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President Trump's Legal Team Preparing For Showdown With Mueller That Could Go To The Supreme Court; Rod Rosenstein Fights Back Against Anyone Who May Be After His Job; Former Trump Doctor Tells CNN He Was Robbed When White House Aide Took Trump's Records; Kanye West Talks About His Support For President Trump. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 1, 2018 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Another night of multiple big stories and we're following all of them for you. And our breaking news right now, sources tell CNN President Trump's lawyers are preparing for a showdown with Robert Mueller. That's over the special counsel's warning that he could issue a subpoena forcing the president to appear before a grand jury. That is a battle shaping up and we will bring you all of the latest reporting on that.

Plus, President Trump really seems to have some doctor issues. Just one week after the scandal that brought down the White House physician Ronny Jackson, Trump's previous doctor, his name is Dr. Harold Bornstein, remember him? He has resurfaced.

He tells CNN that glowing letter he wrote about then candidate Trump calling him the healthiest individual ever elected to the candidacy was actually dictated by Trump himself. I know, a surprise, right.

And then Dr. Borstein also tells CNN he was, his words, robbed when Trump's former body guard and two other men came to his office to get the president's medical records more than a year ago.

And then there's Kanye West, doubling down on his support for his new BFF.


KANYE WEST, RAPPER: I just love Trump, that's my boy.


LEMON: And making what may be his most shocking claim of all.


WEST: You hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years that sound like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it's all of you all? You know like, it's like we're mentally in prison.


LEMON: So, to be clear, and I can't believe that I actually need to say this, black and brown people who were enslaved for centuries had absolutely no choice. They weren't just mentally enslaved, this wasn't some kind of mind game, they were in real chains. Kanye has a lot more to say about this tonight, you don't want to miss it. We're going to get to that in just a few minutes though.

First I want to bring in now CNN's Political Analyst, Ms. Gloria Borger, and CNN Contributor, Garrett Graff, the author of "The Threat Matrix," and also, Mr. Jack Quinn who has -- who was the White House counsel to President Clinton.

I should probably call you Mr. Garrett Graff as well because I don't mean no disrespect to any of you.

Thank you all for joining us. Good evening. Gloria, I'm going to start with you. So break down your new reporting for us. President Trump's legal team preparing for a showdown with Robert Mueller.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Now Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and I, reporting that they are now thinking that they're going to face a potential subpoena from the special counsel.

We've reported "The Washington Post" first reported it this evening that there was at least one meeting with the special counsel and his then attorney, John Dowd in which the special counsel raised the potential of a subpoena and John Dowd got very angry about it.

And now the legal team understands that they've got a president whose angry after the Michael Cohen raid, who went from, yes, I'd like to testify, to, no, I'm not going to testify. And they had new members of their legal team who have to get sort of read in and caught up.

So, they're not making any blanket predictions here about what will occur but they do believe that it's very possible that they will get a subpoena and that they would fight it, if they got one, all the way to the Supreme Court.

LEMON: OK. Gloria, you're also reporting that Mueller himself has raised 2the idea of subpoenaing the president. So had the talks broken down with Mueller?

BORGER: Well, I think what we can say is that the talks are in a lull, which would be a nice way to put it. What was interesting about all of this was the morning of the Michael Cohen raid, the president's attorneys were sitting together in a room preparing a kind of deal they could strike with the special counsel about Trump testifying on Russia.

And then, they looked at their TV and they saw the news of the Michael Cohen raid and they said, wait a minute, we are not going to go into this meeting with any kind of proposal for presidential interview. And instead, they had kind of a tense little meeting with the special counsel that afternoon and nothing occurred and nothing has really occurred since.

And then we know Rudy Giuliani has met with them and there's a team of lawyers. So, at this point I would just to say it's in a bit of a lull.

LEMON: One more question, couldn't the president plead the Fifth, Gloria?

BORGER: Well, remember on the campaign trail when Donald Trump said that anybody who pleads the Fifth is guilty?


BORGER: I think that would be a bit of the problem w for him. But in talking to his legal team about this, what they are saying is that, is that, look, there are so many constitutional issues that they believe are going to have to be addressed before that that they are not even thinking about that possibility at this point.

[22:04:54] LEMON: OK. Jack, I'm going to bring you in now. Because I want -- can we gain about how this would play here, play out a bit? Let's just assume that President Trump refuses to sit down voluntarily for an interview so Mueller then decides to issue that subpoena? And then there a giant legal battle that works its way through the court.

I mean, Jeffrey Toobin and Alan Dershowitz both say the president would ultimately lose. Do you agree with that?

JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Absolutely. And I think by the way, you know, the position of John Dowd and others that they have a fighting chance of prevailing in the courts on that issue I think is just folly.

2I mean, look, President Clinton had to testify in a civil suit, the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit. As important as that piece of litigation might have been, civil suits in the scheme of things are not quite as important as enforcement of the criminal laws.

LEMON: Got it.

QUINN: This case is about enforcing the criminal laws. There's no possible way the president would be free from providing evidence in a proceeding like that.

LEMON: So, then the question is, Jack, and why not cooperate for, you know, now under better circumstances?

QUINN: Well, why not cooperate, I mean, to me, look, I post -- I've published an article an op-ed in the Washington Post a couple months ago saying that it would be not only in the interest of the country and the interest of the proceeding, but in the president's own interest to cooperate and submit to an interview.

Now, I have seen him go off on a few of the issues involved here and I understand that he might be in temper at times. On the other hand, people who may have been party to his participation and depositions assert that he can't keep control of himself.

You know, I mean, look, it does seem to me that there's a good argument for him to cooperate, if he really has something to hide, and wants to just string this out, he can take that route. But I do think that the courts will not support him and that eventually he will be required to provide evidence.

LEMON: So, Gloria, let me -- I'm going to get to you in the next question but let me bring Garrett in for this one now because I need him to participate in this.

Do you think the president, Garrett, and his team are banking that they can end the investigation in some way before any of this happens?

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think what we've seen over the last couple of weeks is that this investigation has progressed rather rapidly. I mean, that Michael Cohen raid really did change the stakes of the investigation and sort of what we think might be under the umbrella of the questions that the president might end up facing.

So, I think, you know, Jay Sekulow and the other lawyers involved in this thought that they were facing a different landscape a couple weeks ago when there was a much more open consideration of whether the president would end up testifying.

The president from everything that we know wants very much to testify. I mean, I think that in some ways the president really thinks if he can just sit down on the other side of the table with Robert Mueller, you know, he can negotiate this investigation away, just like in other New York real estate deal.

You know, it's not a New York real estate deal. And everyone but the president seems to be very clear about the legal jeopardy that the president would be in the moment that he sits down.

I mean, you ask about whether the president would take the Fifth. I mean, this is a president who could take the Fifth any single day that he wants to, and instead he wakes up every morning angry on Twitter. I mean, this is a president whose like exhibit number one in how your words can and will be used against you.

LEMON: Yes. So Gloria, I know you want to jump in now, but is that how Garrett, is that Trump's legal team, is that how they see it?

BORGER: Well, look, I think if Trump is your client you're worried that he's going to talk too much. And when you look at those questions, which by the way were notes of one of the attorneys of what Bob Mueller was saying might be asked, when you look at those -- when you look at those questions, they're very detailed and they do go into issues of collusion.

They do go into issues of conspiracy or obstruction, and I think there's a lot of worry among the president's attorneys that this is something where he could do himself some damage and they intend to use article 2 of the Constitution as Jack well knows to say, you know, that -- that they are not allowed to question the president about what he is entitled to do as president of the United States.

And, so they're going to use -- they're going to use that argument. I mean, they may lose but it's an argument they are -- they are going to make. And they had a client who was willing to testify. And if they could have narrowed it down to a great degree, I think they would have let him.

[22:10:02] LEMON: Yes.

BORGER: But, now when you look at everything and it's so broad, it seems much more likely they'll wind up without him testifying again though, one caveat, they do have these new attorneys, the husband and wife's team of the Raskins, and of course, Rudy Giuliani and we'll have to see where they wind up.

LEMON: So, Jack, listen, the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, similar question I asked Garrett, the Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein responding to reports that articles of impeachment were drafted against him by the conservative House Freedom Caucus. And he had this broader message to the folks making threats against him that the DOJ will not be distorted. Do you think that he's talking about the president there?

QUINN: Well, I don't want to make that conclusion, I don't want to jump to that conclusion. I think he was saying we're going to keep our heads down, we're going to keep doing our jobs, we're going to do it properly.


QUINN: And we're not going to be bullied.

LEMON: What do you think, Gloria? Do you think he's talking about the president?

BORGER: You know, I wouldn't read too much into Rod Rosenstein. I mean, I spoke with one of his friends the other day who said if you scratch the surface you still get the surface. I think he's kind of one of these people who answers the exact questions he was asked. So I really wouldn't read too much into that.


LEMON: Which is nice -- which is nice. Garrett, what do you think though? Is he talking about the president?

GRAFF: Well, I think -- I don't know whether he's talking about the president specifically. He's certainly talking about the echo chamber of the president's allies who are as Rod Rosenstein himself said today, sort of attacking him publicly and privately. I mean, the level of attack that he's come under from Congress for sort of trying to do his job as best he can. It's sort of unprecedented from a partisan perspective at this point.

LEMON: All right. Thank you all. I got to run. Thank you. I appreciate it.

BORGER: Thanks.

LEMON: See you next time. When we come back, more on our breaking news, a showdown looking very likely possibly between Trump's legal team and the special counsel's office.


LEMON: We have news tonight on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He's been targeted by furious President Trump for weeks. Now he's fighting back against anyone who may be after his job.


ROD ROSENSTEIN, UNITED STATES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Now there been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time. I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.


LEMON: Let's bring in now former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis, and CNN National Security and Legal Analyst, Susan Hennessey.

Good evening to both of you. I'm so glad to have you on. Guy, you first. You just heard the attorney deputy general there. He says that he's not going to be extorted. You know Rosenstein well. What do you make of these comments?

GUY LEWIS, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I take him absolutely at his word. Rod has been through a lot in the Department of Justice. He is born and bred a prosecutor. He was U.S. attorney. In fact, one of the longest serving U.S. attorneys, Don, up in Baltimore, Maryland which is no easy district to manage, sort of like Miami and New York.

And he's done well up there. He served three presidents during that tenure. And so, I take him at his word when he says, look, back off, I'm not going to be extorted.

LEMON: So do you -- Guy, do you think he was trying to send a message here to anyone else? What do you think?

LEWIS: Well, Don, I think he was speaking directly to these sort of Mickey Mouse articles of impeachment. When I first looked at that I kind of laughed and blew it off. But then I went and look, indeed, Rod may be subject to impeachment. I'm not saying he will ever be impeach in a million years. But article two lists the president, the vice president and other civil servants.

And then I look at some of the charges in the past that civil servants, mainly judges, senator and some others have been impeached for drunkenness, conspiracy, oddly enough. The very first impeachment, a senator from Tennessee, my home state, guess what they impeached him for? The House impeached him for conspiracy with a foreign power, in that case, Great Britain over some land in Louisiana. Go figure.

LEMON: So, Susan, the president -- the president has been battling the legal ship of his own Justice Department and the FBI for some time now. Many of his surrogates are referring to Rod Rosenstein and Mueller as his under-lings now. What is the reality and how is this going to play out do you think? SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in

some technical sense this is accurate, right. Rod Rosenstein works for the executive branch and the president is ahead of the executive branch. What sort of referring to the Justice Department officials as the president's under-lings misses is it's a sense of sort of the normal protections, and independent law enforcement and independent Department of Justice.

You know, that's something that despite a lot of push back over the last, you know, year and a half the Trump presidency that the president really hasn't been able to understand why those normalcy should exist. Why he should respect them and why -- at the end of the day it is to his political benefit to do so.

LEMON: So just last week, Susan, the president said this. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it's a disgrace. And our Justice Department which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won't.


LEMON: Every time the president makes comments like these, is he giving Mueller more ammunition for an obstruction case?

HENNESSEY: So I don't know that that directly speaks to sort of the obstruction issue. In a larger sense I do think that it galvanizes -- it galvanizes Congress, it galvanizes the individuals within the Justice Department to really want to stand sort of as firmly as possible in those -- in those institutional protections.

And so, you know, I don't know that he would be -- that there's any sort of argument that there's an investigation that he's trying to sort of side track with those types of comments. You know, it is sort of a bizarre strategy, you know. Because at the end of the day what we see are speeches exactly like the one Rod Rosenstein gave today. Justice Department officials are sort of standing up and saying, look, you know, we stand for these principles and we're going to continue to find those to the grind and essentially we're not afraid of you.

LEMON: So Guy, the press White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the impeachment moves today. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's some allies of the president up on Capitol Hill who were apparently drafting articles for impeachment for the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

[22:20:00] Is that the president's believe that Rod Rosenstein has committed a high crime or misdemeanor?

SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not aware of any belief of that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the White House then, not endorse that draft,

do the White House call on these members not to pursue that?

SANDERS: I haven't seen any specific document but we don't have any personnel announcements and we'll continue to move forward with the Department of Justice.


LEMON: So do you think the White House has full appreciation of what will happen if Rosenstein or Mueller are fired?

LEWIS: That's a good question, Don. Sometimes I wonder sort of about the strategy that's coming out of the White House. I think it will be a great mistake to fire or try to fire Bob Mueller or Rod Rosenstein. They're both good guys. Whether you agree or disagree with the special counsel appointment, whether you agree or disagree with the sort of pervasive and now really broad based on the questions we saw today, Don, really broad investigation of Trump and some of the other issues that Mueller's looking at. Would you agree with one or the other, big mistake to fire those prosecutors?

LEMON: Also, Susan, today Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was asked if a sitting president could be indicted. Here's how he responded.


ROSENSTEIN: I'm not going to answer this in the context of any current matters so you shouldn't draw any inference about it. But the Department of Justice has in the past when an issue arose as a pine that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

There's been a lot of speculation in the media about this, I just don't have anything more to say about it. That's when the issue arose somebody in the department reached a legal conclusion. And that's what it is.


LEMON: So, is he right, Susan? Could that change? Is an indictment for President Trump off the table?

HENNESSEY: So, Rosenstein is referring to two memos that were authored by the office of the legal counsel, one in 1973 and one in 2000. Those opinions are binding on the Department of Justice unless they are rescinded. So well, he could rescind those opinions and there's no indication that that's going to happen.

You know there is some question, I would say it's a smaller minority question, about whether or not those opinions are binding on the special counsel's office. So whether or not Robert Mueller would consider himself sort of open to consider for his own purposes whether or not the president could be indicted sort of put his own legal judgment on that question. You know, at the end of the day we'll see what happens. LEMON: All right. Susan, Guy, thank so much. I appreciate it.

When we come back, more on our breaking news tonight as chances of the president sitting down with Robert Mueller's team seem to be getting slimmer.

CNN is now learning the special counsel's office could possibly issue a subpoena. How that showdown is shaping up.


LEMON: So, here's our breaking news tonight. Sources telling CNN that President Trump's lawyers are preparing for a legal showdown with Robert Mueller. The special counsel's team is warning that Mueller would subpoena the president forcing him to appear before a grand jury.

Let's discuss now with former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman, and former White House Ethics Czar and former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norman Eisen. They are both here. Good evening, gentlemen. I appreciate it. I appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: The president doesn't talk to the special counsel's team, Norm, will they compel him, his testimony before a grand jury?

EISEN: Don, thanks for having me back.

I do believe that if the president refuses to talk to the special counsel's team, that they will seriously consider subpoenaing him. They have already significant evidence of obstruction of justice. We now have some idea of their collusion questions, there's important questions there. They can't get to the bottom of what they need to know.

Bob Mueller who I've worked with same side of the table and against, can't do his job without hearing from the president. So, I think a subpoena is likely.

LEMON: But what if the president goes in there and just says, I plead the Fifth, I plead the Fifth? Regardless of what he said in the media about the Fifth means that you're guilty. What if he just says that?

EISEN: Well, Don, the president is facing a wicked, it's not a dilemma. It's a tri-lemma. If he goes in and tells the truth he runs an enormous risk of incriminating himself with obstruction, possible conspiracy or the other actual crimes that the president is referring to when he says collusion.

LEMON: Right.

EISEN: If he doesn't testify, he runs the risk of getting subpoenaed, he has to take the Fifth Amendment, that disqualifies him as our chief law enforcement officer. So that's not a good solution for him. (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And the perjury.

EISEN: The president is struck whichever which way he turns.

LEMON: All right, yes. So, Harry, you know, what is the likelihood of the president that he actually sits down for this interview?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I've always thought it's low unless he is force to it. And it looks more likely than it did before that some kind of legal battle is brewing. I agree with Norm at the end of the day that he will lose that battle and be compelled.

Jack Quinn mentioned that it might be open and shut because a criminal case is more weighty. On the other hand, it's the consequences for the president or more weighty as well. It's not an open and shut question and it's never been decided by the court precisely but I think they will hold that he has to sit down.

Now, at that point several months will have passed, there will be potentially a whole new majority in the House, the dynamic may well have changed and to his detriment. But I think Mueller ultimately has the whole card here if he has to go to court.

LEMON: OK, Harry let me ask you this then, because Norm mentioned collusion instead what the president means by a crime.


LEMON: So, the president -- he keeps saying no collusion. Even if the president didn't reach out to the Russians directly can he still be guilty of collusion or legally speaking, conspiracy?

[22:29:58] LITMAN: So that's a really important gloss you made just at the end because collusion which is banded about doesn't refer to a crime, could he still be guilty of conspiracy, of course.

If there's an agreement to reach out to the Russians and he does any act at all. For example, let's say he knows about the June meeting in Trump Tower, he doesn't participate in it.

But after the fact, he helps doctor up the false alibi with his son, and others, that's an act in furtherance of the conspiracy. So, those two actions, agreeing with the goal, and taking some action in furtherance of it, equate to liability conspiracy.

LEMON: But what about him saying, you know, WikiLeaks release those e-mails, could that be considered part of it?

LITMAN: That seems pretty weak kind of evidence to me. And, of course that's one of the questions Mueller is talking about, and that came to something of a surprise.

We have to imagine, by the way, the question seemed kind of open ended and benign, but Mueller is possessed of a wealth of information about all of them. To your very questions, I don't think a prosecutor would want to go forward on a theory that that was the act.

LEMON: Norm just quick, please, yes or no if you can, because the President tweeted today it would seem a very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened. Witch hunt. But that's not how obstruction of justice works, right?

EISEN: Absolutely not. Obstruction is a free standing of offense, it's prosecuted that way all the time. The answer is no.


EISEN: The President's wrong.

LEMON: All right, Harry, Norm, thank you very much.


LEMON: All right, thank you.

EISEN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, remember that letter claiming that President Trump is, quote, the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency? Well, guess who apparently wrote that. Plus, details on the allege office raid for the President's medical records.


LEMON: The President's ex-doctor is back in headlines tonight, Dr. Harold Bornstein, excuse me, telling CNN that he didn't actually write that letter during the campaign praising Trump's extraordinary physical strength and stamina.

Guess who he says did? CNN's Senior National Correspondent, Alexander Marquardt has spoken to Dr. Bornstein, and he joins me now. And proceed at these answer pointing.

So, listen, the man who described the President who said was the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency now says that candidate Trump dictated those words.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, and our Drew Griffin actually asked him last year in 2016 rather, the year after this came out whether he had written a letter, and he said yes, he had. And what seems to have changed now is he's putting a bit of a finer point on it.

And why he's doing this now is because we're asking him about it. Perhaps he is also reflecting of some of rage he feels about a raid that he said Trump's staffers carried out, which will talk out -- touch on it just a second.

But he told me, verbatim, this afternoon, he, meaning Trump, dictated that whole letter, I didn't write that letter. What he is saying is that Trump gave him the phrasing, Trump gave him the words, and while he admits to writing it up, and using some of his own style, that it really was Trump's wording.

And the way that he says it went down was, he was driving across central park with his wife in a car that day, in December 2015, when Trump was still the candidate, he was on the phone, and said, Trump dictated those words to him.

And he responded -- once he responded to Trump saying, we can say this, we can't say this. They got to the office, Bornstein wrote it up. He admitted to using some creative license, and using what he called his dark humor.

And he actually ended up comparing the letter to the movie Fargo, if you remember, and he had this incredible quote, comparing it to Fargo, it takes the truth and moves it in a different direction. So he admits that with Trump's words, he move the truth in a different direction.

LEMON: Well, that's very descriptive of Donald Trump, actually. I just wonder why the doctor -- before we talk about this very thing, why would he allow himself to be used that way? Can we talk about that?

MARQUARDT: I think there's a sense of loyalty. He treated Trump for 35 years, and he said that he had never -- he had never turned against him.

LEMON: So he talked about that incident that you referenced here earlier. His -- Trump's long time body guard showing up at office with at least one other man. And what did they want? What happened? 2

MARQUARDT: Well, this happened on February 2017, so this was a month after President Trump was inaugurated. And the White House came out today saying that they were taking control of the President's medical records as is appropriate, once a President comes into power.

However, Bornstein says that he was robbed. I asked him point blank, was this a crime? He said they stole them, meaning the medical files.

And that they -- that they're referring are these two staffers, one is Keith Schiller, who is President Trump's long-time body guard here New York, who moved down to Washington with him to be the head of Oval Office operations.

And the other was named -- a man named Alan Garten who is a lawyer for Trump organization. The way that Bornstein puts it, he said they barged through the back door, terrified the secretary, and pushed aside the patient who was there. Don, whether you release a patient's medical records, you need what's called a HIPAA Release.

LEMON: Right.

MARQUARDT: And these men, according to Bornstein certainly didn't have it. He said that they stole the records, and he said he was humiliated after 35 years of faithful service.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. Now let's discuss. I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator, Scott Jennings and Republican Strategist, Rick Wilson. Gentlemen, good evening to both of you. We will get -- we will get Scott along in just a moment.

But, Rick, are you surprised to hear that this glowing health assessment from Trump's one-time doctor that he issued was actually dictated by the President according to Bornstein?

2RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You mean the thing about his rippling physique, and his astounding stamina, and his full head of hair?

LEMON: It is about that.

WILSON: A man can run a marathon and not even break a sweat? You know, it was a ridiculous, and overly colorful thing. Another way of Trump tells it from the beginning that sort of should have indicated that he was at least putting his thumb on the scale in terms of the creation of this memo about his health.

[22:40:10] And also I mean, the most fascinating thing today is, I really want to know what David Dennison's medical records shows as well, because, you know, the doctor revealed today he did Trump's lab tests under pseudonyms, and things like that.

There is a while story here, and you know, everyday we always say it can't get more crazy than today, and it always does. And this guy is just -- I mean, he is just meme worthy, it's fantastic.

LEMON: So, just after that glowing review, NBC asked Dr. Bornstein about his choice of language in the letter, and here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that the way that you write most of your medical letters?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he ask you to describe it that way, or to pick up his kind of language by spending time with him?

BORNSTEIN: I probably picked up his kind of language, and then misinterpreted it into my own. I thought about it all day, and at the end, I get rushed, and I get anxious when I get rushed. So, I tried to get four or five lines down as fast as possible.


LEMON: So Trump himself tweeted about the report before it was released, and here's what he said, saying that quote, it will show perfection. So, I want you to imagine this, Scott.

Imagine Hillary Clinton had issued a fraudulent letter about her health, if she had done that at that time, what do you think the response would be? SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I mean, people would

be going crazy. I mean, remember during the campaign Hillary Clinton did have a scare with her health, and there were all sorts of allegations about the Clinton campaign possibly hiding how sick she may have been.

So that was an issue if you remember back to the presidential campaign. I'll be honest, this doctor has always seemed like a fairly weird guy to me. I mean, he said he wrote the letter, now he said he didn't write the letter.

Listen to the way he's described it. He looks like the doctor they kept at Area 51 in the movie Independence Day to oversee the aliens. I mean, did he (INAUDIBLE).

Unless he's hiding some like major illness that Donald Trump had, which would be a serious problem, I think this is super weird. But I'm sure it's going to crack logistical that appears in American history text books about the top 10 weirdest things we have talked about on the Don Lemon show during Trump administration.

LEMON: So, you don't -- there's no concern to you that during that campaign for very big, you know, position the highest some people would say in the world, that the American people were duped?

JENNINGS: Yes. Well, I think -- yes, I'm concerned about it, of course. But the question I ask why saw this back and forth today was, did he write a letter that had embellishments, and a lot of adverbs in it? That's one thing.

Or did he write in an effort to hide some kind of an illness? Which would be a much more serious scandal. I don't see any indication that that is case. Yes, it is super weird. I mean, it is super weird, but I don't get the feeling they're hiding any illnesses that then- candidate would have had.

LEMON: So, you know what I thought about, Rick, is that if Trump can pressure Bornstein into signing off on something like that, and what about the health assessment from Ronny Jackson? What about the one he delivered?

WILSON: Well, look at the similarities between these two descriptions of Donald Trump's health. And this is, you know, a guy who was clearly not missing any KFC meals, who's described as this, you know, perfect specimen for his age, can live to be 200-years-old, is in astoundingly great health.

All of this -- the striking language in both of them is very similar. And it obviously -- this is a guy who has a tremendous amount of personal vanity, and wants to be described as this Adonis, you know, become flesh, and described in this way that's glowing and heroic, and the picture of perfection as he said himself. And so I think the similarities between the two are very striking.

And you know, if you are suborning the White House doctor, a navy officer and White House doctor to describe you in ways that aren't fully accurate, you know, it's one of those things that begs the question of, you know, what does it driving your mental state that makes you want to do that.

You know, at some point you're 77-year-old. You got a few extra pounds, your hair's a little weird. You just own it. You just ride with it. And Trump seems very unwilling to do that, that sort of deep male vanity shows in both of these letters.

LEMON: All right, thank you, gentlemen, I appreciate it. So when we come back, in the universe of shocking things Kanye West has said, this may be the most shocking.

Saying that slavery, quote, sounds like a choice. I will let you hear that for yourself. And I know a lot of you have been waiting to hear it. And you're going to hear my take on it when we come back.


LEMON: Kanye West in hot water tonight. And it's his own fault, really. When asked in an interview to talk about his support for President Trump, he turned to some really shocking comments on history of slavery in this country. Listen to this.


KANYE WEST, AMERICAN WRAPPER: I just love Trump. That's my boy. Like -- you know, like so many rappers, you'll look at a video of Snoop Dogg loving Trump, but then he get in the office, and now they don't want to love him. Trump is one of rap's favorite people right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're talking about before he was elected president, people in hip hop, it was an in thing to put Donald Trump in your rhyme somewhere.

WEST: Yes, and when you hear about slavery for 400 years -- for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years, and it's all of you all? You know, like -- it's like we're mentally in prison.

I like the word prison because slavery goes too direct to the idea of blacks. It's like slavery holocaust -- holocaust and slavery as blacks. So prison is something that unites us as one race. Blacks and whites will be on one race, that we are one, we're the human race.


LEMON: Joining me now is Ebro Darden, host of "Ebro in the Morning" on Hot 97. Thank you for...

EBRO DARDEN, HOST, "EBRO IN THE MORNING": Listen man, you're my guy. I just want to say that I'm happy to be here with you.


DARDEN: I want to say that, you're my guy. We love you, and we love how your afro has become more assertive as things have gone crazy here in the world.

[22:50:03] LEMON: All right, thank you. I appreciate that, and that's why I have you on, because I like you voice. I know that you have spoken to Kanye.


LEMON: You know Kanye.


LEMON: He is -- he is trying to clean it up on Twitter. Can I read this before you respond?

DARDEN: Absolutely.

LEMON: Here's what he said. He said to make myself clear, of course, I know that slaves did not get shackled, and put on a boat by free will. My point is, for us to have stayed in that position even though that numbers are on our side means that we were mentally enslaved.

And then he added that the reason why I brought up the 400 years point is because, we can't be mentally in prison for another 400 years. We need free thought now. Even the statement was an example of free thought. It was just an idea.

DARDEN: It was a bad thought. Your brain, Kanye, and your mouth are not working in concert, right? His thoughts are moving faster than his mouth, and he's embarrassing a lot of people especially in hip hop.

LEMON: He's embarrassing himself actually.


LEMON: Because he doesn't know history.


LEMON: He should -- he doesn't read. You know, he should read.

DARDEN: You know, he's actually said out loud on several occasions that he doesn't read. He lives in experience, and he experience life. And I think what we're seeing right now is a sad case of someone who isn't listening to the people around him, who were trying to tell him to just...


DARDEN: ... think first. He is not...

LEMON: He doesn't know what free thinking really is, because people are free to criticize him. And just because people feel a certain way about slavery and the African-American experience in this country, there is a reason why there is a consensus around that. It's because of facts, it's because of history. It's because people

know what happened in the past, and what effects that continues to have on people even in the present now. So it's not necessarily that it's not free thinking.

DARDEN: Don, you got it. I don't know even know why I'm here. I'm just here because you're my guy.

LEMON: OK, all right.

DARDEN: And only because you're my guy. And I also want to point out to everyone that is paying attention remember that Kanye is also part of a marketing machine, right, which is the family and the team that he's around.

I think this is spiraling out of control because he is not -- because he wants to think freely, he's not filtering himself because that would be out of fear. And let's not do anything out of fear, and it's, once again, embarrassing himself.

LEMON: And he talks about the reason he likes Donald Trump, is because, you know, he talks about Snoop. Donald Trump wasn't a national figure then. Donald Trump -- people and the rest of the country outside New York didn't know about the Central Park fire, they didn't know about housing discrimination because he's was --- he was a guy here in New York who was rich guy, and that's what people in here...

DARDEN: People rapped about Donald Trump, because Donald Trump appeared like a rich guy who was in the material things, and hip hop has always been enamored with material things, and that sort of -- those sort of images.

LEMON: And he wasn't imposing policies or suggesting policies that were detrimental to African-Americans.

DARDEN: He just (Inaudible).

LEMON: So now, in the interview they asked what policies that affect black people that he said specifically, while trying to dismantle, the Affordable Care Act, what Ben Carson is doing, trying to raise people's rents that affect African-Americans. The African-Americans are at the bottom. All of these issues affect black and brown people.

DARDEN: And also I think specifically, and this is something I've tried to maintain in all of this circus, and chaos, which is this Kanye West conversation is not about partisan politics, it's not about Republican and Democrats.


DARDEN: It's about aligning you, and it is about that kanye has allowed himself to be used as a tool for people who align themselves with hate groups and white supremacy in this country. That's the problem.

LEMON: Yes. Let's talk about this because I watch Van Lathan all the time, and I can't -- I mean, I love him even more. Now...

DARDEN: I just learned his name today. For the longest time, he was just a black guy on TMZ because I don't watch it.

LEMON: Well, I knew him because I'm from Louisiana, and he's from Louisiana.

DARDEN: There you go.

LEMON: We're both from...

DARDEN: All right. All right.

LEMON: So, Van is on TMZ, and Van confronted him. And as they were talking -- this interview happens in the entire TMZ newsroom. Watch this.


WEST: Do you feel what I'm feeling? Do you feel that I'm being free and I'm thinking free?

VAN LATHAN, STAFFER, TMZ: I actually don't think you're thinking anything. I think what you're doing right now is actually the absence of thought. And the reason why I feel like that is because Kanye, you're entitled to your opinion, you're entitled to believe whatever you want.

But there is fact is real world, real life consequence behind everything that you just said. And while you are making music, and being an artist, and living the life that you've earned by being a genius, the rest of us in society have to deal with these threats to our lives.

We have to deal with the marginalization has come from the 400 years of slavery that you said for our people was a choice. Frankly, I'm disappointed, I'm appalled. And brother, I am unbelievably hurt by the fact that you have morphed into something, to me, that's not real.

[22:55:07] Bro, you got to be responsible, man.

WEST: Bro, I'm sorry I hurt you.

LATHAN: You got to be responsible, man.

WEST: I'm sorry I hurt you, bro.


LEMON: Exactly. He's got to be responsible. He doesn't understand the power of his platform, and his words, and what he's actually saying is wrong. This isn't about free thinking, what he's doing isn't about free thinking.

DARDEN: Don, do you actually think Kanye West doesn't understand his platform, and his words? LEMON: I don't know. Seeing this, I'm not sure of that.

DARDEN: Kanye West only cares about himself, and he knows his power, and he knows his words. Even though he doesn't know how to connect his words to actual clear, actual thought. Why?

Because Kanye West is operating in a space right now that is dangerous to himself and dangerous to his overall brand. And he's doing it because it's spiraling out of control.

It was a marketing idea to setup music, and now things have gotten real. He's stepped out of this circle in Calabasas, California. And started having conversations with people who actually know what's going on. The conversations Kanye West has have been happening. He hasn't been a part of the, because you have been...

LEMON: Because it's new.

DARDEN: It's not new, bro. It's been happening.

LEMON: Not new, right.

DARDEN: You just haven't been involved. And as a matter of fact, I don't honestly think that Kanye wants to come down, and get involved. He doesn't want to get his hands dirty. He just wants to say some stuff from his Calabasas mansion or studio, make some records, do his turn, and put out his clothes, and talk about what he wants to do. he doesn't want talk about a collective greater good, and actually get involved, he just wants to say things for an amount of time.

LEMON: Ebro, thank you. "Ebro in the Morning" in Hot 97.

DARDEN: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

DARDEN: It's great to see you, man.

LEMON: You as well.

DARDEN: Oh, man. My guy, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.