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FLOTUS stays in hospital for a week; Leakers and Traitors' Days are Numbered; Report: Trump And Hannity Speak Almost Every Week And Night; Giuliani To Washington Post: We've Gone From Defense To Offense; Will Trump Disclose Stormy Daniels Debt In Financial Report? Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 14, 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] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: She was homeless and struggling with bipolar disorder. She eventually got back on her feet and became a mental health advocate. Margot Kidder has died at 69.
Thanks for watching. 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.
We're learning more about the health scare for Melania Trump. The first lady recovering tonight at Walter Reed from what's being described as an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition. She's expected to stay in the hospital for the rest of the week. Vice President Mike Pence said this tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president asked me to be here tonight because as you were all no doubt aware earlier today the first lady underwent a long planned medical procedure. And I'm pleased to report the procedure was a success and Melania is already on the mend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But there are more questions than answers right now for a White House that hasn't exactly been very transparent when it comes to health issues.
Our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join us with more that in just a moment. That is a White House attempts to turn the page on the furor over that vicious joke at the expense of Senator McCain. Trying to turn the whole thing into a story about leaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJ SHAH, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: If you don't -- if you aren't able in internal meetings to speak your mind or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that will create a difficult work environment. I think anybody who works anywhere could recognize that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any environment where that conveying that thought would be viewed as appropriate?
SHAH: You know, I'm not going to address it any further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The president himself tweeting, quote, "Leakers and traitors and cowards and we will find out who they are." Kellyanne Conway telling Fox News this tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: And I will tell you something else that's gone on in this White House but not as badly as it was at the beginning where it's not so much leaking as using the media to chivy each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So the Trump White House clearly obsessed with leaks and loyalty. But here's the thing. This was a totally unforced error. The whole thing could have been over and done with if Kelly Sadler, the aide who made the so-called joke had apologized publicly as she promised Meghan McCain. So why hasn't she? What would make someone who works at this White House think an apology wouldn't be in order?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The idea of asking for forgiveness, that's not a central -- is that a central tenant for you? Or is that a so many--
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I like to work where I don't have to ask, I like to do the right thing where I don't have to actually ask for forgiveness.
I like to be good. I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness, and I am good.
I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right.
I fully think apologizing is great thing but you have to be wrong.
I will absolutely apologize sometime in the hopefully distant future if I'm ever wrong.
COOPER: When was the last time you actually apologized for something?
TRUMP: Wow. No, I do believe -- I don't know. I'll think. Can I think? But look, I do believe in apologizing if you're wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All this comes on the deadliest day of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in almost four years. At least 58 Palestinians reported killed during protests over President Trump's controversial relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The White House senior advisor Jared Kushner spoke there today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy once in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise he keeps it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is that what this is really all about? Keeping a campaign promise, no matter what it costs? We have a lot to get to here in the next couple of hours here on CNN, but I want to begin with the breaking news about the first lady. She undergoes a kidney procedure at Walter Reed today.
Joining me now is CNN chief medical correspondent, our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett, CNN political analysts Brian Karem, and April Ryan joins us as well. Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much.
Let's get to you, this is your beat, Kate. The first lady underwent this kidney procedure this morning, and we wish her a very speedy recovery, of course. What do you know?
KATE BENNETT, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, we're just as surprised as everyone else. We've been seeing the first lady quite publicly in the past few weeks. We watched her at the state dinner, we watched her at that white hat moment, we saw her announce her platform just last week in Rose Garden and greet the hostages with the president at Andrews Air Force Base.
So getting the announcement that she had this fairly significant procedure today, a benign kidney procedure was certainly a surprise to a lot of people. She kept it very close to the vest. Her office is extremely loyal, extremely tight-lipped. It's not the sort of civil leaks that we often see on the West Wing.
[22:04:58] So, certainly came as a shock. She's resting comfortably tonight. The president did visit her earlier this evening. He spoke to her on the phone before she went into the surgery and he spoke to her physician right after, so he has been in touch.
But again, this is a procedure that's going to allow the first lady to recuperate in the hospital. Her office is saying for as much as the rest of the week possibly, several more days. But the procedure, the surgery was successful in its completion and that she is she came out of it quite well.
LEMON: All right. That's good news. So let's bring in our medical expert now. Hi, Sanjay.
SANJAY GUPTA, CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Hi, Don.
LEMON: So talk to me about this procedure, an embolization for a benign condition. What is it?
GUPTA: Well, an embolization, first of all, basically that's when you thread a catheter through some of the blood vessels. In this case you're threading it up to an area close to the kidney and injecting a glue-like substance to basically, you know, fill up the blood vessels in that area so there's no more blood flow getting to the abnormality in the kidney.
If you stop the blood flow to it, it can't grow anymore, it will start to shrink, it also can't bleed anymore. So if this was an abnormality in the kidney, for example, they thought was at risk of bleeding, this is one way of to treat it.
This type of procedure instantly done it's typically done by a radiologist, interventional radiologists. It's not something it's done by a surgeon typically because it just does involve this catheters and then there's injecting of the glue. But that's the goal of the procedure. That's what an embolization is.
LEMON: OK. A benign, embolization for a benign condition. So what about, Sanjay, the first lady staying at Walter Reed for the first week? How, is that unusual or is that typical for this kind of procedure?
GUPTA: I would say that's unusual. You know, when you think about these procedures they can be even be done on an outpatient basis. Meaning you come in the morning and you're discharge by the evening. Sometimes people stay overnight because they want to make sure that when this glue is sort of blocking those blood vessels, someone then starts to develop pain or some other sort of problem.
So I'm not quite sure what to make of the fact that she's there all week. Maybe if she is going to actually be discharge sooner or there's still other things that are going to be done while in the hospital.
So I think they're taking this pretty seriously and they certainly want to keep an eye on her. She's first lady. Maybe it's an abundance of caution. But I think there might be a little bit more information I wonder, Don, forthcoming.
LEMON: Well, I want to ask you if you read anything into this because everyone is asking me what do you think of the first lady, what do you think of -- and I don't know. So the fact that she's staying for so long, we shouldn't read anything into it?
GUPTA: Well, I think -- I think do wonder because there's going to be a little bit more information forthcoming because that is unusual. I think everybody thinks that that's unusual for that type of hospitalization.
I get the abundance of caution and obviously being the first lady, but, you know, this is something where someone can go home within a day, you know, just overnight. Even the same day. So why is that exactly? Is there something they're more worried about? Is she going to have something else done? I have a feeling that we're going to learn a little bit more.
I have no doubt what we've been told is true. This is procedure she had. It was for a benign condition, meaning a noncancerous condition although they never told us what it is exactly. There are a few things, a few types of benign tumors which may be treated like this. But I think there may be a little bit more still coming, Don.
LEMON: OK, Sanjay. April, to you now. And I want to put up one of the president's tweet. He tweeted today. He said, "Heading over to Walter Reed Medical Center to see our great first lady, Melania succesful procedure. She is in good spirit. Thank you to all the well wishers."
So he tweeted that after first taking time to send a tweet trashing leakers. I want your reaction to today's news and the president going to Walter Reed following the procedure.
APRIL RYAN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, you know, we received the e-mail from the first lady's office at 3.11 p.m. And I'm sure everyone like myself and I heard Kate say it, we were all kind of shocked.
But you know, this president this morning, today he watched the unveiling of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. He called James Shawn, Jr. The hero from the Nashville waffle house. And you know, he did all that and we didn't know anything. And then he was tweeting, he was being normal, he was being the normal president that we know. Tweeting, trashing the leakers and stuff.
And then when it comes out, that's when we hear. This president is very unique in the way he handles things, but he does things. I mean, he's unique but he also stays true to himself. You know, I mean, anything can happen and it's like he focuses -- he has a laser focus on that.
And we heard that he did call the first lady this morning and he checked in with doctors. But still the day was still going on, and then after it was announced he focused attention -- it's just he's very interesting. We've never seen anything like this before. But he did go, he did go to see her.
LEMON: But listen. Yes, the opening of an embassy and the things he had to do today. I mean, listen, he's the president of the United States he's very busy. And also--
[22:10:02] LEMON: Kate--
RYAN: But that is the first lady of the United States as well.
LEMON: Yes. Before I get to Brian though. But Kate, she's very -- she's intensely private and the West Wing and the East Wing, they operate completely separate and completely different.
RYAN: Completely separate, yes.
LEMON: The East Wing did not leak. No one told us until it was released.
BENNETT: Right, exactly. I think it's an important point that we maybe think about this from the first lady's perspective, not just the president's perspective. This could very well and I believe from the actions we've seen from her before have been this was her call. Maybe she didn't want him there in terms of what that would bring, a motorcade and a press pool and way more security because she is intensely private.
Certainly I would imagine this is something especially it was preplanned and not an emergency, the family including the president has been well aware of, and I would imagine whether he would like it or not respect her wishes not to be there for the surgery, not to draw more attention.
But it is she is intensely private. And certainly, it's amazing when you think about it, the first lady of the United States had a medical procedure that allowed her to be hospitalized and no one said a peep about it until after she was out of this procedure. I find that in the juxtaposition of the two sides of the building pretty remarkable.
BRIAN KAREM, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Amazing.
LEMON: Go ahead, Brian. What would you want to say?
RYAN: But Don, if I can--
LEMON: Hang on, April. I need to get Brian in. Sorry.
RYAN: OK. Sorry.
KAREM: Look, first of all, our best and prayers with the (AUDIO GAP). She has weathered quite a few storms, and her office reacts quite professionally on those days much more so than I would say the West Wing does. And so, you saw the contrast from the two offices and how they reacted to things today.
And you go back to the president's tweet. Before he tweeted about his wife about leakers and such, and how he's going to -- look, the biggest leaker is the president of the United States. And that has shown in everything that he's done.
And at this point in time, Don, I really have just two questions left for the president of the United States in that pressroom. One, you know, like Jared came out today in the course I believe Raj also from the pressroom who said this president keeps his promises. That's not true. On its very level, he very first promise this
president made was to bring this country together at a very divisive time, and he has not done that. And why, because he won't tell us the truth. He will not tell the American people the truth. Some people are fine with that, and some people are not fine with it.
So my question with the president of the United States the one I have is will you please just tell us the truth? I feel like I'm talking to my child. I'm back trying to raise my children saying don't pour water in my ear and tell me it's raining.
Everything is OK if you will tell me the truth and we can deal with it there. You can't even deal with the politics of this president because you can't get past the fact that he won't tell the truth.
And secondly and probably the most important thing that I have to ask is will the president of the United States have the courage to show up in his own pressroom and take questions from the press? He's had one open press conference in a year and a half, and he needs to be accountable to the American people, and he needs to answer our questions.
LEMON: Well, let's discuss that more. We're going to have Brian and April back. Sanjay, thank you. Kate, thank you. I appreciate your time. Thanks for the expertise. Brian, and April, again stick around.
When we come back, the president calling his own people White House staffers who leak traitors and cowards and threatening that he's going to find out who they are. So who's next on the chopping block?
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: And we're back. The White House refusing once again to apologize for a staffer's cruel joke about Senator John McCain who's battling brain cancer right now. The deputy press secretary claiming the matter has been dealt with internally.
Back with me, Brian Karem and April Ryan. And we are joined now by CNN counterterrorism analyst, Philip Mudd. Good evening to you, Philip. Welcome back to the panel, Brian and April.
PHILIP MUDD, COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CNN: Thank you.
LEMON: So, Phil, you know, we hear yet again that a public apology for Kelly Sadler's comments on Senator John McCain is nonexistent. We haven't so far not hoping to happen. Instead the White House now is making the story about White House leaks.
Take a look. This is tweet from the president. The president says, "The so-called leaks coming out of the White House are massive over exaggeration put out by the fake news media in order to make us look as bad as possible. With that being said, leakers are traitors and cowards, and we will find out who they are."
So, I mean, can we just break down what the president is saying there because the folks who are leaking -- (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: -- are his people. He's saying the people who work for him in the White House who are all leakers and they're traitors and cowards. He's calling his own people -- not to mention it's a deflection from what the real story is. But go on.
MUDD: I think this is pretty straightforward. You know, the conversation right before the commercial break, Don, the group is talking about why the president doesn't do a press conference. It's clear to me it's image control. Every time he moves he wants to control like he did on the apprentice his image.
As soon as he does a press conference his image is affected, as soon as you get a leak, your image is affected. Whether you're Barack Obama or President Trump, though, the first rule of politics is you lie during the campaign. And the second rule is as soon as you get elected somebody is going to leak about what you hear when you're in office.
I mean, there's one serious point here. Let's be clear, a traitor is someone who gives up secrets of the United States that result in less security of the United States, or in my world that is a CIA that could potentially lead to somebody like the Russians or the Chinese killing someone that the U.S. government has recruited within China or Russia.
A traitor is not someone who says something embarrassing about a stupid White House staff meeting. Let's get our priorities straight here. I understand he's trying to control image, but that's not a traitor, Don.
KAREM: Well, to him it's a traitor because he said something about Donald Trump. To Donald Trump and to this presidency a traitor is not a traitor to the state. It's a traitor because you haven't shown loyalty and fealty to the president of the United States.
But I remind you that this is President Donald Trump and not King Donald I. So he deserves respect, but he does not deserve fealty, and if you have an opinion counter to his own it is not being a traitorous, it's not being a traitor.
[22:20:03] LEMON: OK, the office of the Presidency does deserve respect. And as I have said before --
RYAN: Yes, it does.
LEMON: -- it's tough when others have more respect than those in office than the person who is sitting in that office.
LEMON: So here's my question then. We're sitting here debating it. Is this just to be, listen, I don't want to normalize it, because I don't think it's normal for people not to tell the truth--
RYAN: Not at all.
LEMON: -- and deflect this way. But do we expect anything else from this White House at this point? Why do we keep going--
KAREM: We have to demand.
LEMON: -- barking the same old tune.
KAREM: We have to demand, Don.
RYAN: But here's the problem. Here's the problem. We have to remember some of those people in the White House have been in White Houses before. Some of those people who are staff have been around government and governance when some of these people just came off the street not knowing, you know, how to turn a light switch-on in the White House and literally trying to figure out how to turn on the heat. But here's the bottom line, and that's the truth.
KAREM: That is the truth.
RYAN: It is. The bottom line is that you have people in there who are not just leaking, they're whistle blowing. And this leak thing is one thing, but people are letting it be known that something is wrong.
RYAN: They're doing the best they can. And I believe that's where we're finding out the s-hole comments, we're finding out about this horrific crazy, just -- I don't even know the words to say about John McCain, about Senator John McCain who is fighting for his life.
KAREM: It's the racism--
RYAN: A prisoner of war--
KAREM: -- it's a holistic behavior.
RYAN: A prisoner of war who was broken and bruised for this nation, for our freedoms.
RYAN: And there is a rule that, you know, a staffer, a low level staffer is not allowed to talk about someone of higher rank. And there is a rule, there has been a rule about that for years until now. So it's not normal. Yes, this is-- (CROSSTALK)
KAREM: It's called respect.
RYAN: It's called respect but there's also a rule in Washington. So I don't know -- I don't know if it's allowed just to happen, but, you know, if there was some kind of repercussion, what was it? Because at this point, we don't believe it because it happens so often. And it happens from the head. So if the head does it, it may be OK for the staff at low level.
LEMON: Listen, I want to get -- not to cut you off but I want to get this in. This is Kellyanne Conway tonight on leakers. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us about that process of trying to figure out who is leaking from the communications department and what's going to be done?
CONWAY: I won't tell you the process so much as to tell you that there are all kinds of leaks. Some leaks exist to hurt I guess colleagues. Some leaks exist because they disagree with the policies that are being put forth, but none of them are helpful.
And I will tell you that something that's going on in this White House but not as badly as it was at the beginning where it's not so much leaking as using the media to chivy each other. And that was going on quite a bit at the beginning of this administration and it's less so now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you expect personnel changes as a result?
CONWAY: I do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do.
CONWAY: Actually, yes, I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAREM: To chivy another person. The--
LEMON: It sounds like a really toxic environment at the White House. I mean, she expects that we're going to see personnel changes because someone leaked not because of the horrible--
KAREM: And a reminder, Don, these are--
RYAN: It's because the president doesn't like the person. That's why they're going to be losing their jobs.
KAREM: Yes, these are very best people that he could hire and now they're chivying each other.
KAREM: These are mob analogy drawn by them. They set it. And you're right. I mean, Anthony Scaramucci came out weeks ago and everybody laughed at him but the man is essentially right when he said the morale in that White House press office, for example, is as low as it's ever been.
LEMON: Brian, I got to--
KAREM: When you see them going to the motion.
LEMON: I got to get this to Phil before we ran out of time. Phil, dozens of Palestinians were killed in Gaza today and thousands more injured as the United States officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem. The president's daughter Ivanka Trump, she was there, so was son-in-law Jared Kushner. Jared had this to say at the opening. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KUSHENR: While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American embassy once in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise he keeps it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Phil, do you think this was about keeping a campaign promise considering the real impact of what's going on in this region?
MUDD: I mean, I think he had two choices. One as Jared Kushner said to keep a campaign promise, two, which I think would have been a more significant question, if you're a deal maker, a deal maker who for 70 years has tried to portray yourself as an impartial mediator between the Palestinians and the Israelis, how do you sit there and say, we gave way something for nothing.
For a man who wrote the art of the deal, that is his father in law, we just gave the Israelis an incredible gift. What do we get in return and how do we persuade the Palestinians, including a president who follows, the president is the guardian not only of his own presidency but of future presidencies, how do we go to the Palestinians and say now come to table and we expect you to give something.
[22:24:58] Why did we give something when we didn't get something? To me, I'm not the expert negotiator. The president is. But to me that violates the art of the deal. I don't know why we did it except for domestic politics and certainly not for Israeli Palestinians security. LEMON: That's got to be the last word.
LEMON: Brian, I'm sorry, I'm out of time.
LEMON: Thank you guys. I appreciate it. Thank you so much.
When we come back, who does the president call late at night? In fact, he might be calling right about now. The answer might surprise you. Maybe it won't.
LEMON: So there's a new report tonight. It says the president talks to one person every single night. Melania? Guess who? It's Sean Hannity. New York Magazine reports the calls come right after Hannity's live Fox News show. So how influential is the cable news host?
Let's discuss now. Political analyst Bill Schneider is here. He's the author of the new book "Standoff, How America Became Ungovernable." It's out tomorrow, right?
BILL SCHNEIDER, AUTHOR, STANDOFF: Yes.
LEMON: Good to see you, sir.
SCHNEIDER: It is.
LEMON: And then also joining us is historian Jon Meacham, the author of "The Soul of America, The Battle for Our Better Angels" which came out a week ago, correct?
[22:30:03] JON MEACHAM, HISTORIAN & AUTHOR: That's correct.
LEMON: And that's a gang buster so we're happy. So I thought what they said the president talks to someone every night I thought it was him yelling at the TV to me, but that's not exactly it.
Bill, I mean, what do you make of the fact the President of the United States speaks to a cable news host every single weeknight?
BILL SCHNEIDER, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he watches a lot of television.
SCHNEIDER: I don't know how much he governs. He rather likes campaigning. He loves to go to these big rallies. He doesn't seem to like governing very much, and he doesn't spend a lot of time doing it.
LEMON: Yes. Jon, here's -- I don't know if you have seen (ph) New York Magazine where it said, more than most politicians, Trump abides by the Groucho Marx law of fraternization.
He inherently distrusts anyone who chooses to work for him, seeking outside affirmation as often as possible from as vast, and varied a group as he can muster. But Hannity is at the center. So what does this say about the state of the Trump White House? What do you think?
MEACHAM: Well, the President raised dysfunction to a kind of art form. You know, there are many kinds of bosses, and leaders of institutions who are always finding messy antic figures outside the chain of command.
What's so interesting about this is the President's sense of reality begins and basically ends with the coverage of him. And we've basically gotten ourselves into a reality show presidency with a strong dose of combative cable news.
And so it doesn't surprise me at all, actually, that Hannity would be a familiar, and I suspect reassuring voice to him at times that are not -- they're hardly reassuring Donald to anybody else.
LEMON: It's kind of like it becomes like a giant feedback loop, right? Like you watch Hannity, and the President sat down, and then he watch all the shows, and the conservative commentators say it or what have you -- and it's a giant feedback loop. Let's listen -- here's an example. This is what Sean Hannity says on his show and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Two separate major leaks from Robert Mueller's off the rails political witch hunt are now revealing the Special Counsel's obsessive determination to set a perjury trial for President Trump.
Time to dismantle the deep state, hold people accountable for acts they have committed, and hold the corrupt media accountable as they are happily cheering for President Trump's political demise. There's still zero evidence of collusion. Imagine that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Bill, witch hunt, deep state, corrupt media, zero evidence of collusion. We hear the President say these exact same things daily. Should -- is there -- is this concerning that this feedback loop that I spoke of?
SCHNEIDER: Well, it's concerning because this President is utterly unique. He ran by dividing the electorate. But the electorate was already divided. But what he did was exploit the division. He had four predecessors who promised to be healers.
The first push, Clinton, the second push, Obama, they all promised to heal the division in the country. So I write it down in my book, but Trump was the only president we've ever had who made it worse. He exploited the division. He saw an opportunity as a businessman, and he actually made it worse.
He governs the country as a divider. You know, I had a student once who asked me, is this the most divided we've ever been as a country?
And I said you know, son, we did once had a Civil War. Three quarters of million of Americans died in the Civil War, but this is probably the most divided we've been since the Civil War, and Trump has made the infinitely worse.
LEMON: Jon, in the magazine, also the former White House adviser Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, they deliberate try to drive -- it's reported they try to drive Trump deeper into the Fox News bubble because people get overly agitated, and upset by criticism on CNN or MSNBC. And so now they say that he exclusively watches Fox. How do other presidents navigated the criticism of the media? Do they just tune into whatever channel they thought was favorable to them, or do they not watch so much news?
MEACHAM: Well, no. In the cable era, I don't think President Obama spent much time with it. President George W. Bush didn't. President Clinton was about half his term in this zone. You know, Lyndon Johnson put three televisions in the office, so he could watch various networks.
He also had an AP ticker. So he was obsessed with it. You know, one of the interesting things about under it is about talking to presidents, is they always claim they don't read the coverage, but they always know exactly who to be mad at.
So exactly that tracks is a great question. I think where we are historically is we're all the way back to the 19th -- 18th century, 19th century model where the media was inherently partisan.
The only economic model that worked for the first 125 years or more, the republic was each party, each faction had a newspaper. The incumbent party would give the Congressional printing contract to the favored newspaper.
[22:35:04] And it was really only in the early 19th, and the 20th century, rather, where we began to have the idea that you would have facts, and make a decision on your own, and then of course the fairness doctrine with radio and television.
So I think the 19th century analogy is really important here. I think that a lot of the political culture is at it was in the 19th century, and what we have to do is figure out, how do we get to a stronger place, how do we get to a better place amid those circumstances.
LEMON: So in your book Standoff, you write that we're being governed by public opinion. Explain that.
SCHNEIDER: Well, public opinion, of course, is deeply divided. But it has a lot of say in what's happening in Washington, more than most people think. If a president does something that offends the public, he or members of Congress, they will pay a price for it. We're waiting to see if a price will be paid in this year's election.
When you compare the media to President Trump, cable news particularly, this is important. The President governs by dividing.
But that's something he has in common with cable news. Because most cable news outlets -- not CNN of course, but most cable news outlets recognize that dividing people, making them angry, getting them agitated is how you get an audience. Cable news lives on conflict. And so does President Trump. He makes no effort to heal the conflict. He exploits it.
LEMON: OK. So in your book that leads me directly to Jon, your book the Soul of America, you write that President Trump doesn't think of America as an country, that he does thinks about us as an audience.
LEMON: Do you see that in play with the embassy moving to Jerusalem? I mean, was today all about cameras showing up? Because remember who is on the tarmac the other night, he said this is the biggest overnight audience at 3:00 a.m.
LEMON: When the hostages came home from North Korea.
MEACHAM: Right, we're living in a kind of two sort of aged pop culture analogies here, Groundhog Day meet CSPAN, right? I mean, it's just this -- it is as if the previous day never happened. I think the President's entire sensibility based on the evidence of the past several years is that her -- as Bill says, he lives for conflict.
He's created a world that's kind of a Hobbesian (ph) war of all against all. And he would rather throw a punch than extend a hand. And the greatest presidents, the presidents we emulate, we commemorate, the presidents we remember warmly are the ones who reach beyond their base, and actually added to the sum of its parts.
And I think that the President is going to regret this in the fullness of time. Because if he cares about ratings, there are today's ratings, but history's ratings last a lot longer.
LEMON: Yes. Jon Meacham's book is called The Soul of America -- The Soul of America. And Bill Schneider's book is called Standoff. Great to read (ph). Thank you, gentleman, appreciate it.
MEACHAM: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, Robert Mueller's Russia investigation coming up in its second year -- on its second year. And now, Rudy Giuliani says he and the President are ready to play offense.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: This Thursday it'll be one year -- one year anniversary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, and President Trump's new attorney, Rudy Giuliani, says now it's time to go on the attack.
I want to bring in now Caroline Polisi, who is a Federal and White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney, and Jack Quinn, a former White House Counsel to President Clinton, and CNN Contributor Walter Shaub, a former Director of the Office of Government Ethics.
Good evening, everyone. This feels like Rudy Giuliani has been around forever, but it's only been what, like a little over a week, maybe two weeks that he has been around.
So he's -- the Washington Post, Caroline, says that they're changing their strategy. What's the quote here, it says, the new phase -- the President always says the new phase is that we are going -- we are on the same wavelength. We've gone from defense to offense.
CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right.
LEMON: What is that?
POLISI: Well, it makes no sense, first of all, because by definition, he's on the defense. Mueller is the prosecutor. He is one the offense here. But I think what he's really alluding to is this new P.R. campaign, right?
It's meaningless to Mueller and his team what really goes on -- you know, on the air waves. It's -- he's only done a bad job of trying to sort of get himself out of, of course, the Stormy Daniels issue. That's a whole -- a whole issue that he's really messed up there.
He's both simultaneously trying to escort (ph) the Trump and Cohen FEC issue, but he's got himself into sort of a world of pain on other legal issues at the same time. So, I don't know what he means going on the offense. I can't -- I can't think of what strategy legally speaking that would be.
LEMON: Just going to answer -- just a quick answer because I want to move on to other things. You first. This is not strategy, right? Do you this strategy...
POLISI: Well, I said before -- I said before, you know, initially I thought maybe that initial, you know, debut on Hannity, and then the Fox and Friends sort of second round, I thought maybe that was a strategy on the part of getting in front bad (ph) facts, but I think we're seeing more and more that he's just freelancing, and not knowing what he's saying.
LEMON: What do you think, Walter? Is this a strategy or just...
WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's just crazy making. I don't know what to make of that, and what's really baffling as the representative for the President, he's contradicting himself in his various statements. So it's even hard to figure out what he's saying, or what he thinks he's saying.
LEMON: Yes. Jack, I know you don't think it's a strategy, so I'll have another question for you, right? So, I'll give you...
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Come on, I want to fire on.
LEMON: You can do it quick because I want to get to the other question. It's important. Go on.
QUINN: The Comey firing -- I mean, he really stepped in it when he said that Comey was fired because he wouldn't acknowledge that the President was not a subject of the investigation.
QUINN: That was unhelpful.
LEMON: All right, there you go. The Post is saying that the White House is really worried about Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, Jack, do you believe that, being ensnared in this investigation?
QUINN: Well, do I believe that someone at the White House said that? Sure I do. I mean, we've all been waiting, and wondering where is the indictment for the conspiracy in connection with the hacking in the DNC e-mails, that's...
[22:45:01] LEMON: How concerned should they be, though?
QUINN: Well, that belongs to the whole Trump Tower meeting. Look, I don't know the evidence that Bob Mueller has. I don't think anyone on the show here knows. But that is really at the heart of the Mueller investigation.
You know, specifically was there a conspiracy parallel to the conspiracy to manipulate social media here? And if so, were there any Americans involved in that conspiracy? And further, were any of those Americans, if they were involved, part of the Trump campaign?
QUINN: That's the heart of this investigation, and it's not surprising given things like the Trump Tower meeting that people would have real concerns about that.
LEMON: So, Walter...
QUINN: Not to mention, you know, Viktor -- help me with Viktor's last name. I know you pronounce it so well.
QUINN: Thank you. LEMON: Yes. Got it.
QUINN: You know, that's got to be concerning to people as well.
LEMON: OK. Walter, in the last segment Jon Meacham said that this President -- and he writhe in his book, he says that not as country, but more as an audience. And The Post also writes that he gripes -- that he needs parallel lawyers on television to defend him on cable news. What does that say about his mindset?
SHAUB: It's hard to understand what his mindset is. I thought that was a particularly good comment, when you said that he use it as an audience, rather than a country, because everything seems to be done for a fact, rather than for content.
And so it's just really hard to understand, and it goes back to what's I said earlier, their stories keep contradicting themselves. And for instance on the Stormy Daniels thing, they keep giving a different story that contradicts the last one. And so they still haven't come out with a straight with a one single coherent story that they've stuck to.
LEMON: Yes. But they may -- this President may have to come out with something, some evidence soon or otherwise he could get into a bit of trouble for it. We're going to talk to Caroline about that, and the rest of the group when we come back.
The President's financial disclosure report is due tomorrow. And everybody is waiting to see what it says about the payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump's 2017 financial disclosure report is due tomorrow. The big question is, will the report include anything about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels? Back with me to discuss, Caroline Pelisi, Jack Quinn, and Walter Shaub. So, Walter, I want you to explain what the President needs to do.
SHAUB: So what he needs to do is disclose all liabilities that exceed $10,000 at any point last year. Now, in the report that he filed in June last year, he omitted any debt to Michael Cohen. If he did that knowingly, and willfully, that's a crime.
And if he does it again, that's another crime. Now, they denied that he knew it. I mean, the President stood on Air Force One and said, I didn't know about the payment, and Rudy Giuliani in one of the versions of the stories that he told said the President did know.
I find it pretty implausible that he was repaying a payment -- a debt that he didn't know about, but in any case, there is no denying he knows about it now. And although they try to muddy the water in several different ways, there's no doubt about the fact that this debt to Cohen is reportable.
You know, what makes it particularly interesting is if he reports a debt to Cohen that's much larger than $130,000, that would suggest there are other payments that we don't know about. He's already left that one payment, and maybe there are more payments, and that's what we need to find out.
What I'm worried about is that they're going to try to omit it from his report, and claim that there is some kind of exception. There is no exception. There are no loopholes.
And everyone at the Office of Government Ethics knows there are no loopholes, so the question is, will Trump's hand-picked acting OGE director, refuse to certify his report, and call him out on the omission, or will he collude with him, and help him come up with an exception that doesn't exist?
But there is no exception, and it is reportable, and I think they find themselves painted into a corner, because Rudy Giuliani was trying to get him out of a campaign finance violation, or a potential one, anyway, and told the story about, you know, revealed facts that have now led to the unquestionable conclusion that he has to report it.
LEMON: It all comes back to Rudy Giuliani. And I'm just going to put the piece up because you wrote it. It's your opinion piece yesterday, and it lays out everything that you were talking about today. And that's a quote from that.
But let me ask you this as well with that, Caroline. The stories about -- from Michael Cohen -- how Michael Cohen paid back the shifting -- keep shifting, the President know about it, then he didn't know about it, and he paid back (Inaudible), and retainers, and on, and on. It just keeps going on.
LEMON: What's happening here?
POLISI: That's what's so great about, Walter, because it leads you down the various paths, you know, in terms of which story they're telling. So, Giuliani characterized this payment both as an expense, kind of like maybe, you know, you would repay your attorney for Velo binding briefs or something like that.
And you know, retainer agreements notwithstanding, repaying a porn stars, the types of expense that you've just repay in this nature, but Walter is right. However, you characterized this payment, it is a debt. It's an outstanding debt over $10,000, and so it's required to be reported.
Now, in an effort on Giuliani's part to exculpate from the FEC violation saying this have nothing to do with campaign finance laws, it has nothing to do with the campaign, he's now backing himself into a hole on the reporting issue, and he's opening himself up to a myriad of criminal exposure, really, not the least of which is an 18 U.S.C. 1001 violation, which we know, Robert Muller is not afraid to charge.
LEMON: I was going to ask you, so what does that mean for the President then if he... POLISI: Well, relying on -- so knowingly and willfully. So when you
talk about criminal prosecutions, you have to go to the state of mind. That's what's really going to separate this between a criminal prosecution versus just like a civil penalty or something, right?
We have been talking about, in terms of the FEC issue, you know, the DOJ has gone after -- I mean, the most no notorious would be John Edwards.
[22:55:05] The FEC violations could never really get it over the goalpost in terms of a criminal prosecution. These tend to end up being sort of slap on the wrist violations of a civil nature.
LEMON: But it would be an omission of some sort if he does put it on there, right? Even more confirmation.
POLISI: Exactly. It's kind of -- you know, he may be weighing sort of his options here. If he puts it on there and discloses it, what trouble does that get him in down the road, where an omission is a little bit -- a little bit easier to argue sort of legally speaking that you had another theory.
LEMON: Jack, I'm going to give you the last word, but where does this intersect with Robert Mueller's investigation? Because we keep getting -- I mean, it's just weird murky sort of -- I don't know, line or blurry line, it's a better way of putting it, between Stormy Daniels and Mueller, how does this intersect?
QUINN: Well, to out -- let me just put a conclusion on this FEC discussion. I think he's clearly got an FEC problem here. This was a campaign contribution, it was a campaign expenditure at the same time, and there is no way out of that box.
I don't think that his disclosing this or not disclosing it on the financial disclosure form solves the FEC problem, or makes it worse. It's standing by itself as a serious problem.
How does it intersect with Mueller? You know, I mean, Mueller could conceivably try to proceed against him on the basis of an FEC violation. Frankly, I don't expect to see that happen. I really don't.
LEMON: OK. Thank you, all. I appreciate it. See you next time. And speaking of Stormy Daniels, her attorney is going to join me next, and I'm going to ask him why he tweeted out a mysterious picture of Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn.