Return to Transcripts main page


Man Caught On Camera Blasting Spanish Speakers, Threatening To Call Immigration; Manafort's Son-In-Law Gets Plea Deal; Trump Alleges An Informant Spied On His Campaign; Trump Alleges An Informant Spied On His Campaign; Trump White House; The Royal Wedding; CNN Original Series; CNN Hero, Paul Steklenski. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired May 17, 2018 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Is that Bernie Sanders fault, because he happened to be an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders, I think that is ludicrous logic or by you logic --

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is Bernie Sanders who is running --- no its not.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Did Bernie Sanders -- hold on. OK, here's the difference, Bernie Sanders and his supporters condemned it.


LEMON: He said, immediately.

CORTES: I'm condemning it right here on national television.

LEMON: NO. You're making excuses for it.

CORTES: I'm saying this guys a loon.

SETMAYER: Why won't you condemn the things Trump has said?

CORTES: I am saying this guys is a loon. I am totally condemning him.


SETMAYER: He won't answer that.

TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "WHITE LIKE ME": He does not represent the President and he doesn't represent our movement.

CORTES: But when the President element and the president said --


LEMON: Hang on. One at a time. WISE: When this President said the last President wasn't even born in

this country and he believed that publicly for four years, he didn't condemn that. That was blatant dog whistling.

CORTES: Yes, I did as a matter of fact. Actually you don't know me, because I did. Yes I did. I condemned it many times on-air, and I said that was a foolish --

WISE: It wasn't foolish. It was racist. And to say it makes a person racist.

LEMON: OK, Steve, you condemned it and condemned the guy for doing it. You're saying this doesn't represent the Trump movement. OK, fine. Believe that. Do you think that when President Trump or Donald Trump said that the former President wasn't born in this country and kept it going and was the biggest promoter of that, do you think that was racist?

CORTES: I don't think it was racist, but I think it was a big mistake. And again I said that again and again, not just today, but I said it at the time. I said that again and again. But the idea that --

LEMON: Has this President ever done anything that you think is racist?

SETMAYER: Or said anything.

LEMON: Or said anything?

CORTES: Gosh, no. Absolutely not. He is not a racist. This man -- and I know him.

SETMAYER: He is a bigot.

CORTES: This man wants -- no, again here you go with the Scarlett letter.

LEMON: OK, standby. Play it. Play it. Play it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some I assume are good people. Look at my African-American over here. Look at him. Are you the greatest? I would like to have him show his birth certificate, if he can't and if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility. I'm saying it's a real possibility. His wife, if you look at his wife she was standing there, she had nothing to say. She probably maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say. You tell me. You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you racist?

TRUMP: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: You want to change your mind, Steve, or do you still stick with what you said?

CORTES: No, I am not changing my -- and by the way as I just said the birth certificate controversy, I thought was absurd. I don't know why you and Don wrote --

WISE: It's not absurd. The word is racist.

CORTES: He also -- no, it's not racist. Stop it.

SETMAYER: Trump was sued for being racist. How about that, Atlantic City.

CORTES: He reversed himself and said the President was clearly born in the United States. He corrected himself, OK?

WISE: But he continually said there were people investigating and finding amazing, incredible things which was a blatant lie, he hadn't hired anybody to find anything. Nobody was finding because there was nothing to find. He was pushing buttons of racial resentment trying to get white folks to believe that the president of the United States was not an American citizen and all throughout 09 and 2010, at those tea party rally, you have folks out there with posters with pictures of the president with a bone through his nose dressed like an African witch doctor saying go back to Kenya. That is racism and if you cannot call it that, then it is because you do not understand the meaning of the word in spite of your ethnicity and background which apparently you think gives you some type of gravitas to have this conversation, but the word is the word means what it means. And this President is guilty of it time and time again.

CORTES: No, I don't -- I also think once again --

SETMAYER: And Donald Trump has been sued multiple times for racism --

CORTES: There are crazies on both side. There are crazy on your sides, there are crazy on the right. That doesn't mean the leader, doesn't mean Bernie Sanders is responsible for the shooter --


LEMON: How often -- hold on guys. Can I get a word in? How often do you see -- how often do you see it on both sides as you said? How often do you see the other side doing this Steve?

CORTES: Well, quite a bit. I mean, like I just said the violence at the Ballpark against Republicans.

LEMON: OK. That is one incident that was awful. Go on.

WISE: Roll the tape.

(CROSSTALK) CORTES: People who are ugly or violent on either sides should be

dismissed. OK. They should be relegated to the side lines that they don't matter --

LEMON: Why would you dismiss an example of something that is in your face time and time again? And by the way I take umbrage to you saying that this guy or whoever made the point that this guy is crazy, there is clearly something wrong with him. I don't know that.

[23:05:12] I encountered people like him all the time. These are every day racists, this are every day bigots. These are people that you encounter all the time in life. And every time it happens you just can't say oh, my gosh this person is crazy and complaining them with people who have something wrong with them. They have something wrong with them. What's wrong with them is that they're racist and it happens more than you think. And this is an example to people like you and to others who don't believe it happens.


CORTES: If we're a structurally racist society, how could we have elected Barack Obama? I mean, I just -- really. I really mean that.

SETMAYER: its two separate things. You can still have people -- you can still have people that elected Barack Obama, and there's also still a percentage of this country that are still bigoted and racist and think it's OK to behave like this, because the President of the United States does. He set this example --

WISE: This idea that people -- this idea of voting for Barack Obama, I already explained, you know, the (inaudible) example which I guess you're like --

CORTES: I don't care about your Pakistani issue. That has nothing to do with the United States. That has nothing to do with the United States. Irrelevant.

WISE: Do you not know how metaphors and analogies work?


WISE: Analogies work comparing one thing to another -- no you don't. Because if you did you would understand having one person from a marginalized group become the leader of a country says nothing about how other people from that group are experiencing that country.

CORTES: Let us talk United States.

WISE: That is an analogy. It is direct. You do not understand it. Saying that voting for Barack Obama means you can't be racist is like a guy heterosexual saying that because he dates or sleeps or that is married to a woman he can't be sexist. There's another analogy that completely destroys whatever point you are trying to make.

SETMAYER: He is just deflecting, because he won't acknowledge that Donald Trump makes bigoted statements, he has done it over and over, his own history has demonstrated that.

CORTES: OK. Once again, Tara, what you're doing --

SETMAYER: I'm going to finish. Donald Trump was sued for racial discrimination in the '90s by black dealers in Atlantic City. He has made comments, it's well-known that he is made comments that were off- the-cuff and inappropriate about blacks. And he didn't dispute an account in a book that was written about him where he said he would never have a black accountant handle his money. I mean, it is on and on. The way that he approaches this things with his own behavior. He didn't condemn the people, the white people that knocked out the black people at his rallies. I mean, there are things that he has said and done and you won't even acknowledge and this breeds the kind of culture now that we see with people who feel emboldened to behave like this other did, we are in that --

LEMON: Before you answer, Steve, let me -- I quite to say MAGA hats, so then, why are people who are wearing MAGA hats and MAGA shirts and screaming, MAGA, why does it seem like it's always them if it's not an issue that has to do with Donald Trump?

CORTES: It's certainly not always them. There's a lot of violence from Antifa, there is a lot of violence from many sides here and there shouldn't be, by the way.

SETMAYER: That is true too.

CORTES: Political violence, racism, bigotry is awful from any side. I'll tell you this, too, by the way, if Donald Trump is a racist, which he clearly isn't. I know him. He is not. But if he is, he is remarkably bad at it, because all he is done is make life better since he was elected for minorities. For African Americans and Hispanics, Economically, their prosperity, their security are only increasing under the policies of Donald Trump, which means the --

WISE: The fact that people of color don't agree with that by and large means in the first place.

CORTES: -- that they are delusional?

WISE: And guess the fact that black folks by and large don't see it that way, and brown folk by and large don't see it that way and they don't vote that way, means that you and Donald Trump know black and brown folks truth better than they actually know their own truth. Which is a fascinating example the president as well.

CORTES: No, it means that we need to win them over, and we are starting --

WISE: No people know their own lives.

SETMAYER: Do you think that call --


They have more way of winning people of color over? CORTES: that they belong to the Republican Party and they belong

voting for Donald Trump. That is what it means.

LEMON: So there are -- so you didn't live through the Obama administration when Obama brought the black -- really brought the black unemployment rate down and that really pulled the economy into a better place? That has nothing to do with a black President? That is all from Donald Trump?

SETMAYER: We can a different color --


CORTES: Let's talk facts, Don. Let us talk facts. The chasm between White Household wealth and minority household wealth widened under the Obama years --

WISE: That is not actually declined.


CORTES: -- that are most blacks. The wealth gap has not declined because most blacks and Hispanics are --


LEMON: It has not declined at all.

CORTES: Over all that the Obama years was wonderful for people who owned a lot of assets, which generally unfortunately doesn't include blacks and Hispanics. I wanted too and I think that will happen, I want black status be wealthy and all that assets, but for the most part, their wage earners.

[23:10:06] LEMON: Yes.

CORTES: And wage earners had a terrible slog under the slow growth of the Obama years.

LEMON: So Steve, you have no concern about -- you have no concerned about what seems like a spike in these racist incidents since this President came to fore?

SETMAYER: And anti-Semitism.

CORTES: Those are two different -- anti-Semitism --


CORTES: Donald Trump has been a better friend to Israel than any President has been probably since his presidency --


LEMON: Hold on. One at a time. Go ahead, Tim. Hold on. Let Tim speak. WISE: As the only Jew on the panel let me just say the idea that

anti-Semitism can be reduced to your view of Israel is offensive to me as a Jewish person. That is not what it means to stand up against anti-Semitism. What it means to stand up against it is when Nazis March in an American City and college town you do not coddle them and say they're refined people on that side. It used to be we understood there was a difference between Nazi's and people who fought Nazis. My grandfather fought Nazi's and we praise them and called them the greatest generations. And now we have a President who makes excuses for them and he is your friend. Deal with him. Come get your people, please.

LEMON: All right, I got to go. Thank you. Fascinating conversation. Frustrating one, but we need to have it. We need to have it. When we come back "The Washington Post" reporting tonight the President and his allies are waging a campaign to expose a top secret FBI source. More on that in a moment.


LEMON: Our breaking news, President Trump and his allies reportedly waging a campaign to undercut the Russia investigation by exposing a top secret FBI source, that is according to "The Washington Post."

Let's bring in now CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, CNN Legal Analyst, Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller special assistant at the Justice Department.

So, let's talk some policy now, shall we. Good evening to both of you. Michael, you know, we got this breaking news tonight about "The Washington Post," and the President and Rudy Giuliani claiming that there was a spy in the campaign, and that they want this alleged FBI source exposed. What do you think of this?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it's terrible from a law enforcement perspective and Giuliani should be embarrassed having said this, given that he was both the mayor of New York in charge of police and also the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. There is an FBI informant, a live U.S. citizen, who apparently is providing and has provided the FBI information about ongoing investigations including conversations perhaps with Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. That is a far cry from implanting an informant within the Trump organization as Giuliani and others have alleged. And to out a source of vital intelligence for the FBI in ongoing investigations to me is just an unacceptable course of conduct. And think that Congress who is Meadows and Nunes and others who had claimed for this, really should be ashamed of themselves.

LEMON: Juliette, if this confidential source is revealed, I mean, couldn't that jeopardizes other operations? That is what the concern is.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Absolutely. And "The Washington Post" story does state exclusively that the FBI is working diligently to not only protect the identity of the source but obviously protect any information that this source may have revealed or help in other investigations. Remember, we are not just talking about the Mueller investigation. There are any number of other investigations going on related to Russians, related to Manafort's son-in-law. I mean, there is a whole bunch of stuff going on.

And so the exposure of that person's name will compromise ongoing criminal investigations. So just two things here. If you don't think that this is obstruction of justice, I don't know how you would define it. There is -- there is an informant, right, it's not a spy. Informant are used in all sorts of criminal cases. That the President of the United States and his proxies are directing to be exposed to undermine not just the Mueller case, but other cases. The second is, and I am not speaking, you know, I'm very careful with hyperbole, but, you know, when I first read this story my thought was they are going to get someone killed. You know, I mean, in the sense that, you don't play with this stuff. We have no idea who the person is.

LEMON: That is one of the concerns.

KAYYEM: Yes, I mean, we have no idea who this person is, we have no idea what the Russians will do. We know there's lots of dead Russians in Russia and in Britain, but so this idea that this is all just sort of fun and games and a witch hunt on Twitter and we get to call it whatever we want, this is real. And I think, you know, to lay blame everywhere, I mean, obviously it's with Donald Trump and his paranoia and, you know, the fact he has no legal defense left. Right, in other words his only legal defense is this now. But also, of course on Devin Nunes and Paul Ryan who could have got -- who could really legitimately gotten rid of Devin Nunes as the head of the House Intelligence Committee and has failed to do so for over a year. That will be Paul Ryan's legacy in my mind.

LEMON: You know that is not going to happen. It's sad, though, but --

ZELDIN: Right and you have to juxtapose this. And Don, I think one thing to add to what Juliette said is that you have to juxtapose this against boo-ha-ha-ha that was made about unmasking and other things of that sort which suited them fine, to make a big -- to do about the possibility that somebody may have unmask somebody, Democrat may have unmasked somebody.

LEMON: And they want to say nothing, but -- go on.

ZELDIN: Well, it rather be nothing, but they wanted -- they wanted, you know, prosecutions and the like in here. When the Director of the FBI says this would compromise ongoing investigations and there doesn't seem to be a care in the world, it's just not acceptable.

LEMON: Well, of course it's hypocrisy. And for anyone to say otherwise they're just lying to themselves or they don't really want to face reality when it comes to what's happening here. Look, there's more news tonight. Let's talk about Paul Manafort. His former son- in-law is pleading guilty to a real-estate ponzi scheme and will now cooperate with other investigations. How significant is that, Juliette? KAYYEM: It's hard to tell right now. So this is happening in a

California court. They are just back to my previous point, there's so many tentacle to what's going on right. Some real-estate dealings, but he has at least by reporting's, sort of agreed that he would discuss or, you know, discuss what he knew about Manafort and Manafort's dealings with Russia and of course Manafort and whether there was any collusion with the Trump campaign.

[23:20:02] So right now the fact that he is willing to plead is just so -- I mean, I think it's just revealing the extent to which Mueller is successfully and methodically getting people closer and closer to the Oval Office to turn, right, for whatever reason. But the contents of what he knows, I think it's -- I think we should be careful. We just simply don't know how much he knew and whether the main goal of having the son-in-law turn is simply to get Manafort to eventually turn.

LEMON: All right, thank you both of you. That has got to be the last word. When we come back, President Trump's Fox News feedback loop. The extraordinary claims the President makes all because of what he has seen on Fox News.


LEMON: So here's our breaking news tonight. President Trump and his allies waging a campaign to discredit the Russia investigation by trying to expose a top secret FBI source and using conservative media to do it. Let's bring in CNN Political Commentator, Margaret Hoover, CNN Political Analyst, Brian Karem and Olivia Nuzzi, Washington correspondent for "New York Magazine." Good evening, all of you. Thank you for coming on.


LEMON: Olivia, let us start with you. You are talking about this new story in "The Washington Post" that I just read a little bit about Trump allies. How they are trying to expose this top secret FBI source. The informant they are claiming was a spy in the campaign.

And this is what Josh Dawsey writes for "The Washington Post." The extraordinary push begun by a cadre of Trump boosters on Capitol Hill and now has champions across the GOP and throughout conservative media. And as of Thursday, the first anniversary of Robert S. Mueller to his appointment as Special Counsel bears the imprimatur of the president.

[23:25:05] So, Olivia, you have reported extensively on the president's relationship with Fox News and conservative media. What's your reaction to this story?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, look, the President and Fox News have been in sync in their opposition to the entire intelligence community. And I think that this story exposes kind of the extent to which they are opposed to the intelligence community. And a lot of what you see on Fox News echoes what we see on the President's Twitter account, obviously. Today he is talking again about the witch hunt. And when you watch

something like Sean Hannity, you see them talking about how there's the quote-unquote Deep State, it turn out really was a fringe term for people like Alex Jones, not too long ago that is kind of trickled into the main stream.

And what they're talking about is the fact that they believe that the media, that the left in American politics and that the intelligence community is really in cahoots against the President and this administration. And I think that they do everything in their power to undermine the investigation by claiming that there is a big conspiracy at play.

LEMON: Yes. Margaret Hoover, here is what the President tweeted today. He said, "Wow, words seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI spied on the Trump campaign with an embedded informant." Andrew McCarthy says, "There is probably no doubt that they had at least one competence or informant in the campaign, if so, this is bigger than Watergate." He was referring to this interview, here it is on "Fox and Friends."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.


LEMON: So the President making another extraordinary claim, because of something he saw on Fox News. Is this concerning for you?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And by the way, Andrew McCarthy is a respected lawyer, and he litigated the plaintiff -- the case against the Blind Sheikh which is an individual who perpetrated the bombing of the 1993 World Trade Center.

LEMON: Sheikh bomb.

HOOVER: Sheikh bomb, so, I don't totally understand that, but what I do know is that somebody did have an informant in the Trump campaign, and that was Russian intelligence in the form of Papadopoulos, who has proven to be an FBI informant -- oh, I'm sorry, rather a Russian informant. And then two of Trump's top campaign operative, the person who became his national security advisor and the person who is his chairman also had ties and under investigation and have been indicted, because of their illegal dealings related to Russia and how their handled their positions on the campaign.

What this effort, Republican Senators across the table and Republican members of congress across the table have said, while there are Republicans who say this are policy driven, they are also impartial Republican who are looking at this act and seen the briefing material and say, this is not a politically motivated investigation.


HOOVER: Certainly there are people who spin things on the right --

LEMON: Of course it is.

HOOVER: Not entirely, OK? There are, I mean -- I know that you didn't like Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump was your guy. But there are people who don't have political motivations for looking and have the ability to look at the facts and say that there is a real reason to investigate, that a foreign government was trying to influence our elections and as American citizens all of us need to understand what's at the bottom of that. And that is not politically driven.

LEMON: So Brian, let's talk about the White House and how they are putting this out and responded. The White House said today that if the FBI had an informant within the Trump campaign, it should be investigated. Shouldn't the White House substantiate claims that they hear on Fox News before they put it out there?

KAREM: Why would they bother doing that? They haven't done it in a year and half that they've been there. I think the bottom-line, you know, Don, the sad part is, 20 years from now, you're going to have to explain to our children and our children yet born, our grandparents and the parents are going to have to say, where did you fall in the year 2018 when the President of United States tried to dismantle the constitution? And you're going to have to answer that. Because we know where Donald Trump and his administration has fallen. And that is, they will protect, they will make any claim that serves the President. They will make any claim that will serves him personally. They are not backing up any of these claims with facts. They haven't, they won't, and they can't.

And the problem with that is, it dismantles everything that we put together in 200 plus years as a Republic. And they have no respect for it, and that is become increasingly apparent every day, when you take a look at how they have gotten into a bunker mentality, how they closed themselves off from the press. They've canceled press briefings, they canceled press -- joint press conferences. And the President as I said before, has seen an open press in a news conference once.

LEMON: You are talking about this administration, not Republican at large.

KAREM: Yes. No. I'm talking about Donald Trump. I am talking about Donald Trump.

NUZZI: But, John, the problem is not so -- the problem is not so much they're canceling the press briefings. I think as it is that, when they do hold these press briefings they're not telling us the truth and they're frequently lying to us.

KAREM: Well, they have never done that. They never told us before, I mean, in the year and a half I've been there, I've gotten one factual answer, one out of hundreds of questions and that was, is he going to have a physical? And then they came out and told us, Blarney (ph), they charted the doctor out and said he was, you know, healthiest. Out out of all the presidents ever, this guy was the healthiest. HOOVER: -- for Department of VA.


HOOVER: But here's the point. Look, I take your point that there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of respect for the constitution or our institutions.

KAREM: Facts. Just facts.

HOOVER: Facts. Point taken. But you run the risk of hyperbole by saying they're dismantling the constitution because we have --

KAREM: No, that's not hyperbole. When you sit there and you disrespect the constitution and you throw people under the bus for no constitutional reason at all, when you disrespected the DOJ, when you disrespect the DOD, and you come out and you say that they are running, that they --

LEMON: I've got to run, guys.

KAREM: If you've gotten informants hidden everywhere, you disrespect the DOJ and every bit of work that the Justice Department has ever done --

LEMON: To be discontinued. Thank you. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The former son-in-law of one of Trump's campaign managers has reached a plea agreement with United States attorneys. Joining me now, a member of the House Intel Committee, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell. We're talking about Paul Manafort's former son-in-law here. He is being investigated for a real estate Ponzi scheme. What's your reaction to this report?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA,: Good evening, Don. It shows that, you know, I think the FBI is looking at and conducting an MRI of anyone associated with Donald Trump, his team, and who may have information about what members of Donald Trump's team were doing with regard to the Russians.

And so this is encouraging to me because we had an opportunity to do this on the House Intelligence Community and failed to do so. We didn't use the subpoena power that we had. We didn't compel witnesses to come in.

And so I think the country wants to see Bob Mueller run this thing to the ground and make sure that we check all of the personal, political, and financial contacts that Donald Trump and his team had with the Russians.

LEMON: All right. Moving on that. The president was up early this morning, slamming the Russia investigation on the one year anniversary of Mueller's appointment, calling it disgusting, illegal, unwarranted. But the polls show that these attacks may be working with the American people, Congressman.

Mueller's approval is down slightly, and slightly more Americans believe the things the president is saying about the investigation. Is time on the president's side here when it comes to the court of public opinion at least?

SWALWELL: Don, we all would like to see, you know, special counsel bring forward to the American what he has found. However, it is ludicrous for the president to say and take advantage of all of the Russian contacts that he had during the campaign and then complain that it's taking too long to count the Russians.

When you lie to investigators, it takes longer to find out what the truth is. And we've already had guilty pleas for false statements to the FBI, whether it was from General Flynn or George Papadopoulos or others in the Trump orbit.

LEMON: The Senate Intelligence Committee released their findings on the Russia investigation. They agree with the intelligence committee's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 to help President Trump or candidate Trump then. Do you and other Democrats on the House intel feel vindicated by that?

SWALWELL: Well, we feel that the American people now have consensus. Three beats one. House intelligence, Democrats, and Senate intelligence. Democrats and Republicans outnumber the isolated House intelligence Republicans who are the only ones who are saying that there was no preference by Putin for Donald Trump.

So, the best thing we can do, Don, is to show unity, use that as an antidote against future interference because the Russians aren't leaving. We had a hearing today on the Intelligence Committee talking about China. And experts told us that China also has capabilities to interfere in our elections.

LEMON: I want to talk about the transcripts around the Senate intel's interview with Don Jr. More questions came up about that mystery phone call that he made during the lead up to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

And after it was over, a blocked number, he made a call to a blocked number, he said he doesn't remember who the call was from, but many suspected it might be his father, that it was his father who has been known to use a blocked number. What do you think?

SWALWELL: Don, first, whenever a Trump family member says, I don't recall, that's typically code for yes, but you're getting too close. Russia calls Donald Trump, Jr. And then a few minutes later, he calls a blocked number and then he calls back to his Russian contacts.

We know that Donald Trump's father used a blocked number, and so it was very critical as to whether he told his father. But proximity matters here. We know that candidate Trump was very close to the Russian family that requested the meeting. Candidate Trump was just one floor above where the meeting took place. And candidate Trump was very close throughout the campaign with his son, Donald Trump Jr., who took the meeting. It is so unlikely. Either he and they have all lied about it, or the family knew not to tell their father that this meeting took place.

LEMON: President Trump did speak about Chinese electronics company, ZTE. Watch. Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: ZTE was a company that I spoke with President Xi. He asked me if I take a look at that because it was very harmful to them in terms of their jobs. I put very strong clamps on ZTE. They did very bad things to our country.


LEMON: Why do you think the president is so concerned about ZTE?

SWALWELL: Don, it sure looks like it's the money. He promised so many American workers that he would put them first in everything that he would do in the Oval Office. And here he's putting a Chinese company and its workers ahead of the American worker.

[23:40:02] The Chinese made $500 million loan to a Trump-backed property at the same time that he's saying this. I think he should disavow that loan, show the American people that he's not going to have these financial dealings with China at the same time that he's trying to strike trade policy with them.

LEMON: Congressman Swalwell, thank you, sir.

SWALWELL: My pleasure, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, will Meghan Markle change the royal family? She has faced racism ever since she became engaged to Prince Harry, but will the royal wedding change the conversation?


LEMON: We are now less than two days away from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle saying their I dos. Britain is abuzz with excitement as well as America. But this royal wedding could change the conversation because the bride is bringing diversity to the royal family. Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brixton is a district of South London where you'll find black, Asian, and white cultures all in one neighborhood. It's a place Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have visited before. Markle is celebrated here like in much of Great Britain and because she is biracial, her marriage to Prince Harry has also inspired discussion about race relations.

[23:45:05] Raise your hand, does everyone know who Meghan Markle is?


CARROLL: These elementary schoolgirls in Brixton are well aware this is a first for the royals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's surprising because she's one of the first black -- like people to join the royal family.

CARROLL: Do any of you ever think that she could grow up and perhaps marry into the royal family? Was that something that any of you even actually thought of?



CARROLL: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not many like black people can join like the royal family.

CARROLL: Do you think it's a good thing?


CARROLL: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it just shows you that anyone can marry into the royal family.

CARROLL: A recent study found a little more than half of those polled in the U.K. say race should matter in the royal marriage. Seventy-five percent say they would feel comfortable if their children married someone of a different race. But a government study also found a 27 percent increase in hate crimes in the past two years.

Steadman Scott has lived in Brixton for some 50 years.

STEADMAN SCOTT, BRIXTON RESIDENT: There is a problem in this country. And that is color problem. That is a problem that we have to address.

CARROLL: There have been a number of negative public comments and headlines made about the Markle family and their background. Take this one in the Daily Mail, it reads, Harry's girl is almost straight out of Compton. And then there was the comment made by the sister of the U.K.'s foreign secretary. It read, Miss Markle's mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.

At one point, Prince Harry stepped in to defend Markle and her family. In a statement, his communications secretary cited the racial undertones of comment pieces and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. Sunder Katwala conducted that recent study on race in the U.K.

What did you make of some of the horrific things that the British press were writing about Meghan Markle?

SUNDER KATWALA, DIRECTOR, BRITISH FUTURE: Racism is still in British society, but it recede quite a lot especially across the generations.

CARROLL: And though these girls never expected to see a mixed race bride in the royal family, they see their marriage as a sign of hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they will make a difference. Some people are racist to other people because of their color. And because Meghan Markle is joining the royal family, I think it might make them change their mind.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Brixton, London.


LEMON: Jason Carroll, thank you. Joining me now is Harvey Young, dean of fine arts at Boston University who is Meghan Markle's former professor. Thank you so much for doing this, professor.


LEMON: What's it like for you to have your former theater student marrying into the British royal family?

YOUNG: It's a little surreal. It's not quite what you'd expect. I'm used to my students being cast in TV shows and films and being on broadway. But the royal family addition is certainly new for me.

LEMON: I'm sure you are proud of her because you had seen her on television, her latest series "Suits," I'm sure you are proud of her as an actress. But this like completely beyond, right?

YOUNG: Oh, it's unexpected, absolutely. But I'm certainly proud of her.

LEMON: What was she like when you knew her?

YOUNG: So I taught Meghan back in 2003 when she was a senior and it was her last quarter at Northwest University, so it's her last quarter at Northwestern. And she took my studies in black performance class. It was a tiny class with eight students.

She was wonderful. She would walk in. She was this force of positive energy. She was ready to dive into conversations about sort of black theater but also about race and society. And I remember her fondly.

LEMON: Yes. She says her ethnically ambiguous appearance has helped shape her identity. What do you think she means by that?

YOUNG: Well, I remember talking with her and I believe it was more during office hours than during class, talking about what it means to be a biracial but also really what it means to be a person who is often misread and assumed to be not mixed and therefore being in rooms in which you would overhear people airing their prejudices and biases about blackness or sometimes about whiteness depending upon what the room was.

LEMON: Yes. We just saw these schoolgirls in South London telling Jason Carroll what Meghan Markle means to them. Do you think she will make a difference in how people think about race in England?

YOUNG: Absolutely. I think the fact we're having a conversation about race and identity and also I guess a belonging. Because Meghan has been quite outspoken from when she was 21 in my class to this very day where she has talked about the need to be open and honest about experiences.

[23:50:02] To have a dialogue about race, to let many people know that, you know, you can't allow bias to go unchecked. You can't allow people to air their prejudices without actually stopping them, halting the conversation and then correcting them as a way of trying to create a more diverse and inclusive society.

LEMON: You know, as Prince Harry's fiancee, Meghan is already under intense scrutiny. Does being biracial make the spotlight even more glaring, you think?

YOUNG: I think so. I think because there is a way in which -- it's heightened with her youth. It's heightened with her experiences in college. It's heightened with many things she has talked about in which people do not necessarily know how to read her. And then there is this open airing of prejudice and bias and in some cases hate.

And I think that comes to the forefront. We saw that certainly when the Buckingham Palace issued the statement around the engagement to say hey, everyone, you know, sort of calm down, leave her alone. You know, this level of racist rhetoric is just intolerable. And the fact that the royal family and Buckingham Palace actually made that statement is in itself extraordinary.


YOUNG: Quite impressive.

LEMON: It's unprecedented. So listen, the British tabloids have not been kind to Meghan's American family.


LEMON: Many of the stories written had racial undertones. What do you make of the reaction from the royal family? When I read it, you said no.

YOUNG: I mean -- it goes to show that discrimination exists everywhere. And we know within the U.K., there have been issues around bias certainly in terms of discrimination against black immigrants, certainly coming from the Caribbean. There was that whole keep Britain white campaign from few decades ago. So I think that some of that has been aggravated by this engagement.

But the fact that the royal family hopped in and said no, we see where this is trending, we're going to stop this, we're going to not allow this to occur, that's important. And certainly Meghan is a person who has spent her life dealing with the ignorance and in some cases the intolerance of others.

And has been a model of eloquence but also sophisticated intelligent -- wherewithal to be able to stand up and say no, this is who I am, this is what my experience is, and I am going to talk openly and loudly about my experience because other people are like me but they don't have the platform, they don't have the spotlight that I have, and I'm going to change the conversation for the good.

LEMON: You'll be watching. I know that you will have your university's commencement this weekend, so you won't be able to go. What's your wish for her?

YOUNG: I wish her well for the wedding. I will be at Boston University later that day shaking hands with the 400 graduates who are majoring in theater, visual arts, and music. But for Meghan, I just wish her the best. I wish her the happiness that she desires. And I just hope that spotlight that shines brightly on her allows her to actually change for the better the experiences of others.

LEMON: Harvey Young, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. And congratulations, by the way.

YOUNG: My pleasure.

LEMON: Yes. Congratulations. You had something to do with all of this, in shaping her. Thank you. I appreciate it. Don't miss CNN's special coverage of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I'm going to be live in Windsor with all the last-minute preparations tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern, so make sure you tune in.

In this Sunday's episode of "United Shades of America," Kamau Bell meets with people in disability community to understand their views on health care and how they are portrayed in media. You can see the full episode Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my own life, I know the impact sports made on me. I got injured when I was 22 years old, didn't make the right choices, and the choices I made ended up taking a friend's life and (INAUDIBLE) to my legs.

While I was in ICU, I made a promise to my friend that had passed that something good is going to come out of that day. I got involved in adaptive sports. I got involved in helping coach wheelchair basketball. And just being around kids with disabilities gave me something to look for every day.

KAMAU BELL, STAND-UP COMIC AND TELEVISION HOST: What do you think people who aren't disabled get wrong about people who are disabled?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're surprised that we can live independently and that we can do things. They're like oh, good to see you out here. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are inspiring me today. And I am like, oh, I got to get groceries.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like they think we're delicate or fragile and it's like, no, we're not.

BELL: No, no, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reinforced actually.




LEMON: When this week's CNN hero first earned his pilot's license on a whim (ph), he had no idea what he would end up doing with it. Twice a month, Paul Steklenski spends his own money to fly dogs from high- kill shelters in the south to no-kill shelters in the north. Check out this life-saving and very adorable mission of love.


PAUL STEKLENSKI, CNN HERO: I try to greet every passenger before we load them on to the aircraft to spend a few moments with them.

Ready to go?

So they can see me, they can smell me. Load the airplane up and then we'll make stops along the eastern coast.

[24:00:00] I'm quite certain they know things are about to change.

Hey, buddy. He is so calm right now.

They know things are getting better and they're not going to end up in the pound.


LEMON: To see more, go to That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.