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Bannon To Speak With Mueller's Investigators; Dr. Gupta, President Has Common Form Of Heart Disease; Trump Attorney Denies Story Alleging Payment For Porn Star's Silence. Aired 11-Midnight ET
Aired January 17, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:40] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN tonight." I'm Don Lemon. 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. Live with new developments tonight. President Trump former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon makes a deal to speak with Robert Mueller's investigators. What will he tell Mueller that he wouldn't tell the House Intel Committee?
Plus, you heard the White House doctors glowing review of Trump's health, but the tests results tell different stories. We are going to ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta, does the President have heart disease, and is he at risk for heart attack in the next few years? We're going to talk about all of that in this hour. Let's go to the latest on the Robert Mueller investigation. I want to bring in CNN Commentator-Analyst Philippe Mudd, Legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli and John Flannery the former special counsel to Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Thank you all for joining us, I think you both except for Phil Mudd. I'm paying you back for what you said on the break, Phil.
OK so listen. Steve Bannon's legal team ken, this for you, has struck a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller and will not be testifying before a grand jury. Instead he'll be voluntarily speaking to Mueller's investigators. From a practical standpoint, Ken, what is the difference here?
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: From a practical standpoint, there is very little difference. This is not at all surprising. You know, if they have FBI agents present and Steve Bannon were to lie, that is a felony. If you're in front of a grand jury and you were to lie, that is a felony. You know one of the ways it can play out in person is more conversational. It's a little more stilted in front of a grand jury, and if you are taking the deposition, if you're interviewing the witness, you want to be in a conversation. You want to engage in back and forth. So there is some utility to this format on Mueller's side. On Bannon's side, frankly, it's just more comfortable. You don't really want to get in front of an audience like a grand jury. That -- I don't care who you are, that makes a defendant uncomfortable. And uncomfortableness can come across looking like dishonesty. Of course, you never want that if you're on the hot seat.
LEMON: John is about to jump -- don't jump out of your chair, John, we need to hear from you. What did you want to say?
JOHN FLANNERY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: I'm laughing. It sounds like we're inviting him to a tea Party. I don't want to be too offensive and Bob Mueller is just so concerned about how the dainty Mr. Bannon will feel about it. As a trial lawyer, when somebody gets into stand, you make a decision sometimes whether this is person is a truth teller or a liar. We are going to get the fire and fury guy, we are going to get the beaten down, intimidated Bannon that is invoking executive privilege. I think this is to find out what kind of witness he is going to be, and the reason they use the subpoena is because it is a judiciary act. If you go back to the Nixon case when he didn't want to talk and reveal stuff, the Supreme Court decided that he had to, and in part, because it was a judiciary subpoena, and in addition, it had to do with the fact that there was a criminal investigation and there was an executive order that put that executive order at odds with the White House. So this is a careful, legal setup. And think about this. If he lies in this statement to the FBI agents and then they put him in the grand jury, then the squeeze is major. I'm always amazed why public officials don't assert the Fifth Amendment, and I guess they can't help themselves, because I think this is a treacherous road for Bannon and for the administration.
LEMON: Phil, I want you to weigh in but let me ask you this can question before you do. When Bannon went before the House Intel Committee yesterday, he was not cooperative. The committee says the White House placed a gag order on Bannon. But a source tell CNN that Bannon's lawyer said he would answer questions coming from the special counsel. Why cooperate with Mueller, but not cooperate with congress?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I can think of a couple reasons why. Number one, when you're a White House official -- I served at the White House for a while -- you're going over the legislative branch, that is, the congress, and you're saying, you want me to reveal secret conversations I had with the President. I think that is privileged. Let me go real with you for a second, Don. There is a second issue he won't deal with Mueller, and that is 30 seconds after he speaks at the congress, somebody is going to leak it.
[23:05:08] There are differences when he goes over to talk to Robert Mueller. He is talking to the executive branch. Not only the executive branch, a special counsel who was appointed by the deputy Attorney General who is the deputy Attorney General selected by Donald Trump. The second thing is Robert Mueller doesn't leak. If I was Steve Bannon, I would see a huge difference between talking to a leaking congress and talking to a former Republican FBI Director, part of the executive branch who doesn't leak. Big difference, Don.
LEMON: Ken. This is what CNN has learned. Multiple sources told us the White House is working behind the scenes to work with congress. Are they interfering with the investigations?
CUCCINELLI: No. Especially between branches as Phil said. I mean it's almost a race to leak over on Capitol Hill, and you don't have that in the executive branch procedure.
LEMON: That is not them interfering if they're telling his weaknesses and telling him not to cooperate?
CUCCINELLI: Look, the executive privilege can be utilized as Bannon did with congress. That is not something that I expect him to try to do with Robert Mueller, and he said as much, if I remember correctly. Look, I think Bannon's bigger issue is that Mueller has to go through his list of talking to everybody. He was going to talk to Bannon at some point, so that point is now. At least for the first time. And he could do it more than once as John noted. He could do it once in person and then once in front of a grand jury as well. But I think the more interesting issue here is that Steve Bannon, he speaks declaratively, and he uses a lot of hyperbole like the President does. That is not a mode of communicating that is particularly helpful to someone sitting in what I've called the hot seat here. It's not accurate factually, typically, and you're not concerned about that in the political arena with hyperbole. You're trying to make a point rather than spell out facts. That is not what this counsel is about.
LEMON: If you're speaking to investigators that is a huge problem.
CUCCINELLI: That is my point. That is a huge problem, and he is going to have to really discipline his ordinary way of communicating that is really dictated, I think, by his personality. The President ultimately is going to have to do the same thing, but Bannon is the first one of that personality type.
LEMON: I get your point so John on Fox news tonight White House chief of staff John Kelly was asked if Bannon was told by the White House to use executive privilege. He said no and then he added this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Steve has had very, very little contact with the White House since he left. I know Steve a little bit, not very well. He left the White House, has certainly never returned to the White House, and with the exception of a few phone calls here and there, very little contact with the White House. And I certainly have never spoken with him since he left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Kelly says Bannon has had very little contact with the White House. Are they distancing themselves here?
FLANNERY: You know this is a cannibal society in this Trump White House. What he said, the important thing, which would otherwise be the headline, is the President of the United States who has the executive privilege hasn't asserted it, so these people have no business asserting it because it's not their privilege. Jeff Sessions and others before said someday he may want to assert the privilege. You interpose the privilege before someone talks, and if you haven't, then they talk. But before the House and other problem was they asserted executive privilege when he wasn't the executive. During the campaign they said they would answer questions. But after the election they wouldn't. He was not the executive during that transition period. And then the conversations that are not held with the President, none of those are protected, not only because he didn't assert it, but because it doesn't apply. And you have to consider whether or not they're trying to conceal crimes and privileges take flight whenever you try to conceal a crime by the conversation. We had that significant one which has been called the slip-up in which Bannon is talking about the June 9 rewrite in which the President claimed all they were talking about was adoption, which was absolutely not true. And we have that from the e-mails and so forth. That is a point of focus for obstruction. So there is no surprise that Bannon doesn't want to talk about it on the hill, but he had no right asserting privilege in any way or fashion, and it was all a manner of obstructing, getting access to conversations Bannon had. That is what I believe.
LEMON: Phil, according to access, Republican Trey Gowdy and Democrats Adam Schiff hammered Bannon about his mention of those conversation and his refusal to speak about anything else from his time in the White House.
[23:10:07]I mean this stuff reportedly came in within the first 90 minutes of Bannon's testimony. Does that tell you anything about Bannon's ability to perform during high-pressure questioning sessions?
FLANNERY: No, doesn't, because there is a fundamental difference --
MUDD: There is a fundamental difference between the conversation he had on the hill and the conversation he had before Mueller. I suspect he is going to walk before Mueller and say, tell me what you want to know. I'm going to speak now because this is executive branch to executive branch. Furthermore, there is a difference in the tone of the conversation between Mueller and Bannon and the hill conversation. Mueller doesn't care about all the politics and he doesn't care about what Bannon thinks. If you're a federal investigator, you have one issue you want to focus on and that is facts. Who was at the meeting, and I don't care who you think was there, I want to know who you know was there. Did they talk about it beforehand, did they talk about it afterwards? What do you know about further conversations with Russia? It's not a gentle conversation or soft conversation about what you think about for example whether Don Jr. committed treason? I want to know, who was there? What you heard and what you heard anything afterward, and when you walk into Robert Mueller's office, you better answer the question, because you're not on the hill anymore and you are talking to an executive branch. You got to speak.
LEMON: I just wonder, with the folks that went in there today. There were a couple of them, Corwin Lewandowski probably the main one, saying I'm not prepared to answer this questions, I'm not prepared to answer questions. Is that a tactic where they can go back and figure it out, John, because the moment they said I'm not going to answer any more questions, you don't give them any more questions, because they can go back to the attorney and form their answers. To say he is not prepared, doesn't know what's going on could be disingenuous.
FLANNERY: The dog ate my homework is the defense to answer questions that you try to avoid if you can't assert executive privilege or just say, I'm not prepared. It just doesn't wash. I think that certainly he has to remember conversations that he had. He doesn't remember all of them, he doesn't remember them perfectly and he could hem it in in different ways. They have documents they could present him with and ask him, does that quote refresh your recollection, how could it not? I think what we're seeing is a general pattern of obstruction in the congressional investigation, and we already have evidence between the Comey firing and other things, that there is obstruction from the highest level of government down through the entire group of cannibals that betray the instant they're on the wrong side of the equation. Bannon is represented by an attorney that also represents McCann and Priebus. If that is a joint defense, and that may be the only way it would work, it sort of suggests a pattern that fits, this obstruction. Bannon said, if we don't hang together, we hang separately and that is what we're doing.
LEMON: I have to run. Thank you all, I appreciate it.
When we come back, the President's personal attorney issuing a press denial of a porn star's alleged affair with Donald Trump years ago, don't know why there is no sun up in the sky, Romy Daniels next.
[23:17:04] LEMON: The President's personal attorney denying a story that alleged a sexual relationship between Trump and a porn star. At any other time, that would be what everybody is talking about. Two decades ago, the Monica Lewinsky scandal led to President Clinton's impeachment. Let us discuss now, Michael Isikoff chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo news and also Sally Quinn, a Washington Post contributor and the author of Finding Magic.
Thanks for joining us. 20 years, Michael, since your reporting of President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky and his lies about it became public. It was a bombshell. Talk to us about the news and how it hit Washington, D.C.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATION CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: Well, it was quite the earthquake, wasn't it?
LEMON: It certainly was.
ISIKOFF: On so many different levels. I mean people have talked about this as, you know, I had the story, I certainly was aware of the relationship that the President, the then-President Bill Clinton had with Monica Lewinsky. But what made this a story was the decision by Ken Starr to launch a criminal investigation of this matter. To wire Linda trip in her conversations with Monica Lewinsky to gather evidence to suggest that the President and his good friend Verna Jordan were seeking to cover up, to obstruct the ongoing Paula Jones lawsuit, and that was a stunning development.
LEMON: So without Ken Starr, are you saying this may not have been reported?
ISIKOFF: We at "Newsweek" knew about the allegations of the relationship for months. I had been talking to Linda Tripp. She had provided me all sorts of circumstantial evidence, including offering to give me the blue dress, although it was not clear what I could possibly have done with it to use that corroborating evidence, but once the Paula Jones lawsuit proceeded and it was clear that Bill Clinton was going to be deposed under oath and was going to be asked about this, we got closer to the story, but it was the intervention of Starr that made this the political earthquake that it was.
LEMON: And eventually the cover-up that made it a bigger political earthquake.
ISIKOFF: And the President of course denied - publicly denied that the allegations were true.
LEMON: Sally, the Lewinsky story, it was epic then and eventually resulted in the President's impeachment, and you fast-forward 20 years and we have a story about President Trump allegedly having a tryst with a porn star, Stormy Daniels. The "Wall Street Journal" reported just this past Friday on an alleged tryst that the President's attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged a $130,000 payment for a former adult film star a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement to preclude her from publicly discussing any alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. Citing people familiar with the matter. Why hasn't the public reacted the same way? This is someone who is now the President of the United States, was married, had a small child and is accused of covering it up in some way. Why isn't this a big story?
[23:20:16] SALLY QUINN, WASHINGTON POST CONTRIBUTOR: You know why? Because I think that on the list of outrageous, this comes very low. With Bill Clinton, and I have to say that Michael Isikoff did a brilliant job reporting on Monica Lewinsky story and I was there hanging over his shoulder looking at his computer while he was doing it. During that time, it wasn't a shock that Bill Clinton was having an affair, because we already knew that he had done that, but it was a shock when it became clear that he was going to be deposed and then he lied. But I think with Donald Trump, first of all, everybody knows that this is what he does, and I think that he has -- it was a consensual affair. I don't think any money changed hands at the time, at least that we know of now.
And I think that the only thing that is going to get in the way is the money, follow the money. Where did they get the money to pay her off to keep her silent? Why did they wait so long? How was it done? But that part of it, I think, could be difficult. But I think that when you look at what Trump has done with the environment and what he is done with DACA and what he has done with health care and what he is doing with the immigration and racism -- you know, you could go on and on and on.
LEMON: You think this just falls in there.
QUINN: This just falls at the bottom, and the Trump supporters obviously their issue --
LEMON: They don't care. It doesn't matter. They don't care about anything. There is no indiscretion, there's nothing. You mentioned Kenneth Starr. Would something like this possibly turn up at the Mueller investigation?
ISIKOFF: You know, not on its face. I mean, with the Monica Lewinsky thing, she was a subpoenaed witness in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Remember, the Supreme Court voted 9-0 and said the lawsuit should go forward. It was a legitimate legal process. And that is what turns it, you know, turned it into --
LEMON: Michael Cohen denies there is any inappropriate relationship with Stormy Daniels, and Cohen also released a statement from Daniels in which she denies having sex with the President. So why do you think this story hasn't blown up?
ISIKOFF: First of all, they did not deny the $130,000 payment. That is what leapt out at me. If nothing had happened, why did money change hands? And if money didn't change hands, why didn't they deny that money had changed hands? So that is the first sort of red flag that leaps out. Of course, as Stormy Daniels had talked to others and confirmed that she had had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump and then after the $130,000 payment, she said she did not have a sexual relationship with Donald Trump. So there are legitimate reasons to be somewhat skeptical about some of these public statements.
QUINN: I think you were saying discrepancies.
LEMON: Do you think it is a different standard, because -- listen, this President, everybody knows he has a problem with the truth. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his affair. Do you think there is a different standard with this President? I don't have a lot of time left.
QUINN: Let me just ask you one question. Suppose this happened with Barack Obama. How would you think it would go down? It would be a huge scandal and he probably would have been forced to resign.
LEMON: Republican and Conservative Media would be all over it.
QUINN: But I don't think, I mean Melania would leave him over this, I don't think she would care. The only thing, his supporters are, number one, if it's ever been shown that he was behind an abortion of someone that he'd had sex with or, two, that if he were gay or a cross-dresser. I think that other than that, he is golden.
LEMON: All right. Thank you. That is like -- what is it? A live boy or dead girl? Thank you very much. Interesting.
When we come back, the President's doctor telling the country this about his health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His overall health is excellent. He has very, very good health. He is in the excellent range from a cardiac standpoint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But it turns out President Trump's tests show he has heart disease, so why didn't his doctor say that during his briefing?
[23:28:52] LEMON: Press secretary Sarah Sanders standing by the assessment of the White House's position that President Trump is in excellent health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is the only doctor that has weighed in on this matter that has actually examined the President, so I think a doctor that has spent the amount of time with the President as Dr. Jackson has is not only the most qualified, but the only credible source when it comes to diagnosing any health concerns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So I want to talk about this now with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Arthur Kaplan, the head of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine. Good to have you both on. Dr. Gupta, you were at the briefing, and based on the information this doctor presented, does President Trump have heart disease?
SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, he appears to have a common form of heart disease that was diagnosed on a bunch of the different tests that he had done. It was a three and a half hour exam done at Walter Reed. Given his age, focusing on the heart makes perfect sense and I think that was the majority of the exam. There is a specific test that is a cat scan that looks at the blood vessels that lead to the heart known as the coronaries trying to figure out if there is some disease within those blood vessels. Some heart disease. I ask Dr. Jackson, specifically about that. He did not talk about this CAT scan being done until the further questioning. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: He does not have heart disease. He had a CT scan before that showed capillaries in his coronary blood vessels.
RONNY LYNN JACKSON, WHITE HOUSE DOCTOR: He does. He did. So, I think -- so technically, he has non-clinical atherosclerosis -- coronary atherosclerosis. That could mention in the previous physical exams, he said, he had a coronary calcium score done in 2009, it was 34.
He had a coronary calcium score done in 2013, that was 98. And then we did the calcium score done, I mentioned it, I think its clinical good information, but it was 133.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GUPTA: And that number 133 is important, because really anything over 100 does indicate some level of heart disease. The doctor did say, look, he has coronary atherosclerosis when I asked about heart disease.
Coronary atherosclerosis is that plaque that's building up in the arteries, that hardening of the arteries. And to be fair, Don, look, if you're over 40 and you're the man in this country, a fair number of us have heart disease.
I probably have some component of heart disease, you may as well. So, it's not uncommon, certainly not if you are 71-years-old. But that's why these tests are done, to figure out if you have it, to what degree you have it and I think most importantly, what you can potentially do about it.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: As you're watching this, Art, what do you -- when you watched that response from the doctor, what did you think?
ARTHUR CAPLAN, HEAD OF MEDICAL ETHICS, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, first of all, I thought, Sanjay, nailed him. He was not telling all that he knew about the health status of Donald Trump.
And, you know, this was like the good news award. Super healthy, fit for duty, everything is great, looking wonderful. So we didn't get the absolute square, honest truth here that the president does have kind of, you know, a heart risk.
LEMON: OK. So then, what are the ethics, Art, around characterizing the president's health as excellent if there are, indeed, issues?
CAPLAN: Well, it's a reminder of two things, Don. First, there is a conflict of interest. The guy is an admiral. He's working for the commander in chief. The president controls what gets disclosed. There's no obligation for him to say anything.
Second, once you go off and say, look, I'm going to be hones and open with you, then, you've got to be honest and open in all regards. It is unethical to withhold pertinent information like that. That's not the right thing to do.
LEMON: Yes. I was reminded in all of these, Sanjay, about -- because you did a documentary of the last heart attack, your knowledge of heart attacks here. It looks at the science of heart disease prevention.
President Trump is 71-years-old, as we have said. Is there anything unusual about having these kind of tests done, which we know he's had at least, you know, two other times, in 2009 and 2013? It's not unusual, right?
GUPTA: You know, I would say, that it's not unusual to have this test done. It's becoming more common test certainly over the last nearly decade since President Trump had the first test done.
LEMON: But what about the numbers there -- the difference in the numbers that we see? We can put it up again.
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, the numbers have definitively gone up as you can see, 34, 98 and then, 133. Now, the numbers are expected to go up, you know, in most people, because as I said, we all develop some degree of this plaque, this hardening of the arteries.
And with time, it typically does get worse in people but not in everybody. If it can be treated successfully, oftentimes you can stall the worsening of that plaque.
CAPLAN: You know, if I can jump in just for a second on, Sanjay's comment, one of the things that I was bothered by was there was a suggestion that you can eat two big Macs and three fish sandwiches a night, never exercise and wind up to be sort of the healthiest person ever to occupy the Oval Office.
That's a bad message to send to the American people. It isn't true. You've got to modify your lifestyle. These numbers show that, you know, if he's going to control this condition, he's got to make changes in his lifestyle.
So putting aside what does it mean to him being president, is he going to drop dead of a heart attack. We look to him in a certain sense, and if he says, look, you know, eat what you want, don't do anything, never exercise, that's not the right message to send to a nation that has, shall we say, weight problems.
LEMON: And, Sanjay, that was my question as I was watching all of this. You know, we say it's not unusual for this to happen, but considering our diets -- I mean, a lot of people in this country struggle with their weight. I am one of them and that's true.
CAPLAN: You do?
LEMON: I'm sure you gentlemen have as well. But that doesn't mean that you're healthy if you eat, you know, a couple big Macs a day and diet cokes, and if you have any of these conditions, and I think it's incumbent, especially the leader of the free world to be honest about it.
Just like -- just like you, I struggle with my weight, my diet could be better, and, you know, I'm concerned about these things and we're going to work on them.
GUPTA: It's a really fair point.
[23:35:00] I mean, look, going into that press conference -- I mean, I think, Art, really just summarized it well. I mean, he was characterized as having excellent health -- excellent health. He's a guy who has borderline obesity.
He's a guy who has cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels rising despite being on medications. He's a guy who has heart disease. Again, these are not common problems. I mean, these are problems that as an individual and a society, we need to do a better job addressing.
LEMON: That it's not necessarily healthy.
GUPTA: That's not excellent health.
LEMON: Yes, there you go.
GUPTA: That's not excellent health.
LEMON: Right. Right. I mean, I was led to be -- if you watch that press conference -- and listen, not to criticize the doctor, but I was like, maybe he could run a marathon. Maybe he could, who knows.
But speaking of that, there was some raised eyebrows about the president's height and his weight, because as we gentlemen are getting older and you go to the doctor and he says, well, you're still 6 feet tall or 5'11" or whatever you are, and has your weight changed, sometimes they put you on the scale, and sometimes they don't.
Well, reports say he is 6'3", 239 pounds. As a president's physician, you develop a relationship I'm sure -- as anyone's physician with the person. So give us -- do you get any leeway with these numbers exactly? Because an obesity diagnosis is like maybe a pound or two off, and is that necessarily unethical?
CAPLAN: Well, I think -- look, the difference between a physical and an assessment of fitness for duty is that in the physical, it's for your benefit, you control it.
CAPLAN: This gentleman knows Trump pretty well. He told us that, he sees him a lot, he talks to him a lot. I think it's fair to say there is going to be a little spin and a little generosity, exercised about some aspects of his height, perhaps his weight.
I don't know that, but yes, you know again, I keep coming back to if we wanted an assessment of Trump or anybody as fit for president, we would have an independent group of doctors do it, having his, sort of insiders do it as a physical, and you're going to generate conflict.
LEMON: Dr. Gupta, I'll give you the last word here. What's the takeaway?
GUPTA: I think just we for that point, I think you know, because it is for the benefit of the patient, sometimes it's even self-reported when it comes to height and weight. They may ask you your height and weight assuming you take these measurements yourself.
But I think this is really important, you know. I think that the president again is representative of a lot of Americans. You know, he's sort of right in the middle in terms of his heart disease and risk factors for future heart problems.
But there is something that can be done about it. I mean, you know, if calling it excellent health is probably not the best approach because that sort of makes it seem like there is nothing to be done. There are things that can be done about it, even reversing some of
this heart disease and a lot of people are looking at the story and saying, that sounds a lot like me. Well, you don't have to have a heart problem down the road. That's not something that's preordained for you.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
CAPLAN: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, it's California versus President Trump. We'll show you how the state is fighting back against the Trump administration policies.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: California has the largest population of any state of nearly 40 million people. It often charts its own path on political and social issues, and we remind you of that as we mark President Trump's first year office. Californians are fighting administration policies that they don't like. CNN national correspondent, Miguel Marquez, explains.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The California republic versus President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The resistance is legion.
MARQUEZ: One year into his administration...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is a wake-up call.
MARQUEZ: The world's sixth largest economy fighting Trump administration policies on everything, from legal marijuana to taxes, to the environment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California is not waiting for Trump. We're not waiting for all the deniers.
MARQUEZ: And the escalating fight over immigration.
LYDIA AVILA, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, CALIFORNIA CALLS: We're going to fight, and we're going to win.
MARQUEZ: California now, and immigrant sanctuary state, a new law limiting cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement, prank road signs welcomed drivers to seemingly another country, the land of illegals.
THOMAS HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities, then I.C.E. will.
MARQUEZ: The acting head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Fox News said California politicians who made the law should be held personally accountable. Politicos here aren't worried. Have you ever seen the enmity between California and did you see it like it is today?
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: I wouldn't call enmity. There are certain policies that are radical departures from the norm and California will fight those.
MARQUEZ: The immigrant community finding its voice in the era of Trump.
AVILA: We're actually working harder and galvanizing more people.
MARQUEZ: A daughter of Mexican immigrants, east L.A. activist, Lydia Avila, says the president's rhetoric and policies have only emboldened her community.
AVILA: This is a movement that's not going to be stopped. The president cannot win. He may be there now, but he's not going to be there forever. We're going to win.
MARQUEZ: Equally galvanized the entertainment industry with its deep pockets and powerful voice.
JEREMY ZIMMER, CEO, UNITED TALENT AGENCY: The power of an idea to change the way people think and change the way people feel is really what's important, that's really what we're fighting for.
MARQUEZ: Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, one of the world's largest, says Trump represents a threat to the idea of America.
ZIMMER: We all see that the freedoms and the life we assume we have, the incredible privileges we have to be, you know, raised in this country, to live in this country, we all see that, you know, how fragile it can be.
CHERYL CONTEE, DIGITAL ACTIVIST: Allison, hi.
ZIMMER: Cheryl Contee, an activist in the tech community, says it is a fight over principles.
CONTEE: I think that you're going to find Californians be completely unapologetic about, you know, fighting for what we see as California values.
ZIMMER: Working from home on her pedal desk, one foot soldier among millions across the Golden State countering, resisting Trump.
[23:45:08] ZIMMER: But to give you a sense of where things are between Washington, D.C. and California right now, Donald Trump is the first president since Eisenhower not to visit the Golden State his first year in office, that was the 1950s. The activists I spoke to say over the next year, the focus will be
those midterm elections, not only seats here in California with all that money here in California, all that organization and all of those skills -- those technical skills, all of that will be focused on races here in the state and across the country. Don.
LEMON: Thank you, Miguel. When we come back, the former mayor of Los Angeles and current candidate for governor will join me. We're going to get his take on all of this.
LEMON: Many Californians marking President Trump's first year in office by doubling down on their efforts to fight his administration's policies on key issues like immigration and the environment.
I want to talk about this now with Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democratic candidate for governor in California, who is also the former mayor of Los Angeles. Thank you for joining us, Mayor. We appreciate it.
FORMER MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: Great to be with you.
[23:50:00] LEMON: So we just heard from CNN's Miguel Marquez, is the state of California at war with President Trump?
VILLARAIGOSA: I think it's the other way around. He's at war with California, New York, blue states, seems to be at war with virtually everyone in this country. There's a civil war in his own White House.
So, unlike President Lincoln who during the civil war, tempted to be a uniter, spoke about bringing the nation together, this is a man who spends virtually every single day dividing Americans one against another, and frankly, it's an abomination. I've never seen anything like it.
LEMON: You mentioned President Lincoln, let's mention, President Eisenhower -- Dwight Eisenhower, eyes now because he's the first president since Eisenhower who did not visit California, the latest Democratic state, the largest Democratic state, I should say, during his year in office. Has the Trump administration, do you think he's single out or that administration is single out California?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, I think it's pretty clear. Whether it's offshore drilling, where he's given an exception to Florida but not California, whether it's the home mortgage deduction, which he capped, whether it's state and local taxes which he's also capped, he's focused on our policies around immigration, health care, the environment.
Yes, I think it's pretty clear, he's made it absolutely clear that he's going to do everything he can to punish California. And, frankly, it's not going to work.
We're going to take a page out of Governor Perry's book. We'll use the Tenth Amendment, the courts to stand up for California values -- values that I used to think were American values. But he seems to think another way.
LEMON: Well, let's talk about the reason -- one of the reasons you're running. Governor Brown is popular there. He served two terms, can't run again.
So you announced you're going to run for governor on the California- Mexico border in contrast with the Trump campaign that spoke about wall that insulated Mexicans, DACA and immigration. They're personal for you, I know. So how do you plan to take on this president?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well, they are personal to me. And I think they're personal to many people, not just because my family came here from Mexico a hundred years ago. These people are human beings.
The contrast you mentioned in my video announcing my candidacy was a contrast that's different than Donald Trump who called Mexicans criminals and rapists. They're human beings. That's why we were putting water there at the border.
Some 10,000 Mexicans and people crossing the border have died crossing the border, a little known fact since the 1990s. I think it's important -- it's not just important to me.
I think it's important to people here in California, the most diverse state, a state that has benefited greatly from immigration, a state that welcomes newcomers, and a state, by the way, that has -- is the sixth largest economy in the world, in no small part because we trade with China, Mexico, the Pacific Rim, and Latin America.
So, a lot of what you see coming out of the White House actually goes against the grain of what most of us here value as Californians and as Americans.
LEMON: If you win, you'll be the first Latino governor of that state, Hispanic Latino community makes up 40 percent of California's -- of California. They contribute greatly to the state. If a DACA deal is not reached, would you defy the Trump administration and refuse to deport DREAMers?
VILLARAIGOSA: Well we're not going to deport any dreamers here. The federal government has that responsibility. I think we should go even further than we have.
I believe that those agents shouldn't be able to come into a public office, a hospital, university, a school, any public office -- state office without a warrant for a specific individual.
You know what, a lot of what they're doing and highlighting is they're trying to terrorize people by going into a courthouse, an unemployment line in the way that they do. And, so, I think California is going to mark its own path. You're right, they do have responsibility over immigration. But we have our own values and values that we tend -- intend to stand up for.
[23:55:00] LEMON: You call the president's decision to phase out DACA arguably racist. The president is now have to defend himself against comments he made about Haiti, African nations. What did you make of these comments?
VILLARAIGOSA: I don't think any of us have ever heard a president of the United States speak about people in that way so racially charged.
The idea that people who come from Africa or Central America are somehow not good enough to be Americans goes against the grain of everything we've ever learned. And it goes against the grain of the facts.
L.A. has a lot of people who have come from Africa. L.A. has -- is the epicenter of people who come from Latin America. They've come here, they work here, they dream here. They want the same things people want -- who come from other parts of the world.
And the notion that some of us are better because we come from Europe, as an example, is just -- it goes against the grain of everything I've ever learned and I've believed about this great country that I love and that I'm willing to fight for.
LEMON: Antonio Villaraigosa, good luck with your campaign. Thank you so much.
VILLARAIGOSA: Thank you, Don. It's good to talk to you and I'm glad to be on your show.
LEMON: Absolutely. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.