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Mystery Client Brought Up by Cohen's Lawyer; James Comey's War with Trump; "New York Times:" Trump's Advisers Conclude the Cohen Investigation is Greater Threat Than Mueller Probe; Arrest of Two Black Men at Starbucks Sparks Anger; Kamau Bell Was Kicked Out of a Coffee Shop in 2015 while Chatting with His Wife and Her Friends. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 16, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We have time to hand it over to don lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now. See you tomorrow.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
You know, you've got a blockbuster day in court when the porn star who says she slept with the president isn't the biggest news of the day. No, the biggest revelation was one that pretty much nobody saw coming.
Michael Cohen's attorney was forced to reveal the name of his mystery third client and boy, was it a bombshell. It's Sean Hannity. Yes, Sean Hannity who had asked to remain anonymous. And he said this on his radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer. But I have occasional had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. And I assumed that those conversations were attorney/client confidential.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Hannity also says his dealings with Cohen were, quote, "almost exclusively about real estate." But he didn't explain how, on the one hand, he could claim he never retained Cohen as a lawyer, while on the other hand, claiming their conversations were attorney/client confidential.
Another question he didn't answer, why he never saw fit to mention the Cohen connection before today and to his audience. And there's more. There's a return of Stormy Daniels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be careful. Be careful. Be careful.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: You really can't make this up. The porn star didn't just attend today's hearing, she stepped up to the microphones on the courthouse steps to say this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: So for years Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law. He has considered himself and openly referred to himself as Mr. Trump's fixer. He's played by a different set of rules, or should we say, no rules at all. He has never thought that the little man or especially women, and even more, women like me, mattered. That ends now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But that's not all. Not by a long shot. There's also the latest salvo in James Comey's war on President Trump. Even with all the salacious stuff we've heard from Comey's book, this is explosive. I want you to listen to what Comey tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they're pieces of meat. Who lies constantly about matters big and small and insist the American people believe it. That person is not fit to be president of the United States on moral grounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A day of one blockbuster after another. Yet, around here, we call that Monday. Just the beginning of the week. It's going to be a long week ahead. I want to bring in now CNN Senior Media Correspondent, Brian Stelter. Chief National Correspondent, Jim Sciutto, and Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.
Listen, I'm not trying to be facetious here, but if you -- I say you can't make this up. If you wrote this script for Hollywood, is it too obvious? No way, Sean Hannity, no. So, Jim, let's get some of the reporting from you. Good evening to all of you, by the way. Let's start with that Sean Hannity revelation. I mean, it's an extraordinary development. Walk us through it.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was quite -- it was quite a moment in the courtroom. My colleague, Shimon Prokupecz was in there and he said that there were audible gasps when the name was finally revealed that Sean Hannity was that mysterious third client.
And it's interesting, you hear about the back and forth there, because the president's lawyers had argued, Michael Cohen's lawyer, rather, had argued, that this person would be quote, "embarrassed to be revealed to be a client of Michael Cohen." This person was a prominent person who didn't want the attention.
And in fact, the judge responded that in fact the prosecutors argued that being embarrassed is not a reason to have your name not revealed and the judge agreed and then forced them to reveal the name. And when those words, when that name came off the lips of Michael Cohen's lawyers, there was that audible gasp in the courtroom, in part for the reason that you mentioned there, because this is someone who has apparently a speaking relationship with the president and has, one, spoken out certainly in support of Comey, but also very much, very angrily, you could say at times, against the treatment of Michael Cohen, particularly during the raid last week.
So, in effect, he had skin in the game and that was revealed today.
LEMON: Laura, let's talk about the legality of this, OK? Because if there are any, who knows. But Hannity says that he never paid Cohen and never did any -- he never did any legal work involving a third party.
[22:04:59] He went on further, tweeting tonight, he said, "In response to some wild speculation, let me make it clear that I did not ask Michael Cohen to bring this proceeding on my behalf. I have no personal interest in this proceeding. And in fact, ask that my -- what should I say, my de minimis discussions with -- excuse me, Michael Cohen, which dealt almost exclusively about real estate, not be made a part of this proceeding."
So how unusual is it for someone to alert a federal judge about the existence of a mystery client, only to have the mystery client deny he's a client. And also, you can see the legal terminology there. I want to make sure I'm saying this--
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Definitely not Hannity's lawyers.
LEMON: He lawyered up. But go on.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. You know, this is the understatement of the year, that it's extraordinary. The idea of having an accidental client may be a possibility, where you give legal advice at a cocktail party and the person acts on that and thinks that you're their attorney.
The idea of being an accidental attorney is what we're talking about here. Where Michael Cohen has said, I am this person's attorney. He is one of my clients that I'm working with. But lo and behold, Hannity says, not only did I never retain him, he never represented me. I never paid him, I never got an invoice.
Now, the payment and the invoice, you could totally be a pro bono attorney for somebody, and still have an attorney/client relationship but what you cannot have, however, is that there is no agreement of the mind, there is no agreement formal or otherwise to suggest that's your attorney. And you cannot have a privilege attached to all those things.
What you're seeing here is his attempt to have double speak. On the one hand, it may be self-serving to protect some of my communications, so in the event that it's useful to me, maybe I did mean to have my conversations to be confidential. But on the other hand, you cannot say that you never had an attorney/client relationship, and then expect to give the benefit of the privilege.
And finally, Don, the privilege belongs to the client. Even if they did have a client and attorney relationship, it would be for Sean Hannity to say that he can talk about it, not Michael Cohen to assert it and try to protect himself from disclosure.
LEMON: Yes. Brian, before we go any further, the chances that Michael Cohen helping Hannity without the president's knowledge or without Trump's knowledge is hard to believe. And it's important, I think, to understand this relationship between Hannity and the president.
LEMON: So let's play this and then we'll discuss.
2(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will say this. You have been so great. And I'm very proud of you.
HANNITY: All of the accomplishments of the president, keeping his promise, checking off his list.
TRUMP: And Hannity, how good is Hannity, you say? And he's a great guy and he's an honest guy.
HANNITY: Take a look on your screen, right there. Here is a list of president Trump's accomplishments for 2017.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: To Trump helps Fox, Fox helps Trump, we all know that. But this is different, isn't it?
STELTER: I do think we learned more today about just how deep these connections are. That it's not only that Hannity is advising Trump, that Trump is promoting Hannity's show, that Hannity is attacking Trump's perceived enemies. It's also that they share legal counsel.
And that, you know, it does speak to the deep friendships that are in effect here. And to the tangled relationships that the face of these men are at least in some way intertwined.
And I think we have a better understanding of that now as a result of this. It also, it does affect Hannity's nightly talking points. Every single night, he is trying to tear down Robert Mueller, get Mueller off the case, get Rosenstein out. He is trying to stop the Russia probes.
And now I think now that we've heard about Cohen now that we've heard about this in court, I do think in some little way, it will affect Hannity on the air, even though he's going to keep try to defend Trump at all costs.
LEMON: Well, here's the thing, you can be friends with whoever you want.
LEMON: You can retain as your legal counsel as whoever you want. But as someone who is on the air and you know, Sean, he will tell you, he's not a journal, he's a host. But don't you think he should have disclosed that?
STELTER: This would have been an obvious thing to share with his--
LEMON: And there would be no consequence.
STELTER: -- viewers. And Fox, I've been asking Fox, did he at least disclose this to his bosses? No comment from Fox. One of the issues here is that Hannity has, I would argue too much autonomy. There doesn't seem to be any real rules in effect for Hannity at Fox. Doesn't seem to be any real standards for what he says on the air. He is still on a channel that says news in the bottom of the screen, even though he claims journalism is dead. He's on a news channel. So he should be held to a certain standard, yes.
LEMON: Jim, you know, Hannity, he's one of that network's, Fox's most popular personalities. He's been covering this investigation. Here's how he reacted to the news of the raids on Michael Cohen last week. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: Do you think Hillary Clinton's attorneys had their offices raided during this e-mail investigation? Not a chance. Mueller has ostensibly tonight declared war against the president of the United States. Clearly his objective is to remove him from office.
Now, I've told you and I've told anyone who will listen. Mueller's team is corrupt, starting with him and it has been from the beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jim, interest take about a raid on what turned out to be someone he went to for legal advice, isn't it?
[22:10:03] SCIUTTO: Well, listen to the commonality between that language about Mueller and the institution between Sean Hannity and the president, right? I mean, there's been a consistent attack on legal institutions. I mean, those who were -- that's quite a stunning final word there. Robert Mueller is corrupt. I mean, this guy who--
STELTER: Every night. Every night, he says it over and over again. Yes, it's a poison. SCIUTTO: And it's every night. He do.
STELTER: Go ahead.
SCIUTTO: And for someone who served multiple administrations and who we hear is a republican, a Vietnam War hero, et cetera, it's just a remarkable thing to hear. And I don't think that, you know, I'm a journalist, right? But I've covered these institutions under administrations of both parties. And that level of attack is one that I haven't heard from, from prominent political figures from any party, frankly, up to this point.
And that is, you know, it's insidious. And I speak all the time to folks who work diligently inside institutions such as the FBI. And, you know, to imagine that they can tune that out, I think, is a bit farfetched, right? I mean, they genuinely worry.
And you hear that from the leadership of those institutions, too. You hear it from Chris Wray, you know, appointees of this president making a point of praising the work, saying that they will do their work independently and sort of forge on, despite this attack.
And I really, I don't -- I know we hear it every day, so you kind of get numb to it, it's like water off a duck's back, but it's no small thing and I think we have to be conscious of that.
LEMON: Yes. Listen, no network is perfect, but I think the disclosure is a big part. We would have to disclose it here at CNN. And then, again, there would be no controversy. Either we wouldn't cover stories that had to deal -- if I -- let's just say, I had a relationship with him as an attorney, maybe I couldn't. The network would say, every time you do a story, you have to disclose that you've had dealings with him as a personal attorney or you would not cover stories about him. That's just how it operates here and that's journalistic standards.
But I just want to say, look, in all of this, put up the Stormy Daniels video. Stormy Daniels today in court watching all of this unfolds. Can we put it up? There we go. I don't know if it was a smart move for her lawyer. Maybe it was, because that's where the cameras were and it certainly created some chaos outside the courtroom. And take a look at today's Daily News cover or tomorrow's, at least. Here it is, for Fox sake.
STELTER: It's like all of these stories seem to be intersecting--
STELTER: -- seem to be merging. Daniels and others. And by the way, she's on The View tomorrow. She's going to have a lot more to say tomorrow.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Brian. Everyone else, stick around. We'll be right back.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: So James Comey is far from finished with the war on President Trump. There's plenty of salacious stuff in his new book, but the most explosive charge may be his allegation that the president may have obstructed justice.
Jim Sciutto and Laura Coates are back with me. And joining me now is Ali Soufan. He's a former FBI special agent who worked with James Comey. Welcome to the program.
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much. So Jim, the FBI director James Comey, former FBI director James Comey spoke about his private conversations with President TRUMP, raising questions about obstruction of justice. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: Why did he kick out the attorney general and the vice president of the United States and the leaders of the intelligence community? Why am I alone if he doesn't know the nature of the request?
But it's possible in the moment I should have -- you know, another person would have said, sir, you can't ask me that. That's a criminal investigation. That could be obstruction of justice.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Was president Trump obstructing justice?
COMEY: Possibly. It's certainly some evidence of obstruction of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jim Comey's account may weigh heavily on the special counsel's investigation on Russia.
SCIUTTO: Listen, I think this is the way we should think about Comey principally here. I mean, set aside for a moment his comments about Trump's appearance or his opinion of Trump's fitness for office and remember what he is or could be, which is a witness in the special counsel's investigation. Not just from his position, but because he was witness to -- he was party to, he was in the room alone with President Trump during a central focus of this investigation, which is that conversation he was just describing there.
This is early in the president's term. He invites him in, he kicks out the vice president and the attorney general or kindly asked them to leave and in that conversation, according to Comey, he asked them to let it go. The president's terms, in terms of the investigation, which was then underway, criminal investigation of Michael Flynn, which Comey said in his interview that he took as a direction.
He took that the president of the United States, his boss, was directing him to end that investigation. He did not, but it is certainly something that we know the special counsel is already interested in, because we know 2that he's asked other witnesses questions about that.
So I think look at Comey as a witness and he said in that interview as well, that if asked by special counsel Mueller to describe that interaction and others under oath, as a witness, if the special counsel decides to prosecute, he would do it.
LEMON: Yes, Ali, I'm so glad to have you here. You know James Comey, you've worked with him. Don't you think he's in a unique position to know if the president obstructed justice?
SOUFAN: Well, you know, it depends. He's talking about an early time. In his views, he said, possibly, he obstructed justice. It's definitely elements of the obstruction of justice case.
The investigation is going on. And he cannot comment on what Mueller is doing. Remember, Comey's turn in the FBI, you know ended when Mueller's investigation started. So he has to be very careful to talk about ongoing investigations.
However, he can talk about his own personal opinions, as Jim said, he is going to be a witness in this case. And if there is anything that he knows about ongoing investigations, that has to be reviewed by the FBI before he published his book. And his book was reviewed by the FBI. So he has to be very careful in what he talks about and what he says about what's happening today.
LEMON: But not when he sits down with the special counsel. He doesn't have, so can say anything, right?
SOUFAN: Well, he can say what he knows.
SOUFAN: Here he's saying his point--
LEMON: He can't do that on television?
SOUFAN: Yes, I don't believe so. And I think he respects that. You know, remember, James Comey is one of the top prosecutors in this nation. He led the southern district of New York. He led the Department of Justice, he led the FBI. And he has a story to tell. And his story is based on leadership and how he views the president of the United States.
LEMON: He said he should have told, in the conversation, he should have said, Mr. President, you're not allowed to ask me that. Should he tell the president what the boundaries are to the president? No?
[22:20:01] SOUFAN: Well, I think he should. And you know, as you saw with Comey, he's humble and he's very self-doubting, you know? He was in a difficult position and he believes that he probably could have, should have said that. I believe that he should have said that. But again, let's put it in the context of what was happening at the time. LEMON: President Comey tweeted this today, Laura. He said, "Comey
drafted the crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her. He lied in Congress to Senator G. then base his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe and the others committed many crimes." That doesn't sound like the president. Anyways.
So when Comey initially cleared Hillary Clinton in the e-mail investigation, President Trump criticized him saying it was a rigged system. When Comey announced the reopening of the case in October, the president said it took guts for Comey to do that. Is Trump's opinion of Comey based on whether or not his actions are favorable to the president?
COATES: Well, absolutely. You see, you can't have it both ways. I mean, you're talking about James Comey, the reason why his decision- making process was flawed is because he usurped the power of the attorney general. See, he was all the things that your prior guest was talking about, and I agree, he was formerly a prosecutor, the top prosecutor in the land.
But when he -- top prosecutor at FDNY. But when he was the head of the FBI, he was an investigator who was under the umbrella of Loretta Lynch, then the attorney general of the United States. And in that role, he usurped it by going forward with the press conference and then coming back later, perhaps without the evidence to substantiate a basis to reopen publicly the investigation into Hillary Clinton's e- mail story in a different way.
So in that way, the criticism is fair. But the president of the United States' critique of James Comey I don't think is based on that sound analysis. I think it's based primarily on fact that his name is by far I think recognizable about the FBI and it fits into his greater narrative about how to undermine their credibility.
LEMON: Yes. Listen, Ali, leaving the possibility that the Russians something on president Comey, do you think that's responsible? Irresponsible? Should Comey have done that?
SOUFAN: Well, I think he's talking about his own personal opinion. Somebody asked him about it, I think George Stephanopoulos asked him about it and he responded. That's what he feels, that's what he thinks. That's what he believes he knows.
Again, the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election started with Mueller in so many different ways. The FBI initially started some kind of investigation about contacts of people here in the United States with elements conducted to the Russians, but it wasn't a full investigation about the Trump campaign or about the president himself. We don't know where Robert Mueller is in his investigation.
LEMON: So Ali, before I go, again, since you know him, when you hear folks say, you know, comparing him to a crime boss, saying that, you know, he's corrupt, that he's lying Comey and all of that. What do you think? SOUFAN: Comey is an honorable man. And fundamentally, he's an
honorable individual. And he's the first to tell you that sometimes he makes mistakes. Sometimes he call it right and sometimes he call it wrong. And I think these are very unfair description of somebody with integrity of James Comey.
LEMON: Thank you, all. I appreciate it.
When we come back, I'm going to ask John Dean what he thinks about James Comey's claims and if he agrees that the president might have obstructed justice.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The former FBI Director, James Comey, flat-out saying he believes that there's some evidence that the president committed a crime. But is he right?
Let's bring in CNN contributor John Dean, the former counsel in the Nixon White House. And you know about this stuff, obviously having lived and survived Watergate.
So the big question coming from that interview with James Comey is about obstruction of justice. Based on what you heard from the former FBI director, you think the President of the United States obstructed justice or attempted to?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think we heard a lot new. I think we heard him repeat and we heard in his own words again what he had said in testimony and implied that he thinks there's an destruction. He's giving evidence that he I think assure shows evidence of obstruction, and indeed, it is.
LEMON: It's not, you don't have to obstruct. Si it an attempt to -- what is the word?
DEAN: Endeavor, is the word in the statute. But the thing is, Don, the president probably isn't subject to the statute. He cannot be prosecuted by the Department of Justice under--
LEMON: So if it was any other citizen--
DEAN: Any other citizen--
LEMON: -- he would already be--
LEMON: You think so?
LEMON: Wow. I want to get your take on this Michael Cohen case. Because you know, if you -- I'm sure writers in Hollywood are going, my gosh, they're stealing my stuff. They're doing better than we are.
In a transcript that I use the term to describe, his office describes this as fast-moving, a fast moving investigation and so it's also, you know, says aside from this raid, they already have considerable amounts of information about Mr. Cohen's activities.
I just to make sure I get the quotes right here.
What does that say to you about this investigation and where it's heading?
DEAN: It says to me that when they had the covert listening or pursuit of his e-mails, they learned an awful lot about him. And they apparently did that for a couple of months. So e-mails can tell somebody an awful lot about what somebody is doing.
LEMON: Yes. What do you think about the ruling today? Do you think there's going to be -- reveal what they see in this raid? Because it seems that every side got a little bit of something. The president lost, because he didn't block. Michael Cohen is going to have access to the information and so on and so forth. What do you think this reveals about?
DEAN: I think it reveals a partial win for the president. I think it reveals that he's going to get to know what they were looking for, based on what they found and what they did take. But he may not get it all. He didn't certainly, block them from getting it, which was his goal.
DEAN: And unprecedented.
LEMON: "The New York Times" reveal that reports that several people close to the president see this investigation into Cohen as a greater threat than the Mueller investigation. Do you believe that? Do you think that--
[22:30:02] DEAN: I'm one who would agree with that.
LEMON: Why is that?
DEAN: Well, the southern district is one tough district. When I was in Washington the southern district indicted the former Attorney General John Mitchell, the former secretary of interior, Maurice Stans, without giving any heads up to Washington. That's how tough they are.
LEMON: The recordings -- it has been said that he records conversations, meaning Michael Cohen.
LEMON: How much trouble could the President be in because of this Cohen investigation, if he indeed recorded the conversations, and the FBI has that? Is that a smoking gun?
DEAN: Then potentially it could be a smoking gun, potentially a lot of trouble. You know, we don't know who and how he did record. There are no e-mails he has from the President, because the President doesn't do the keyboard, other than this one, apparently.
DEAN: And so, you know, I think that they're very worried. I see the Southern District, Don, as potentially much more troubling than the special counsel for this reason. Counter intelligence is difficult for the public to understand. It's very nuanced.
The President can say, listen, I was trying to get peace with Putin, trying to see if I could have a good relationship with him, seeing if that wouldn't help the United States. That's all very nuanced.
But what the Southern District prosecutes, money laundering, bribery, extortion, these are things people understand. And that's what they're looking at up here.
LEMON: Is there a chance, as I speak to people who work in law enforcement, and in, you know, has knowledge about the Justice Department, it may be a bigger potential threat, because if state charges are filed, there is no pardoning. And...
DEAN: The Southern District won't -- the Southern District will not file state charges. They will do federal charges, also.
LEMON: But there may be other state charges?
DEAN: There may be state charges. In fact, I've read a couple of articles recently by lawyers, noting in court submissions by the special counsel how they seem to be holding back evidence for state prosecution in Virginia and New York, which is kind of an interesting angle.
LEMON: And that's the President's biggest vulnerability and Michael Cohen's, because he can't pardon him, and then...
DEAN: He's got a war on two fronts.
LEMON: Thank you, John Dean, always a pleasure.
DEAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, sir. When we come back, two black men arrested in Philadelphia at a Starbucks. Protesters now calling for a boycott of the stores, and Starbucks' CEO apologizing, but are apologies enough? And why do things like this keep happening in America?
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Anger spreading in Philadelphia and across the country over an incident at a Starbucks last Thursday, a manager calling police, asking that two black men being removed from the store for trespassing.
The men had asked to use a restroom, but we're told it was for a customer only, then they sat at a table waiting for a friend to arrive, but didn't make a purchase. The scene caught on camera by other customers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did they get called for? Because they're two black guys sitting here meeting?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what did they do? What did they do? Someone tell me they did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't do anything. I saw the entire thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The two men arrested and handcuffed. They weren't charged and eventually were released. Joining me now is Melissa DePino, an eyewitness. Melissa, thank you so much for joining us. You were in that Starbucks when these men were arrested?
MELISSA DEPINO, EYEWITNESS TO STARBUCKS ARRESTS: I was in the Starbucks.
LEMON: And tweeted out this video?
LEMON: So, tell us what you saw leading up to this video.
DEPINO: Well, you know, I really just noticed something was happening when I saw two police officers come into the Starbucks, and go over, and talk to the men, and then a couple more officers came in, and then a couple more, and I think there were six or eight of them.
And some time during that time, their friend, who you can see in the video showed up, that's who they were meeting. And we were all just wondering, you know, why are all these policemen here, why are they trying to make these men leave?
They were just sitting there like everyone else. And you know, we all sort of started standing up, and you know, sort of talking to the people behind the counter, and to the police officers, and asking what was happening. And then they put them in handcuffs, and took them out.
LEMON: And they were -- when the police arrived, I mean, how did the other customers react? Because they weren't -- there was no yelling, nothing, right? They were pretty calm.
DEPINO: There was no yelling, there was no aggression. I mean, they were sitting there like anybody else would be sitting in a Starbucks at any time. And when the police officers were talking to them, there were no raised voices.
I was sitting really close by and, you know, I couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, because they were talking in a regular tone. So, no, there was no disturbance.
LEMON: So what did the other customers do? How did they react?
DEPINO: Well, most of the other customers got up, and started saying, what's -- just like the man you see on the video, their friend, I mean, what's going on? Why are they asked to leave?
You know, there was another woman who said, I've been sitting here with my Gatorade, and I've been here for two hours, and nobody said anything to me.
You know, I mentioned that I had been there in that store the day before, and I sat there for an hour, I didn't order anything, I was waiting for my son, and then I left.
LEMON: You said -- you've been saying that this doesn't -- you know, this doesn't happen to white people. That's what you say.
DEPINO: Absolutely. Absolutely. I can go wherever I want, do whatever I want, and this would never happen to me. And you know, the thing that I've been saying is that, you know, I know that this happens every day to black and brown people in this country, and we just don't hear about it. We don't see it.
I mean, it's out there. But people don't see it, they don't hear it, they don't believe it. And having this tweet go viral, over 10 million views, you know, I'm glad it's out there.
And that however it got out there, I'm glad it's out there, and I'm glad it's sort of sparking conversation so that people who experience this can be the ones to talk about it.
[22:40:07] LEMON: And maybe something will happen, and do more than talk, right? Some action to make a difference. Well, we hope that it makes a difference and we thank you for joining us, Melissa.
DEPINO: Thanks so much, Don. I appreciate it.
LEMON: I want to bring in now CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Charles Ramsey, a former Philadelphia Commissioner -- Police Commissioner, and CNN Political Contributor, Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia.
We've assembled the right people to talk about this. Good evening to both of you, gentleman. You know, as the former mayor of Philadelphia, how do you feel about this incident happening in your city?
MICHAEL NUTTER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, Don, let me say, now as a private citizen, that -- I would certainly like to apologize to these two gentlemen. What happened to them is certainly unacceptable. It's a horrible situation, poorly handled by the manager at Starbucks.
I have no idea what was going on in that person's mind, but this is not the Philadelphia that I know, and love, and have served most of my adult life. We will not be defined by this kind of unacceptable incident and behavior.
And the company will now deal with the two gentlemen. But I just wanted to say that as a private citizen, it is -- you know, for me, look, in office, and out of office, I love this city.
And for us to be, you know, national, international news, for something, so, you know, ignorant, it really does break my heart, and we have to be able to move forward from this, because we are the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, I believe we will.
But we cannot ignore, as the previous person indicated that, you know, these situations occur, whether in Philadelphia or anywhere else in the country. And cannot be glossed over, from what I can see and hear, Starbucks is not doing that.
This may be the first time in history that the CEO of a major company came to a particular city, literally to apologize to these two individuals. I don't think that happened in the United Airlines situation...
LEMON: It's the last thing they need, Mayor.
NUTTER: ... and then talked to Kevin Johnson.
LEMON: It's the last thing they need. And they certainly don't need a Boycott. And you know, Charles, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Roth said that his offices did nothing wrong.
He also said that he wished this hadn't happened. He said, quote, as an African-American male, I'm very aware of implicit bias. Did the officers do the right thing in this incident do you think, Commissioner?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think the officers did the right thing because they responded to a 911 call of -- that was placed by the manager of Starbucks.
So I don't think the problem is with the officers. I think the problem is with the manager at Starbucks. Why did she call to begin with?
LEMON: But don't the officers have discretion when they get to the scene, if they ask you what you're doing, and they can't really explain, and they say, I'm sitting here, I don't understand.
Don't they have the discretion, Commissioner, to not, you know, arrest these people for doing what most people do in a Starbucks, to go and grab some power at a plug, wait for a friend, use the bathroom or, you know, get 2some -- use some Wi-Fi?
RAMSEY: Well, the officers do have discretion, there's no question about that, at all. But my understanding -- and again, I wasn't there, but my understanding, have been spoken with the commissioner after this occurred, is that the manager insisted that they be escorted out.
That they weren't buying anything, that's against their policy. We've had problems before with Starbucks, with a uniformed police sergeant in Philadelphia that was refused entry to the bathroom because they weren't buying coffee.
And they were on duty working at the time, and this happened to be a white sergeant. So I think Starbucks has to really think about their policies. When is it appropriate to call the police? We're not private body guards and bouncers.
I mean, if a person commits a crime, that's one thing. If they don't, then they should deal with it some other way. But my understanding is that the manager did want them not only escorted out, but wanted to weigh some complaints.
LEMON: Mayor, you wanted to weigh in on the officer discretion?
NUTTER: I mean, as you pointed out, Don, yes, there is some discretion that the officers can exercise. And, you know, as the commissioner said, it appears that, you know, slightly between a rock and a hard place.
But I will say, you know, every person who is stopped, if you run a light, yellow light, red light, or something like that, I mean, you know, every person does not receive a ticket. But there's often some discussion or something like that.
I just think that they ended up in a really bad situation, and sometimes whether it's a supervisor, or different officers, possibly making the different judgment call in that regard.
But again, back to the manager, you know, if you call the police, you know, something is going to happen. You call the fire department, you can't complain that your carpet got wet. You know, why did you call in the first place?
NUTTER: Why don't you try to talk it out?
[22:45:01] LEMON: That's what the commissioner is saying.
NUTTER: They said they're waiting for somebody, then wait and see if they are waiting for somebody.
LEMON: That's what the commissioner is saying. NUTTER: They were not disturbing the peace. They were not bothering
anybody. They were not raising their voices. They were sitting at tables, and the place wasn't even that crowded.
NUTTER: So, I mean, again, from what we hear from management, they're trying to deal with their policies, trying to help their employees better understand how to deal with these situations. And as the commissioner said, when should you call police.
LEMON: Yes, I want to get Charles Ramsey in, just one more question before we run out of time here. The Mayor's Office of Black Male Engagement said the best thing the men did was to cooperate and not get hostile. Do you agree with that?
RAMSEY: Yes, certainly, I agree with it. But from what I heard from your previous guest, the officers didn't raise their voice, the two gentlemen didn't raise their voices. They discussed it in a rational rationale, reasonable way.
And so that wasn't an issue at all. The issue was really why were the police called to begin with? But they certainly handled themselves properly, because the thing could have escalated had they not done that.
LEMON: Mayor, Commissioner, pleasure to have you both on. Thank you so much for joining us.
RAMSEY: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you.
NUTTER: Thank you.
LEMON: The sad truth is what happened in that Starbucks could happen any place in this country. Millions of people of color could tell similar stories. One of them is CNN's Kamau Bell. I'm going to talk to him after this.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The arrest of the two black men at a Starbucks is sadly not at all surprising to a lot of African-Americans. So many of us have these stories just like this -- black and brown Americans. I can't to talk about this with Kamau Bell, host of CNN's United Shades of America. Kamau, how are you doing?
KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: Hello, sir. How are you doing?
LEMON: Yes. You know I have Emmys too, now.
BELL: I've heard about it.
LEMON: Talking about our problem -- seriously, get out of business here. You heard the interview with the mayor and the commissioner, the Starbucks incident is very similar to your own experience in 2015. Tell us about that.
BELL: Well, yes. I think we have to stop pretending this is about one Starbucks or one coffee shop, these things happen in coffee shops and businesses every day where black people get kicked out, or asked to leave, we don't get to do things white people are allowed to do.
In 2015, on my birthday actually, I was told to leave the Elmwood Cafe in Berkeley, California because they thought I was harassing my wife, and my 13-week-old baby. And so...
BELL: Yes, exactly. You know, because I was -- and I talked to my wife about a minute. I met her and a friend at this coffee shop, and they told me to leave because somebody had complained about me being there.
And the thing that I realized, and I think about this -- with these two black men at the Starbucks, is that I was afraid they would call the cops. I actually thought like...
LEMON: No one called the cops on you, right? No one called the cops, and no one mistakenly thought that you had a gun. But did you worry about those things?
BELL: I did worry about those things because we were -- in 2015, we were in the middle of Ferguson being in all the headlines. And so I know that was a possibility.
But here's the thing that's so sic sickening about it, Don, the reason why I don't think the cops were called because my wife was right there, who is white, and she able to go, that's my husband, this is -- we are together. I'm his wife.
And I think that probably her white skin actually probably took some of the -- some of the heat out of situation, which is sad, but true.
LEMON: After that happened, Kamau, you, your wife, the owner of the cafe, along with activists had a community forum on racism at a school in Berkeley. How did that go?
BELL: Well, I just found out that he blocked me on Facebook. The Elmwood Cafe blocked me on Facebook because I have complained that over more than three years since the incident happened, they said they were going to do a bunch of things, a bunch of community initiatives, they were going to teach about for some advice in the neighborhood, in the city, they had done none of it.
And they had a website up until today that I said, it's just white square with yellow around it, they had done nothing about it, and now their solution is to block me on Facebook.
And that's why, I think, we have to talk about Starbucks. Starbucks is a much bigger company than this Elmwood Cafe. But if we don't keep the pressure on, they are just going to wait for the heat to die down, and then go back to business as usual. And we can't afford that. And once again, this is not just about
coffee shops and these black men. The only reason we know about is because there is white woman there who tweeted that out.
This is about how black people are treated in this country. This issue is linked to the black teenage boy who was shot at when he is asking for directions. These are all the same thing, Don.
LEMON: Well, it's interesting because it happened in Philadelphia, right -- a city that has a big minority population, a big black population.
I used to live in Philadelphia, and people were surprised whenever I tell them when I lived there that these racist incidents happened. You thing -- you know, maybe it just happens in the south. And you live in Berkley though, I mean that's a liberal -- you don't get more liberal -- liberal bastion happened everyday.
BELL: Oh, please, I hope we get more liberal in Berkeley. Please, Lord. Please, black Jesus.
BELL: Don't believe the alt right hype. Berkeley is not as liberal as they want -- you know, believe it is. And the thing I want to say about that is that -- because I just did hear the police commissioner talking in the previous segment, they are acting like the situation was successful because the black men didn't get mad, and the cops didn't get mad.
Those black men were imprisoned, or were held in custody for almost nine hours. They out like 1:30 in the morning, how is that a successful situation?
If they had had told them to -- of they had led them out of Starbucks and left them to go on their way with their friend maybe -- maybe that's successful. But they actually took them into custody for nine hours. This is -- that can't be success.
LEMON: And they have records now -- and I was talking to the mayor and the commissioner, after the segment just aired in the commercial break. They said, well, now they have to get their records expunged. That's a long process. This is very expensive. So they are in the system now even though -- because they were processed even though they let them go.
BELL: Yes. You can't wipe out the memory of being in jail for nine hours. You can't wipe out the memory of having to get your record expunged. You can't also wipe out the memory of that video going out everywhere. They will forever be known as those two black men in that video.
LEMON: So what do we do, Kamau? BELL: This is the thing, we can't talk about like it's Starbucks
issue. This is an American issue. Until America -- specifically, American white people are ready to confront, and participate in America's history, and legacy, and racism -- in current day racism like the white woman in the video did -- who took the video did, we are still going to be here, Don. We will be here in a year talking about another coffee shop until someone else die.
LEMON: But you know that when we talk about this, right, we are race baiters instead of informing people from our own experience that it happens. I'm sick so of that, you are race baiters.
And listen, every time I have like a group of African-Americans on, if there are no people who are not of color, I get the thing, what is this, BET?
[22:55:04] Why don't you get some diversity? I'm like, do you watch cable news all day?
BELL: Yes. Yes.
LEMON: I mean, this is like --you know. You should be applauding me for having these African-Americans on TV. Go on.
BELL: Yes, a lot of what goes on in the news media is white guy, what do you think? I don't know, white guy. What do you think? I think this, white guy -- and so, whenever we hear from voices of people who aren't older white men, we start to think something is happening.
I think, again, white people, as Pastor Mike McBride from a church in Berkeley said, white people need to understand that racism is hurting them too.
BELL: Not the same way it's hurting people of color, but it's actually affecting your life in a negative way. The way the woman in the video understood it, and the way that my wife understands it.
LEMON: Yes, divisive opinion is one thing. But we also need to diversity and ethnicity as well in that presentation, and not just -- we need to stop having just conversations. We need to do something about it.
BELL: We need to do something.
BELL: This is not some we can't act like Starbucks has to fix this.
BELL: Americas has to the fix it.
LEMON: Well, you are working on that, in the new season of the Kamau Bell's United Shades of America, it premiers on Sunday night, April 29th at 10 p.m., he tackles these issues. Thank you, Kamau.
BELL: Thank you very much, Don.
LEMON: Hey, listen, I have good news. We report a lot about bad news about rappers. So, this is some good news. I want to say congratulations to Kendrick Lamar.
He is now the first rapper in history to win a Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer for music usually goes to classical or jazz works. Lamar won his -- for his album, Damn, which also won multiple Grammys. So, congratulations again, that's a great album, and a Pulitzer, and that is huge.
When we come back, guess who else Michael Cohen had represented this year, Sean Hannity. So again, his attorney weighs in on that next.