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CNN TONIGHT

Trump Threatens to Veto But Signs Bill Anyway, Blasts Congress; Who's Next On The White House Chopping Block?; McCabe On Firing; Stormy Daniels' Attorney Issues "Warning Shot;" March For Our Lives; CNN Heroes. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired March 23, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on of the East Coast and Friday night live with new developments tonight on what else -- the Trump White House in chaos? There is the President's televised tantrum today.

First, he threatened to veto the $1.3 trillion budget bill that will keep the Federal Government open for business through September. Then he signed it anyway. Then he suddenly called a news conference and trashed the bill and Congress some more.

That is just hours after he replaced National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster with John Bolton. And still looming this weekend, the Stormy Daniels interview on 60 minutes. This is a President who seems to thrive on chaos, but this is a lot for anyone.

So, let's bring in CNN global affairs analyst, David Rohde, CNN political commentator, Scott Jennings, Amanda Carpenter and former CIA officer and independent Presidential candidate, Evan McMullin. Where do we start every night? So much to start. Let's see, Evan and you're up.

President Trump got a jump start on his Friday firings this week and started last night announcing that he was replacing National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster, with former U.N. Ambassador, John Bolton.

And he says he thrives on chaos, saying that he likes running things this way. Maybe that is true, maybe it's not true, but does this constant churn in the Oval Office allow for any governing, real governing to be done?

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it certainly creates problems for governance, Don. Look, the President is on his now third National Security Adviser in just about 15 months of his tenure and these are men that he has chosen, mind you.

And we are learning tonight that John Bolton is going to come in and quote, clean house in the NSC, in the National Security Councils, removing staff that have been there from prior administrations, professional staff. Of course, he is entitled to do just as the President is entitled to change his National Security Adviser. But this does take a toll on the NSC ability to coordinate the

different National Security Organizations within the government. And that can leave us unprepared or less prepared for national security challenges. I do believe that at this point it's starting to take a toll.

LEMON: Amanda, I want to ask you about this, because it has been conventional wisdom by some folks -- as well I think that may -- a lot of this stuff, at least in the past couple of weeks have been to change the headlines.

People may not have been fired today, because they're going to be fired on Sunday. That's when this Stormy Daniels interview will run. There's been some speculation that in order to distract from that interview set to air on Sunday.

That the President is going to announce reportedly that -- maybe the V.A. Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, the HUD Secretary Ben Carson, they were supposedly next on the chopping block until this McMaster announcement, sort of, caught them off guard. McMaster's firing last night was interestingly on the same night that of Anderson's interview with Karen McDougal. What do you think that we are going to hear from the President on Sunday, when Stormy speaks?

AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Probably nothing. I mean, he needs to sit and see what she has to say. As we know, Stormy Daniels lawyer is teasing that everyone in the Trump team better tell the truth, because he has this DVD with unknown information on it.

And so, listen, there is a lot of chaos. Trump drives on chaos. So we can look at each individual firing and wonder what it might be responding to, but there is a broad take away and that is Trump knows what he is doing is not working. That is why he is changing staff, trying to change the narrative and that whatever issue you look to, the spending bill, the border wall, foreign policy, his legal team, it's not working.

And so I think we should take these firings, resignations as indication of that. And Trump, when he talks about the midterm elections, the few times that he has, he is very clear that he is concerned about Democratic enthusiasm. And so I think, he is trying desperately to change the narrative and settle on something to get something working, because he knows it's not.

LEMON: David, this chaos in the White House, it's not happening inside a bubble. I want you to take a listen, this is a tweet from Richard Haas, the former Bush Era Diplomatic in Korea Foreign Policy Expert, here's what he said, he said, Donald Trump is now set for war on three fronts, political versus Bob Mueller, economic versus China, others on trade, and actual versus Iran and/or North Korea. This is the most perilous moment in modern American history and it has been largely brought about by ourselves not by events. What do you think of that, David?

[23:05:04] DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think, you know, they are -- it is a very perilous moment that they vary, I think the Mueller battle is politically perilous for him. If he fires Mueller which I do think he will do eventually, it will be the largest political mistake of his presidency.

LEMON: You think he's going to do it?

ROHDE: I do think he will.

LEMON: I do think he will.

ROHDE: And that is a political thing. I am worried with Bolton coming in that there is sort of echo chamber forming in the warehouse, forming story in the White House about that sort of the use of force is a quick way to kind of counter Korea and Iran. I'm not sure that is true.

All the talk of these affairs and Stormy Daniels doesn't -- I think that lesson for what we are talking earlier, I don't think voters care about it. It's important if he sort of consistently calling the dozen or more women who claims he harassed them or assaulted them liars, which he did call them liars and I think, these accounts, you know, show the women might be telling the truth. But I don't think that is nearly as important as the other issues that are happening.

LEMON: As Haas points out in the tweet, Scott, the situations were thrust upon the country not by other countries actions. They come from within.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I want Donald Trump to tweet back at this guy and say you tried it, because it's not true objectively. I mean North Korea here has been trying to develop a nuclear weapons program for a very, very long time, they finally had done it, he was left this mess and he is trying to solve it. So, to say that this North Korea issue that we might be on the brink of war with them is our own doing is just not accurate.

I think this issue with Mueller is not actually a political issue at the moment. Mueller is not in a political war with Donald Trump. He's going to find the facts and follow them where ever they go. The political issue will come, if he does finds something on the President and then makes it to Congress and they have to decide whether to impeach him, but that's not happening today and we have been at economic war with China for a very long time.

The President inherited a lot of these things. You know, we can quibble about how he is dealing with it, but he didn't invent the problems, he is trying to deal with them. And frankly right now, what I think, is we have a President who feels unmoored from traditions, norms and frankly from his own party. I mean, he may be the first truly independent President we have had.

LEMON: In reality?

JENNINGS: Come on. But he may be -- he sort of ran as an independent candidate and he is kind of running as the White House as an independent agent right now. CARPENTER: You know, on that point, going into 2020, he might have

to, because today was really the first sign of Conservative heart break I have seen from tea party Conservatives over this spending bill, not only because it spent so much money, but because it didn't make good on the promise for securing enough funding for the border wall.

Everyone knows this was his last best chance to get moving on that. Nothing else is going to happen the rest of the year. There is a good chance that Democrats retake the House in the mid-term elections and then it's over. And so you saw a lot of Conservatives get angry. Tea Party types that are with him that knew he was flawed candidate, but thought he could deliver and he didn't. And that one is going to stay.

LEMON: Well, Amanda, that is what I -- when I say unmoored from reality, it doesn't -- there is no self-awareness when it comes to -- for him it's really all about publicity, saying at the event yesterday with the young business leaders, you know, I used to get great publicity. That is what I meant by, when I said unmoored from reality. There is no self-awareness for this particular President. Even with what happened today he ticked off a lot of his base and a lot of traditional Conservatives.

CARPENTER: Yes, I mean he tried to have it both ways, but, you know, he is a self-interested figure. He was never the true leader of the Republican Party in my mind. He hijacked it, he co-opted it and you know, it made him President. But going forward, he is all about himself.

I actually have no doubt, he is watching the coverage of the President's porn star and the play mate and loving it, because he loved it when he was a New York business mogul. He played himself in the press. You know, he loved the fact that people report that he is a lady's man. So, I don't think he is even worried about that, something with a legal implications --.

LEMON: You mean secretly loving it, because, I mean, if you're -- if I'm married and this all comes out --

CARPENTER: He was married to Ivana and then he went on to Marla Maple and that was all over the press. I mean, we have seen this show before, I didn't, because I was in middle school or high school, but I read about it now, to learn about it.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of us feel bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man.

CARPENTER: So, I'm not going to say that I'm an expert on the New York tabloids from the 1980's, but I did my research, thank you very much. And I know he is not bothered by these things. Other Republicans are. Other Republicans should be. And I think there needs to be a political argument to be successful, because he actually does like people thinking he is a ladies man and it has to be about the system that protected him and spread lies and misinformation and covered up for him. That is what's going to be damaging not these, you know, tawdry details.

LEMON: Evan, I'm getting you on the other side, but we were just saying, we were talking here -- saying that the President allegedly was having an affair with the Playboy Playmate and then having an affair on Stormy Daniels while he was having an affair allegedly all of this on the first lady.

ROHDE: But the important issue here is why the --

(LAUGHTER)

JENNINGS: It doesn't matter. It's a hall of mirror none of this in this table have ever found ourselves in. I can assure you.

[23:10:05] ROHDE: He is free to have all those affairs, why is his friend the owner of the "National Enquirer" buying, you know, Karen McDougal, keeping to herself. Why is his personal lawyer buying off Stormy Daniels and keeping her silent and why is he calling the dozen other women that accused him of this behavior liars.

LEMON: Yes.

ROHDE: At a crucial moment in the presidential election. That should be investigated.

LEMON: Evan, we'll get you on the other side. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: David, Scott, Amanda and Evan are back with me.

So, Evan, I want you to listen to comments made by President Trump's new National Security Adviser. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I think the only diplomatic option left is to end the regime in North Korea by effectively having the south take it over.

There is an all-purpose joke here. Question, how do you know that the North Korean regime is lying? Answer, their lips are moving. What I would recommend to them if I were there is to get out of the deal completely to abrogate it, to withdraw the United States to bring back all of the sanctions, Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, these are regimes that make agreements and lie about them.

People understand if he undertakes this again, the cost that Moscow will bear will be significantly greater. That is how deterrence works.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, how are his hawkish viewpoints going to impact our policies?

MCMULLIN: Well, look, I mean, you heard the tough talk there. John Bolton is known for that. He is an aggressive speaker on foreign policy. He doesn't like much our multilateral organizations that we're a part of.

[23:15:05] He doesn't see the value in them. He doesn't like our agreement with Iran. And he speaks on this consistently. But, you know, I'll tell you, that is not as much the problem in my mind. It's when he advocates for a preemptive strike on North Korea and he seems to have a bias towards war at every turn. I like the harder approach, frankly, with some of the rogue states, but, I think, we need that harder approach without the bias towards war all the time.

LEMON: But Evan, you know, he reportedly promised the President that he wasn't going to start any wars. That goes against what he says.

MCMULLIN: That is right, but the President himself is threatening war. So I don't know what that means. But, I think you have two very aggressive men on foreign policy who have both talked about hitting North Korea preemptively. And I think that they run the risk of alienating other countries that we need in this effort.

I agree that there needs to be a tough line on North Korea. But this bias towards war by two men who -- I'm not sure about Bolton's history if he has ever fought in a war. But it makes me nervous. And I think it's unnecessary. But I think that is what we're going to see out of this White House going forward.

LEMON: And there is reporting from Axios today actually saying the promise never even happened. So what do you think of that Kirsten?

CARPENTER: Amanda.

LEMON: Amanda, I did that again.

CARPENTER: We all look the same. I'm just joking.

LEMON: I was actually just texting with Kirsten, but anyway, go ahead.

CARPENTER: I like her thoughts, too. I do think that part of this is -- OK, so the day that Bolton was brought on to the team in a way that happened so fast he didn't even though it was going to be happening, right was the day after "Washington Post" made the report that Donald Trump was instructed not to congratulate Russia. He did. It leaked. McMaster out, Bolton in.

And it was so rushed that Bolton was in a T.V. studio saying, well I don't really know if I'm a Fox News contributor or what's going on. And so, to me that is kind of a red flag. Like if you get this huge big important job, you run in to a Fox News studio instead of, you know, starting to gather material, hold meetings, you know, and just prepare yourself.

And so I think that is weird. And I think Donald Trump, again -- my point earlier, he knows what he is doing right now isn't working. And he is not so much concerned about the substance as developing an army of T.V. ready surrogates.

You know, you have Bolton when it comes to foreign affairs now. You have Larry Cudlow, when it comes to economic matters, because he just wants a good show. And so, I'm just not -- you know, I don't think he is looking for advice. I think he is looking for loyalists and people who are good on T.V..

LEMON: What do you think, David?

ROHDE: I think that what's remarkable is that he crucified Hillary Clinton for supporting the war in Iraq during the campaign and here he is hiring John Bolton who was an architect of that invasion. You know, John Bolton, I tape talked about regime change. We tried that? Are we going in and like govern North Korea after we take out their government, you know, let alone, how many American service members die in that?

North Korea is a huge problem. It's a threat to the United States, but it's this kind of hawkish talk that makes me, you know, really, really nervous.

LEMON: Scott, you know, all these chaos that's going on and Roberts Mueller quietly doing his job and then you have this turnover at the White House, you know, with the attorneys and -- do you think these changes in legal team -- is that a sign of weakness do you think from the administration, from the President?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, you know, sports team owners change teams, because they're mad about what the current team is doing. So, obviously the president is not happy with his legal team. I am worried that the legal team has made up to this point, a number of P.R. blunders, Dowd was part of those, frankly, over a number of months.

And I'm very worried about what these people are doing vis-a-vis what Mueller is doing. I don't know where the facts are ultimately going to lead us, but I know this, they're going to find them and it's going to take several months and we need to get to the bottom of it. And I don't agree with the posture that we should be moving towards removing the Special Counsel or somehow impeding this investigation.

The American people deserve to know what the Russians were doing. And it would be about a bad posture for the President of the United States after all this time and these indictments and especially the ones with the Russians to try and make any moves that would impede the continuation of this investigation.

LEMON: Go ahead Evan.

MCMULLIN: Well, I'll just add, I think, Scott, is absolutely right. I mean, I couldn't agree with that more. But nevertheless, the President continues now to attack the Special Counsel. He is stepping that up, he's hiring a legal staff that could continue -- or could do the same.

There is a reason why he is doing that. The President knows more about his own culpability, if there is culpability, he knows more about it than anyone else. And he seems committed to now attacking the Special Counsel.

I believe the reason he is doing that, is he is shaping the way his base looks at the Special Counsel. And that all -- and that then makes it difficult for members of Congress, Republicans to do anything to stop the President or to hold him accountable.

[23:20:07] And so, this is -- this is what's happening. This is what the President does. He attacks, he attacks, he attacks. He shapes the base's views of whoever he is attacking. And then if he wants to remove them, he then can do it. Now, it would be problematic and David said that it would be a big mistake in a normal situation or with a normal President, I would agree.

But I actually think the President may look at his current situation, the vulnerability he knows he has, and he may conclude that firing Mueller is actually his best option, because things are so bad. I think it's -- it may be a mistake for us to say firing Mueller for the President would be, you know, would be the wrong move, if he knows that he faces serious legal jeopardy. And I get the feeling he probably does.

LEMON: So, listen -- David and I think differently. He probably does, but I think, he's going to -- that maybe the last resort is to fire the Special Counsel. But I want to ask you about something that's different to what we are talking about. Did you guys read the Washington Post's the op-ed from Andrew McCabe?

Here's part of it, he said, "After two decades of public service I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied and personal way a third hand base on a news account, not in my worst nightmare did I ever dream, my FBI career would ends this way. There is nothing like having the opportunity to be part of the greatest law enforcement organization in the world, working every day for goals that you respect and cherish. It's the best job you will ever have, even if a President decides to attack you and your family. Even if you get fired on a Friday night one day from your retirement."

So he is trying, you know, like James Comey has tried to tell law enforcement community to keep their heads up under pressure. And it's intense.

JENNINGS: Yes, I think McCabe may not ultimately be the best spokesman for this movement. I mean, He's got some bad facts, the career people at the DOJ came up with a report that ultimately led to his firing. He is getting due process and he's going to get go through an appeal to see if it was properly done. Sure. It was roughly done, there's no question about that. Getting fired on a Friday night and finding out about it to the news media, I mean that's rough treatment. LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) approved from CNN.

JENNINGS: Yes, right.

LEMON: He got called and said I heard you got fired.

JENNINGS: But let's not forget here. The whole issue with McCabe is, there was an internal DOJ set of investigations done by career people that found, he was not candid -- the lack of candor. And that is a serious problem. That the FBI sees that as serious problem. They take action about it and so, I hope this man gets his appeal.

LEMON: He denies it.

JENNINGS: I know he denies it. I hope he gets his appeal. He deserves that too, but the facts here for him aren't 100 percent, you know, sympathetic.

LEMON: What does that say -- I have to go -- what does that say right here.

JENNINGS: That says.

LEMON: No, it says, Kirsten Powers.

(LAUGHTER)

To Amanda, I want to apologize to you.

CARPENTER: I wasn't joking, I'm not mad, I love Kirsten.

LEMON: I know, but Kirsten and I text and someone said I could watch Kirsten Power with her bad ass side part and Bob and brilliant political analyst all day long at CNN tonight at Don Lemon. And I just texted that to her, and so I called you Kirsten, instead of Amanda, I'm sorry. I apologized.

CARPENTER: OK.

LEMON: Have a great weekend. I'll see you all.

CARPENTER: Thanks.

LEMON: When we come back the President's so-called press conference. Are we going to go through all the false claims he made while reluctantly pardoning -- parading, I should say at a bill that he didn't like, but signed anyway.

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump vented and then vented some more today. First he threatened to veto the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, then he signed it anyway. Then he held a surprise news conference on the bill, but it was less of a news conference and more airing of grievances topped off with plenty of inaccurate statements when discussing the pay increase for troops, he said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: This will be actually the largest pay increase for our incredible people in over a decade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So that is simply false. The pay increase for troops in this bill is 2.4 percent. President Obama gave troops a 3.4 percent raise in 2010. And there's more, when talking about his displeasure with the bill, the President offered this as a solution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I'm calling on congress to give me a line item veto for all government spending bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So the Supreme Court declared the line item veto unconstitutional 20 years ago. The President also took this shot at Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: DACA recipients have been treated extremely badly by the Democrats. We wanted to include DACA. We wanted to have them in this bill. 800,000 people and actually it could even be more. And we wanted to include DACA in this bill. The Democrats would not do it. They would not do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So has Donald Trump forgotten that he is the one who ended the DACA program back in September? I want to bring in now John McWhorter, the linguistic professor at Columbia University, the author of "Words on the move." Call it a battle with the facts, misleading statements, omission of context, whatever it is. What's going on? Do you think he is consciously lying or is it something else?

JOHN MCWHORTER, PROFESSOR OF LINGUISTICS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Not consciously. I mean, we have to understand that this is somebody who has a view of the truth that is not that of most of us. Certainly not that of somebody who you would think of as a President of the United States. The -- the man who shot liberty valance, the John Ford film, where you get the aphorism that you shoot the legend not the truth if the legend is more interesting, if it's better for -- in the case of Trump his ego.

For him it's not about what actually happened. It's about the way he would like it to be. For him it's all about shoot the legend, film the legend, although, for him it's not about the past. It's about the present. It's a very mediocre although familiar way of looking at things, because it's what a toddler does. And so, I think that we are wrong to think of him as mendaciously thinking about lying like Mr. Burns. It's not like, oh, I'm going to say something wrong. Nothing of the sort. He doesn't frankly think in that way at all.

It's kind of like Homer. It's like Homer and mythology. Homer was not trying to do history. Homer was telling a story in way -- talk about Mr. Burns, he is more Homer Simpson than Mr. Burns. He is not thinking in that way but the problem is that he is the president. And so we have to understand that this is a natural phenomenon. It wouldn't occur to him that he is being mendacious. He is just being himself.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT HOST: OK. So, he is a reality -- a former reality T.V. star. Is he looking at this -- is he looking at the prism of what sounds good, what makes good T.V., maybe that's a truth and that's reality for him?

MCWHORTER: Not even. Because then we get back to this idea that he is actually doing something, that he is actually taking a deep breath and sipping his coffee. I'll bet he doesn't drink coffee. Sipping his Gatorade or something --

LEMON: Diet Coke.

MCWHORTER: Whatever he drinks. And thinking about it. He doesn't reflect. It's all about what reflects upon him. So the idea that he is good at symbolism, that he is good at signs, no, no. He is good at him.

And so what he is doing is thinking about what makes me look good. And so if Joe Biden says that he could beat him up immediately, this 2- year-old has to say, no, I could beat him up. That's all there is. That explains everything --

LEMON: He is good at branding things and making it stick.

MCWHORTER: If it's about him. But it's not about the brand.

LEMON: Yes.

MCWHORTER: I think we all have to understand that this is a much simpler phenomenon than we might think.

LEMON: Yes. It seems he gets a lot of his information from television. He watches cable news a lot. He pretends he doesn't watch CNN, but we know he does.

MCWHORTER: Yes.

LEMON: Otherwise why is he tweeting about what happens on CNN if he is not watching.

MCWHORTER: That's what he does.

LEMON: But he gets a lot of his information from Fox News. He hires a lot of the folks, at least a number of people, I should say, from Fox News. Do you think reality begins and ends with him from what he sees on television?

MCWHORTER: I think that he likes the visual image. You think about babies watching things going by. And he isn't quite familiar with the fact that surface isn't, you know, exactly what's going on underneath.

And so yes, he likes people who look good. He thinks that somebody is authoritative if they have broad shoulders. He thinks John Bolton isn't important because he has a Ned Flanders mustache and he doesn't smile. That's about all there is.

For him, it's about the air of authority because he -- frankly he knows as much about -- he is as interested in being president as I am in how a carburetor works. He is improvising. But he is improvising the way that our children would. And unfortunately, the problem is that we have things like North Korea to think about.

LEMON: Yes.

MCWHORTER: We have things like DACA to think about. That's all there is.

LEMON: So I have to ask you. Last night, Anderson Cooper sat down with Karen McDougal.

MCWHORTER: Oh, dear.

LEMON: She's one of the many women who claimed to have had wanted or unwanted encounters with the president. Hers was consensual but there are women who have claimed that they have other -- when he was married. He used to boast about sex and people he knew --

MCWHORTER: Grabbing (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE). Right. The "Access Hollywood" tape. So people are saying that this doesn't hurt him politically. Do you agree with that? Do you think that this sort of people have factored this in and it no longer matters, the stories of these women?

MCWHORTER: What's interesting about this is that you know he lies. And I think that lie is a funny word here because I think that it's not deliberate. I think he is a very primitive being, but he lies. But when he lies about things like, you know, our relationship with Canada in terms of trade or things like that, I don't know if that gets people in the gut.

But here we are going to have these women who explain what were clearly extramarital relationships of a flagrant nature while he was married to Melania and even early on. And it's clear that they're telling the truth. I don't think that there can be any denial.

He has a choice. He could just say, yes, these things happened, and Melania and I are going to work it out. But you can tell that he is not going to do that because that would be bad for his ego and his tree (ph).

So, we're going to watch him say that he doesn't know these people. We're going to watch him say that these people are saying these things for money. It's going to be very Bill Cosby. And of course that's going to be an obvious utterly mendacious lie. Maybe that will make it clearer that the person running this country is not one we should be deciding whether or not we incinerate half of South Korea, because frankly, he is going to lie about something that all of us feel in our guts as a tragedy between him and the person who he supposed to be married to.

[23:34:58] LEMON: The president has denied all of these allegations and even before the election said he was going to sue every one of them afterwards. So far no lawsuit has been filed except for what has been filed if the Stormy Daniels case to try to get a change of venue or a different judge in that case.

MCWHORTER: An immoral infant.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. John McWhorter. When we come back, Stormy Daniels's attorney issuing what he calls a warning shot. Does his client have evidence of her alleged affair with Trump? And with less than two days until her big interview airs, how worried should President Trump be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: After speaking Stormy Daniels's big interview on "60 Minutes" that is less than two days away, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, has been talking about it for weeks now, firing what he called a warning shot today. Now Stormy Daniels herself will be doing the talking. But what will she say about her alleged affair with Donald Trump?

I want to bring in now CNN political commentators Alice Stewart and Symone Sanders. Good evening to both of you. Symone, this Sunday, Anderson is going to speak with Stormy Daniels. What do you think she will say?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I'm not sure what Stormy Daniels is going to say.

[23:39:59] I think we've heard from her attorney that she was going to offer proof of her relationship with Donald Trump. But more so, she is going to talk about the intimidation that she she says she is facing. I think that is going to be more (INAUDIBLE) point.

Look, I saw the interview Anderson did with Karen McDougal the other day. I can just say I'm sure this is going to be good television. But people keep saying and wondering if this matters. And I think it matters, Don. I think it absolutely matters and it matters to some of the female voters out there that will be deciding factors in 2018 in the midterm election.

LEMON: Alice, Stormy's attorney spoke with Wolf Blitzer today. He said his tweet of the disc is a warning shot to anyone who lies about his client. Michael Avenatti also talked about intimidation and bullying tactics that (INAUDIBLE) said. Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: While certainly there are some salacious details relating to this relationship and certain people among the citizens of the American public or citizens of America are interested in the details relating to the sex, if you will, between my client and Mr. Trump, there is a whole other part of this that in our view is far more important.

And that other part relates to the intimidation and the bullying tactics and, quite frankly, the cover-up that has occurred relating to this $130,000 payment, the misstatements that Mr. Cohen has attempted to tell the American public and the media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, intimidation and bullying tactics. Does it seem likely you know for the president and his team to have taken part in that? And do you think that changes anything?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It seems extremely likely. I think Avenatti has done a great job of making the case for that and out-trumping Trump with regard to the art of the tease here. Look, the bad thing is that the real problem here and the worst part of this is not the fact that the president of the United States cheated on his third wife and his playboy playmate mistress with a porn star.

It's the length and methods in which he went to cover it up on the heels of the presidential campaign. And that's what they're getting at here. I think with Avenatti saying that there is a videotape out there and showing a disc saying a picture is worth a thousand words, I can live a great life if I never see any pictures of what everyone thinks is on that videotape.

Unless it's the equivalency of a (INAUDIBLE), I don't think we're ever going to get an admission out of this president. He will continue to deny and deny and deny and then degrades these women. I don't think we will ever get an admission out of him. But it will interesting to see what happens with regard to that videotape or whatever is on that disc after Sunday.

LEMON: Symone, do you think that the -- should the president be worried because Avenatti said that in the "60 Minutes" interview that it's -- you know, not the end by any stretch of the imagination?

SANDERS: Perhaps Donald Trump should be worried. I mean, I think he thought -- since he survived the "Access Hollywood" tape and more than a dozen women coming out incredibly accusing him of sexual assault, I think he thinks he is above this. I don't believe that he is. If the president is worried or not, I'm not sure. Perhaps reality will hit him a little bit later.

But the fact of the matter is I think he is in trouble but I think the Republican Party is in deeper trouble. They're in hot water here. Conservative white women have helped keep the Republican Party afloat for decades. And now suburban white conservative women are saying, you know what, "Me Too" and not anymore. Time is up.

And if these voters go to the polls in November and they feel as though the Republican Party underscores intimidation of women, they underscore sexual harassment, they underscore all these really nasty things that frankly women across the political spectrum have to deal with on a regular basis, they might not be willing to cast a ballot for a Republican candidate.

LEMON: The president -- go ahead, Alice.

STEWART: I think it will also be interesting to Symone's point that women will be interesting to see how at the end of all of this, at the end of this road, how they will reflect on the president. But also the evangelical community.

A lot of them continue to stand behind the president on this issue, saying that they are going to give him a mulligan on this and others say they shouldn't look to the president to be their faith leader in this country.

But if we continue to have drip by drip by drip whether Stormy Daniels or McDougal or any of these other women, I can't help but think the evangelical community is going to get fed up with it eventually and they are going to have to hold his feet to the fire.

SANDERS: One could only hope, Alice. One could only hope.

STEWART: Yes. I support his policies. I support what he has done with regard to jobs and the economy, but I have absolutely zero patience for this kind of disgusting mess. And I'm -- I'm thinking if this continues, the evangelical community will feel the same.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, what happens when students who have been through horrific mass shootings come together in Washington? They make change. I'll speak to a student from Stoneman Douglas High School and another one from Newtown, Connecticut. That's next.

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LEMON: Hundreds of thousands of students are gathering in Washington and across the country ahead of tomorrow's "March For Our Lives" to end the gun violence. The president and most members of Congress won't be there to see it, but the students who are America's future voters are determined to make their voices heard.

I want to bring in now two of them. Isabella Wakeman is a student at Newtown, Connecticut who was 11 years old at the time of Sandy Hook massacre. And Carli Albert is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 students and teachers were killed in a rampage shooting on Valentine's Day.

I'm so glad you guys are here. I wish we could have met under better circumstance. Thank you very much.

Carli, I'm going to start with you. Let's first talk about your story. You are a triplet and you and your twin brothers were all there when the shooting started. Tell us what happened.

CARLI ALBERT, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: I am a senior at Marjory Douglas and I have two twin brothers that were there, one of which was in the freshman building where the shooting occurred.

And I also have -- my father is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and he was protecting his students because they were walking toward the building because that is where they go during the fire drill which did occur during the shooting.

They had to run back to the office because they heard gunshots, so he sheltered over 30 kids in the security shack which is like inside the office.

[23:50:03] LEMON: I should probably should have asked you guys first, how are you coping? How are you dealing?

ALBERT: It's really hard for me because I did lose a friend and one of the girls in my basketball team got injured. She suffered five shots to the right side of her body. But she's back at school now and she's recovering really well.

LEMON: Yes. And you play on the basketball team. You're a center and varsity player as we can see from your sweatshirt you have on. So, Isabella, let me talk to you now.

ISABELLA WAKEMAN, STUDENT, NEWTOWN HIGH SCHOOL: Hi.

LEMON: You were in the sixth grade -- hi. You were in the sixth grade of Newtown, Connecticut when the mass shooting happened at Sandy Hook. Are your middle school was just a few miles away? How has that horrible day influenced your childhood and what you're involved with now?

WAKEMAN: Today it still makes me and my friends all scared to go to school. We fear going out anywhere in public, any large situation. We have to be hyperaware of our surroundings because we know what it's like to feel like our lives are in danger.

We know what it's like to be stuck in a closet for hours not knowing what's going on outside. And so we really have to be careful about where we're going and we really live with fear because of what happened.

LEMON: What will be going through your mind at the march tomorrow? There's going to be a lot of people. Are you going to be concerned there?

WAKEMAN: Unfortunately, yes. It is a large city and we are a large target, but that will not stop any of us from still coming and still doing what is right and start making a change because without it, shootings will continue to happen.

LEMON: You started an alliance, Isabella. Tell me about it. WAKEMAN: So our Jr. Newton Action Alliance started five years ago after the Sandy Hook massacre. And even then, I started going down to D.C. to lobby in Congress. And today, I am trying to do the same thing, trying to pass the same gun laws because what happened in Parkland is almost exactly what happened to us. And even five years ago our efforts did not work. We're hoping now that they will work.

LEMON: Well, I hope that something is done. Carli, this happened in Isabella's community, you know, a few years ago, five years ago. The shooting was at your high school. That was back in February. And way too many shootings have happened in between. What do you think is different now? Why do you think you're seeing a bigger push for change?

ALBERT: I think it happened at a time where we witnessed all of these mass shootings, like Las Vegas, and Pulse nightclub shooting, and it's just we are sick of it. We are tired of politicians taking money from the NRA and not caring about lives of children and they're taking money instead.

We need to get back on track. We need to save kids' lives instead of running with the NRA. It's different this time because people from all over the United States will be participating, but not only the United States, all over the world. So it's not just a local issue anymore. It's worldwide.

LEMON: Isabella, what do you think is different, having been, having lived in the community where one of these shootings and then now. Why is this different?

WAKEMAN: I think the very first shooting or at least the Sandy Hook massacre created a huge tear in the country's hearts. And it eventually did heal but it's still there. And that healing didn't lead to any change. Now that it happened again, the tear has reopened and I really think that this time it's not going to heal until we know we are actually safe.

LEMON: As you guys march tomorrow, what message are you hoping to send to the government, to officials? What are you hoping they'll take away from this march? Either of you.

WAKEMAN: We're hoping that our voices are finally heard. We know that Congress works slowly, if not at all. And we know that thinking that something will happen immediately is not reasonable at all. But the very first step is getting our voice heard, getting our numbers piled up together to really show that the people matter and that's exactly what our country was built on, the voices of the people. And by them not listening to the voices of the people, they're not caring about the fundamental rights of our country.

ALBERT: I'm 18, so I am now able to vote. And all of my friends are now able to vote. And we are all going to the voting polls. We're not going to forget about this. This is not going to be another shooting. This is going to be the time where we all get together and we are going to vote people out who don't support banning assault rifles and weapons.

LEMON: Carli, Isabella, good luck, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

WAKEMAN: Thank you.

ALBERT: Thank you.

LEMON: Absolutely. We'll be right back.

[23:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Terminal cancer is a devastating diagnosis, but as Jon Albert's wife battle the disease, he realized he could turn the time she had left into a priceless gift for their family of four. Since then, Jon has given more than a thousand families in the same heart- wrenching situation a chance to do the same. And that's why he's this week's CNN hero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON ALBERT, CNN HERO: The cruelest part of late stage cancer is the emotion. Guilt that you're leaving behind your children. And dread that you're going to miss their milestones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Florida.

ALBERT: We give the family the chance to have fun, have positive memories. We are trying to give each family their own unique treasured time together.

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[24:00:05] LEMON: To find out more about how Jon helps these families make everlasting memories and to nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, go to cnnheroes.com.

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