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Trump Wants a Bastille-like Parade in D.C.; Democrats Rebuttal Memo Waiting for Trump's Signal; Meeting with Special Counsel Mueller is a Trap. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 6, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: .. CNN Tonight.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
First off, many of you have noticed that I have not been here. My oldest sister died unexpectedly last week and I am back sitting with you tonight because this is exactly where she would have wanted me to be.
Lisa was so proud of me and she -- all she wanted for Christmas last -- this past year was a new CNN Tonight t-shirt. She had washed the letters off the old one that I gave her just a few years ago, and that's all she wanted.
"Please bring me a new CNN Tonight t-shirt." So, I want all of you to know that your prayers and your words of encouragement have really meant the world to me and my family over the last few days. It's been so many of you have reached out to me that I can't respond to all of them, so I just want to respond now and please pass this on.
I can't do, everybody's name, but I just want -- because there's so much conflict happening right now. I think it's important for all Americans to know that something like this, when it happens, it tends to bring out the best in people. Even some of my competitors and people I have raging arguments with on television, you think we hate each other, but we don't.
So, I'm going to thank you for your kindness, from folks like Sean Hannity who reached out to me to Steve Doocy, to Jack Kingston, and Ken Cuccinelli, Harry Houck and Bruce LeVell, to Megyn Kelly and Joy Reid and Joe Benitez, to Tamron Hall, to all of you, thank you.
To folks like Mayor Landrieu down in New Orleans and Cory Booker in Washington, Wendy Williams, thank you so much for the flowers from you and Kevin. They're amazing, and from little Kevin as well, thank you so much.
Gloria Borger and David Chalian and Dana Bash and Kirsten Powers, Symone, Angela, Bakari, Alice, Fareed, Jeff, Allison Gols, Don Gnash, and Jonathan Walsh, thank you so much.
Anderson, your words mean a lot, because I know you know how this is, having lost a sibling. Chris Cuomo, you big goof, thank you, I love you. Alisyn and John Berman, Erin, Jim Sciutto, Brooke, all of you, you know how I feel about you.
Whoopi, Joy, Sarah, Sonny, Candy, thank you so much for everything that you sent to me and family. And to my entire team here, I want to thank you for taking care of me, especially Maria and Alisa and Flip.
And to every single person in the studio who works here, from Bob to crazy Kevin and Mike and all of you, you guys are amazing. You take care of me every night.
I got the news here at work last Wednesday. And my team here, you packed my bags, you made my travel arrangements, you took care of me, just as you do every single night.
And -- I'm going to get through this. You don't know how much this meant to me, Jeff Zucker, but I will never forget that you wouldn't leave my office. And you wouldn't go home until I got in a car, on a plane.
So I want to thank you and Karen and my little brother, my little bro, Andrew. To Tim, the love of my life, who got in a plane without asking and sat in my mom's driveway for two hours, I love you, waiting for us to come home.
And then, finally, I want to say hello and thank you to my family, my mother, Katherine, my sister, Emma, my nieces, Ash, Cat, and Kim, it's their mom who passed. And my great-nephews, Kyro and Truce, and to my sister, Lisa, who's watching from heaven. I know that you all are watching and they thank you, too.
So, let's get started. And we're going to start tonight with some breaking news. A military parade. That is a directive from the commander in chief to the Pentagon, which confirms in the planning stages to do that just now.
The route being considered heading down Pennsylvania Avenue, then passed, what else, the Trump International Hotel. President Trump thrilled with last summer's Bastille Day parade, military parade in Paris. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen. It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France. But we're going to have to try to top it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And more breaking news, sources telling CNN that President Trump wants to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller, even though his lawyers advise him not to do so.
And his lawyers aren't the only ones who think that that wouldn't be a good idea. The former Vice President, Joe Biden, telling CNN exclusively tonight that he would advise the president not to sit for an interview with Mueller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president has some difficulty with precision. One of the things that I would worry about if I were his lawyer is him saying something that was simply not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Also breaking tonight, chief of staff, John Kelly saying the White House is reviewing the democrats' rebuttal to the controversial Nunes memo. He expects a recommendation from top officials by Thursday. Then the president will make a decision to release it or not.
But Kelly is already throwing cold water on it, saying the democratic memo is not as clean as the GOP version relative to sources and methods.
[22:05:04] So we have a lot of news to cover, a lot of ground to cover here from this White House, as always. So we begin tonight with CNN political correspondent, Sara Murray. Sara, good evening to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
You have brand-new reporting on President Trump, reportedly now eager to sit down with the special counsel, Robert Mueller despite his lawyers advising him not to. So fill us in. What are your sources telling you?
SARA MURRAY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Don, we've heard this sort of back and forth play out. We've heard the president say publicly he's eager to sit down with Mueller. And then we saw the president's lawyer sort of aim to hit the brakes on this and say, wait, wait, slow down, we don't know that the special counsel has really met the standing to sit down with the president for an interview like this.
But our sources are telling us that despite these concerns from his lawyers, the president still wants to sit down with Robert Mueller. He feels like he did nothing wrong. He feels like if he sat down with him one on one, he would be able to make his case and sort of come out on top of these things.
Now obviously, as you pointed out, the president's allies, other lawmakers, even Joe Biden have said, there are risks here. The risks are that, you now, the president could potentially perjure himself. That he could provide Mueller even more fodder for an obstruction of justice case.
So those are all of the concerns. But it's worth noting, Don, that even though the president's lawyers have sort of tried to slow roll this process, they have also acknowledged that these negotiations are ongoing. And so it's possible that we could still get any outcome when it comes to the potential of the president meeting with Mueller. LEMON: So, Sara, and there's also some news from the White House
today about the president saying he wants a military parade. What are you hearing?
MURRAY: That's right. Apparently the president has made it clear to the Pentagon that he wants to see some kind of military parade. And the Pentagon is exploring potential dates to do so.
I want to read you a statement from Sarah Sanders on this saying "President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation."
And Don, as you pointed out, a lot of this stems back to his trip to Paris last year where he joined Emmanuel Macron to see the Bastille Day parade and was very impressed. I can tell you, I was at that parade and I was watching the president's reactions, he was riveted for hours at this military parade. Now it's pretty clear he wants one of his own.
LEMON: Sara, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Let's talk about all of this. I want to bring in CNN military and diplomatic analyst John Kirby, military analyst, General James Spider Marks, and CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us this evening. Admiral Kirby, you first. You're strongly against this idea. Why is that?
JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: For a few reasons. One, I can't get the fact, Don, that this is probably more about his ego more than anything else. I mean, who is the rocket man now.
And number two, the United States military does not need to show off its hardware to show its strength. We are -- this is not the way a superpower behaves. I think it's frankly a little bit beneath us.
And number three, if you want, if you really want to show support for the troops or showcase how important our military is, then get them a budget. Do what Secretary Mattis did today when he was on Capitol Hill, arguing strenuously to get a budget. That's what they need.
They don't need to march down Pennsylvania Avenue. We don't need to bust in and truck in tanks and rocket launchers to try to show how big and important we are. I think this is just beneath us, as the strongest military in the greatest country on earth.
LEMON: General Marks, the Washington Post reports that this demand from the president was apparently inspired as you heard Sara Murray say by Bastille Day, the Bastille Day parade he attended in France last year. A military official told CNN -- told the Washington Post, I should say, the marching orders were, I want a parade, like the one in France. What do you make of this?
JAMES SPIDER MARKS, MILITARY ANALYST, CNN: Well, first of all, Don, let me just break for a second and tell you how proud I am of you and the thanks that you just provided to all of those supporters is incredibly sincere and very, very well done. So, embrace those memories of your sister and I know you will.
LEMON: Thank you, general.
MARKS: So to answer your question, Don, the United States is not France. We don't need, we have a different military history from France. Let's not compare ourselves with France.
If the intent of the president is to try to draw together American -- those who have served and those who serve, there are a thousand different ways you can do that. You don't need to do it with a parade. I totally agree with John.
This is a long run for a short slide. It's not necessary. The way you do that is you do it locally. You do it through the communities where the military resides. And from where they gain their strength and their connections. That's how you do it.
You do it locally. And look, let's be frank. Less than 1 percent of America signs up and serves. So there is a gap. I totally understand that. This is not how you get about the business of trying to close that gap.
LEMON: The president was with French President Macron on Bastille Day last year and later called their celebration one of the greatest parades he had ever seen and he talked about it for quite some time. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:09:56] TRUMP: To a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Douglas, presidents don't normally do this, which I guess shouldn't surprise us. What's your perspective?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, CNN: That Donald Trump is a showman. You know, he likes the kind of bling and blang, casino kind of bells ringing, thinks this parade will be a great idea.
You know, the part that bothers me, Don, is Donald Trump is yet to visit our 15,000 troops in Afghanistan. We have 6,000 troops in Syria and Iraq. He's never gone to even see them.
You know, Barack Obama was president three months and he went to Iraq. George W. Bush went four times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. The big gap here is a president that doesn't want to go meet our troops. He goes to Mar-a-Lago instead.
This parade is not a good idea. All Americans love the troops. I agree with General Marks and Admiral Kirby completely. We have Veterans Day, we have Memorial Day, we do have the Fourth of July, but we don't need to be rumbling tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue to honor America's Independence Day.
LEMON: Yes. Here's -- I want to show you this map, Admiral Kirby. I want you to pay close attention to it, because the question is for you. It's showing the route for Donald Trump's inauguration parade last year.
Can you envision what this military parade would even look like? I mean, where would a parade go through and could the streets stand up to it?
KIRBY: Yes. I think there's a real honest question about the degree to which the asphalts streets can hang and all diverted. General Marks, you know, he's more about army tanks than I do...
LEMON: And the cost?
KIRBY: That's the other thing, the cost of it.
LEMON: I mean, my goodness.
MARKS: Thank you, John.
KIRBY: Yes, sir. And the cost. I mean, we're talking about a military who can't get solid funding just to operate and maintain its equipment. And we're now costing -- this is going to cost millions of dollars. It's ridiculous.
KIRBY: And it's just -- again, it's just beneath us as a country. And I want to associate myself with what the general and Douglas said, too, about connecting with the American people. There are far greater ways to do that. There is a gap. It can be closed. But we need to do that individually or on a unit basis, not by marching troops down Pennsylvania Avenue.
LEMON: And you know, General Marks, I'm reminded by my producer as I was saying that the government, they can't keep the government open, there's a deadline every other month, it looks like. Talking about the cost of this parade and where -- there would be tanks, right? Would there be nuclear weapons, like some countries? I mean, would it simply be whatever President Trump wants it to be?
MARKS: No, I -- I find it a bit difficult to even talk about the details of what this parade would look like, because I'm...
LEMON: It felt silly like asking you like this...
MARKS: ... a total waste of time.
LEMON: Yes. If this really would happen, like we're discussing it as if and maybe it would. I mean, do you think it would? MARKS: It wouldn't look like a parade that we see in Pyongyang, certainly. It wouldn't look like a parade that we used to see when the Soviet Union would roll their massive military across Red Square. It would look like a bunch of great Americans who were probably feeling a bit embarrassed that they were required to do this, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue.
It's simply unnecessary. It's really about -- the military is about the served, not those who serve. It's about those for who we serve.
MARKS: It's completely upside down.
KIRBY: It would be really -- it would be really interesting to see how the military handles this tasking now, Don, and whether they can walk any of this back.
I mean, we're talking like they're already looking at dates. I think they're actually much earlier in this process. And they hopefully will be able to either not do it or do it in a way that's a lot more tasteful than what the president has in mind.
LEMON: So Douglas, let's go back in time for a little bit and reminisce. Because President Nixon was criticized for ordering Secret Service uniforms that looked like the palace guard used by the fascist dictator Franco. Is President Trump's military obsession anything like former leaders?
BRINKLEY: No. I think it's just simply all about Donald Trump. Here he is warring with the FBI, warring with our intelligence-gathering services, warring with Justice Department. He's trying to show that he represents the troops.
Two thousand eighteen is a midterm election. It's all about, I'm the real American. He called democrats during his state of the union that didn't stand up for him treasonous. He, you know, weighed in on the NFL, I own the national anthem and you're going to do what I say.
It's kind of a hypernationalism and it's a misunderstanding of the greatness of our armed forces. Donald Trump knows nothing about Bastille Day. He knows nothing about French history. He just saw that, he wishes he could be presiding over a military parade, and hence, he's opened his mouth and has got himself stuck in trying to do this. And it's just not a good idea and hopefully he will dial it back.
LEMON: General and admiral, thank you for your service. Douglas, I don't know if you served, but if you did, thank you, but thank you for being a great American, anyway. I appreciate all of you coming on this evening.
[22:14:59] Just ahead, more of our breaking news. The president at odds with his legal team over whether or not he will sit down with the special counsel, Robert Mueller. And word from the White House, they are right now reviewing the democrats' response to the Nunes memo. Will the president release it? Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin joins us next.
LEMON: Breaking news. Sources telling CNN that President Trump would like to talk to Robert Mueller after all.
Joining me now is Congressman Lee Zeldin, a New York republican. Congressman, I appreciate you joining us this evening.
CNN's Sara Murray is reporting tonight that the president wants to sit down with the special counsel. I'm not sure if you heard the top of the show. Despite what his lawyers say, his lawyer's concerns. If that's what the presidents wants, why shouldn't he do the interview? He's the boss, right?
LEE ZELDIN, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Absolutely. And it would not surprise me at all that the president would want to do the interview anyway. If I was his attorney, in my conversations with the special counsel, I imagine that there is going to be discussions as far as what the scope of the interview might be.
That would be the job of anyone's attorney in getting something like that set up. But I wouldn't be surprised if the president decided to do the interview anyway.
LEMON: Would you like him to do it? Do you think it's in his best interests to do it?
ZELDIN: Not speaking as his attorney, but speaking as someone who knows that this is the president of the United States, if he wants to do it, then he should do it.
[22:20:02] LEMON: Yes. Also tonight, congressman, the president wants a military parade. Do you think that's something the Pentagon should be working on in the midst of all the other priorities the military has right now? And the country, as a matter of fact?
ZELDIN: Well, I have a few thoughts on that. I was listening to Admiral Kirby when he was on air and he brought up a really important point about how we need to fund the entire military for the rest of the year.
The continuing resolutions are absolutely not the way to go, especially as it relates to funding the Department of Defense. Cost would be a factor. I do think of fleet week that goes on in the New York City area and how great of an event that is for all the sailors and whomever participate in that event.
LEMON: Not to mention all the Fourth of July parades that we have every year. In every municipality around the country.
ZELDIN: And I don't believe that we should have tanks and nuclear weapons going down Pennsylvania Avenue, as you were just asking during that last segment.
You know, if someone had a great idea as to how to have an amazing Fourth of July celebration in our nation's capital, something as an annual event where we're celebrating our freedom, our liberty, our patriotism, the sacrifice for coming together as Americans...
LEMON: Don't we have that, though?
ZELDIN: We do.
LEMON: I think it's aired every year on one of the networks and there's -- you know, there are 21-gun salutes and, you know, fireworks going everywhere.
ZELDIN: That's right.
LEMON: And people singing the national anthem and so on and so forth. And our military folks were being honored there. So what do you say to the president?
ZELDIN: Well, you're absolutely right. We do have a great tribute in Washington, D.C. every year, as we do all across our entire country. I see it all over my home area.
If there's an idea that could have a greater celebration, obviously, I have a question, too, as far as costs go.
ZELDIN: But I would be all for hearing out any ideas to make a more special July 4th Independence Day experience here in Washington, D.C. I would be more than willing to listen to any ideas.
LEMON: I have a lot of ground to cover with you. So, if -- I don't mean to just keep jumping from subject to subject, but I want to talk about this democratic memo, congressman.
We know that the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, was at the White House meeting with the president to discuss the rebuttal memo. Reporters also caught up with the chief of staff, John Kelly tonight. Here's what he's saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you leaning towards releasing it? At least a little.
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, I would say, I mean, this is a different memo than the first one, it's lengthier. It's -- well, it's different. And so, not leaning towards it. It will be done in a responsible way.
But, again, where the first one was very clean relative to sources and methods, my initial cut is, this one is a lot less clean. But at the end of it all, it will be guys like Rod Rosenstein, Chris Wray from FBI, certainly the national security attorneys at the White House, giving the president a recommendation on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So here's my question. So, before the president even read the memo and got it he said that he wanted to release it. Why release the republican memo unredacted and against the urging of the FBI and DOJ, but not release the democratic memo in the exact same manner. What would the justification be for that?
ZELDIN: Well, a couple of things. First off with the majority memo that was previously released, there was a change that was made to it at the request of the FBI. It was a shorter document that did -- it didn't include sources and methods that we weren't able to release.
The Schiff memo was first presented to the House intel committee right when the vote to publicly release the majority memo was made. So the House intel committee would be voting to publicly release a document that the majority members hadn't read yet.
Now, as far as the Schiff memo goes, I have to say, I am all for releasing the maximum amount of information possible, I have all the faith in the American public to form their own independent conclusion. That includes whatever we can release of the McCabe testimony. Whatever we can release of the FISA application.
With the Schiff memo, there are sources and methods where it -- I'm not saying that you don't have to make all of the same points. You can make the same exact points he's making now.
ZELDIN: But there's certain changes that are going to have to get made to the words to take out certain sources and methods.
LEMON: Listen, congressman, I've got to get to my next guest. And listen -- it just seems, you know, as I've been sitting at home watching as much as I've been watching, it just seems hypocritical that you would want to release one memo unredacted without anyone -- you said the majority of members had read it. A lot of people hadn't read the republican memo as well.
My question is, beyond politics, beyond republican versus democrat, or whatever it is, do you worry we're going down a dangerous road especially with the FBI and with our law enforcement agencies, where we're pushing out information that that our enemies know what's up.
[22:25:06] They possibly know our sources and methods. Couldn't this have been handled in a better way? Especially from republicans who are rushing to get this out, when there is no deadline?
ZELDIN: Well, first off, the majority memo was out weeks before the Schiff memo was first introduced. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: But you're not answering my question.
ZELDIN: No, I am.
ZELDIN: There's a few different points...
LEMON: No, you're not. Because you're talking about the majority memo, the releasing of the memo...
ZELDIN: That was part of your question.
LEMON: But there was -- hang on, listen. Nothing. There was nothing that said this memo has to be written. This memo has to be put out by this deadline. There was nothing -- it was all artificial.
And then it turned out to be a piece of paper that was really just a dud and one side -- most Americans see that, it's one-sided. I know that we fight here on cable television, you guys fight in Washington. But I'm telling you the majority of Americans saw that and they were like, so what does this mean?
This is just lawmakers in Washington fighting again and not taking care of the needs of the people. That's what -- that's how people saw this. So are you concerned -- my original question, are you concerned that we're going down a dangerous road when it comes to law enforcement and the legitimacy of law enforcement and the FBI?
ZELDIN: Yes. Yes, we are going down a dangerous road when you have a -- when you have secret documents provided to a secret court for a secret warrant to spy on a United States citizen and you don't tell the FISA court judges that you have a dossier that was funded by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. You don't tell them that you have a bad compromise source.
LEMON: But you also didn't tell them that Carter Page had been an adviser to Russia as well, and then he's an adviser to the Trump campaign. Don't you think that our law enforcement people would have a legitimate reason to monitor someone?
And if they monitored him and they found nothing, no harm, no foul. If there's nothing, I'm sure law enforcement may have, you know, monitored me or you. What does it matter if they've monitored us before and we have nothing to hide? Then why be concerned about it?
ZELDIN: Well, when we go to regular courts outside of FISA courts, we have both sides represented. It's open courts, there are transcripts. There's a duty on the part of the government when you're at a FISA court to be providing all of the evidence. So, I mentioned the dossier. I mentioned a little bit about the
source. You also have some extreme bias at some of the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI. You're using a Yahoo News story, but now reviewing...
LEMON: How do you know there's extreme bias at the DOJ and FBI? What's...
ZELDIN: Well, for one, you have all of the texts that were released where they admitted...
LEMON: All right, let me ask you a question. Do you think you're biased?
ZELDIN: With regards to what?
LEMON: Do you think you're a biased individual? That you being a republican, that would keep you from being able to do your job effectively?
ZELDIN: Well, you're not allowed to have your bias overcome your objective...
LEMON: That wasn't my question.
LEMON: Do you think that...
ZELDIN: But we all have biases...
LEMON: Just answer my question. OK, so we all have biases. So then, would you allow people to read your text messages? Would you be OK with that? Because I would certainly be OK with it. I don't think it would stop me, prevent me from being able to do my job.
LEMON: When I'm speaking to people personally, it doesn't -- that doesn't mean it's how I'm going to conduct myself in my job. So I may speak to you in a funny manner about something, I may talk to you about, you know, maybe this is for a secret society. I may talk to you about who I think may become a better president.
But it doesn't mean I'm going to sit here on television and be biased about it. I mean, I think we can all be professionals.
ZELDIN: Well, the Strzok and Page texts were not just revealing their biases, but actually it was overlapping with their work product. Bruce Ohr who ws demoted by the way DOJ... (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: Didn't Strzok write the memo for Hillary Clinton to reopen the investigation? How is that -- how is he biased then all of a sudden against Donald Trump?
ZELDIN: There's no question. By the way, even Robert Mueller said that Strzok and Page were biased. That's not in -- that's not in dispute. There's a reason why McCabe ends up getting the most...
LEMON: No, he didn't say they were biased. He never said that. He just said -- I think what he meant was, they compromised the investigation and they may be were conducting themselves in ways that FBI agents shouldn't, but he never said that they were biased. And they were removed from the FBI. From the...
ZELDIN: Yes, but, you know, it's pretty clear, I mean, the text messages, I mean, they speak for themselves. They do overlap between work and personal judgment. But, you know, McCabe ends up resigning, Bruce Ohr ends up getting demoted. Strzok and Page, they end up getting demoted and removed.
The story line is beyond just texts between Strzok and Page. I mean, you have, you know, an issue where the grossly negligent turns into extremely careless. And Loretta Lynch meets with Bill Clinton on the tarmac, says she's going to defer to Jim Comey's recommendation, even though it was already known that Jim Comey was...
LEMON: I think that -- but you saying that, I think that you're ruing your own argument. You're proving the other way. Because Loretta Lynch, that meeting was criticized by everyone, and should have been, by republicans and by democrats.
[22:30:02] And if democrats didn't criticize it, they should have. They were being biased.
So aren't you proving the point that -- aren't you making the point for the other side, by saying -- by talking about Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton? Because by every right, they should have been criticized.
LEE ZELDIN, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Well, the issue is that you then have an announcement made after that, that I will defer to the recommendation of James Comey, already knowing that James Comey already had the decision made.
So that when you go sit down, the FBI sits down with Hillary Clinton, the decision has already been made and the memo has been already written. The story line, the timeline here, it's -- this goes -- this is so much bigger than just the FISA memo. My problem with regards to the memo is very specific. We just came off
of a debate as it relates to reauthorization of 702 of FISA, which is different than title one, which is what we're talking about here with regards to U.S. citizens. And I just want...
LEMON: You gave a FISA court, you gave a FISA court more than they had before.
ZELDIN: With regards -- well, that's a different...
LEMON: You guys voted for it.
ZELDIN: Yes. But 702, though, that's related to foreigners on foreign soil. That's what we debated and reauthorized. With regards to title one, where you're talking about U.S. citizens and protecting individual liberties, I believe very strongly that there needs to be an improvement made to the process because the FISA court judges were not provided with a lot of information that they should have been provided.
And I have a problem with that regardless of who's in charge of the DOJ and FBI. By the way, we have, and you know, I'm sure you agree, I agree, we have amazing rank and file working all up and down the ranks of the DOJ and FBI doing great work. They love our country.
And they're -- you know, they believe in our rule of law and they're serving selflessly and extraordinarily. There are -- there are some who are an exception to that. They happen to be at some of the highest levels. And that's why all of these different people have gotten demoted.
LEMON: Yes. OK. Listen, I don't disagree with you that improvements can be made to any organization, but there is also a proper way to do it. And you don't have to politicize and you don't have to do it publicly. So that's just my only question. And listen, I appreciate you coming on and I appreciate you taking the tough questions. Please come back.
ZELDIN: Much love. Be strong. Much prayers.
LEMON: Thank you so much. I appreciate. And by the way, you are my congressman out in Long Island.
ZELDIN: Yes, sir.
LEMON: So I'm going to be holding your feet to the fire there at the voting booth as well.
ZELDIN: You should. You should. LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
ZELDIN: Take care.
LEMON: Joining me now, CNN contributor, Garrett Graff, author of "Threat Matrix: Inside Robert Mueller's FBI and the War on Global Terror." Thank you for joining us. I appreciate you waiting. That went a little bit longer than I thought. So, you doing OK?
GARRETT GRAFF, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Yes, of course. Yes.
LEMON: You've written a book on Mueller and you're out with a new piece on Wired.com about the investigation. You point out that the special counsel's investigation is really a five-pronged investigation and here's how you break it down.
You said, "One, pre-existing business deals and money laundering, two, Russian information operations. Three, active cyber intrusions. Four, Russian campaign contacts. Five, obstruction of justice." Walk us through all of those angles, please.
GRAFF: Yes, so, you know, we sort of talk about the Mueller probe as if it is one entity. But it's really at least five different probes in one. Sort of different buckets of charges, different potential targets. Some people overlap. But there's a lot of diversity in this probe.
I mean, as you just laid out, the first set of this is your sort of pre-existing business deals and a money laundering investigation. Which is what has led to the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. There's also been reporting, particularly by BuzzFeed about some suspicious payments coming through the Russian embassy here in the United States that were flagged by its bank.
Then you have, you know, when we talk about the hacking of the election, we actually mean a couple of different things. So the second bucket here are the information operations. The Twitter, Facebook, bots, trolls sort of the data manipulation and targeting that went on across the United States.
The third set is this active cyber intrusions, which includes, you know, the hacking of the DNC, the hacking of John Podesta's e-mail, the attempted penetrations of state-level election services and secretaries of state.
And then sort of fourth is where we have seen the indictments or sorry the guilty pleas of George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, which is the suspicious contacts, the questionable contacts between Russian nationals and Russian officials during the campaign, including up to and including the attorney general of the United States, Jeff Sessions meeting with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador.
[22:34:55] And then the fifth area is really the big one. It's the one that we're almost tuned into, on a daily basis, but it's really only one specific part of this and that's the obstruction of justice investigation into the president, into the White House itself. And the extent to which the firing of FBI Director Jim Comey may or
may not have been a result of an attempt to obstruct justice insofar as the president, you know, quote/unquote, "wanted Comey to look past the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn."
LEMON: Garrett, the White House wants this investigation wrapped up. Just today called the investigation a politically motivated witch hunt. You say it's further along than we think. How much longer do you see this going on?
GRAFF: Well, I mean, I think, quite frankly, we're likely to see this play out for years, even if we just see, you know, the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates trials go forward at this point.
I mean, this is a long process, as in any federal trial.
But I think the fact that we are getting close to a point where special counsel Robert Mueller wants to sit down with and feels comfortable sitting down with President Trump is an indication that Bob Mueller feels like he knows everything that he knows to know.
I mean, he understands, you're only going to get one bite at the apple when you're interviewing the president. And so to the extent that, you know, Mueller feels like he's ready to do that. That is probably the final step of at least that part of this investigation.
LEMON: Garrett Graff, thank you, I appreciate your time.
GRAFF: Any time.
LEMON: When we come back, sources telling CNN that the president wants to speak to Robert Mueller despite his lawyers' advice not to. Does he realize how high the stakes are? I'm going to ask a former counsel to former President Clinton what he thinks.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The president's lawyers have advised him not to sit down with Robert Mueller, but a source tells CNN the president thinks his experience around the many lawsuits he's been involved in will help him survive a showdown with the special counsel.
Let's discuss now that and other developments on the Russia investigation with Jack Quinn. Jack is a former White House counsel for President Clinton. Jack, thank you so much. And as I said, despite the lawyers, his lawyers' concerns, a source is telling CNN that the president still wants to talk to Mueller.
He apparently believes that his experience with the many lawsuits he's had and testifying under oath, that that's going to get him through the testimony. The source is also telling CNN that, quote, "he thinks he can work this." He doesn't realize how high the stakes are. What do you make of this report?
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, a couple of things, Don. First of all, I actually maybe a minority of one here in that I agree with him that he should testify.
I think that his chances of prevailing in court when the inevitable subpoena comes from Mr. Mueller, if he resists providing evidence as a result of an agreement with the special counsel, his chances in court, I think, are very, very low.
From the Nixon era on, it's quite clear from the Supreme Court and other courts that in balancing the president's constitutional needs for confidentiality against the duty he and others have to protect the integrity of the administration of justice, he is not going to be able to withstand requests for information, for testimony and the like on a showing of good cause for the information he has and particularly in circumstances where that information can't be obtained through other sources.
So I think that in truth, his case is much more frail than his lawyers, particularly his outside personal lawyers would let on. And I think that, you know, at the same time, they've created a situation for him where the optics are just terrible.
They have him in a situation where it looks like he's either -- they're either afraid he will tell the truth, because it must be damning, and they have him hiding -- they're hiding him, actually, from Bob Mueller.
LEMON: So you think it's a bluff? It's all bluster and a front to make the American people or him think, you know, that it's better for him than it is? Because I don't think there's any talking him out of it if he wants to do it. This is a man who...
QUINN: No, I think there's no talking him out of it. I think he will do it. I actually think he should do it. Because it looks like he's hiding -- if he doesn't do it, and it looks like his lawyers are either afraid that he's going to tell the truth and that will hurt him, or that he will lie, and that will hurt him.
LEMON: That will hurt him.
QUINN: Now, you know, at the end of the day here, he's going to testify. He's going to have to provide this evidence. I think what you're seeing is an effort to negotiate the terms of his providing the evidence that he has.
QUINN: I think they're going to be looking for either doing this in writing. I think that's a completely nonstarter. I think they'll want to have this not under oath. I think that's largely irrelevant, because...
LEMON: Before you finish, I just want -- let me give some background to our viewers here. QUINN: Yes.
LEMON: And the reason that we have Jack on, one of the reasons, is because he was White House counsel for Bill Clinton, and right now you're taking us behind the scenes in these conversations and what the terms would be like for his lawyers and for the president. So go on, finish your thought.
QUINN: OK. So President Trump's personal lawyers would presumably want to ensure -- first, they would like a circumstance in which they're able, where they get from Bob Mueller written interrogatories, written questions.
And then they provide written answers to that. Those answers would be written by the lawyers, there would be no exposure to President Trump.
There's no way that the special counsel is going to agree to that. And I don't think there's any way a court would insist that the special counsel do agree to that. The second thing, you know, they may seek to be clear that he is not testifying under oath. Again, the optics of that are terrible. This advice to him is really not good advice.
[22:45:04] LEMON: All right.
QUINN: Either politically. The third thing, you know, that they may try to do here is to limit the amount of time they have with him. I think that's going to be a real struggle. We know that he can filibuster and extend his answer to things. This is a criminal investigation. Mueller's got to have the opportunity to hear answers and follow up.
LEMON: Well, speaking of time, I have to go.
LEMON: Because this has television and we've got to get to our sponsors.
LEMON: Jack Quinn, thank you.
QUINN: And my sympathies to you.
LEMON: Thank you.
QUINN: And thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much. And please come back. We'll have you back, sir. I appreciate your time.
QUINN: I'd love to. Thanks. Have a good night.
LEMON: Thank you. You, as well. When we come back, the president saying earlier today that he would love to see a government shutdown if democrats don't give in to his demands on immigration. Is he pulling the plug on government funding, leaving countless federal employees in limbo with the art of the deal looks like. What does it looked like?
Plus, Chief of Staff John Kelly saying some immigrants were just too lazy to register for protection under DACA. We'll debate that, next.
LEMON: President Trump fixing for a fight and maybe another government shutdown if democrats don't agree to his demands on immigration. It comes as the White House holds two events today focused on deadly gang violence from MS-13.
As Chief of Staff John Kelly doubles down on some incendiary comments about DACA recipients.
I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Van Jones and Ana Navarro and CNN legal commentator Ken Cuccinelli.
Good evening to all of you. Before I start thank you all of you reached out to me, and I really appreciate it. Sorry I didn't take your call, Ana. But I was flying so I didn't -- I had a missed call. So thank you so much all of you.
KEN CUCCINELLI, LEGAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Glad you're back, Don.
LEMON: Yes, absolutely. Ana, Chief of Staff John Kelly did not help the president get an immigration deal today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: There are 690,000 official DACA registrants. And the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number to 1.8 million. The difference between 690 and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others say were too lazy to get off asses but they didn't sign up.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON: So, some of people say well, it was just sort of off the cuff terminology a throwaway line. But tonight again he told reporters I've got to say that some of them should -- just should have probably gotten off the couch and signed up. And that's a quote. It seems to be a pattern. Doesn't seem like a throwaway line, what do you think?
[22:50:03] ANA NAVARRO, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Look, I'm going to talk about John Kelly's stupid comments in a moment. But before that, you and I are friends. I think so many viewers see you as a friend because you are so authentic because you lay it all out there because you show your heart every night.
You and I belong to the sad club of having lost siblings. When you lose a sibling you lose part of you, you lose part of your childhood. And I think it's a good reminder for all of us tonight to tell those that we love that we love them and cherish them because they can be here one day and gone the next.
OK. Now let's work. John Kelly, I don't know what the hell happened to him. I don't know what he is drinking in that water in the White House.
Look, I've known John Kelly. I knew him in Miami. I knew him as an empathetic. He was incredibly respected in Latin America. He was South Com commander and dealt with those countries, so he has a particular knowledge and experience for what goes on in those countries.
And he's lived in a community, Miami, that has a disproportionate amount of DREAMers and immigrants, was built by immigrants.
So, really he should know better. John Kelly knows that immigrants are not lazy. He knows that DREAMers are not lazy. So, many of them are the primary breadwinners in their families. Applying for DACA costs $500, about $500. It requires being in school.
Many of these young people are in school while at the same time they're holding one and two jobs. They are anything but lazy. And for a man who works for a president, who shows up usually at 10.30 or 11 a.m. at the office, who has golfed almost 100 days in the one year that he has been president, to call these kids and these young people lazy, is inappropriate. And something that is not at all reflective of the John Kelly I knew back in Miami.
LEMON: I want to bring Van and let's get Ken as well. We don't have much enough time. So, Van, you know, assistant Attorney General John Cronan spoke to reporters on MS-13 gang violence today before the White House briefing. Here he is a describing a very heinous, a heinous murder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CRONAN, UNITED STATES ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: A 15-year old Gaithersburg, Maryland girl named Damaris Reyes Rivas, who was stabbed 13 times with knives and a wooden stake. The girl's killers filmed her murder so they could show gang leaders back in El Salvador what they had done.
Damaris' body was savagely dumped next to railroad tracks under the same road - the Beltway - that many of us take to work every day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So listen, obviously, MS-13 is horrible and a deadly organization. But the White House is giving this group a great deal of attention from the state of the union address to the today's briefing. Why do you think that's happening, Van.
VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, I think, first of all my heart goes out to you, Don, and I know we don't have the time for everybody to talk. But you know we love you and you are our brother. So she is our sister and we love you, brother.
LEMON: Thank you.
JONES: I will say that, listen -- I have been to too many funerals myself when you talk about gangs. If you want to talk about gangs let's talk about that.
But to throw that into this DACA conversation, you have 800,000 DACA recipients total less than 70 have ever affiliated with the gang. According to the govern -- according to Trump government. Less than 1 percent.
So I don't understand why they're mixing these things together. There are also other gangs in the country. But they picked this one gang and they act like it's horrible and they throw it out in front of the public. They are not talking about the rise of these...
CUCCINELLI: It is horrible.
JONES: ... hate groups these white supremacy hate groups that are killing people. They're not talking about other kinds of violent activity. It seems to me it's a pattern of smearing these -- this one community, talking about rapists from the beginning of the campaign, now talking about MS-13.
JONES: The best way for us to deal with these drug cartels is to bring the country together to deal with the drug cartels. But a wall will just be a full employment program for tunnel diggers and people with boats. Nobody knows anything about the cartels and talking about the wall they're talking about the law enforcement.
LEMON: Ken, it does seem all too convenient, you now, that you have this and then you have the NFL player sadly who was killed, and combining it with immigration.
CUCCINELLI: Well, look, Don, MS-13 is the most violent gang in the country. And that's certainly true in Virginia. The Washington metropolitan area has around 3,000 MS-13 members, almost a third of their entire national contingent.
We don't have any of the hate groups Van just described all of which should be concerning that have anything like those numbers in the Washington metro area. There is nobody killing people as viciously and as frequently in this area where I live and in the Washington metro area like MS-13.
[22:55:01] That's true in other communities around the country. And look, we've defamed General Kelly here in the segment. He started off by saying some people might have been afraid to sign up for DACA, other people might have been lazy. And both of those are true.
Ana said, gosh, they were too busy they're working. It's a work program. If they were working it was illegal. You know, we haven't gotten to the heart of this problem at all. The president is willing to have a showdown with the democrats again. That's where the shutdown comment came from because he knows how it's going to end.
And my last comment is that since the last shutdown only one side has given any ground on this, and that is President Trump has gone from the 690,000 actual DACA number to a hypothetical number of 1.8 million that we aren't even sure of.
LEMON: Ken, before I let you go...
CUCCINELLI: ... because a lot of these people have made contacts with the government.
LEMON: So the words of General Kelly they don't concern you at all?
CUCCINELLI: Look, the guys a military man he started off -- what you all have characterized him as saying is everybody is lazy. That's not what he said. He started off and you played the quote. Some people think that they might have been scared and so they didn't sign up. Some people might...
JONES: He said get off your ass. Come on, Ken. He said get off your ass. That's disrespectful and -- I don't think it's good...
CUCCINELLI: Of course it is.
JONES: To pretend.
CUCCINELLI: You know, he also said some people might -- Van, of course people were afraid to sign up.
JONES: People were afraid to sign up. And for good reason.
LEMON: We have to wrap it up.
CUCCINELLI: Look, who cares?
LEMON: We have to wrap it up.
CUCCINELLI: I care that people are breaking the law. That over a million people are...
NAVARRO: That people who care -- that people who care are immigrants who are...
CUCCINELLI: ... now going to get amnesty.
NAVARRO: ... who are -- I'll tell you who cares. Let me tell you who cares, Ken.
CUCCINELLI: ... with no giving on the other side. Democrats who care.
NAVARRO: Let me explain to you who cares.
LEMON: Quick, quick, Anan, we got to go.
NAVARRO: Can I answer your damn question about who cares.
CUCCINELLI: The Americans are dreamers too.
NAVARRO: That people who care are the immigrants who are sick and tired of having this White House attack us and bash us on a daily basis.
CUCCINELLI: And these people only care about the illegals. That's all they care about.
NAVARRO: That is the people who cares.
CUCCINELLI: I'm sick and tired of listening to your shrill voice in my ears without a...
LEMON: One at a time.
NAVARRO: The people who are maligned on a daily basis by the president of the United States and the people who work for him. The people who see day after day that this president and this White House only focus on the bad things that immigrants do but can never highlight a positive on confusion by an immigrant.
CUCCINELLI: And prioritizing enforcing the law.
LEMON: One at a time, please.
NAVARRO: That is who cares.
LEMON: One at a time, please.
NAVARRO: Maybe you don't care. Because there are a hell of a lot of people in the United States who make America great already who are immigrants or descend from...
CUCCINELLI: Yes, and MS-13 are the...
LEMON: Ken, let me ask you this. Ken, Ken, let me ask you this. We're talking about...
NAVARRO: In order to reply -- let me say this.
NAVARRO: In order to apply for DACA, in order to be a DREAMer you have to have no criminal record. That is one of the requirements. The MS-13 issue and the DREAMer issue are completely different issues that he's trying to conflate.
LEMON: That was my question to him.
CUCCINELLI: And you're the first person to get.
NAVARRO: Because DREAMers have 80 percent approval rating.
NAVARRO: People want this issue fixed.
LEMON: OK. Listen.
NAVARRO: He is trying to take this.
LEMON: Let me say about this, Ken, Ken, Ken, Ken words matter.
CUCCINELLI: The democrats only want a political issue, Don. They don't want to fix it.
NAVARRO: Well, I'm glad you don't care about him attacking immigrants like this. A hell of a lot of people who do.
LEMON: OK. Words matter, Ken. And you just sat here and you called a woman shrill and then you did a little puppet thing.
CUCCINELLI: My gosh. You're hearing it. Look, Ana yells us all down and you tell the rest of us to be quiet.
LEMON: As you were talking -- as she was talking you were talking as well. I mean, do you...
CUCCINELLI: You mean she was interrupting me.
LEMON: Well, both of you were interrupting each other. But still to call someone shrill, I just, come on, Ken, you have to understand.
CUCCINELLI: Hey, it's three on one here I go last, we cut off.
LEMON: I'm not -- I'm asking questions. Don't say it's three on one, I'm not doing that.
CUCCINELLI: We cut a discussion, come on, Don you have a strong perspective here and you're welcome to it. But, look.
LEMON: I have a strong perspective.
CUCCINELLI: If we're going to talk about DACA...
LEMON: If we're going to talk about -- let me finish I have a strong perspective here to keep you in order and to keep you from -- to tell the truth, to hold your feet to the fire. Listen, whatever happens...
CUCCINELLI: And that's what I'm trying to get other people to do here, too.
LEMON: But also words do matter. And that's what's important to me.
CUCCINELLI: Of course they do.
LEMON: If you don't think it matters to call someone a lazy ass.
CUCCINELLI: Of course it matter. It doesn't help anything.
LEMON: That doesn't help. So just admit that. And don't try to obfuscate and...
CUCCINELLI: I've done it three times in this segment. I completely agree that that is not helpful. It is not constructive. And I also agree with Ana and that that is not uncommon out of this White House. That is not a helpful tone that they bring to these discussions.
But the fact of the matter is the president is ready to challenge the democrats in ways that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan never were in actually fighting to actually fix this deal, fix this problem, the entire immigration problem not just the DACA problem and going beyond it.
Something that President Obama never really pushed on despite promising it year in and year out.
CUCCINELLI: This president is pushing. Do I wish he did it with better language and tone? Of course, I do.
CUCCINELLI: Of course, I do.
LEMON: Thank you. Listen, I just...
CUCCINELLI: The biggest thing is to solve it.
[23:00:00] LEMON: I just want you guys to be respectful of each other. That's it. Thank you. I appreciate it. See you next time.
When we come back, an Eagles player who says he won't go to the White House to celebrate. We'll talk about that coming up.
Are we going to break?