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Cambridge Analytica to be Investigated by DOJ and FBI; North Korea Threatens to Cancel Summit with U.S.; Giuliani's Power Not Working; Some Business Owners Say Restrictions On Immigrant Visas Are Hurting Them; CNN Sources: Unprecedented Steps To Stop White House Leaks; Trump Tweet: I Now Have My Best Poll Numbers In A Year. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired May 15, 2018 - 22:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tom Wolfe has died at the age of 88.

Thanks very much for watching 360. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.


We have breaking news tonight on the firm that harvested Facebook data from 50 million unsuspecting Americans run by Steve Bannon and the powerful Mercer family close to the president.

The Justice Department and the FBI want to question former employees of Cambridge Analytica which earlier this month announced it is shutting down, that is according to the New York Times.

Plus, so much for the art of the deal. North Korea threatening to pull the plug on next month's summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. They say over a joint military drill conducted by South Korea and the U.S.

Sources telling CNN the White House was caught completely by surprise. The president ducking questions as he returned to the White House tonight after visiting the first lady in the hospital.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you worried about the summit, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you meet with Kim Jong-un, sir? Will you still meet with him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you go to Singapore?


LEMON: So how things have changed. Remember it was just a few weeks ago that President Trump praised Kim Jong-un in words that at the time a lot of people found pretty surprising.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He really has been very open, and I think very honorable.


LEMON: But let's not forget the Trump/Kim relationship was never exactly a bromance.


TRUMP: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.

The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.


LEMON: And then there was this from Kim Jong-un, quote, "Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally-deranged U.S. dotard with fire."

President Trump tweeting, "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me old when I would never call him short and fat? Well, I try so hard to be his friend, and maybe someday that will happen." Or maybe not.

Tonight we're left with a lot of unanswered questions. Is the summit really in doubt or is all of this just saber rattling? Stay tuned.

First let's get to the breaking news now. I want to bring in CNN National Analyst, Matthew Rosenberg who broke the Cambridge Analytica story for "The New York Times." Also with us, CNN Contributor, John Dean, who was Nixon White House counsel, and CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates.

The gang is all assembled. Welcome. Good evening to all. Matthew, I'm going to start with you because your new reporting, you have learned that the Justice Department and the FBI investigating Cambridge Analytica. What exactly are they looking for?

MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So this is very early days and it is opaque as these investigations are. What we know is that you've got a senior prosecutor who deals in financial fraud who is being questioning former employees and others. They reached out to the banks 2Cambridge Analytica did business with.

There's also been an FBI agent involved who deals with cyber crimes. People who have spoken with the prosecutors as witnesses and others have said that all they were told was that there was an open investigation on Cambridge Analytica and associated U.S. persons. Who those people are, the prosecutors wouldn't say. We obviously know the company is founded by Robert Mercer, the very

wealthy Republican benefactor. His daughter Rebecca was on the board, Stephen Bannon was on the board. There weren't a lot of other U.S. persons involved.

Interesting two of the prosecutors and FBI flew to London to question people earlier this month which is, you know, it's a big step, a big move. And so this does looks like more than a fishing expedition. Prosecutors aren't brought in to kind of check things out, they brought in to make cases.


ROSENBERG: So they are looking into something.

LEMON: So we'll talk about the legal angle in just a second with Laura. But I got to ask you, the company, Matthew harvested the private data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles and used it to profile Americans. Talk about how that information was used.

ROSENBERG: So they took kind of a wide swath of information off profiles and they were trying to build these models to predict the personalities of voter, and then you can kind of advertise narrowly at them. And so you know this person is radical we can appeal to their fear with images of walls and things like that.

Whether it worked is a huge debate. A lot of people say they never got it right and they weren't even close and that they were selling snake oil. The company insists that this was the secret sauce and that they're -- at times their company's former chief executive said they were the reason Trump was elected.

[22:05:05] LEMON: All right. So Laura, Cambridge Analytica was brought on by the Trump campaign to help with digital efforts. Do you think members of the Trump campaign are caught up in this investigation?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think they absolutely are. Remember, Jared Kushner was one of the people I believe who was touting the use of Cambridge Analytica, certainly played a key role in it, and Steve Bannon also played a key role, not only in having it being part of the campaign but bringing Cambridge Analytica to the forefront and on U.S. soil about these very issues.

And he did have various, you know, significant ties to the Mercer family before he left Breitbart and was no longer became the person non-grata. By certainly those different ties and those obvious connections to Cambridge Analytica combined with the efforts of the Mueller investigation and probe to target various Russian troll companies who had a very big hand in trying to infuse divisive rhetoric and also trolling, using Facebook as a conduit of all that illegality perhaps.

It's obvious why there would be an interest in this particular organization. And again, we are seeing this overall theme of following the money. If there is somebody who has been enticed in some way to engage in behavior that we find offensive to American legal systems, then we have to follow that particular trail and that investigation.

I think it comes a bit according to the reporting by Matthew, but certainly it would not shock anyone that they would be a subject of interest.

LEMON: So, John, let me bring you in now because former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort dealt a big setback in court today with the federal judge overseeing his case in Washington denying his motion to dismiss the criminal charges against him.

Here is what the judge wrote. The judge said. "Given the combination of his prominence within the campaign and his ties to Ukrainian officials supported by an operating out of Russia as well as to Russian oligarchs, Manafort was an obvious person of interest. The special counsel would have been remiss to ignore such an obvious potential link between the Trump campaign and the Russian government."

So, talk to me about the significance of that decision.

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's very clear that the effort to get the action dismissed based on the power of the special counsel didn't work. Judge Jackson looked right through it, in fact found that the clause that he had no problem with in his motion covered exactly the investigation that the indictment produced. And so it was all there.

She found no basis and she said even the regulation that he was relying on clearly themselves expressly say you cannot rely on these regulations to grant any right to anybody outside of the Department of Justice. They have to deal with the management of the prosecution and not what the subjects of the prosecution can do with those regs.

So it's a strong opinion. It is going to affect the case in Virginia under Judge Ellis, who has kind of hinted he might look more sympathetically but this is going to be tough to get around.

LEMON: But that is, John, that's a very different ruling today from what we saw earlier in the month. Remember the federal judge in Virginia who said that Manafort--

DEAN: Judge Ellis.

LEMON: Yes. May have only been scrutinized in an effort to get the president. Wouldn't you say it is quite different, right?

DEAN: Very different. Well, he was sort of chatting on the bench about his perception of the case. He wasn't actually ruling on anything in those words, and I think that with Judge Jackson's -- it's about a 30-page opinion. I went through it quickly, and it is well- reasoned, and it is just not going to go away if Judge Ellis thinks that the Department of Justice can't prosecute who it wants with which prosecutors it wants.

LEMON: Let's move on. I want to talk about Rudy Giuliani to you guys. And Laura, first to you. Rudy Giuliani has made a number of headlines since coming aboard the president's legal time. Today the president's long-time personal attorney Jay Goldberg said he is not impressed. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Rudy Giuliani doing a good job for Trump?

JAY GOLDBERG, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: I don't think so. I think he is a polarizing figure. There are those people who are thinking he was a wonderful prosecutor, but he has no record managing a defense of someone who's accused of wrong doing.

And to think that when he comes aboard Mueller is going to be somehow frightened into cutting his investigation short is -- doesn't really know the role he plays in law enforcement.


LEMON: Is Giuliani doing more harm than good?

COATES: I think that question must be rhetorical, Don, at this point in time because I think he is absolutely doing more harm than good. He's attempting to straddle the line behind being a P.R. publicity person and the president's personal advocate and attorney.

And frankly, those two roles really have very different functions. If you are the lawyer of the president, which he is the personal attorney, you got to safeguard that particular person and not have them get more legal exposure by your own comments or by contradictory statements you may have made that may lead you to being a witness to talk about those contradictions.

[22:10:10] The P.R. strategy he is employing, the sort of bulldog tactic of going on the offense may be as effective P.R. strategy, but when he is the mouth piece of the president or the client that he is working with has said so many inconsistent statements, he invites greater scrutiny.

And remember, this is Rudy Giuliani, with the person he is talking about is based on his experience as a prosecutor, the thought was he could anticipate the role of a defense counsel for somebody and need to be able to safeguard them in a productive way.


COATES: He is not doing that. He is exposing greater liability. And frankly, if he were in talks with the White House counsel whose role is to protect the actual office, they must be very frustrated that he is doing counterproductive things for their ability to advocate.

LEMON: I'm sure. I'm sure there is some frustration there that is not public. Maybe Matthew knows more about that. But Matthew, let me ask you. What do you think of Goldberg's point that Giuliani's presence alone was never going to change the balance of power between Trump and Mueller?

ROSENBERG: I mean, of course it wasn't. You know, Mueller is collecting facts. What he finds is what he finds. And that's what they are going to either question the president about or, you know, find other ways.

I mean, I don't want to speak for the president. I don't know if Giuliani is doing a good job or not. I know when I have to deal with lawyers I kind of look to sober counsel in the lawyers I've hired, not somebody to go out there and make a show of it. I don't see how this helps.

LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate your time.

When we come back, the White House caught off guard by North Korea's threat to pull the plug on next month's summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Is the deal maker in chief's biggest deal yet in danger?


LEMON: More breaking news. Sources telling CNN the White House was taken completely by surprise today by North Korea's threat to cancel the summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un planned for next month in Singapore.

Let's discuss now with Senior Political Analysts, Ryan Lizza, Molly Ball, and Josh Rogin. Hello.



LEMON: Wow, that hurt. Good evening. Molly, you first. Is President Trump's North Korean diplomacy falling apart?

BALL: We don't know yet. But this has always been the danger, right, is that any success he has achieved thus far has been due to the spontaneous and unpredictable and improvisation of nature of his negotiating, and that's also the danger. Is that because these obstacles are not being foreseen and because the strategy is sort of on the fly that there is the potential to sort of step on a diplomatic land mine at any moment or not to realize -- and the other danger that experts have always foreseen in this negotiation is that the United States gets taken for a ride and that they are able to get the better of us.

And so I think that this episode shows that those are still very much the two potential problems with this whole negotiation.

LEMON: Ryan, the reporting is that the White House was caught offguard; the State Department was caught off guard. How does that make the president look when he is meant to be, you know, the deal maker, the Mr. Art of the deal?

LIZZA: Yes, it looks like they were not as -- you know, as aware of the situation as they should have. You know, previously when North Korea has, you know, made one of their sort of over-the-top statements about these joint exercises, what the American president and what the White House does is come out and forcefully defend the exercises because, remember, what Kim is complaining about are these military exercises that are in defense of South Korea.

And I think what is a little surprising is that you didn't hear the White House or President Trump himself come out and say, you know, these exercises are important, South Korea is a staunch ally, and explain and defend them.

Instead, you had this sort of, you know, this moment where they didn't say a whole lot, and when they did actually put out a statement it was sort of tepid. And to me, it suggests what a lot of people are worried about with these negotiations, is that President Trump is so eager for a deal, any deal, that he's willing to sort of forget about what is most important from our national security and the national security of our allies in the region.

LEMON: Yes, well, that's what foreign policy experts believe the same thing, wondering the same thing that you just said here, Ryan, is he too eager. And I'm wondering by doing that, Josh, is he giving Kim Jong-un more leverage?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's be clear here. North Koreans are doing crazy stuff because that's what the North Koreans do, right? This is their M.O., OK. Anyone who thought that we were going to enter into this long, protracted negotiation, diplomatic marathon with North Korea and they weren't going to pull this kind of stuff hasn't been paying attention in the history of this, OK.

They're testing us, they are messing with our heads. It's just the beginning. After the summit, the messing with our heads is only starting. All right. We are going to enter into years of concessions and deals and violations and inspections and all of that is going to come with a lot of, you know, antics on both sides.

You know, the administration has got -- if they want to buy the ticket and take the ride, they have to stomach a lot of that. They have to figure out how to deal with it.

My advice to them would be very simple, is to deal what they're doing and not overreact. Because like I said, this is just the beginning.

Now as for the expectations game though, you constantly hear the Trump administration officials say, we understand that we have to keep expectations low and, well, if it doesn't work out we'll just walk away. At the same time when you have the stadium full of people chanting, Nobel, Nobel, Nobel, it's clear that the expectations have gotten out of control.

LEMON: Is that a high expectation, Nobel?

LIZZA: Nobel.

ROGIN: Well, I mean, and then when you have Secretary of State Pompeo saying they are going to eat meat and American power companies they are going to set North Korea into the 21st century, well, that's a pretty high expectation as well.

So I think it's natural that the expectations could get out of control. And you know, what we get to at the end is like every administration comes into their dealings with North Korea saying, this is going to be different, we have a totally different approach, we're clear on, we know the failings of the past.

LEMON: And then?

[22:20:00] ROGIN: And then they end up doing the same exact thing--


ROGIN: -- that every administration does, which is bribing the North Korean's not to blow us up, right?


LEMON: And today--

ROGIN: Which is a good thing to do. That's probably what we're going to have to do, but let's not dance around that.

LEMON: Yes. Today is an indication of that, just how unpredictable Kim Jong-un is. You know, I guess you shouldn't trust him as far as you can throw him.

ROGIN: Nor should he trust us. That's not what agreements are about.

LEMON: Nor he should he trust us. So, listen, I want to move on. I want to talk about some other things on Capitol Hill today because the president -- the president going to Capitol Hill.

He met with Republican senators where Trump spoke about 45 minutes. I'm just wondering, why didn't any of them ask the president about that terrible joke, if you want to call it that, at the expense of John McCain and about the president's desire to help Chinese company ZTE. That's for you, Molly.

BALL: Well, look, this has been the theme of Republicans in Congress and especially in the Senate for this entire administration, is they're all waiting for someone else to stand up to Trump. They all deep down, or most of them -- many of them in their hearts -- believe that someone ought to do it but none of them really wants to be the one, and even the sort of rare profiles in courage, the Jeff Flakes and Bob Corkers of the world, did not step up in this particular instance.

All of McCain's so-called friends in the Senate, I was frankly surprised by that. But I think that it is something that we have seen time and time again, is that everybody is going not it and waiting for the next guy to be the one to do it.

LEMON: Yes. So, Ryan, Senator Bob Corker told "Washington Post" about -- he talked about why no one brought that up, the McCain joke. He said, that's not what we do in those meetings.

LIZZA: Yes. LEMON: So what are those meetings for? Is it just story time for the president, no Republican senator has the nerve to come up, you know, to come to the defense of a sick colleague in a private meeting?

LIZZA: Well, I've seen a number of senators on the record now, Republicans saying that this was, you know, a policy meeting and there weren't -- you know, there wasn't enough time for many questions.

If you have seen any of the footage of reporters asking Republicans up on the Hill about this remark, you know, there's this sort of, you know, platitude about how it was inappropriate, but then, you know, sort of pivot and wanting to sort of scurry away from the reporters. They don't want to talk about this.

And I think most Republican senators have made a decision that their political viability is more likely by, you know, being -- cozying up to the White House, being friends with Trump, and not exacerbating disagreements.

So they see even something as disgusting as what this White House official said as McCain, as an attempt to divide them from Trump, and, you know, they don't want to engage. They don't -- they see these as wedge issues that the media is trying to drive between Trump and Republican senators.

LEMON: Josh, senators didn't ask the president about the support of the Chinese company ZTE which I mentioned just a moment ago, and your latest piece in the Washington Post you write about how Trump -- gave the president -- the president a list of demands and now Trump has caved to one of them. I should -- yes, he has already caved to one of them, and that's ZTE.

You spoke to one person who says the Trump administration may be getting blackmailed by China. Why do you say that?

ROGIN: Yes, well, I mean, first of all, what a huge missed opportunity for the senators to ask about the one thing that Trump did this week that really affects not only national security, our economic security, but a lot of their constituents, right?

I mean, the Trump administration did something very, you know, bold and I would say even courageous in declaring that the United States was going to stand up to Chinese economic aggression, and then when the rubber meets the road on the first confrontation, the first resistance, Trump seems to flip 180 degrees on Twitter and nobody knows what the hell happened.

That's a problem, OK, and that's something that we need to figure out. And you know, what experts told me, and which I frankly agree with, is that, you know, if it is one thing if you think, OK, well, we shouldn't shut down a huge Chinese company for this or that, maybe it was excessive. Fine.

But the worst thing that you could do is to announce these sanctions and then, you know, reverse yourself as soon as you get a call from Xi Jinping saying, hey, Donald, listen, I appreciate if we could keep our bromance and just leave this ZTE thing to the side for a bit, OK. That's really what it is.

And the blackmail part comes in because the Chinese have instituted penalties against American agriculture and the fact is that the agriculture industry is a very strong lobby, as is the financial service industry.

And as Trump thinks there what it means to really confront Chinese economic aggression on a massive scale, he hasn't really thought through what the blowback is going to be and what the costs and risks of that endeavor is going to be.

And there's a divide inside of his administration on this, and what the Chinese are doing is they're sending back, they're saying, OK, great, if they don't know what they're doing, why not try some crazy stuff? Why not just ask them for the sun, the moon and the stars and see what happens.

[22:25:02] LEMON: Yes.

ROGIN: And the first indication we gave them is we gave them one of the things they asked for, which is to back off really what is the worst actor, I mean, a company that's not only selling things to Iran and North Korea but is, you know, implanting spyware all over the world, breaking every trade law there is.

LEMON: Yes, and that's the first part of the negotiation. I got to run, Josh. Thank you very much. Thank you, Josh. Thank you, Molly, and thank you, Ryan. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, the economy is booming but some people are asking is President Trump bad for business? How trade deals are costing some Americans, including a lot of Trump supporters, much, much more than they expected.


LEMON: Most Americans believe we are living in a divided society, and if we look at the chaos and gridlock in Washington it is easy to see why. But a new book paints a different picture, at least when it comes to Americans in their hometowns and cities.

I want to bring in now James Fallows, a national correspondent for "The Atlantic" and co-author with his wife Debra of the new book "Our Towns: A 100,000 mile journey into the heart of America," which is fascinating. There's a small prop plane involved and we'll talk all about that.

[22:30:02] So, we're going to talk about your book in just a second. Welcome, by the way. Let's start with some of the comments though, from today. This is Senator Marco Rubio. He was asked about the remarks made by White House staff Kelly Sadler about Senator John McCain and why there hasn't been a public apology for them. Watch this.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Certainly the comments that were made -- if in fact they were made, and no one denied that they were made, I find them to be offensive, and I think more indicative of what our politics have become, so angry and bitter.

And I mean those are just things you don't say, and shouldn't say, and it is unfortunate that if it was said that it was said. And if it was said, someone should say they don't agree with it.


LEMON: So he said the words angry and bitter. Have our politics have become so angry and bitter people can't even apologize -- publicly apologize for saying the wrong thing now?

JAMES FALLOWS, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE ATLANTIC": Well, certainly in this case. You know, I think many people have heard of the episode back in the early 1950s when Joseph Welsh, a lawyer, who was standing up to Senator Joseph McCarthy said, is there at long last no sense of decency?

And I think that this is -- that is a phrase that we are tempted to overuse these days because there's so many occasions for it, but this seems like an exceptional instance where you have a serving United States senator, a former prisoner of war, somebody who has served his nation in various ways, who is apparently near the -- in a long struggle with cancer. So to criticize him seems is there no sense of decency.

LEMON: Thank you for answering that. So let's move on now, because for the past five years, you and your wife Deborah have been traveling across America in a single engine prop airplane, researching your book, and speaking to all kind of Americans. What did people tell you about what is going on in this country right now, James?

FALLOWS: What is fascinating is if we asked them, which we rarely did, what they thought about national politics, did they like Barack Obama about five years ago, or did they elect Donald Trump now or Hillary Clinton during the election, then they would essentially group themselves into the familiar answers that one hears on T.V. all the time.

But if you didn't ask them that, if you asked them what is happening in this town, what is happening in San Bernardino, California, what is happening in Greenville, South Carolina, what is happening in loath on this, so most people, and most places felt as if the movement of their towns was forward rather than backward. The part of the United States they experienced directly they felt like was making progress in dealing with its challenges.

LEMON: Interesting. There is a story in the Herald Leader in Lexington, Kentucky about Eddie Devine. Eddie is the owner of a landscaping company. He said that the cuts in H2B visas are hurting his, and his other small businesses -- and other small businesses across the country, and that can't find Americans willing -- he can't find Americans willing to do hard manual labor.

Devine says he lost, James, $100,000 -- $100,000 account because he didn't have enough men to do the job. He voted for Trump, and now he feels, this is a quote, he says tricked by the devil. Are there a number of unintended consequences of the Trump presidency out there?

FALLOWS: Well, certainly what we saw, especially in the months leading up to the election, is how integrated the American economy, and the way of life is with the rest of the world. It is that way in shipment of products, products going out, products coming in.

It is that way in the movement of people, and it really always has been in the United States. Right after the election in 2016, Deb and I were in Wyoming, which are gone for Donald Trump about three to one over Hillary Clinton by some huge margin.

And people there they -- if you asked them about national politics would say, oh, we're so glad that Donald Trump won, at the same time they were saying, we hope NAFTA doesn't get upset because we have so many exports.

We hope that the immigration flow doesn't get changed because that's such a part of our workforce. So there's this weird disconnection between the practical-minded, open-mindedness that most people have in their own circumstances, and the switch that is flipped when you talk about national politics.

LEMON: Do you think that -- do you think they're voting for personality rather than policy, because if the policies are hurting them in some ways --


LEMON: -- then, you know, they're voting against their own interests?

FALLOWS: So I will tell you what I really think, Don, which is a difficult conclusion I have come to over a long while. I think that national politics has become so divorced from the realities of modern life that people think with one part of their brain about what they're going to do in their town to staff their companies, as you were saying, in Kentucky, or to sell their products, or to revive their schools.

And with some other part of their brain that is much more just sort of symbolic, and tribal, and often resentful, they think, well, I don't like this party, or I don't like that party. And it is almost like in Europe where you have those soccer riots where people are killing each other in the stands.

You wouldn't know on sight which soccer team somebody was for, but once they knew then they either hated, or loved the other person. And it is sort of that way in national politics now, that at the local level people are generally, we found, quite pragmatic.

[22:35:03] But then you switch this -- you flip the switch, and talking national politics, and it is all -- it is all tribalism. LEMON: You know, the President's policies impact both small

businesses and large businesses. There's a piece in the Wall Street Journal written by (Inaudible), whose great grandfather founded (Inaudible) company, and talked about the effect of that 10 percent tariff that President Trump imposed on aluminum imports in March.

He said that having an effect on his family's company that, you know, a can of beer is going to cost more money. I mean, it doesn't become more American, and more, you know, everyday guy than, you know, a can of beer. Is that likely to come back to haunt the President?

FALLOWS: You know, craft beer, it sound like a joke, but it has become a major industry in the United States. There are hundreds of thousands of people who work in craft breweries all around the country. It has become a real source of sort of local connection, and a reviving neighborhood.

So I think that if the whole beer movement gets slowed down this way, not to mention the other American manufacturing where steel and aluminum are involved, you know, most people in most towns, and most companies want to be able to trade regularly with their customers around the world, and hire the workers they want.

So I think that these policies, if they sort of get sand in the gears of how most people live there will be resistance about them locally.

LEMON: Yes. I got to tell you I was at a fancy party this weekend, and one of the guys said he wanted to bring a case of Budweiser in because he thought it was only going to be fancy beer. Everyone in the party cheered and said, you should have brought it in because we would all love to drink a can of Budweiser or a can of Bud Lite.

FALLOWS: Well, I am a fan. I am catholic in my taste of beer. I'm a friend of all beers. Budweiser to craft beers.

LEMON: James Fallows, thank you very much. I can't wait to read the book. I appreciate it.

FALLOWS: Don, thank you.

LEMON: Once again the book is called Our Towns: A 100, 000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. Again, our thanks to James Fallows. When we come back, what happens when Fox and Friends warns the President not to trust his own staff. You can probably guess what happens.


LEMON: There are new details tonight on the White House efforts to stop the leaks to the press. Sources tell CNN there are frequent security sweeps to track down anyone violating policy against personal cellphones in the west wing.

But why is this White House so obsessed with leaks? Here to discuss, CNN Political Commentators, Symone Sanders, Ana Navarro, and Mike Shields. I could have answered my own question there -- why are they so obsessed with leaks.

It seems a lot of people are leaking. Ana, I want you to take a listen to this. This is a warning the President got about leaks from his favorite morning show, Fox and Friends. That was today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, the President relies on his advisers to be around him to speak their mind, and if the advisers feel like, if I say something that that person doesn't like, and they're going to leak it, the President is not getting good advice. So he is owed the sanctity of a private conversation. It is just sad that the President cannot trust his own staff who he hired.


LEMON: That's his favorite show, Ana. We know about this whole Fox feedback loop, especially when it comes to, you know, what happens during prime time, and what happens on the morning show. Do you think this is going to have an impact on this President?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, not really. Look, I think what this is, is part of the echo chamber of the surrogates and allies of the President.

And I think at this point Fox News is a surrogate for this White House, trying to change the subject, and pivot from the fact that a staffer at the White House made a very petty, very crass, very hurtful statement about a sitting senator, P.O.W., national hero who was confronting brain cancer, and they want to pivot from that, and turn it into a discussion about leaking. Good luck with that.

LEMON: Mike, what kind of message do you think Fox News was sending to the President this morning?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fire the leakers maybe. I don't know. I mean -- and I don't know that they were sending him a message. I think they were trying to grapple with the same thing we're talking about, which is what the heck is going on with all of these leakers.

And you know, I think they should be fired. I think the only way to really discipline the White House, and to stop this from happening is for people to lose their job over it because right now they don't think that is going to happen, and so they're going to keep doing it.

Even if the President says I'm mad at them, and I'm angry, and we should do something about it, we thought John Kelly -- we as Republicans thought John Kelly would come in, and kind of, you know, get his hand around this, but it hasn't stopped.

And so until they start doing something about it that really shakes people up, it will keep happening, and it will keep being talked about on CNN, Fox News, and everywhere else because these staffers clearly don't have the President's interest in mind. They have their own interest in mind. And having worked for

politicians, I can tell you when you go sign up to work for a politician, you are putting their interest ahead of yours, or you have to quit.


SHIELDS: And so you have a duty to the President if you work for him to carryout his agenda, and if you don't like it, you have to go.

LEMON: But you also -- you also have a duty to be responsible, and not say outlandish things, and make jokes as well.

SHIELDS: Oh, yes.

LEMON: And if you screw up, you need to apologize. And I know you agree that someone needs to apologize, I know how you feel about that part of it.


LEMON: But, Symone, did you say the White House staffers are the ones who can't trust the President, and not the other way around?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, I think Donald Trump has created a culture in his own White House, in his own administration where he enjoys pitting folks against one another. Where he can say one thing in a meeting, then goes on Twitter, and says something else.

And so, while I, myself have no toleration for leaks, I have run, and been a part of press shops where people do leak, and I will tell you that that happens because folks do not feel as though the management, and the folks around them, that they can come to them, and they can effectively resolve X, Y, or Z issue.

So I think the true answer to this is the White House has to get its own ship together. And until that happens, until they get their own house in order, people are going to continue to leak. Look, you can fire all of the leakers, and there will be no one left to work in this White House.

I don't think there's a surge of folks flocking to work for the Trump administration, because if there were, they wouldn't take so long for some very key positions to be filled.

[22:45:08] And so if this is, in fact, the case, which it is, the White House needs to just stop with these unforced air. It is their own fault, and they need to own up in terms of Kelly Sadler, and they just need to own up to what happened, and apologize.

The only reason we're still talking about it is because they tried -- the deputy White House Secretary out the other day, and saying this is an internal matter, we dealt with it, and it has not in fact been dealt with. LEMON: Yes. Well, if there was -- I don't know. To your point where

you say it is the other way around, that they can't trust the President, if there weren't so many things that -- you know, that they call fake news, or whatever, if you leaked it out, it doesn't always have to be bad news. If there's no bad news going on. Do you understand what I'm saying, Symone?

SANDERS: Yes, no. I mean it makes perfect sense. Look, I think that -- I think that what Fox News is trying to do is, one, yes, get a message to the President. But, two, continue to curry favor, you know, with their number one viewer.

But in terms of these leakers, look, I think if the White House wants people to stop leaking, they need to run a better operation. How about you actually sit down, and get briefed on what exactly is going on?

How about outlandish, and crazy, and egregious things that are beneath the office of the presidency, and the White House press office don't go on, where people feel as though our national security is at risk, or just very nefarious things are afoot? That is how you stop the leaks. Get your house in order.


SANDERS: Don't blame us.

LEMON: I got to get to the break, Ana, but I need to talk about the President's approval rating. Some pretty surprising numbers. We will talk about that when we come back.


LEMON: And we're back now. President Trump is doing two things he loves. He's slamming the media bragging about polls. Here's what he tweets today, he said, can you believe all the made up, unsourced stories I get from the fake news media together with the $10 million Russian witch hunt, there's no collusion.

I now have the best poll numbers in a year. Much of the media may be corrupt, but the people really get it. So it bears repeating, though, we are reporting facts not so-called fake news.

But when it comes to the polls, is the President onto something here? Back now with Symone Sanders, Ana Navarro, and Mike Shields. So, Ana, you know, you just heard what the President-- his tweet about the poll, they are tracking poll, has his approval rating now at 43 percent.

He is inching up. The economy doing well, he' keeping promises. And the Mueller investigation is getting expensive. His numbers are going in the right direction. Does the President have a point?

NAVARRO: Look, the part about his highest poll numbers of the year, that's a rather low bar for a President at this term in his presidency. LEMON: But they are going in the right direction. I mean, they were

at 37 percent --


LEMON: -- and 38 percent.

NAVARRO: And I think -- look, I think he's getting -- I think he's getting the benefit of the entire North Korea narrative. I think people are somewhat optimistic, and hopeful, skeptical certainly -- skeptical certainly. But, you know, to see that going -- you know, I think he gets credit for what's going on in North Korea.

We don't know how it's going to end up yet, but it seems like the ball is moving little by little. I also think there's a part of the American people who are getting somewhat numb to these outrages, and scandals, and you know, daily lies, and statements. It's almost like, OK, this is who he is, he's not going to change, this is what we got, let's get on with it.

Some of us are never going to get over it, but I think some part of America is kind of getting numb to it. And I think he's -- you know, I think he's done some good things lately like for example come out against Blankenship in West Virginia. A bigot and, you know, shameless discriminator.

LEMON: Yes. So people I think -- I do think people are getting used to him now. I mean, he is the President. But, I mean, why do you think, Mike, that the Russia investigation is not having an impact on the polls?

SHIELDS: Well, first of all, to my Republican friends, credit to you, Don, for having this segment on your show, and talking about it. I think this is a lot. I mean, the fact of the matter is, you know, I am a campaign strategist. I look at a lot of polls.

This is -- we're seeing this across the country in a lot of races. The generic ballot, which is, a question of would you rather just generically have a Republican or Democrat be your congressman is also taking in our favor. It tracks with where the economy is going.

The economy is improving, and the people are feeling it. And when people turn, sort of, turned a lot of the news, they see Stormy Daniels or Russia, neither one of which they think affects their lives.

They haven't seen anything that sort of the, oh, there is a real problem here, got you sort of issue that's come out of that. And so they think there's a lot of people, they are just out of touch with what they're actually facing everyday.

And when you look at the Democratic Party, they see it being led by Nancy Pelosi, and a party that had absolutely no message other than let's get the President.

And so when you add all of those things up, it's hardly surprising that the generic ballot is taking in Republican's favor, and then the President's approval ratings are going up.

LEMON: Yes. I think you have a point there, but the news isn't always what's favorable to people. We report what's happening. I'm sure people thought that Watergate wouldn't have an impact on their lives at the time. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't...

SHIELDS: I guess my point is...

LEMON: ... we shouldn't report on it. We're not doing the investigation, Robert Mueller is. We're simply reporting on it.

SHIELDS: Absolutely, right. I think it's fine to report on, I think that a lot of people feels that there's -- it goes beyond reporting to sort of an obsession with it.

And especially an obsession with something where they haven't seen something that they go, oh, there is a real problem. So we're $7 million in, and 14 months in, and it's just sort of incessantly talked about as oppose to things that they think actually matter to them.

And then when they do see things going on with the White House, they see the economy ticking up, they see the President working on peace in the Korean Peninsula. They see some good things happening, and so there's a disconnect there, and that disconnect sort of favor Republicans, and it shoves Democrats completely out of the conversation.



NAVARRO: But, you know, Mike -- I think he gets measured by a different stick. He's been getting measured by a different stick since the campaign. There's a good 50 things he said or did during the campaign, which is any other Republican had said, or done would have killed that campaign.

There are many things he has done, and said, and has been discovered since he's been president that would have taken anybody else's poll numbers down to the floor.

[22:55:06] If any other President of the United States had been found to have paid hush money to a stripper while his wife had just given birth, the numbers would be in the single digits.


SHIELDS: Right. They don't care. They don't care.

NAVARRO: He got measured by a different state.

LEMON: Symone, before I have to go, quickly. Please, Symone.

SANDERS: So, I think this makes sense. But the fact of the matter is Democrats aren't running -- I laughed because Democrats across it country particularly in 2017 and in advance of these mid-term elections are not running against Donald Trump.

They are actually doing better running for something. We have seen House Democrats time after time get up, and talk about a better deal what they're doing for the economy.

Nancy Pelosi came out with the Congressional Black Caucus just earlier this week, and put forth a bill, and economic plan that would specifically benefit black Americans in this country.

And so we saw Democrats do very well in 2017 I believe because they were talking about the issues locally. And I think that's what we're going to see in the mid-terms. And while the generic ballot is shrinking, which I think is given like that's normal, given how far up --


SANDERS: -- from election we were...

LEMON: The generic congressional ballot is now only three points, Republicans in a generic congressional ballot now only three points --

SANDERS: It is, but I really think, Don --

LEMON: -- within the margin of error.

SANDERS: We are still so far away from the mid-term election. And I think what you'll see is that Democrats are running out there talking about what they're going to do for folks, and the what the Republicans had to say when they had the change, they got the tax bill --

LEMON: I've got to go.

SANDERS: -- they get permanent tax cuts to corporate folks, and semi- permanent tax cuts to regular people.

SHIELDS: Yes, thank you.

SANDERS: Corporations do not deserve regular tax cuts.

LEMON: Symone, I got to go.

SANDERS: What about the loans?

LEMON: She's on fire, and yes that is lightening behind her. It's thunder and lightening in D.C. Thank you, guys.

NAVARRO: I got lightening going on here, too.

LEMON: There's lightening here. We'll be right back.