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North Korea Threatens To Pull Plug On Summit, If U.S. Demands It Gives Up Nukes; Justice Department And FBI Are Investigating Cambridge Analytica; White House Still Refuses To Apologize For Cruel Joke At McCain's Expense; Thomas Markle Tells He Cannot Attend Royal Wedding; Spike Lee Slams Trump's Response To White Supremacist Violence; Is Trump Doing More to Divide Or Unite The Country?; Ivanka and Jared Blessed By Rabbi Who Compared Black People To Monkeys. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired May 15, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. Live with breaking news for you tonight. That breaking news is about North Korea. North Korea now saying tonight that the United States demand that it give up its nuclear program could be a deal breaker when it comes to the planned summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Let's go right to CNN's Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul. Paula, this is indeed breaking news here. What are the North Koreans saying tonight, and what does it mean for this proposed summit?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, this is coming out from KCNA, the state run media. We've had a couple of articles from them tonight saying effectively that if the U.S. pushes them to unilateral denuclearization, then those are not the kind of talks that they are interested in. Saying quote, we'll have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming North Korean-U.S. summit.
So they are effectively saying, that it is going to be a unilateral denuclearization that the U.S. is looking for and that is not what the North Korean want. They also are slamming the comments we heard from the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the National Security Advisor, John Bolton, on the Sunday show saying that, if they open up then economically the U.S. can help them.
Mike Pompeo saying that it would be not taxpayer's money, but private entrepreneurship, they are saying they're not interested in that either. Saying we've never built our economy expecting things from the U.S. And we will never do such a deal in the future. SO we are really seeing a very different tact from North Korea today.
We know they've also canceled high level talks that they are supposed to be having with the South Korean delegation, they were supposed to be having that at the DMZ, tight now. Pushing forward the peace talks. But clearly that is not happening. They believe that these max funded military drills between the air force of the U.S. and South Korea are hostile. They say it's against the Panmunjom declaration that is the agreement
that the north and South Korean leaders signed and they say that clearly it is a hostile policy which the U.S. and South Korea deny, saying they're annual and that they are defensive. But clearly we are having a very different view from North Korea today. Whether it is a pre-negotiation ahead of the summit, or whether it is saying these are the concessions that we want, we simply don't know at this point.
LEMON: Let's talk a little bit more, Paula. Because in a sense, I mean, this is kind of unexpected by the North Koreans would throw a wrench in the works here.
HANCOCKS: Absolutely. It did appear to take the White House, the State Department by surprise. It certainly took the South Korean government by surprise as well as they were heading up to the DMZ for more talks. So I think the timing is interesting. But the very fact that North Korea is now pushing forward, what it wants is not necessarily surprising.
They've already said or have released three American detainees. They have said that they're going to close down their nuclear test site before the end of May, and they're going invite journalists along to see that. And they have said that they are not going to test missiles or nuclear -- nuclear test anymore. But clearly there are things that North Korea wants.
And this appears to be the first show of what they are looking for, suggesting that they don't want these military drills to continue. They've consistently said they are not happy seeing these military drills and also saying that they're not interested in this north- south, North Korean-U.S. summit if it is a unilateral denuclearization. Now, it will be interesting to see how the White House responds to that, because clearly that appears to be what the White House wants.
LEMON: Yes. Paula Hancocks with the breaking news in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you very much. I want to bring in now, CNN Contributor, Frank Bruni of "The New York Times," also Bill Kristol, editor-at- large for the Weekly Standard. Good evening, gentlemen. So, Frank, your reaction to this breaking news.
FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, as you said everyone was expecting a wrench to be thrown into the works at some point. We didn't just know what the wrench would be around when it comes, this seems to be that. I'm surprised, but the Trump administration is surprised as Paula reported. And I think that there's some sort of victory lap taken about this negotiations well before the victory had been notched.
LEMON: Well, everyone who had been -- seen this process before or had some involvement in similar processes said, slow your roll.
LEMON: I think every expert on CNN saying slow your roll. BRUNI: Everyone saying this is not a reliable negotiating partner,
this is not a stable regime in that sense and you should not take this victory lap. And it will be very interesting, Don, to see, over the coming hours or days how the President reacts. Because he seemed very invested, you know, as a matter of ego and other ways and the notion that he made real progress here, and now that progress is in question.
[23:05:06] LEMON: Korean State Media reporting this, Bill Kristol, and I would just try to read the quote and get you to respond to, if the Trump administration is genuinely committed to improving North Korea-U.S. relations and come out to the North Korea-U.S. summit, they will receive a deserving response. But if they try to push us into the corner and force only unilateral nuclear ban and we will no longer be interested in that kind of talk and we will have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming North Korean-U.S. summit. What do you say to that?
BILL KRISTOL, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I think, the Trump administration has to be willing to walk away. I mean, this is a kind of bargaining especially with this kind of totalitarian regime that has repeatedly made promises and broken them repeatedly, gotten concessions by promising to do things and then not having done them, in a way taken in both Republican and Democratic administrations over the last 20-25 years. I mean, I think it's very important for America standing in the world that the Trump administration be sober and serious and say, I'm sorry, we're not coming on, you know, on bended knee to this summit. We want to discuss, you seemed to suggest that you were interested pursuing to denuclearized Korean peninsula, if you are not, we will plumb the summit, (inaudible) the summit.
LEMON: Should we be surprise by this, I mean, I think, most people thought that it would be off the table. Complete denuclearization.
KRISTOL: Well, no, this was always the question that Trump is so enthusiastic about it. And it wasn't unreasonable to see if maybe Kim Jong-un was different from his father and grandfather and maybe the regime had a change of heart. Maybe this was a (inaudible) moment as people said. North Korea, I was always skeptical as I think most people are.
But again, the key here for me is how people see the U.S. reacting. If we seem sort of flustered or desperate to have a negotiations or if we just go crazy and lash out the other way and Trump start insulting him, I don't think we look like a serious, you know, country that knows what it is doing if foreign policy. If we have a measured and stern response and are willing to walk away and then I think, you know, that at least we can see what happens.
LEMON: It seems the president himself is eager about this and maybe Kim Jong-un has sense that as well. You know, "The New York Times" reporting tonight, the Justice Department and FBI are investigating Cambridge Analytica that is a data company that is tied to the Trump campaign. You know, it's been a year since the Special Counsel has been investigating this and we keep getting new developments in this case. BRUNI: Yes, but we don't if this one is directly related to Special
Counsel, but I think it is fascinating, because this is -- the Trump administration's, Justice Department and FBI investigating Cambridge Analytica which is firm that did a lot of business for the Trump campaign and it is affiliated with one of Trump's patrons. So Donald Trump believe that the Deep State is out to get him and people affiliated with him. I wonder what this is going to do with that paranoia.
LEMON: Yes. The Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy. It's primarily owned by Republican donor Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon was a Vice President there, so the big question is, who are the quote, associated U.S. persons are.
KRISTOL: Yes, that is an interesting question. I mean, this investigation has, you know, turned up a lot of rocks and seemed to have produced interesting questions and leads. We'll know much more, I think in a couple of months obviously about what we really learned, what Mueller has really learned in other parts of justice throbbing are learning. You know, it strikes me that people who are saying, gee, it's a year we haven't seen that much yet are probably underestimating how much Mueller has learned. And I think how soon we will learn things.
He is under Justice Department guidelines and suggests to attorneys they shouldn't try to bring cases, you know the right during the election season. I've got to think that the Special Counsel would like to at least -- these folks would release some information, give some sense of where he is going, maybe a report to his boss, to release to Congress, some indictments in the next couple of months. So, I think, we're getting to the serious part where we find out what as much as we can of what really happened in 2016 and what happened in 2017 and even 2018 in terms of possible obstruction.
LEMON: I want to turn now to the President's meeting with Republican Senators on Capitol Hill. John McCain never came up. Essentially Trump predicated a 45-minute monologue, and a lot of it was about those UCLA basketball players that were arrested or detained for shoplifting there and how his negotiations and how he got them released. Why won't these -- why won't these folks stand up for their colleague?
BRUNI: You mean, if they can? Why didn't they --
BRUNI: Well, I think they'd love to demand that the President apologize for what happened, but they know they are not going to get anywhere. You know, I mean, it's just fascinating because the White House over the last four or five days has never said that remark about McCain was not made, right. And having no one apologize, not apologizing yourself, that would make sense if you were denying that it was made, but no one's denying that it was made. And this is a great example of the degree to which Donald Trump and the people below him simply refuse to participate in the ethic and tradition of apology. They see it as a sign of weakness, and they just don't want it to do
it, and it's sort of another way in which they're thumbing their nose at tradition, at the establishment, you know, about business as usual. We don't play the game that way.
LEMON: I just wonder --
[23:10:00] KRISTOL: But the Senators don't have to go along with that. I mean, there were only room for two questions and apparently both were pathetic. One was the praise of the president and the other some was should the Republican do a better job of touting their accomplishments. Mitch -- I mean, if John McCain was there colleague, they could have said, if we get all the time for one question, whoever asked the question needs to say, Mr. President, you should or could you please explain why you haven't apologized or asked your Chief of Staff to apologize for what your staff said about one of our colleagues. Donald Trump could demean the White House, but the senators demean the Senate and the Republican Senators demean in my opinion the Republican Party by the way they just do nothing. They just rollover for Donald Trump. It's pathetic.
BRUNI: Well, that is been going on for a year and a half now. That is not new.
KRISTOL: Well, fine. You know what, they could stop, right. There are some of them who could stop.
BRUNI: We all.
KRISTOL: Mitch McConnell flew out to see John McCain, you know, to pay tribute to him in Arizona last weekend. So, I think it's not new, but I also think we grow out to be indignity about it, are we?
LEMON: Yes. I think it's important that when outlandish things happen you shouldn't normalize it. You shouldn't say it's OK. This is not OK.
BRUNI: And that is what we're all saying here. We are saying it is not OK, I mean, we wish this senators would stand up and say to the president, it is not OK, don't let it go, but I think at this point they are beaten down, and they have shown themselves over a year and a half honestly to be cowards with this President. So this par for the course.
LEMON: This is one moment that I want to play when we heard the President apologize during that campaign after that infamous "Access Hollywood" tape. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anyone who knows me knows these words don't reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So but that -- that was a scripted apology. There were
caveats in there. He wrote it off as locker room talk. He also pivoted to attacking Bill Clinton's sex scandals and attacking Hillary Clinton. At the time we thought that -- remember when we said that apology looked like a hostage video?
BRUNI: Yes. That is one of the worst political apology I have ever seen. It did not seem genuine. There was no enthusiasm to it, and let us not forget, he immediately pivoted as you just suggested to attacking Bill Clinton, attacking Hillary, bringing accusers for the debate and then within like a year, remember we are getting reports he was saying, maybe that really wasn't my voice on the Access Hollywood tape. He was inventing the whole scenario by which his apology was unnecessary, because it really wasn't him.
LEMON: Well, and also --
KRISTOL: And in this case the President's staffers just to follow up Frank, what Trump does to people around him, I mean, the President's staffers started attacking the people who leaked what the staffer said, not what the staffer said. And then Fox news run along, it is all in their sched. Now, everyone is up on an uproar.
And the President himself tweeted that these leakers are traitors. This are people on his own staff incidentally he is calling traitors. But, I mean, it does show how much sort of Trump corrupts or that the atmosphere or spirit of Trump just seems to now pervade the White House, which is maybe to be expected. But also unfortunately so much of the Republican Party.
LEMON: Yes. I just want, there are two things when we were having this conversation. One was when everyone thought he was going to apologize to President Barack Obama for spreading a lie about not being born here. Remember that, he yelled at the end of a press conference. Everyone thought the press conference is going to be about that or something, and then he talked about his hotel and golf courses and at the end he goes, yes, and he was born here.
You know, I am sorry for spreading lies of being the main one to do it. Being a horrible human being for doing something like that to a sitting President nothing like that.
And the other one is, if you can be outraged and call people sons of bitches, because they take a knee, because they think something is important in this country and should be address and then you can apologize or have someone apologize for saying that, he's dying anyway to someone who is a war hero and has serve this country to the fullest extent, that is hypocrisy at its fullest, on display.
BRUNI: It's arrogant at its seen.
LEMON: That is awful.
BRUNI: Yes. LEMON: Thank you. When we come back the President files his annual
financial disclosure, but will he reveal anything about the $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Plus, Spike Lee's passionate and raw rebuke of the president for his response to the deadly White Supremacist violence in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: And that (BEEP) was given a chance to say we are about love and not hate, and that mother (BEEP), did not denounce the mother (BEEP) klan, the Alt-Right, and those Nazi mother (BEEP).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, the Justice Department and the FBI investigating Cambridge Analytica. Plus President Trump files his financial disclosure forms, but will they include the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels? Let's discuss this with CNN contributor, Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics and Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. Gentlemen, good evening. So Renato, we that the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica work very closely together, what do you think the Justice Department and the FBI are looking for?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think they're examining that part of the operation to see, for example, whether or not Facebook users were defrauded. I think that is one potential possibility. If your data was taken by Cambridge Analytica under false pretenses or used in a way that you didn't authorize that could potentially be a crime. And then above and beyond that, I think it is part of their counter intelligence operation, they trying to figure out exactly, you know, how that may connect with what the Russians were doing in terms of manipulating our election.
LEMON: Could they be looking at -- do you think that they may be looking at the members of the Trump campaign?
MARIOTTI: I think there's no question that they're talking to and looking at how the Trump campaign interfaced with Cambridge Analytica. I believe that Jared Kushner was the person who is supposedly responsible for that. You know, he -- you know we haven't heard a lot about him lately in relation to the Mueller investigation. But there are pieces of the Mueller investigation that we haven't heard a lot about lately, but are important pieces of investigation. We never heard anything about e-mail hacking recently, we haven't heard much about the kind of Facebook influence part of the operation other than what has already been put out in terms of the indictment of those Russian organizations and individuals. And it remains to be seen whether there's more coming out of the Mueller investigation in their front.
[23:20:07] LEMON: Walter, tonight the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted that President Trump filed his annual financial disclosure report and that it is now being reviewed. So what happens next in this process and when are we -- when are we going to get a look at the filing?
WALTER SHAUB, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, one thing is really not clear is exactly what happens next. In the past Presidents would work with the Office of Government Ethics in advance to have them review the report and make sure it was perfect, so that could be released the same day. And that was the tradition before last year. And of course it wasn't release today. So we know that there is at least some kind of departure.
Last year we did work with them before they filed it and after they filed it, the report was just so long we needed to spend a day and a half or so going line by line through the report to make sure nothing had changed from the draft that we had OK'ed. As soon as we completed that, though, we released it that day.
So if that is what they've done, if they've work with the President in advance, we'll be seeing the report as early as Thursday. If on the other hand they haven't work with the President in advance, it could be a month before we see the report. And unfortunately, nobody in the administration seems to feel that the American people deserve any kind of heads up about this financial disclosure form, and more importantly whether Trump is going to disclose the debt to Michael Cohen for the Stormy Daniels payment that he omitted from last year's report.
And what's concerning about that is, if he omitted one, is it possible that he omitted other form, other debts from the form? So the President's in kind of a tough spot. Because if he winds up having a million dollars in debts to disclose, well, that is not the Stormy Daniels payment which we know was $130,000.
LEMON: So, let me ask you this, because they can't claim it was a campaign expense, Walter, because they've said numerous times they don't think it was. So then that is kind of a mess of their creation.
SHAUB: Yes, I mean, unfortunately, they've told so many different versions of what they claim to be the truth that they can't seem to keep their stories straight. But they said it was not paid by the Trump organization, and it was not paid by the campaign. And then Trump himself says that he reimbursed Michael Cohen. So if the payment was made by Donald Trump as he now claims in this version of the story, after having stood on Air Force One and said, he didn't know about the payment, then it's definitely a disclosable debt. There's no loophole that applies.
The thing I'm afraid of is that they are applying themselves potentially to come up with a make believe exception that just doesn't exist. And so if we don't see that Stormy Daniels debt that he owed to Michael Cohen, we'll know that is exactly what they did. And the real question will be, will OGE acting Director Dave Apol, go along to get along and just sign-off on the report, which is essentially a get out of jail free card for Trump.
Because congress and the Department of Justice are not going to say yes, Dave Apol saying that it's fine. But I know Dave and I know he knows better. I know that he knows there are no exemptions that apply, there is simply no loopholes. And so I hope we can count on him to do his job, but unfortunately we're going to have to wait and see.
LEMON: So Renato, what are the legal ramifications then if -- if something is should had been disclose and wasn't and even if they do disclose it and what are the consequences?
MARIOTTI: Well, I think there are two potential consequences here. On the one hand if Trump knowingly and willfully made a false statement on the form, then that is crime. That is the first potential problem. OK? So then -- and then on the other end of things, you know, this payment and the nature of the payment is actually put Trump, I think, in a difficult legal situation. His attorney came on television, Giuliani and said, he repaid kind of I think famously at this point said Trump had repaid the payment to Stormy Daniels, catching Hannity by surprise.
If that actually happened then he should have listed a debt. Maybe he is still going to list some portion of that as a debt that hasn't been paid. They really in this filing I think have to make some sort of decision that they're going to have to stick with as to what this payment is. Was it a payment, a loan, who made the payment, was it a personal or campaign? That is going to have an impact on the other cases that they have, and potentially and liability for Cohen and for the President. So they really can't have it both ways any longer once they commit to something on this form.
LEMON: Renato, Walter -- thank you. I got to run. Thank you so much, I appreciate it. When we come back Meghan Markle's dad telling TMZ, he won't be going to her wedding to Prince Harry because he is having heart surgery.
[23:25:05] Is he getting caught up in the media circus that follows the royal family?
LEMON: Meghan Markle's father now says he won't attend his daughter's wedding to Prince Harry. Thomas Markle tells CNN -- tells TMZ I should say, he is having heart surgery tomorrow. Markle has been caught up in controversy ever since it was revealed that he allegedly staged a series of photos captured by paparazzi. Earlier today, he said he wanted to walk his daughter down the aisle, but now he is reversed course and he says that he can't do it.
I want to bring in now CNN Correspondent, Leyla Santiago, in Mexico where Markle lives, the father and CNN World Commentator, Kate Williams, in London.
Good evening to both of you -- hello, to both of you, I should say, because it's morning in one place and evening in the other. Kate, I'm going to start with you. We all know how emotional weddings are and miss on again, off again father of the bride says, it's got to be hard for Meghan, what have you heard? KATE WILLIAMS, CNN WORLD COMMENTATOR: Yes, so hard for Meghan. We
know she's devastated. We know that she reached out to Thomas earlier today, I asked him if he could come, sent him some text and it is very hard for her, because her people are having a difficult time, but particularly when you go to a Royal Wedding and so much to plan and there are a lot of meetings this week. She was going to have her meeting with the queen. Every bride has a private meeting with the queen where she shows the queen her wedding dress, a private showing. That was going to be a really lovely meeting between Meghan and the queen. But now it's going to be different.
It is going to be overshadowed by this whole question about Thomas Markle, the fact he's now in hospital having heart surgery. And it really goes out to the stress of a very stressful day. And it is a good thing that Meghan is a really tough cookie and she's going to be fine, but we really do feel for her.
LEMON: Leyla, to you now, you're in San Antonio del Mar, Mexico where Thomas Markle lives, due to have a heart surgery tomorrow. He'd been living a really quiet life there before being thrust under the royal spotlight. You kind of have to understand these folks are not used to being in the spotlight. All of a sudden they're thrust into it. But first, talk to me about his health.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, we went to the hospital today where he was just a week ago after a reported heart attack, and the doctor there told us that he is no longer in the hospital. When we asked about that reported surgery, they said they couldn't confirm that, citing privacy reasons.
Shortly after that, we came over here to kind of get a better understanding where he lives and what his condition may be. And one of the things that sort of surprised me as we talked to many Americans because there's actually a large expat community here, many didn't really seem to know him, even his neighbor.
People saying he sort of keeps to himself, asking us what's the deal with the press. And so the press being here is what really alarmed the neighbors, that Thomas Markle is even living here. When we went closer to his home, there are quite a few photographers there, paparazzi, people who have told us that for weeks, they have been camped out here tracking him, watching his every move.
So what many started to cover as this sort of back and forth between the two families now being reported as a medical issue. He was quoted today as saying he still wants to go to his daughter's wedding, but people here don't seem to know much about him or take much interest in the royal wedding. It's a pretty quiet, gated community, cobblestone streets --
SANTIAGO: Oceanfront. Really gorgeous by all accounts.
SANTIAGO: But there doesn't seem to be much info on Mr. Markle.
LEMON: Yeah, you can't get further away from, you know, the glitz and glamour, what this wedding is going to be. But, Kate, ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, her family has been scrutinized in the tabloids. All families have their issues, may have quirky relatives. I mean, that is what you called normal, but is this just business as usual for the British press?
WILLIAMS: You are so right, Don. I mean, when you think of marrying into the royal family and Prince Harry has said he's actually found it quite difficult to find a girl who was willing to marry into the royal family because -- he hasn't said this much but it is a reason why because it is a royal goldfish bowl and a huge amount of scrutiny on the lady herself but also on her family.
And that is particularly upsetting for many girls. They just think, I cannot face my family being put through this. And we've seen this with Mr. Markle, with the extended Markle family, a lot of scrutiny, a lot of discussion, all kinds of things being said about them which Meghan clearly has found very upsetting. She's very close to her family.
And you just look at the level of press intrusion. Mr. Markle said the people renting him, the house next door, all the paparazzi there. And we've seen this for the Middletons. Kate Middleton's family were over and over discussed in the media. We saw this with Princess Diana's family.
I think now in the days of camera phones and Internet where anyone can take a picture, it's very hard, because the royal family can protect the person who marries into them, they can protect her, but they can't necessarily protect her family. And they are out there really often suffering, a huge amount of intrusion, and they're just not ready for it.
We've seen poor Mr. Markle saying it has driven him to this stress. He has got palpitations. He is very stressed, very upset. And it's simply too much for any normal person to cope with.
LEMON: It's just a couple days away so we shall see. Thank you, Kate. Thank you, Leyla. Appreciate it. Don't miss CNN's special coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We're going to have all the news leading up to the big day, and we're live for the ceremony Saturday beginning at 4:00 a.m. Eastern time.
[23:35:01] Set your alarm clocks, get your coffee, gather around the television.
When we come back, Spike Lee's passionate and expletive filled rebuke of the president for his response to the deadly white supremacy violence in Charlottesville.
LEMON: So, Spike Lee, his new movie "BlacKkKlansman" stunned the Cannes Film Festival. It is the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK back in the 1970s. Lee is using the film's debut to blast President Trump for his response to the deadly white supremacy violence in Charlottesville last summer.
Let's talk about this now with CNN Political Commentators, Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Rye, and Paris Dennard. They all are here. So, here's part of what Spike Lee said while answering questions about his new movie at the Cannes Film Festival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: We have a guy in the White House. I'm not going to say his full (bleep) name. Who defined that moment not just for Americans but for the world.
[23:39:59] And that (bleep) was given a chance to say we are about love and not hate. And that (bleep) did not denounce the (bleep) Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazis (bleep). We look to our leaders to give us direction, to make moral decisions.
And I like to say this is not just something that pertains to the United States of America. This (bleep) is going all over the world. This right-wing (bleep) is not just America. It is all over the world. And we have to wake up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Good evening, by the way. What do you think, Angela?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: First, kudos to Spike Lee for just being able to tell the raw unadulterated truth on camera, off camera. I'm grateful for his brutal honestly. That is the type of honestly that we need to truly move this country, this world forward.
The fact that he's been able to tell stories, the fact that he even ended that particular clip with we need to wake up, and that was the last line you heard in school days, a film that not gotten nowhere near the notoriety that it should have on a global scale but certainly did in our community.
And here we are several years later, decades later, and we need to say the same thing, that it is time to wake up because people are quite literally dying.
LEMON: Yeah. First, he refused to use the president's name in the speech. He is angry about the president saying, you know, the very fine people line in Charlottesville, about calling black athletes SOBs. He does use strong language in there, but can you understand why he is so angry?
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Listen, he is an American and Mr. Lee is allowed to speak his mind. He has freedom of speech and he can do that especially if he is angry. But I think what he should do is just be a little bit more accurate in saying that the president did not denounce the KKK on white supremacy.
He might not have liked the timing or the way he said it, but the facts are the president did denounce it back in March of 2016, and at least four times back in August of 2017 during, before, and after the Charlottesville mess happened. And so, you know, let's just be honest, the president did denounce it and he said it explicitly multiple times. But he might not have agreed with the way he did it and the timing, which is fair.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think the challenge with Spike Lee like many of us is that when the Charlottesville events first happened, the president didn't denounce anything. His statement that there are good people on both sides raises moral, ethical, and just very practical question marks.
Paris is right. In subsequent days, the president with some urging did -- from the media and other people -- did ultimately offer a a denouncement. But you really shouldn't need to be cajoled or pushed to denounce white supremacy, to denounce the alt-right, to denounce the Klan.
And for many, that is problematic. And Spike Lee also said this is a global issue. He is absolutely right. We are seeing a rise of alt- right ideologies and actions all around the globe. We see the rise of anti-semitism in Europe. We see the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments around the globe. We see the expansion of Netanyahu's alt-right.
Everywhere around the world, we see a right wing that's disturbing. I'm glad -- like Angela said, Spike Lee is being courageous. That he's being impolite. Sometimes bad actions require impolite speech. I'm proud of him.
LEMON: You said it requires that, I guess to get people's attention and to get people to understand just how angry and how upsetting it is. Angela, this movie is set to be released in one year, the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville. The audience at Cannes Film Festival reportedly gave it an eight-minute standing ovation after the premier.
The footage of that moment of a white nationalist driver plowing his car into the crowd killing Heather Heyer is shown at the end of the film. Talk to me about the message of this film. What message does it send?
RYE: Again, I think the message is just the truth, right? We can continue to talk about these things, to talk about Donald Trump's very dangerous rhetoric and terms that normalizes the speech or we can continue to call it out for exactly what it is.
It is hate filled, fear mongering, appealing to people's lowest versions of themselves, making people believe that there are people who are other than you are, who are here to take your opportunities, they are not citizens like you. That's rhetoric that goes back as far as the very first slave ship that got here.
[23:44:57] And I think -- you know, I just was recently reading the Dred Scott decision over again crying, because I watched a Supreme Court justice, the chief justice of the Supreme Court argue diligently to explain to Dred Scott why he wasn't a citizen. So here we are years later in 2018 still trying to prove we belong here after having built this country.
Still having to demonstrate that we have just as much right in economic justice and to vote in these very basic laws. And we're having to have this argument with someone who's supposed to be a leader as Spike Lee said, and is doing quite the opposite. And just think it's time out for it.
LEMON: OK. I want to get more time to the other side of the break. But before, I just want to ponder this question I am going to ask you. What would your reaction be to someone getting a blessing from a rabbi who once compared black people to monkeys? That's what happened to Jared and Ivanka yesterday. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Back with Marc Lamont Hill, Angela Rye, and Paris Dennard. So, Paris, let's continue our conversation that we are having before about Spike Lee. According to Quinnipiac poll, 64 percent of Americans say President Trump is doing more to divide the nation and only 31 percent say he is uniting us. Does that tell you anything?
[23:50:02] DENNARD: It tells me that we have work to do. And I think that the more we can come together and be civil and listen to one another and try to be respectful and find common ground and find solutions and not be part of the problem, I think the more we can grow and the more the president, his -- the more Americans can see the president doing that and the administration doing that and as Americans do that --
LEMON: Are you speaking to the president on that? I just want clarification. Are you saying the president should --
DENNARD: I'm saying I don't believe every problem that we have in America lies on the feet of Donald J. Trump like some people do. I think that this is a call for Americans --
LEMON: I just want a clarification. I wasn't sure if you were speaking to about that Americans should do that or the president.
DENNARD: Listen, I think the president should do what he's doing. I think he's having an event when he's talking about prison reform. I believe Van Jones is supposed to be there. I think he is going to be bipartisan. I think these are positive things. You got to listen to people on both sides of the aisle to get to a common ground and find solutions. And it might be uncomfortable, but that's what you have to do when you want to lead.
And I think it is up to us as citizens to do the same. When a young African-American walks into a cheesecake factory wearing "Make America Great Again" hat, he shouldn't be verbally accosted. You should maybe inquire him as to why he is wearing it if you want to hear his point of view, but he should by no means feel that he is not welcomed in a restaurant.
DENNARD: This is the problem that we have as Americans and we can all do better.
LEMON: Marc, I know you want to respond to that. What do you want to say?
LAMONT HILL: I was wondering why dude was in the cheesecake factory.
LAMONT HILL: The point is that most black people who are dealing with the humiliation of not being allowed in the restaurant, most black people who are not allowed in the restaurant is not because they're wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat on, it's because they're black.
And so again, there needs to be space with civility and open discourse. We also have to be honest about the reasons that undergird the kind of impression that we see and ultimately white supremacy is anti-black racism, structure inequality, anti-semitism, all those things.
LEMON: I need you to respond to this quickly because I want to move on to something else. You say, Marc, that Spike Lee is right to say America isn't built on Democratic principles but instead on a genocide of native people and slavery.
LAMONT HILL: Yeah. I mean --
LEMON: What would you have the president say? How would you have him handle that?
LAMONT HILL: I think it is one of the core, we have to acknowledge that history. It's like pulling teeth to get America to acknowledge and to get any sitting U.S. president, Democrat or Republicans, who acknowledge that America is a colonial state built on the theft of indigenous people's land.
That white supremacy is America's original sin. We have to be able to have that honest conversation. We have to say that America is built on unpaid black labor. People don't want you to have that conversation, instead they want you to get over it.
LEMON: Yeah. OK, so listen, I want you to take a look at this photo. It was Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner during the trip to Israel for the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. During that visit, the couple received a blessing from Israel's chief rabbi.
But earlier this year, that rabbi reportedly used a Hebrew term that is considered a derogatory word for black people and compared them to monkeys. The Anti-Defamation League condemned the rabbi's remarks as oddly unacceptable.
Paris, you first, and then Angela. So, what is your reaction to the meeting and getting a blessing from this rabbi who once compared black people with monkeys?
DENNARD: This is the first I'm hearing about that and I just think that if that is true, he should certainly apologize for it and if he means it. I think that it just shows that if the Kushners knew about that ahead of time, it shows great grace and love and acceptance, I think that's an amazing thing --
RYE: Wait, wait, wait. What?
LAMONT HILL: What?
LAMONT HILL: Go ahead, Angela, give him that word. You're confusing me.
LEMON: Paris, explain that. Let him explain.
RYE: It's 11:53.
LEMON: He said it shows great compassion, grace and love.
Rye: No, no, no. Who --
LAMONT HILL: To get -- I'm sorry, go ahead.
DENNARD: What I'm saying is, because it's such a derogatory thing for them to not make a big thing about it shows grace. There have been many pastors who have said things, Minister Louis Farrakhan, I wouldn't call him out and be rude and nasty towards him. I would try to show some grace. And I think that's what they did.
RYE: Paris, somebody calls you a monkey, you looking to show grace and love? You can't do that with correction? You can't tell them who you really are? You're a man. You cannot allow someone to call you an animal. This same rabbi --
DENNARD: Thank you, Angela. I didn't need you to tell me or inform me of that. I'm acutely aware of my manhood.
RYE: OK, well, that wasn't shade. It was just saying --
RYE: -- you should show grace and love by correcting brother man.
[23:55:01] So he also called Ethiopian Jews cushy which is also a derogatory term. He also called women -- he also compared women who dress immodestly to animals. Paris, you don't show grace and love to someone by allowing them to lay hands on you or to bless you. You show yourself worthy of --
RYE: Yes. And not being ignorant and shunning bigotry by making sure that those people have (INAUDIBLE) in your life.
LEMON: Can you put the rabbi's response back in the prompter, please? I just want to make sure I get it right. I think the response was he was saying that he did that in religious context. That's what he's saying.
RYE: Come on, man.
LAMONT HILL: Every single person who says racist stuff, draws on religious context to be homophobic, to be anti-semitic, to be anti- Muslim, he said that everybody --
RYE: Anti-black, they used to rely on the --
LAMONT HILL: Exactly. He said everybody in Israel who is not Jewish should be ethnically cleansed. He said that black people are monkeys.
LEMON: Did you guys know --
LAMONT HILL: You don't show grace and mercy by going and getting a blessing from --
LEMON: I'm a minute over. This show is a minute over. You will all get me in trouble. You know how people use religion and biblical text to promote racism and hide behind it. They do it.
DENNARD: We don't know if the Kushners knew that before it took place.
LEMON: They should have.
LEMON: I got to go, guys. I got it. I got it. That's their job to know. Good night, everybody.
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