his first insensitive or racist remarks unfortunately it's become a normal or regular occurrence.

LEMON: The house speaker Paul Ryan said the President's comments were unfortunate and unhelpful. It's unfortunate when your flight is delayed or you are out of milk in the morning. This goes beyond unfortunate. When is enough, enough?

RICHMOND: Well I think the speaker's comments are too little, too late. His comments are actually unfortunate. You can't dance around blatant racism remarks, you have to take it dead on. I don't care if it is his President, my President, your President, you have to call it what it is. It was an ignorant remark. It was a racist remark. And it served to do exactly what he wanted is change the conversation from his base being upset with him about his immigration remarks.

LEMON: Yes. If they're not calling him out, are they complicit?

RICHMOND: Well, yes if you think back to Dr. King since this is his weekend. Dr. King said always that you are not hurt by the words of your enemy it's the silence of your friends. And there are too many people in America being silent while this President spews hate and ignorance and racism.

[23:05:06] LEMON: So if you think most Republicans won't jump on board do think it's an exercise in futility, why do it? Is it the principle?

RICHMOND: I'm sure Dr. King got that a lot when he was doing his stuff, sometimes you just have to stand up. The only way to beat a bully, you have to start fighting him first. I think for the country they need to understand that there's a group of people that are willing to stand up and fight this bully. And we'll start with a sense or motion, but we're not going to be afraid, we're not going to dance around the issue. So I think you're right and it basically boils down to enough is enough and we're going to sit back and fight.

LEMON: President Trump spent last night calling supporters to see how this was playing out and the source familiar with the President's thinking said quote he loves it, he loves his controversy. Is that disturbing to you?

RICHMOND: Yes, it shows you a simple mind. And, I mean, I said it before, and I think it was on your show last time when he talked about NFL players being sons of bitches. I said he is like a petulant child all of his actions is someone who wants attention, who wants to be liked, will say whatever he thinks he needs to pander to his base. That is very disturbing. This country is better than that. It's a country of ideas. Where you can be the best you want to be. And if you look at Emma Lazarus point everyone quotes the first part, but the second part that is amazing. It says send me your homeless -- means send me the people that really need to get here, send me those people coming from countries that are struggling and this President has absolutely no idea what made this country great in the first place and I promise you he had no part in making America great and he will have no part of making America great again.

LEMON: We're only 12 days into the new year do you see any scenario where the President's relationship with people of color improve.

RICHMOND: Absolutely not. Remember don we turned down the second meeting with the President, because after the first meeting with the President it was crystal it clear that he meant us no good. We didn't want to go back for a photo op. Didn't want a social visit. Didn't want to eat and sip champagne, we're here in a mission and that is to make this country a more perfect union help people who need help, to fight for equality, to fight discrimination and just being seeing with the president and interacting with him is not enough. We gave him 130 page on policy document on how to help African-Americans communities and they did not read it or respond to it. And then they ask for another meeting, no I have better uses of my time and I hate to say because I respect the position of the presidency, but he doesn't respect it. I don't see the need to meet with him again. I don't think his relationship with the black community will get any better.

LEMON: Consider you brought up Dr. King weekend, what do you think Dr. King would say, how would he react to President Trump?

RICHMOND: You know, Dr. King I'm quite sure, what he would do. He probably get on his knees and pray for Trump. You don't have to like him but can pray he gets some understanding, you can pray he gets some wisdom, you can pray that we have some sort of divine intervention that makes him a normal person that doesn't spew hate and racism that feeds a base so I think Dr. King would do nothing but pray for him.

LEMON: Cedric Richmond, thank you.

RICHMOND: Your welcome Don and thank you for what you're doing.

LEMON: All right. Now want to bring in CNN Senior economic analyst Robert Reich and CNN political commentators Amanda Carpenters, Scott Jennings and Shermichael Singelton. Hello and thanks for coming on everyone. Let's see, Shermichael, some supporters of the President are telling me that President Trump's remarks were about economics not about race, but that is not what he said is it.

SHERMICHAEL SINGELTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No it's not what he said. I'm not even sure what person would attempt to make such an argument you would have to be a complete idiot to do so. What makes America so unique we have different folks from all part, different parts of the world? If you dream it, you can potentially become it in America. May be hard as hell may have to fight like hell, but in America we have that opportunity, because we recognize and believe no one's future is written yet. That belief tells us no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you have opportunity to contribute in our society and the expectation that the President the leader of the free world knows that, acknowledges that, recognizes that and Donald Trump does not.

[23:10:05] There's a reason the rest of the world looks to America for guidance, for direction, to whom much is given much is expected, Don, and right now unfortunately the President has not only let us down as Americans, he is letting down the rest of the world and I'm embarrassed and I hope people don't look at Trump as a representation of what we believe as a country, as a nation and as a society.

LEMON: Robert here is what you tweeted this you said to the Nazis (inaudible) the purest area were the people of Germany in Norway, why are we having all this people from shithole countries, Haiti, Africa come here, Trump exploded today saying the U.S. should bring more people from countries like Norway. Connection, you are pointing out there's a fascination you think the President has with Scandinavian countries.

ROBERT REICH, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALSYT: I don't think there is question about it. The irony is that Scandinavian countries are also Democratic socialist countries. There is no reason Donald Trump has expressed any admiration for Democratic socialism. But when it comes to race, Donald Trump puts aside ideology and says yes we want Nordic types, we don't want people from Africa, we don't want people from Latin America or obviously this is not about economics, this is about race and the moral authority of the country is really at stake here and what Donald Trump is doing, he is doing it over and over and over again is degrading the presidency and he is degrading the country. What we have to keep on saying and assuring and I do every day our foreign friends that this is not America and Donald Trump does not represent us.

LEMON: Scott I want to play this moment from 2015. Was Donald Trump on Jimmy Kimmel's show defending his proposed Muslim ban? Watch.


JIMMY KIMMEL, JIMMY KIMMEL SHOW: Isn't it un-American and wrong to discriminate against people based on their religion?



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm for it but look. We have people coming into our country that are looking to do tremendous harm. You look at -- look at Paris, look at what happened in Paris, I mean these people did not come from Sweden, ok.


LEMON: They did not come from Sweden. I mean, what do you think when you hear that given what the President said yesterday?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, in that particular case, I mean, the President was out there making the case that we have to have stricter controls on Muslims. I thought yesterday's comments were frankly different. He was having it in the context about discussion about immigration policy. I don't agree with the comments. They were very troubling frankly. I thought about them both through the domestic lens and also international lens. I really believe in the idea that the United States should be the most influential country on the continent of Africa not just because of our economic interest, but because of national security interest. So that troubled me greatly.

I think the President was having a meeting about domestic policy but I hope General Kelly and others in the White House talk about the geopolitical ramifications of what it means to seed our influence on the continent of Africa. We had troops there. Just lost some troops there that is a key front on the war on terror and we need those countries to look up to us and want to work for us and to believe in the United States and these comments are not helpful in that endeavor.

LEMON: There was also some reporting -- did you want to weigh in on what he said.

AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is economic element. We are overlooking the sneering elitism that also comes from this. I look at this and feel Donald Trump wants to treat entrance to America like entrance to his fancy golf clubs where you have to be rich, privileged and most likely white to get in. Listen I'm obviously not a minority, I'm not an immigrant, but I don't come from a place of privilege. And it enrages me as someone who wants the Republican Party to be the part of the working class that people can pull themselves by their boot straps to succeed to hear the President Pre- Judge people places where they are born, who their parents might be, in circumstances that are not the fault of those persons. The GOP really has to recalibrate here. If you can't find way to lock arms with the strivers in America society the people who look to America as the place to come and succeed, the Party's broken.

LEMON: Yes. So well, talk to me then, so what does a Party do from here then, because you don't have many people coming out and denouncing it. Paul Ryan said it was troubling or unfortunate.

CARPENTER: I would tell you what would help is that the few people that do speak out like Paul Ryan and John Kasich and Mia Love when they do speak out they say that is not enough you need to go harder. They are really trying in their way to give them cover to speak out.

[23:15:04] I realize, I wish Paul Ryan would do more, but he can't surrender his speakership in protest of Trump that doesn't do anyone any good. So I think it would be very helpful, if people were more willing to listen to the Republicans who are willing to speak out and not slap them in the face when they do begin to stick their necks out a little bit and say why you aren't doing more. Put the pressure on the people who don't. Mitch McConnell is a disgrace. He says nothing, but Paul Ryan, again and again, say hey this is what you need to say about FISA. I really don't like this comments. During the primary campaign when Donald Trump was saying things about Judge Curiel and Paul Ryan spoke out, people went after him and not the people who duck and hide. I think people should be camping at McConnell's door to say why not say a word to discipline the president. LEMON: Isn't that part of being a leader, speaking up. Amanda said

Paul Ryan doesn't want to surrender his speakership, because that wouldn't do any good. But by speaking up and saying, listen, these words go beyond saying that they are unfortunate, these words are racist, however you want to say it, can he go harder on the president without surrounding speakership if maybe he and Mitch McConnell came out that maybe this President would get in line because he needs both those men to get his agenda through.

JENNINGS: He does. I think you asked the right question, where do you go from here? I think as a Republican Party it would be one thing for everybody to come out and say things. But I'm not certain saying things will change the President's attitude. You played a clip from 2015. I think the President is who he is and believes what he believes. What can the Party do at large, one thing they can do is get this policy right. They were having a meeting about immigration policy. It's been a problem in this country. I wonder if the Republican Party with Donald Trump and the White House and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and all the rest if they found a way through this that satisfied American values, welcoming values, border security, making sure that we do have --

LEMON: Scot, with all due respect that doesn't change the President's sentiment.


The policy does not change the President's sentiment. It does not take away his racist attitude. It does not make people like me and women and Muslim and people in shithole countries feel like they're in a place that welcomes him or that understands him. That doesn't change anything.


JENNINGS: That wasn't your question.


LEMON: The question is what can the Republican do.

JENNINGS: There's nothing the Party can do to change his opinion. You're not going to change the opinion of a 71-year-old guy that has deeply-held views.

LEMON: You are surrendering the white flag then.

JENNINGS: They can do what they can do.


LEMON: Robert first go ahead Robert.

REICH: May I say something, I think it's not a matter of changing Donald Trump's mind. He is not going to change his mind. It is a very important matter of sending a clear signal to the American people and also to our friends and allies and others abroad that this is not representative of America's thinking. The Republican Party has an obligation to the people, not just to the Party and certainly not just to the President, it has an obligation to the people of America to express the values that make America great. No law says the Speaker of the House or anybody else in a leadership position in congress has to resign if they're disagreeing with a President or criticizing a President. We have a long history in this country of independent minded congressional leaders of the same Party of a President speaking out when they thought a President was wrong and speaking out forcefully. We also have business leaders, the patrons of the Republican Party, they spoke out a little bit over Charlottesville why are they not speaking out even more now, why are they not saying to Republican leaders we're not going to back you with more money if you don't speak out.

LEMON: Shermichael you get a chance to speak in. Do you want to respond to this?

SINGELTON: Don I mean look, I've always been a Republican, and got to tell you if Republicans wonder why African-Americans and other minorities don't want to vote for Republicans, look at the President. There is a moral obligation for Republican leadership --

LEMON: It's not just --

SIDNER: To speak out and say something.

LEMON: Hold on I will let you finish. It's not just look at the President. It's look at the Republicans. Look at the people who come on and talk about what happened today. Look what John Kasich said to Jake Tapper which I took note, he said we have more important things to talk about. Some people don't get a chance to prioritize racism.

[23:20:00] Their very life depends on it. They don't get a chance to do that. So to say we have bigger things to deal with is insulting. Maybe the policy should be on racism, on sexism, on some sort of bigotry, because people keep pushing that down and we never deal with the ramifications of slavery, Jim Crowe and the outright racism of Donald Trump.

SIDNER: Don, look, we have reached a tipping point, I would argue, we can disagree on policy, that is fine, but when it comes to human decency, character, how we treat one another that is something we shouldn't disagree on. I believe a lot of people in this country particularly minorities are looking at this and wondering am I even welcome. This is a country that was built by slaves for god's sake by our ancestor, so if I am an African-American and I go home talk to my family about this they will ask me is this the type of Party you want to belong to my answer is hell no it is not the type of party that I want to belong to. Donald Trump has disgraced this country and the Republican Party. I'm appalled more people in leadership are not speaking up and saying something about this because ramifications will be felt in the long term maybe as early as November.

LEMON: Got to go. I'm over time thank you everyone. When we come back will President Trump's racist comments be a moment of reckoning for America for what the president said make us all take a long hard look at racism in this country.


[23:25:00] LEMON: Outrage spreading in this country and around the world over President Trump's racist shithole comments, but will it be the moment of reckoning for America. Joining us Michael Higginbotham the author of the Ghost of Jim Crowe, ending racism and post racial America. So good to have you on. Thank you for joining us. The President Trump comments were undeniably racist, it is so secret that our country has a history and the legacy racism and slavery, how do this comments fit into that history.

F. MICHAEL HIGGINBOTHAM, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE: I think it's very important for Americans to take a close look at where we are today, because as you mention, we have a long history of race discrimination. It's an ugly history in this country slavery, racially motivated lynching. We've also made tremendous process. This country has eliminated slavery, and Jim Crowe segregation reduced lynching, passed anti-discrimination laws and housing and public accommodations and implemented affirmative action in education and employment and most elected and reelected our first black President. So we made a lot of progress in the country, but progress doesn't mean post racial, doesn't mean race is no longer a significant factor and President Trump's comments simply reaffirm that notion, simply let us know we're not there yet.

LEMON: A lot of people think black people should be over this racist pass, because there's so much progress as you said. You're an expert in this. Can you explain to people how that racist past shaped the present reality.

HIGGINBOTHAM: Absolutely, Don. There are tremendous disparities today in socioeconomic index from birth to death between white and racial minorities these disparities today whether talking about educational attainment, whether you are talking about birth or death rates, whether you are talking about unemployment which there's 2/1 disparity between blacks and whites whether talking about wealth accumulation there's 20/1 disparity between whites and blacks. These disparities are almost as great as they were during Jim Crowe days. So there is a clear connection between our history of race discrimination and the current disparities that exist. But we can make a difference, we can pass laws that reduce significantly these current disparities that is what we need to do in my judgment. President Trump is doing a really big disservice by reaffirming it some of the racist statements and policies rather than getting away from them.

LEMON: Still a lot of people Michael have grown and changed, but the President is pretty racist why can't he see that?

HIGGINBOTHAM: It's hard to get into the President's head. I wish I could. I wish I had a crystal ball. But unfortunately what the President is doing there are a lot of Americans who are agreeing with the President. And part of this is because they want change but also part of it is because they agree with his message. It's an ugly message, it's a hateful message, it's a message from our past that I thought we were getting away from, but unfortunately a number of people, his message is resonating with a number of Americans. I think the good thing is though if you look at the polls a majority of Americans are disagree with the President, are rejecting it, very important that we do so, especially for Republicans to come out an said enough is enough we disagree with this. Because we're looking bad in the world. Looking at the United Nation Spokesperson said today, he said look the President of the United States is racist. During the campaign that is problematic, but as the president he is the spokesperson, he is the chief of our executive department and he is the spokesperson of America.

LEMON: Sources told CNN that the President is enjoying this controversy and loves the conversation he is started, do you believe that?

HIGGINBOTHAM: Actually I think he does. I mean, President is a game show host. I mean, he looks at ratings. He is happy to create controversy. What we need is a President that is level. That is steady. That has the values that the American people really want. And I think the President is out of touch. With those values, with that history. All you have to do is look at the statue of liberty, it says it all, give us you're tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

[23:30:00] What the President said the other day is the exact opposite of the statue of liberty.

LEMON: I wonder if maybe he doesn't sense of history or legacy. Or maybe he doesn't care about it, because he is sitting back, once he had left his office and starts watching the reports and documentaries about his presidency he is not going to be happy and that is not something he can't change, you have to change it in the moment, you have to live it.

HIGGINBOTHAM: Absolutely right. That is why it is so important that congress speaks out. I like what Congressman Richmond had to say earlier, the President needs to be censored. And congress women Mia Love had to say, Republican from Utah who is a Haitian decent, she said the President needs to apologize. They're right. That is what needs to occur.

LEMON: All right. Thank you sir we appreciate it.

HIGGINBOTHAM: My pleasure.

LEMON: When we comeback sources telling CNN the President was taking a victory lap after his comments calling African nation shithole countries. Friends and supporters for a reaction to his language, but how are his words playing out with his voters.


[23:35:00] LEMON: President denied that he called some African internationals shithole countries during a meeting with lawmakers about immigration, but two lawmakers that were there confirm the president said those words. I want to bring in now Joe Maddison the host of the Joe Maddison show on Sirius XM and Syndicated talk radio host John Fredericks the former co-chair of the Trump campaign in Virginia. Hello to both of you thank you for joining us, John you first, President is denying he said these things but no one in the room is backing up his claim, who do you believe?

JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: First of all, Joe Madison great to see you, Happy New Year. Look. When the original statement came out I think reported in Washington Post I believe, the White House press office did not deny it. There's a red flag right there. Therefore, because of the non-denial at the time it happened I have to believe what he said was either that or something very close to it. Also Dick Derby in said and that is what Lindsey Graham had reportedly said he said. So I don't think the words are in dispute.

I think the interpretation of it is. Certainly Don you and I have a very different opinion on it. I'm a true believer in Trump's agenda. In the America first policies. And in Trump-anomic which are playing out. I understand, I don't think they were racist comments. Maybe I'm the only guy in America that believes this. I believe the President has an economic immigration policy that says open borders make no sense, we have to grow the economy, we have a glut of labor and we need to bring people in that have economic merit.

LEMON: Is he the only guy in the America?

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM: No he is not the only guy in America, there's a bunch of Klansmen and neo Nazis

FREDERICKS: Oh come on.

MADISON: Excuse me did I interrupt you, thank you. Who agreed with me, John you are very smart person but you said something very stupid just a moment ago. It is absolutely racist. It is the weekend we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Let me read something he said. We are tied together in a single bondmen of destiny caught in an inescapability network of mutuality, we will learn to live together as brothers and sisters or we will perish together as fools what Donald Trump said was foolish and that is exactly what most people in America thinks. You're not the only one who thinks the way you're thinking, but the reality is it was racist. And let me tell you something else.

I will be very quick. I have a grandson whose father is from Kenya, he is from the Lua tribe which happens to be the tribe of former President Barack Obama and one of his proudest moments was when Barack Obama said please tell your grandson we're cousins and last couple days I now have to tell that grandson that you know what you did not come from a shithole nation. You came from a nation that the President of the United States ancestors came from.

And you are just like him. So it was racist. It will always be racist. And I get sick as a matter of fact I will say this, I never met a racist who thinks they're racist. George Wallace didn't think he is racist, David Duke doesn't think he is racist. Most racist don't think they are racist, but guess what they are racist. LEMON: I said that today on the situation room, they will argue up

and down. They could be member of the KKK and will say I'm not racist.

MADISON: And it's not economic issue, my god, man, this is a matter, most of the folk who's come to this country from these so-called shithole countries have more degrees than all three of us in this studio.

LEMON: John listen. Sources are telling CNN that President Trump spent last night phoning allies and asking them how they thought as his remarks was pointing out in the press. One White House officially referring to a victory lap and that the President is loving it. What do you think of that? That the President should lead by making an off color comment and then politicizing it.

FREDERICKS: Well, if you want the analysis of how this has affected the Trump base, is that what you're asking me. I mean I didn't talk directly to the President so I can't confirm what you said.

LEMON: He is taking a victory lap.

FREDERICKS: What I can say is that for the core Trump base in America which cuts a lot more economic lines than the two of you gentlemen realize and it also cuts race, this was a home run for them because in 24 hours the legacy media historical coverage of this has fired up their base to such an extent you're going to get a massive turn out in the 2018 midterms. This is not about -- look -- when people believe in an agenda of putting America first what this President got elected on and protecting American --

[23:40:29] LEMON: Do you understand though that you're saying a massive turn out to support racism.

FREDERICKS: It's not supporting racism Don, it's supporting the economic policies of this President that are bringing jobs, increasing wages.

LEMON: So shithole countries that is not racist?

MADISON: Let me ask you John, have you ever been on the continent of Africa?

FREDERICKS: No I have not.

MADISON: Have you ever been to Haiti?

FREDERICKS: No I have not.

MADISON: Get a passport and travel. Thank you.

FREDERICKS: OK. Perhaps I should do that.

MADISON: Not you should, then maybe what you will find out, look, the reality is, let me make something very clear to you and the rest of the nation, we could not run this country if it wasn't for that shithole continent Africa. You wouldn't be able to drive your car. You might not have a cup of coffee. You might not be able to have -- the military wouldn't be able to operate, because most of the resources that we need to make this country run happen to come from that continent Africa.

LEMON: All right we'll continue this conversation. Thank you. I have to go. When we come back, as hocking report from the Wall Street journal that says President Trump personal lawyer allegedly arranged for 6-figure pay out to a porn star right before the election. Why? That story is next.


[23:45:44] LEMON: A new report tonight that a lawyer for President Trump arranged a large payment to a porn star to buy her silence. CNN correspondent Tom Foreman is here with the story. Tom, what does the report say?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This was an explosive week for the President, his comments about immigrants, continuing clash with Steve Bannon and back and forth on the Russian investigation and now this big claim that says a woman was paid $130,000 a month before the election to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Donald Trump. According to the story he had this encounter with adult film star Stormy Daniels you see her there, in 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament. This new report of hush money comes from people familiar with the matter, Don.

LEMON: Tom I understand the White House immediately pushed back calling it old, recycled news that was denied long ago is that all?

FOREMAN: No the President's attorney Michael Cohen hit back very hard too at this journal report saying these rumors circulated time and again since 2011. President Trump once again -- vehemently denied any such occurrence as has Miss Daniels. While Cohen didn't address the idea of payment he did give a statement saying my involve with Donald Trump was limited to few public appearances and nothing more, when I met Donald Trump he was professional and a complete gentleman to me and every one in my presence. Rumors that I received hush money from Donald Trump are completely false, if indeed I did have a relationship with Donald Trump, trust me you will be reading about it in the news and you would be reading about it on my book. The fact the matter is this are not true. That what she says, Don.

LEMON: OK. So that statement, did you say that statement came --


LEMON: -- through Cohn.

FOREMAN: Yes came through Trump lawyer.

LEMON: Not directly from her.


LEMON: So have we been able to independently confirm.

FOREMAN: We've tried to reach out to her to get Miss Daniels statement directly have not been able to speak to her yet and Trump's lawyer Cohen has not provided contact information for her. If this alleged event did nonetheless take place it would have occurred the year after he married now first lady Melania Trump.

LEMON: Tome Foreman, thank you very much we appreciate it. When we come back could big game hunting actually be the answer to combating animal extinction that is what a new documentary film is arguing. We will break it down, next.


[23:52:06] LEMON: Seeing this new original film Trophy premieres this Sunday, January 14 at 9:00 p.m. The film explores the intersection of big game hunting and wildlife conservation here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really feel as if they know that they're in danger. They know that they're not equipped to avoid extinction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is humans that have messed up their lives. We are to blame. And it makes me understand that I cannot give up.


LEMON: Wow, that looks fascinating. Joining me is it is Dave Salmoni he is a large expert at Animal Planet. Thank you sir for joining us. Let us talk about this film Trophy, it takes a look at big game hunting and wildlife conservation. We watch hunters pursue elephants and lions and rhino's. Talk to me about these species. How endangered they are.

DAVE SALMONI, LARGE PREDATOR EXPERT, ANIMAL PLANET: They are in trouble. And there is a wide variety of how endangered they happen to be in different locations in more trouble than in others. But we are certainly in a time in our lives where it will be our generation that sees the end of them. If you talk about the film which is so powerful and I really think people should watch it. It's a really important subject. The film touches on rhinos and the white rhino can be wiped out in the next couple of years. And elephants and lions quickly getting into the same situation. This is a real hot topic.

LEMON: You've heard this before, the supporters of big game hunting saying that five and six figure price tags hunters pay to hunt these animals goes to funding protection efforts for the species as a whole and bringing economic benefits to the local community. You say that model doesn't work. Why not.

SALMONI: That model doesn't work for so many reasons. You have to unpack all the layers you brought it in. Absolutely it's one land use system that works. But it only works for a short period of time. It doesn't have any -- it is not a structure that can last over a longer period of time. That is not conservation. It brings in money, but doesn't bring in more money than ecotourism might bring. You know, trophy hunting has often times the hunters themselves have been incentivized to do conservation. But the act of trophy hunting can never be considered conservation.

[23:55:00] That money that they say they pay that goes to the government, it's the same -- it would be like some taxpayer downtown New York saying he is a conservationist, because he pays taxes. The government has national parks and national parks protecting grizzly bears so I therefore protect grizzly bears, it's a backward way of thinking.

LEMON: What's the most important thing that viewers take away from the film, the most important thing to understand about hunting and wildlife conservation, Dave?

SALMONI: Well I think the most important thing is that it's a subject we need to pay attention to right now. Obviously I have a skewed opinion because I'm an animal lover and animal expert. So you know if I separate my personal feelings from it I think people need to watch in film and start to form an opinion. I think that the world took notice when things like Cecil the lion happened and we said holy cow this is happening. And people will feel that when they see this and see all the things happening to wildlife. I guess it's a matter of realizing that this has a real big impact on conservation today and it's something we need to pay attention to.

LEMON: Dave, thank you so much. Always a pleasure.

SALMONI: Thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you. CNN films "Trophy" premiere Sunday night at 9:00. That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching.