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Russian Lawyer Admits Being a Spy; Trump is Well Pleased with the Republican Report; Dizzying Week Inside The Trump Administration; The Trump And Kanye West Bromance; United Shades Of America Premiers Sunday At 10:15 ET. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 27, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What cannabis also does is it decreases inflammation which is often the source of the pain. So it seems to be safer and do things that opiates can't even do.
JOHN BERMAN, HOST, CNN: All right. Tune in Sanjay's CNN special report weed for a pot because pills this Sunday night at 9 o'clock.
Time now to hand it over to Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
We are live in Washington for you. And we're following multiple big stories tonight. First, breaking news on the Russia investigation to tell you about. The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign in 2016 who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton now revealing she is closer to the Kremlin than she previously admitted. Listen to what she tells NBC.
LEMON: Natalia Veselnitskaya disclosing that she is an informant for the Russian government. Well, that comes as House Republicans release their version of the report on the Intel committee's yearlong Russia investigation 253 pages worth. And oddly enough, all of this was news to the Republican who led the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the things that also we have learned today is that now Natalia Veselnitskaya that Russian lawyer says that she was actually a Russian informant during the campaign? Did you know she was a Russian spy as part of your investigation? Did that come up at all that she was actually a Russian spy?
REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R), TEXAS: Not that I recall.
RAJU: And do you think that that's relevant to what happened in the 2016 campaign that she was a Russian informant?
CONAWAY: Well, there are lots of Russian informants throughout that may or may not have any impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It seems like the kind of thing you'd want to investigate, doesn't it? The president as you would expect had one takeaway from the Republican report. Guess what? No collusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We were honored. It was a great report. No collusion which I knew anyway. No coordination. No nothing. It's a witch hunt. That's all it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So it's important to keep a couple of things in mind here. Democrats on the House Intel Committee rejected the Republican report and they charged Republicans were not actually interested in uncovering collusion. The Senate intelligence committee still investigating Russia's election interference.
And, of course, Robert Mueller's investigation still underway. So it's a little bit premature for the president to throwing about no collusion. We'll get into all of that.
But I want to begin with CNN's Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, and CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, also Jack Quinn, the former White House counsel to President Clinton, and CNN National Security Analyst, Sam Vinograd or Samantha Vinograd.
Good evening, everyone. It's good to be here in Washington with you. Shimon, I want to start with you. Because this Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya from the infamous Trump tower meeting with the Russian informant, she admitted tonight that she has worked with the military unit with ties to the FSB. That's explosive. What does this all mean for the investigation?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is explosive. Any time you have a person who is under investigation or at least who the FBI agents and intelligence officials have questions about is admitting that she was working as an informant for the Russian government, she was connected to the top prosecutor in Russia. She said so today in this interview.
That is significant for this special counsel's investigation because they are probing this meeting at Trump tower. They are investigating it. And they've been investigating since reports surface that that meeting took place. So when you have someone who is potentially a subject of an investigation obviously admitting that they are part of this perhaps conspiracy here that is a pretty significant deal.
LEMON: That seems it's something that the House Intel Committee want to know about. They didn't know -- or want to continue to follow to investigate, right, to dig in on?
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes. They are going to be hugely embarrassed by this. Yes. This is definitely something that they should have looked into and looked into hard.
Listen, this woman is an informant. She is an agent of the government. We know that she helped negotiate a deal in which they were pushing back on information that the United States sought from the Russian government. She is an asset at a minimum. An asset is a polite way of saying you're spy but you're not working enough hours to quality for health insurance. OK?
QUINN: So, yes. That's what she was. She is a spy for the Russian government. So the possibility number one is that the Trump campaign knew that. So that's really explosive. The other possibility is that they were so reckless they let this person into their--
[22:04:58] LEMON: Which that's what their own report says that they were reckless, right?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I'm Sorry. I cannot believe that anybody including Donald Trump Jr. or Paul Manafort of whomever else are naive enough or stupid enough to think that this woman just happened to have exactly the information that they wanted at the time that they needed it and it wasn't sanctioned by the Kremlin.
LEMON: So, I want you to finish. But this, we first learned about this meeting. It was this that an e-mail chain between Don Junior and Rob Goldstone, and intermediary for the Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov and his son Emin.
And here is what Goldstone what he said. "The crowned prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning. And then, in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia that would be very useful to her father. This is obviously high level, a very high level and sensitive information but as part of Russia and its government's support of Mr. Trump."
And then Don Junior replied within minutes, saying "if that's what you say, if it's what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer."
So was she connected to Putin, what's going on here?
VINOGRAD: She had to (INAUDIBLE). There's no way that this information would have ended up being offered or supposedly offered to the campaign without the Kremlin sanctioning it. In the same way there is no way that she gave this interview without Vladimir Putin himself saying it is OK to go on American television and to say that you were working with us. This was a Putin as it shows to me.
LEMON: Robert Mueller investigating this meeting, Laura and the president's direct role and lying about the nature of it. What do think about that?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST,: Well, of course they should be. And of course Mueller's team probably know a lot about whether she is an agent whether she is somebody who is an asset in a variety of ways. They're not naive to the fact that this is a person who did not go with the intention of talking about the Magnitsky Act.
LEMON: This is more about more than adoption.
COATES: This is more than adoption. It was always intended to be something that was supposed to give nefarious information if any was available to the Trump campaign to help them. And it came down probably. There's no crowned prosecutor in Russia. There is a prosecutor general who has an official who sanction position by the Kremlin. That's what we're talking about.
So it's right to do this. What's absolutely wrong in my mind, Don, is that you could have this information out that you know is available to the Republican members of the House intel committee and they chose not to pursue that lead and instead decided to say nothing to see here, folks. We're not going to follow up on Bannon or Flynn or Donald Trump Jr. or have meetings with them or even hold them in contempt. We just don't see a problem. How can that be?
LEMON: Well, you're shaking your head in agreement.
PROKUPECZ: Well that's exactly what the Democrats are saying today in their dissent. They obviously disagree with the Republicans. They believe that the Republicans here moved quickly to please the president. It's quite clear that that's how they feel and the Democrats, I mean, they listed a whole bunch of things that the Republicans didn't do.
LEMON: They didn't follow up on.
PROKUPECZ: They didn't follow up on key interviews, fail to issue subpoenas. There are others that (INAUDIBLE) have made and we know the special counsel has been looking into is some of the Trump campaign business associates, some of Trump's business dealings, previous business dealings before he was president. They took issue with that. They asked, the Democrats asked to look into that. The Republicans here refused. They 2also wanted, the Dems wanted the Republicans to look at the obstruction, a key part of Robert Mueller's investigation.
LEMON: They didn't do that.
PROKUPECZ: They refused to do that. So they raised all these things that they feel that this was in a rush and in the end is really to make the president happy, right. You see that.
LEMON: Well, the president, you've seen the president, he's saying now they found no collusion he's using it as an official report which you, which is obviously lacking in substance.
LEMON: And in its finding.
QUINN: The House Republicans have made the decision to circle the wagon around the president. That's very clear. I don't understand it. But they push all of their chips into the middle of the table and making it fast--
LEMON: Well, you understand it, it's politics, right? And they want to, they wanted to drive their agenda through.
QUINN: The Senate Republicans are being a lot more careful about hedging their best. I don't want to glide past the point, Sam making this and it's really important. I think there's a very high degree of likelihood that Vladimir Putin engineered this revelation today. And I think it's a way of sending a message to the United States government that he can undo this presidency should he--
LEMON: SO drill in on that.
LEMON: Because my question to Sam is, why would Veselnitskaya be coming out with this now, why the timing. It's drill down--
VINOGRAD: I think that Vladimir Putin wants to show who is boss. And my question is what else does he have information on that he could to release in the coming months?
Trump has been an instrument for Vladimir Putin since the campaign. Putin decided that he wanted Trump to win. He meddle in the election to that effect and he does seemingly have information on what happened during the campaign that he can release to show President Trump that he is not happy with something he is doing perhaps like the sanctions against the oligarchs or the expulsions of diplomats.
So my guess is, Don, we are going to have more Friday nights where we are talking about this Russian revelation that seem to come out of nowhere and are sanctions by the Kremlin.
[22:10:01] LEMON: Are you guys saying that he is saying hey, he is sending a signal? That I can blow up your presidency?
QUINN: I think, see, it doesn't even matter whether there was collusion or not. He is sending a signal that right now given where the president is in terms of the status of this investigation. It doesn't matter whether it was collusion or not. Putin is saying I can do you serious damage here.
COATES: So I think it's also part of the scene that's happening he can - can and continues to try to sow discord. Just as you think there may be some theme going on or some progress on that front they come back in and stir the proverbial pot and demonstrate that they have the power to do so.
The question of why she did this now and she's been so reluctant in the past, in fact, vehemently denied that she was in anyway involved with the Kremlin, why now, why this particular week, why does the opportunity to do so? And I think we have to meet with the same level of skepticism with the House intel Republicans who chose not to continue it with Natalia Veselnitskaya as to why are you deciding to make the decisions you are making right now, are being haze--
QUINN: The sanctions.
COATES: -- or it could be sanctions--
QUINN: Is he getting to get tougher on sanctions again.
QUINN: And I think this is--
COATES: Well, they pulled back though.
LEMON: And this is--
PROKUPECZ: In terms of going back to Putin and why do this now, this can be viewed from the U.S. government side and intelligence officials as compromising investigation. Anything that you can do to sort of cast the president in a bad light or show that maybe people around him were doing something shady is compromising information for a foreign -- for foreign government.
It's what they were concerned about with Michael Flynn that he was having these meetings and not being honest about them. And that sort of what happened in Trump Tower, too.
PROKUPECZ: If you remember the initial statements from the White House from the president were misleading and that also is part of what Robert Mueller is investigating.
LEMON: But when you saw when Manu was interviewing Conway there, I mean, he -- every time he fell back on defense, he's on the defensive about this. What's going on?
COATES: Well, I mean, noting should be new to a member who is running that committee if they were supposed to have done a thorough and comprehensive investigation. There should not be epiphanies here at the end of April when you've already closed out the investigation that allowed this loophole to come in and she can, a kind of tainting the entire thing. That's a surprise.
LEMON: Jack, you said House Republicans are going to embarrass by this. But ranking member of the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff told CNN told that Veselnitskaya reached back to the campaign after the election. Why would she do that?
QUINN: I don't know.
LEMON: As simple as that.
QUINN: I mean, again, I think just as -- so many of us have said so many times that the special counsel is so far ahead of us. I think the Russians are pretty far ahead of us too in terms of engineering these things.
PROKUPECZ: And also when you think about the willingness that some of the Trump campaign officials like this meeting to accept these meeting, you know, based on a lot of the reporting we've done, I think emboldened the Russians they felt that they had a relationship with Trump and the Trump campaign. So why not reach out again? Because they were so willing to take their phone calls or take these meetings, so perhaps that's--
VINOGRAD: They're not this close and (INAUDIBLE) like Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn which is why he ended up getting fired. So I think the Russians are trying to have as many tentacles into the transition team the campaign and the administration as possible to continue to manipulating them.
LEMON: So the House releases the intelligence committee's redacted report, right. Today they are saying no collusion as the president said "No evidence of collusion or that Russia tried to help Donald Trump win."
And you can guess what the president's reaction was. Because just moments ago, it was just a little while ago he tweeted "A House intelligence committee rules that there was -- in all caps -- no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. As I have been saying all along it is all a big hoax by the Democrats based on payments and lies. There should never have been a special counsel appointed. Witch hunt."
PROKUPECZ: So the special counsel didn't comment until after he fired Comey. So that's what generated the special counsel. It wasn't really the Russia investigation. It all got kind of put together by Bob Mueller. So really the president in some way would look himself and his own actions in terms of why the special counsel was appointed.
QUINN: He's consciously obfuscated and he doesn't want us to remember that the appointment of Robert Mueller was directly a result of his firing James Comey.
QUINN: And you know, I mean, this is just the play book.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you--
COATES: Didn't he say just last week he wanted to let this investigation go on--
COATES: -- and allow people to be able to judge for themselves or at least Mueller to investigate thoroughly? I guess that's again, after winning.
LEMON: But he also said he is looking forward to speaking to the special counsel too and we know. So, there you go.
Well, thank you all. It's great to be here.
LEMON: To have you all in person. Yes, it's a great, it sounds like dinner conversation, right, instead of in the satellite boxes. Thanks again.
When we come back, Congress releasing a heavily redacted House Intel Committee report today on the same day we learned the Russian lawyer at the Trump Tower is actually an informant for the Kremlin.
[22:14:59] My next guest says, well, that's adding insult to injury. Congressman Eric Swalwell joins me next.
LEMON: Welcome back. We're live in Washington for you this evening today.
The republicans on the House Intel Committee released their report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The 253 page document was heavily redacted. Democrats on the committee rejected the report. One of them is Congressman Eric Swalwell and he joins me now.
Good evening. Good to see you. So, in addition to the redacted Republican report released today, a dissent was written by Democrats, you were one of those Democrats. What didn't they fully investigate and why? More importantly, why?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Collusion. You know they claimed and declared there was no collusion. They gave the president the tweet that he wanted to send this evening. But they never look for collusion. We have subpoena power as a committee but the Republicans control subpoena power.
So for all of the witnesses who came in it was essentially taken at their word investigation. They would say you know what, we never talk to any Russians and we never showed a willingness to subpoena their bank records, their phone records, their travel records.
Michael Cohen he said he never went to Trump (ph). We said can you show us something to prove you weren't there? He never did and he never showed the willingness to go after those records. Donald Trump Jr., for example, he talked three days before this Trump tower meeting to the Agaralov family who had set it up. Made a phone call to Russia, then right after that he phone call to a block number. Right after that call Russia is back. 2 [22:19:54] We know from evidence of the case that his father has a block number. So we ask, well, why don' we subpoena the phone provider to see if that block number went to his dad to show that there was knowledge. They weren't even willing to do that part.
LEMON: So, as I said why? Why do you think so?
SWALWELL: They don't want to know. They want to protect the president. They did everything they could to protect the president. There was very little and you can see this in the public transcripts. Very little attendance on their part in the public transcripts that have been released. When they did show up the questions they asked were essentially hey, did you collude? No. OK. Great. Next.
LEMON: Well, that's why I was just going to ask you, because you and other Democrats would come on the air and be visibly frustrated by what you thought was lack of interest among your Republican colleagues. I'm sure some people were saying, well, you are just saying that because you're Democrats. But if you look at the interview with Manu and Conaway this -- should this be a revelation that about Veselnitskaya after the investigation is closed?
SWALWELL: We all knew she was a spy when she offered, you know, dirt on Hillary Clinton through Rob Goldstone to the Trump family. And then also in our report you'll see that Natalia Veselnitskaya also met Dana Rohrabacher, a U.S. congressman a supporter of Donald Trump during the summer of 2016 over in Russia. And it was an unannounced meeting. He was surprised to see her.
Also other parts of the globe she would just pop up and meet with Congressman Rohrabacher. She is a spy. She is actually competing with Sergei Kislyak as employee of the year for the Russian government. How hard she was working. It should have been obvious.
Son, I have written legislation that is called a duty to report which says that if you were contacted by an agent of a foreign power as a candidate or someone on the campaign team you have to tell the FBI. There were so many people who were approached by Russians with dirt on Hillary Clinton or who offered to connect Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin and they said nothing.
LEMON: OK. So listen, in this report the Republicans did push back on some of the actions taken by the Trump campaign, saying that the Trump tower meeting demonstrated poor judgment and that Trump's praise for WikiLeaks was highly objectionable. Are you happy they at least included that in the report? Do you think they have to include something?
SWALWELL: Poor judgment is when you eat pizza too late or close to be bedtime. I mean, what they did there was show a willingness and an eagerness to work with the Russians. We should call it what it is and we shouldn't have ended the investigation. Because as we just learned today Natalia Veselnitskaya admitted that she was a spy.
We also learned from Christopher Wylie who came in and talked to us from Cambridge Analytica that the Republican -- that Donald Trump's campaign vendor had connections to Julian Assange that they had actually meddled in a Nigerian election similar to what the Russians were doing in our election and that they were polling in the United States U.S. persons views of Vladimir Putin with no known client as to why they would be doing that work. So there's lot more questions. It was immature, premature and irresponsible to end this investigation.
LEMON: So when I read this and it said demonstrated poor judgment and highly objectionable, it brought me back to 2016 just before the election.
LEMON: Comey saying the same thing about Hillary Clinton and Republicans were saying she should be put in jail for those very same words.
SWALWELL: You know, they should have at least--
LEMON: Or similar language.
SWALWELL: If they objected to those actions they should have shown a willingness to really test the stories that were being told to us. You know, George Papadopoulos I think is the canary in the coal mine here, he was interviewed by the FBI in January 2017 live, interviewed again a month later live.
It looks like when you read his plea that they got records from February to July when they pull him off a plane, confronted him with Skype and Facebook logs he found religion and told them he had been working with the Russians who were offering him dirt on Hillary Clinton. You have to be willing to really test these individuals and confront them.
SWALWELL: Because they're willing to lie through their--
LEMON: I want to play this one because you know the president is seizing so I want to play his sound bite and then get your response here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We were honored. It was a great report. No collusion, which I knew anyway. No coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt. That's all it is. As I've said many times before, I've always said there was no collusion but I've also said there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me.
I was very honored by the report. It was very totally conclusive, strong and powerful. Many things said that nobody knew about and said it very strongly. They were very forceful in saying that the Clinton campaign actually did contribute to Russia. So maybe somebody ought to look at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Two things out of this. One, you say that the report is one sided. And number two, Robert Mueller's investigation is not done.
SWALWELL: Thankfully. Hopefully he can pursue. If you want to know how Donald Trump or the Russian would have written a report on what the Russian did in the last election, read what the Republicans wrote. If you want to know what I think any patriot or American would do if they were concerned about what the Russians did you should read what we did and what we wanted the Republicans to join us in.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate your time.
[22:24:57] When we come back, what a week it has been, what a week it's been for President Trump meeting with world leaders losing his pick to take over the V.A. to scandal and the unhinged interview that had White House aides cringing. A lot to discuss with Mark McKinnon, that's next.
LEMON: So this week was a little crazy. EPA chief under scrutiny for excessive spending, interactions with lobbyist and lying about pay raises. The secretary of state barely got confirmed.
And after nearly two dozen people spoke out against his nomination the White House claimed he had undergone extensive vetting. The president's pick to head the V.A. force to withdraw his nomination.
Also the president has two bromances with a French president and rapper Kanye West. He went on Fox News and gave such a wild interview that the Fox and Friends hosts actually cut him off. And the Russian lawyer who met with the top Trump campaign officials before the 2016 election now saying she is an informant for the Kremlin.
Just another circus of a week for the Trump administration and that's a perfect transition for this gentleman right here. Mark McKinnon, the executive producer of Showtime's "The Circus" and the former adviser to President George W. Bush, and also Senator John McCain. Thank you for joining us.
[22:30:01] MARK MCKINNON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, SHOWTIME'S THE CIRCUS: Hello, captain. LEMON: Too bad you don't have any material for your show!
MCKINNON: No, once again, we're trying to figure out what to cut.
MCKINNON: I've already cut scenes from Monday.
LEMON: Do you -- how do you it, is it more important what you cut than what you put in?
MCKINNON: Yes, I mean, we could do a two hour show every week. And so, I mean, literally, I have been cutting stuff that we shot Monday, because we already seemed ancient (ph). But we are trying to keep a narrative thread in there. The thread this week is Trump on the world stage.
MCKINNON: And on that count, it was a big week for him, not a good one.
LEMON: Absolutely. Let's go through some of the things. Let's start -- let's start with Ronny Jackson if you will. This is what the President said earlier today.
(BEING VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I called him today. I said in a certain way, you are in a -- in a big way, you're an American hero, because you've exposed the system to some horrible things. I have had it happen to me with the Russian collusion hoax. It's a hoax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Did Dr. Jackson get a raw deal?
MCKINNON: Well, I mean, the reality in part, is he shouldn't have been put up in the first place based on experience because there were probably people in the V.A. community, and even Republican senators who might have had issue with that.
I've talked to Sarah Sanders today. We had a great interview her. But one of the things we talk about, and not really remain to the show we're doing, but I -- just as a communicator myself, and having dealt with people, this was human collateral.
Everybody I know including David Axelrod, who was a good friend of both of ours. And we talk to all the time. He is a good man, and he just got put through the saw mill.
And you know, you can talk about the political element of it, and whether or not he was truly qualified for the job. But it's unfortunate not just share a moment with here, because I have been there too to see somebody who was qualified, and a good man, and just see his reputation.
LEMON: I wonder if you put these sorts of things out there, somehow we're sure whatever it is, whatever -- how do you get your reputation, and how do you prove it?
MCKINNON: That's it. It's -- you know, once your reputation was blown up like his was this week, but nobody is going to do stories about how -- I mean, I guarantee you, there's not a wall to wall news about the allegations that aren't true.
LEMON: And the bottom line is though, there should have been a better vetting process, and he wouldn't have had to go through any of this.
MCKINNON: Yes, I mean truly, I think that it was an impulsive nomination by the President, and you wouldn't though out a lot before hand-in-hand they deprive what was seen that was coming.
LEMON: OK. So, Team U.S.A. Olympians and the Paralympians are at the White House. I want you to listen to something the President said, and then we'll talk.
(BEING VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Today on behalf of the United States, I want to thank every Olympian and Paralympic. And that was just incredible. And what happened with the Paralympics was so incredible, and so inspiring to me. I watch -- it's a little tough to watch too much. But I watched as much as I could. It was really fantastic, and I want to thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How do you interpret that moment?
MCKINNON: Yes. I kind of wince. You know, I've got a brother in a wheel chair. And that's just makes you cringe a little bit.
LEMON: It is what it is, right? It's in the end.
LEMON: Fox News interview. Here are some of the highlights.
(BEING VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It says know what you're running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
TRUMP: If you're a runner, you're practicing for the 100 yard dash as opposed to the one mile. The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it's in absolutely disgrace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye.
TRUMP: And by the way, the only collusion is the collusion with the Democrats with little rocket man, and with the buttons, and you know, my button is bigger, and everybody should -- this guy is going to get us into nuclear war. And our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point, I won't. Our Justice...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
TRUMP: There is no collusion with me and Russia, and everyone knows it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone -- we could talk to you all day, but it looks like you have a million things to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean even the anchors, they seem uncomfortable. And everybody has been examining their body language. Have you seen an interview like that from -- we saw sort of during the campaign, but from a sitting president?
MCKINNON: Well, it -- as somebody who, you know, has been on the communication business, within a press secretary, with a bunch of governors in centered, and on campaigns. And I talked to Sarah Sanders about this. She has the hardest job in Washington.
When you plan on a week like this, when you have all these great events, a state event, which went amazingly smooth, we've got North Korea, and then you have your boss show up on the morning news with, you know, those avalanche of information, none of which had to do with like the big things that you were planning.
LEMON: What do you think people -- what were people doing behind-the- scenes do you think?
MCKINNON: You know, I just know you are against scrambling like we're talking -- we're going to be talking about North Korea, and now we're talking Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels.
LEMON: Yes. So does your show -- I want to show some -- this is behind-the-scenes of your show. You went behind-the-scenes with the state dinner with the French President, and his wife. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCKINNON: What's at stake?
LEA BERMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY: Well, I think a lot is at stake particularly for Mrs. Trump, because she has clearly made this her event. The way she is interested in it. She likes it. Not all first ladies love doing this. She is in the details, and that's great.
[22:35:01] The only wild card is what he might say or do, because everything about the way he operates has the potential to be like a bad tweet.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So, how did the Trumps do?
MCKINNON: Well, they did great on the state dinner. And she did a great job. She really did, and she had an excellent hat game, may I say.
MCKINNON: And so that all went great.
LEMON: I like the hat, too.
MCKINNON: Yes, I know, strong head game. But to the point that I think he was just making is that all went fantastic. But then the next day with the Fox appearance, he kind off that blew that all.
LEMON: Well, that went fantastic, and you just got to interview (ph) Angela Merkel, right? You met with Angela Merkel after that. And then you had North Korea, which you said, was a very big deal for him, but got all over shadowed (ph).
MCKINNON: Yes, I mean, that maybe his legacy achievement when this is all done -- North Korea, the achievement this week. So, you know, more to come on that.
But I would say overall on the world stage, foreign affairs front, you know, that a strong grade for this week, and just got interrupted as this administration often does by some interceding events, but a pretty good week overall.
LEMON: Well, as you said on the interview, what grade do you give yourself, you said?
MCKINNON: Of course.
LEMON: An A plus. Thank you, Mark, always a pleasure.
MCKINNON: Thank you.
LEMON: Good to see you. And you can catch "The Circus" this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. on Showtime. When we come back, President Trump is keeping up with the Kanye bromance today by tweeting thanks to him, and Chance the Rapper. But Chance is saying thaks but no thanks to the President. More on that next.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The President talking up his bromance again, tweeting, Kanye West has performed a great service to the black community. Big things are happening, and eyes are being opened for the first time in decades, legacy stuff. Thank you also to Chance and Dr. Darrell Scott. They really get it, lowest black and Hispanic unemployment in history. I'm going to talk about this now with CNN Political Commentators, Matt
Lewis, a Senior Columnist for "The Daily Beast," and Charles Blow, Op- Ed Columnist for "The New York Times."
Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you for joining us.
Charles, great column. Let's talk about something you wrote. But let's talk about this. Kanye West and President Trump have continued their love fest. The President loves to cozy with anyone who flatters him. Does this President think that Kanye's support gives him some sort of credibility with people of color?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To whom would that be (ph)?
LEMON: That's you, Charles.
BLOW: Well, I think it's important to understand that pre-politics, Donald Trump has always sought that from a hip hop community, and very often they have given it to him. If you look at hip hop music from the '80s, and '90s, there are a lot of Trump who represent.
And those are generally positive references. So he thought of validating them, they validated him. And so he does connect on some level -- he wants to connect on some level to people in that community.
It is no, you know, surprise to me that if he found someone in hip hop still willing to, kind of, be on his side that he's going to elevate that, because it means something at the end.
You have to remember that, you know, Donald Trump is from New York. He is New York City creature. You know, when rap was being -- was fresh and new, it was born here in New York City, he was here to witness that.
So he -- there is something about him that connects with that level. Look, I don't think he believes on any way, or relates on any way to, you know, the black community on whether or not Kanye is doing something for, or against it.
You know, I want to make this one story -- the one and only time I have ever met Donald Trump, where going to at the party, I don't think he knew who I was.
And he launched his birther because I'm black. And he says black people, I'm the favorite white person among black people. Then they keep -- this is the height of that -- you know, his voters, they keep telling me to run for president.
And the only example he used, people from hip hop. So that's how he relates on that level to blackness, but not the blackness at large.
LEMON: OK, you're shaking your head. Why are you shaking your head.
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think, Charles, is exactly right. And I have to tell you, you know, being a Gen X guy growing up, the music I was listening to was grunge music, and it was very a like, too cool for school, Kurt Cobain.
You have to be sort of down. But hip hop at that time at least was entrepreneurial. And I think there was a time when Donald Trump -- I think during The Apprentice, his number one demographic was the African-American community.
It is actually kind of sad that he took this turn with the birther stuff, because it's possible that you could have a Republican president now who actually would have a legitimate appeal to the African-American community, if it wasn't for all of the other things he has done.
LEMON: Yes, but I think because of the -- you know, you see some times in rap music, and back then it was all about videos.
LEMON: You know, you wanted to show your wealth, and limousines.
LEMON: And that was Donald Trump.
LEWIS: Which was the opposite of the grunge sort of.
LEMON: Right. But he may have seen that as an opportunity to show his wealth, and to be involved as, Charles, said...
BLOW: But ultimately, you have to understand how racism works, right? People think that it is absolute -- that if somebody doesn't like black people or is kind of -- has some sort of racial resentment that it is universal.
But in fact, throughout my whole life, I have understood that there are always exceptions, that people allow exceptions. It's not you. It's the other ones, right?
And so Donald Trump was always making the exception. Like, it wasn't the moguls -- the hip hop mogul. He loved them. He loved Tyson. He loved Don King. He loved the ones with the money. The ones who were in the park, who were innocent, he hated them. He wants...
LEMON: And the ones who -- the ones he wanted -- that he wrote the news paper article about the Central Park.
BLOW: That's what I'm saying, the once in park.
BLOW: The ones without the money, the ones who challenged his concept of himself, those were evil. The ones with the cash, and you're running around trying to come up like he was, he made an exception.
LEMON: So let's dig deeper. There's an interview. I want to show this interview. How much time do we have? [22:45:00] Do we have time to show this interview? Is it long? OK.
So, this is an interview, because you referred to this in your column. It is called the White Rebellion. This was an interview from Donald Trump in 1989 from NBC. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well- educated white in terms of the job market. And I think sometimes, a black may think that they don't really have the advantage, or this, or that.
But in actuality, today, currently, it's a great -- I've said on more than one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black because I really believe that they do have an actual advantage today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I can't get past a black, a black...
BLOW: Lies, lies.
LEMON: Why do you say that?
BLOW: I mean, did you -- did you believe it? I mean, honestly...
LEMON: As a black...
BLOW: Right. Let's get past the personification.
BLOW: So, you want to say a black person or white person, but let's move past that, and get into what's happening in the '80s at that time. And so a lot of cases or divertive (ph) action, was going to the court.
And there was a lot of -- as it around this idea of whether or not affirmative actions would stand, particularly in a job market, but also, in schools.
And this idea, what he is trying to make -- kind of soften up for television is actually a very deep resentment, which was to say the universal benefit that has always resounded to white men in America was not some how being shaved away, and some of it may have been going to someone who wasn't a white man.
Some of it may have been going to someone who is black, or brown, or a woman. And that idea of resentment over that fact just lives onto this day.
And what the researchers are finding is that was a -- that kind of idea of white probability, which was built on kind of a white resentment is a large part of what was motivating some, or maybe even most of the voters who are going out. They didn't...
LEMON: I've got to go, Charles. Yes. I have got to run. Unfortunately you don't get a chance.
LEWIS: I have a lot to say.
LEMON: Yes. I know you have a lot to say.
LEMON: Charles went on. It was his column anyway. Thank you both. It's a fascinating conversation. You know, we do it all of the time. So we will continue it. We'll be right back.
But first, I want to get to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on his medical marijuana story. And he is wondering if it can solve the opioid crisis in America. A new ground breaking report is call Weed 4: Pot versus Pills on Sunday night, at 8:00. Small preview right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Americans are dying. Opioids, the worst and deadliest drug places in American drug history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I though I was completely hopeless.
ANNOUNCER: Can pot save us?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did it help you get off of the opiates?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gave me an alternative.
ANNOUNCER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta with a ground breaking report on medical marijuana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When will medical community catch up with the patient populations?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cannabis has given me a reason to live.
ANNOUNCER: CNN's special report, "Weed 4: Pot Versus Pills," Sunday at 8:00.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Sunday on CNN, Kamau Bell is back with an all new season of a CNN original series, "United Shades of America." And the premier episode, Kamau heads down to the U.S.-Mexico border to see what live is really like on both sides. I spoke earlier to Kamau. First here's a preview of the premier of the United Shades of America.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KAMAU BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to find out what's going on at the border, so I'm heading to Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales Sonora, Mexico. Conjoined twin cities certainly separated by a heavily guarded international border. First I'm going to find out what the people on the U.S. side think about all of this. What's your name, sir?
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)
BELL: Tell me about Nogales, Arizona.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: It's gone. The way I grew up here is gone. My family on both side, my mother was born over here, my father over there.
BELL: But in those days it was easier to go back and forth?
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. Not anymore. But not in where you live in, but crossing was very difficult, so business start dying and dying. Now it's empty.
BELL: You see a lot of the businesses are closed.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. It's terrible here. Not a lot of stuff to do.
BELL: So you think it should be easier to go back and forth? 2
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I thought so. I live here, and I've got a restaurant over there.
BELL: Oh, you have a restaurant over there?
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BELL: Oh, what kind of food is it?
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Mexican food.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a cafeteria.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Tequila is on me.
BELL: Really? Give me a call.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Leo's (ph) cafe, it's on my Facebook.
BELL: It's on Facebook. Check out Leo's (ph) cafeteria. It on Facebook.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, on Facebook. You can't miss it. (Inaudible)
BELL: Don't invite everybody. I know these people.
UNDIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible)
BELL: Now, we have to bring in (Inaudible).
LEMON: Kamau is here, the host of the show. What did you think it was French food, like, what kind of food was that?
BELL: It was possible they sold they don't just sell Mexican food in Mexico. It though it was possible. I mean, maybe it was a dumb question, but I ask dumb questions.
LEMON: We live in American delivery place. Can you imagine?
LEMON: Listen, you and I talked about this a lot. People have to clarify things that he writes about, or things that he says. Like this tweet when he's talking about a crime infested breeding concept. That's what he said. So you went to the border. What do people think when it comes to race, about him when it come to that?
BELL: It's sort of a whole like -- the thing that we do in these shows, you show the border, and how we approach border security has been messed up for a while in this country. It's not just Trump's fault.
We talked to border patrol, we talked to like a white woman who has been there for 40 years, who lives on the American side of the border. We talked to all sorts of people. People (Inaudible), nobody that I've talked to was like, that wall is going to help, we should build that wall.
LEMON: Did you talk to border patrol people?
LEMON: What would they like to see done?
BELL: They feel like that they have -- well, border patrol keeps hiring. And I think the reason why they keep hiring is because they're told they supposed to be doing a better job. But, in fact, the people who live in the border side, there's too much security, and the more security you have, the more dangerous it is.
LEMON: What do you mean? Do they fell like it's occupied or something?
BELL: Yes, they feel they're occupied. And also, like I've talked to that guy, Leo. [22:55:00] I talked to many people like, 20 years ago, you could literally live in Mexico, work on the American side, go back to Mexico for lunch, and then go back and finish your job. You can't do that anymore.
LEMON: This administration didn't want that.
BELL: Well, several administrations. The Obama administration didn't want that. You know, this goes -- what we're talking about is like -- I will say it for the first time ever in the history of the United States, it's not all President Trump's fault.
LEMON: Well, I'm just, you know, I go with the one that's in office.
BELL: No, it's the one here. But I just want to be clear. It's like, he didn't go everything.
LEMON: Before we go, you said it was nicer on the Mexico side.
BELL: More fun, more vibrant, you know, just people were -- I mean, they seemed friendly. This is just days I went was the American side, the businesses are closed because those businesses depended on dollars from Mexico, and people touring from Mexico.
LEMON: Yes, good to see you.
BELL: That's right, brother.
LEMON: You're killing it.
BELL: I'm trying to be like you, when you turn this job around.
LEMON: Your hair is going to be longer.
BELL: Yes, I'm working on it.
LEMON: All new season of United Shades of America, premiers Sunday night at 10:15 eastern -- 10:15 eastern only on CNN. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. The CNN special report Hush Money is next.