Return to Transcripts main page

CNN TONIGHT

President Trump Waging War on His Own Justice Department; White House Military Coin for Upcoming Trump-Kim Summit; Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Spews Toxic Gas, Glass In Air; Gulf Emissary Offered Trump Jr. 2016 Campaign Help; Detained For Speaking Spanish; Don Lemon's Commencement Address. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired May 21, 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, we're live with all the new developments for you tonight. The President waging war on his own Justice Department, something Rod Rosenstein along with Director Christopher Wray and the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, to the White House today for a closed door meeting over the FBI's use of a confidential source during the Presidential campaign.

The President was livid in a tweet this weekend over what he suggested was BI and DOJ infiltration, a surveillance of the Trump campaign, demanding an investigation. Now the DOJ is asking the Inspector General to look into the President's claims.

And White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is setting up a meeting with the FBI, the DOJ and the DNI about along with I should say, congressional leaders to share highly classified information, Democrats demanding a seat at the table for that meeting. But what does all of this really mean? Will the Justice Department be forced to turn over highly classified documents on the FBI source, documents subpoenaed by House Intel Chairman and Trump ally, Devin Nunes?

A lot to get to in the coming hours here on CNN. So, I want to bring in CNN's Senior Economics Analyst, Stephen Moore, who was a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, also CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken." Good evening to both of you, gentlemen.

Stephen, the President is demanding an investigation of the investigation. The Justice Department is kicking this over to the inspector general. Do you think this is another attempt by the President to put a roadblock on the Russian investigation?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: No, look, I think you stated one thing wrong where you said Trump is incensed at his own Justice Department. No, he is incensed at the Obama Justice Department. It was the Obama Justice Department that is alleged to have been investigating his campaign. So it's wasn't -- it is not as if he is blaming his own Justice Department. He is basically saying that if you have the Justice Department of one party investigating the other party. LEMON: Stephen, are you really going to sit here and say that? Come

on. He slams members of his own Justice Department including his Attorney General coven instantly.

MOORE: In this particular case, where he is a legend.

LEMON: And this is Barack Obama is --

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Doesn't that trouble you at all, Don, that that might have happened?

LEMON: No, it doesn't trouble me, because I don't think it happened. And there is no evident --

MOORE: Shouldn't we get to the bottom it?

LEMON: No, because there is no evidence that it happened. It is a complete red herring. There is no evidence that it happen and it is all built on conspiracy theories and the Republicans on Capitol Hill are going along with it, including members of the president own Justice Department. This has nothing to do with the -- you guys did the same thing with the whole unmasking thing which turned out to be nothing, which turned out to be a conspiracy theory, and this is a conspiracy theory as well.

MOORE: that is what he had been saying about FISA --

LEMON: So we should investigate things on conspiracy theories. The entire Mueller investigation, how many people have been pleaded guilty in the Mueller investigation?

MOORE: Well, come on, I mean, if I as a member of that campaign, if the Mueller team came after me, it would have cost me a quarter of a million dollars to defend myself, I would have been, you know, potentially charged with prison sentences. A lot of people --

LEMON: If you did nothing wrong? If you didn't do anything wrong then it has nothing to do. That isn't true. Go ahead, Max.

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW IN NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That is the key point here. If Donald Trump were innocent and he found out that the FBI was trying to figure out if there was Russian infiltration of his campaign, he should be in favor of that as a good, honest, patriotic, innocent American. He should be in favor of ferrying out foreign espionage. We know there were at least three or four people on the Trump campaign who were closely linked to the Kremlin. But instead of trying to ferret that out, instead of trying to help the investigation, Donald Trump is doing everything he can to obstruct the investigation, including using the tried and true author attorney tactic of investigating the investigators.

This is a shocking breach of Democratic norms. This is an assault on the rule of law. This is an assault on the constitution. This is unconscionable what Donald Trump is doing here. He is assaulting the FBI and the Department of Justice, because he is meddling in the investigation of his own campaign.

LEMON: And Max, you are a Republican, aren't you?

BOOT: I'm a former Republican. I left the party in disgust over Donald Trump and the fact that other Republicans looked the other way while he was assaulting the basic norms of our democracy.

LEMON: So, Stephen, let me ask you this. Let's just say that the Mueller investigation turns up nothing. Then how do you say, well, Robert Mueller was right, the investigation was right after so much effort has been made to undermine the investigation? Are Republicans and the President's allies then going to switch and say, see, we told you so, we love Robert Mueller, he is exactly right.

MOORE: Look, I think at the end of the day, that is exactly what's going to happen.

[23:05:00] LEMON: So what are you saying if you say it's a witch hunt? And that he is --

MOORE: It is a witch-hunt. I think most Republicans think that this is an investigation that is out of control, and I really -- I have to say, I don't understand your argument. I mean, the single most troubling allegation that I've seen throughout all of these last year is the idea that the Justice Department of one party may have been spying on the Presidential campaign of another.

LEMON: There is no evidence of that. It's all built on the conspiracy theory.

BOOT: it is nonsense, OK.

MOORE: How do you know -- how do you know it's nonsense, Max?

BOOT: There is no evidence. There is zero evidence of what you're saying. If the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were trying to hurt the Trump campaign, why is it that they kept their investigation of Trump such a tightly held secret that nobody knew about until after the election? It doesn't make any sense.

MOORE: Because maybe they didn't find anything that is the point. I mean they were investigating the --

BOOT: They found a lot of things. They found that there are at least four members of the Trump campaign that were closely linked to the Russians. You had the deputy campaign manager and the campaign manager whose associate was a former GRU officer in the Ukraine. You had people like, Papadopoulos and Carter Page who were closely linked to the Russians. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to a crime. Carter Page was under a FISA investigation as a suspected foreign agent. There was a lot of stuff that had they leaked it before the election, would have hurt Trump, but they didn't leaked it which shows that they -- it was not a politically motivated investigation. This was an attempt to protect our national security, something that President Trump and his aides don't seem to care very much about them, sad to say.

MOORE: I am just sad to say, Max, that you're saying that, because you hate Trump.

BOOT: No, I'm saying that, Steve, because it's a fact. It is true. This is a fact.

MOORE: People are believing what they want to believe.

BOOT: Steve, no, you are not entitled to alternative facts.

LEMON: There is reality here. You cannot make up these fact Steve.

MOORE: Why not investigate whether or not the Obama Justice Department was investigating the Presidential campaign?

BOOT: Because there is no evidence of it and this is the President ordering a politically motivated investigation, to distract from the investigation of his own campaign? This is highly improper. It has not happened before.

MOORE: yes, I mean look, I read your piece today and you were saying, gee, you know, this is a politically motivated prosecution. And look, I would say the same thing about the Mueller investigation --

BOOT: That is false, Steve, that is false. Robert Mueller is a Republican, OK? He was appointed by another Republican, Rod Rosenstein. What you're saying is nonsense.

LEMON: Max, so let's talk about your story and a little bit more about this. It relates to the news today, and I want you to go through the political norms that President Trump is breaking. This is the latest piece in the "Washington Post." Revealing intelligence sources politically motivated, prosecutions are mixing private and government business, foreign interference in U.S. elections and undermining the First Amendment. So. Max, which is the most damaging to our democracy you believe?

BOOT: Well, it is a toss-up, I think, certainly what Trump is doing now, interfering politically in the Justice Department and I think it is incredibly damaging. This is the kind of stuff that we have not seen since Watergate. But also incredibly damaging is the fact that last week we learned, that Donald Trump is trying to get the postal service to double sipping rates to Amazon, because he is mad or Jeff Bezos the owner of at be of the "Washington Post". Thai is the outrageous assault on the First Amendment. I mean there is a lot of other things that we can point to, but the whole pattern is, and this suggest in the course of one week. Donald Trump has undermined five basic norms of democracy. I just wish his supporters would show a little bit more concern about that.

LEMON: Stephen Moore, the former Attorney General, Eric Holder put out this tweet. He says more DOJ norms being eroded. Trump a subject of the investigation wants access to material related to the inquiry. His congressional supporters want evidence connected to an ongoing investigation. Time for DOJ/FBI to simply say no, -- to simply say no, protect the institutions and time tested norms. IS the president doing his political norms out of the window, you think? What do you say to that?

MOORE: I think the whole idea here that were trying to investigate is whether the Department of Justice has been contaminated and has been politicized. And that is a very serious thing for the number one law enforcement agency of the United States to potentially have gotten involved in a political campaign is a very serious charge. And you keep saying there is no evidence of that, but look, we'll see. Trump is alleging it and there's all these allegations against him that are still unproven. Why is one allegation, we should investigate and the other allegation we shouldn't?

LEMON: Because Trump is the President of the United States. Barack Obama is not. The Russians, according to every intelligence source, interfered in our election. That is part of the investigation.

MOORE: But there's also -- Max, you know, there's allegations that Hillary Clinton had connections with the Russians as well. Look, I'm not an expert on this --

BOOT: Steve, please, please, what you're doing is incredibly dangerous, because there are actual facts showing that the Russians interfered in our election, there are actual facts showing that the Russians had connections with the Trump campaign and in response to that, Donald Trump is making up false facts claiming Hillary Clinton sold our Uranium to Russia, claiming that the Justice Department is biased against, even though that it is actually run by Republican. This facts are not on equal plain, Steve.

[23:10:18] Please, this is -- you know, you have to be able to sort out lies from facts, real facts from alternative facts, and please don't say -- this is part of the White House strategy just to throw out false information and say, who knows, you can't make up your mind. Well, no, we have to sort it out, and the evidence that Robert Mueller is investigating is very real and the so called evidence that Donald Trump is presenting for investigation in the Justice Department is false. It had basis for of facts.

MOORE: I mean, I just don't understand how you can say that -- Mueller hasn't even told us what he has got. So how do we know?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Listen --

BOOT: Mueller has gotten 22 indictment and see five guilty pleas that is what he has so far. And he is got a lot more.

LEMON: Listen. Listen, we don't know what Mueller has, but in the same breath when people say there is collusion, and I say we don't know if there is any collusion, but you say, there is no evidence of it.

MOORE: There is no evidence.

LEMON: Right. OK. There is no evidence in the same thing that you're alleging as well.

MOORE: Right. So one should be investigated and the other shouldn't?

BOOT: There is a lot more evidence of collusion than there is evidence of Justice Department bias against President Trump. There is no evidence whatsoever of that bias. There is a ton of evidence of collusion, including 72 contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

MOORE: Except we do know, as a matter of fact, Max, that there was an investigation by the Obama administration against the Trump campaign. That is a pretty -- to intervene in a political election?

(CROSSTALK)

BOOT: It was to defend the United States from Russian sabotage and infiltration. It was against the Kremlin, it wasn't against the Trump campaign.

LEMON: You keep saying collusion, and the reason I made the point that I did, because the scope of the Russian investigation, OK, they authorized you to conduct, talking about Mueller scope ordered by Rod Rosenstein, authorized you to conduct the investigation confirmed by then FBI Director, James Comey and testimony before the permanent select committee or whatever. It says, any links -- any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Trump and any matters -- any matters -- that arose or may arise directly from the investigation. It's more than just collusion. There is evidence of other crimes or matters that arose from the investigation that are being pointed out in these indictments and these guilty pleas.

BOOT: Including obstruction of justice which year seeing all the time now. There is more and more evidence of obstruction of justice. What Trump is doing today is more evidence of that obstruction.

LEMON: Yes, I got to get to this quickly. I want to move on because I want to talk about North Korea. I just want you to take a look at this. This is just released -- the White House military coin for the upcoming summit with Trump and Kim's faces on it. The White House is saying they didn't have it any input into the design, but, I mean, that is a symbol of exactly the kind of thing that Kim Jong-un desires to be given status, like this on par with the United States with the president. First, Max, what do you think?

BOOT: Well, I mean, the coin itself is no big deal other than calling this odious dictator, Kim Jong-un, calling him supreme leader is pretty rich. But I mean, the larger pattern here is that is over confidence on the part of Trump going into this meeting with Kim Jong- un. Where he has talked about how Kim Jong-un is a fine and honorable man and talked about how denuclearization is already going to happen.

And last week the Koreans said back and made clear that they had very little desire to engage in unilateral disarmament. So I think you need to ratchet down the expectations, and I think, you know, hold off on that Nobel peace prize that Donald Trump seems to think he is already deserving.

LEMON: Yes, I will give you the last word.

MOORE: I think, that Donald Trump has one goal in mind, and that is to disarm the biggest lunatic on the planet that has a nuclear weapons. And do I think that this photograph is a wise thing? Probably not. But if he can pull this off, maybe he does get a Nobel peace prize, because we've made more progress already with North Korea than Obama. By the way, you and I work together at the "Wall Street Journal." Maybe he won't get the Nobel peace prize, but Max, one thing, I think you and I can agree he certainly deserves the Nobel economic prize for what he has done to rebuild this American economy to stable.

BOOT: He is on the verge of wrecking the economy if he carries through with his tariffs and destroys NAFTA.

LEMON: All right. Gentlemen, I got to go. Thank you very much.

MOORE: I will hit 25,000 today.

BOOT: Yes, because he brought his tariffs that is against China, thank goodness.

LEMON: Yes. And the stock market is not an indication of the economy. So anyway. We are going to go live to Hawaii where the Kilauea volcano is spewing a new threat to residents. Look at that. Thank you, gentlemen. We'll be right back.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: We have breaking news out of Hawaii tonight. Take a look at your screen. Unbelievable. Thousands of people on the big island have already been forced to flee Kilauea volcano. But they are dangerous way beyond eruptions there. I'm reading slowly because I want you to see the images on your screen.

Let's get straight though to CNN's Stephanie Elam, who is covering this Kilauea volcano. Unbelievable, Stephanie. What is the most dangerous aspect of what's going on right now beside the fact that you are clearly standing in front of a very, very active volcano.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in fact, I'm going to step out Don, so you can really get a better look at that active fissure of that lava fountain that you see there. The color of it is just phenomenal, but you see behind it, that plume of white gas behind it, that is a huge concern for the people who live in this area because it is toxic. The Sulphur dioxide can be very dangerous, and depending on which way the wind is blowing, it makes it very difficult for people to breathe, it can irritate the eyes. It's a problem. Then if you look down, you see how the lava has just burned through and taken out this part of the big island here. I want to explain that sound you probably heard behind me as well, besides this lava you see there. You can see in the distance where the lava has coursed down and it has hit the sea water, and where it is hitting that sea water, it's having a reaction where it's creating hydrochloric acid and it is also creating little particles of gas -- glass along with that steam.

So, it's very dangerous as well. So the U.S. Coast Guard has setup a perimeter to keep people away from that. And then you may have heard that loud boom behind me. Believe it or not, Don. That is volcanic gases escaping from the earth with such power and strength that it's throwing molten rock up into the sky. Several hundred feet it looks like from where we are. You can't really see it from here, but that is what that sound is.

[23:50:02] I think, that is one of the most surprising thing being out here with the volcano, Don, is just the fact that it is so loud. Helicopters are around all the time, too, but the fact of how loud it is when you are near one of these fissures in the earth, and there's some about two dozen of them now. When you hear those fissures that is really what's really jarring here. But these people have been living with this for about two weeks and there's no end in sight.

LEMON: How far away are you, Stephanie? You're at a safe distance, right?

ELAM: Yes, you know, we definitely take precautions, Don. We are a safe distance away from here, but it is juts, you know, it could change. Those winds could change. Until we do keep gas masks with us --

LEMON: You get the ash, right?

ELAM: We're prepared to leave if we need to. Well, the ash can come down and that happens when you see eruption from the caldera of Kilauea which is inside the Hawaii's volcano national park. And that can come down and when that is happened so far, it happened and it's rained, so it's contained the ash. That is part of it. It's really the gases, and when you get close to them, they take your breath away, they irritate your throat. They give you headaches. It's nothing to play with. If you're in there too much, they can kill you.

LEMON: Yes.

ELAM: So when you get close to that lava as we have, it is definitely something that you don't want to play with. But we keep our wits about us, we keep watching the wind to make sure that we are standing in the right place, but as you can see from these lava fountains, it's been like this for a couple of days, it is actually stronger today than it was before and yesterday even, but they are mesmerizing when you see them, no doubt.

LEMON: We will check back, Stephanie, keeping your eye on that volcano. Look at that. It is unreal to see, also the ash, not good for airplane engines, so, they got to steer around those because that can take an airplane down. Thank you very much, I appreciate it, Stephanie.

When we come back, another meeting Donald Trump Jr. had during the campaign with foreign nationals who wanted to help his father win. Was it illegal, and should someone have raised a red flag?

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The President's namesake, Donald Trump Jr., may be in even more legal hot water tonight over another meeting with foreigners who wanted his father to win the White House. The "New York Times" reporting that the meeting took place in August of 2016 and it involved Trump Jr. as well as George Nader, an emissary for a prince from Saudi Arabia and another from the United Arab Emirates and was put together by Eric Prince, a controversial Trump supporter.

So, I want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst, Michael Zeldin, who was Robert Mueller's special assistant to the Justice Department, also CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, and former U.S. attorney, Harry Litman.

Good evening to all of you. Harry, I am going to start with you. This is yet another meeting that Don Jr. had with foreign nationals who wanted to help his father. The Times reporting that, you know, that George Nader told Don Jr. this is a quote, "The princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as President. The social media specialist, Joel Zamel, extolled his company's ability to give an edge to a political campaign. By that time the firm had already drawn up a multimillion- dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump." So, the Times says that this new meeting is a focus of Mueller's probe. Is it legal, in your view?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: I mean, it seems straightforward and flagrant, Don. It is playing generally as one more little thing for Trump Jr. I don't understand the casualness. It's a federal crime to solicit anything of value from a foreign national, even under Trump Jr.'s account where he rebuffed the offer. It seems he was straightforwardly was there soliciting something of value, and as you say, paying as not just of one but $2 million were made after, it seems to me of par with the Russian meeting overall and a serious charge for Trump Jr.

LEMON: Is it illegal in your view, Michael?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could be. It depends on the circumstances. If there was a solicitation as was just said of something of value that is willful, then it's a violation or potential violation of campaign finance laws. At this point I don't think we know enough to absolutely conclude that, but we do know that this meeting, along with the June 9th meeting, combined with Cambridge Analytica and the Kushner data analytics thing all create one big package of foreign nationals working with or endeavoring to work with the Trump organization to impact the outcome of the election and that is got to be investigated.

LEMON: Julia, it is unclear if any social media plan was ever executed, and the attorneys for Trump and Zamel said that they met and nothing came of it. But, I mean, we know many Americans were manipulated via social media in 2016. How does this add up to you?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That the world and many governments knew that the Trumps and Trump family were for sale, and they were not selling the Trumps, they were selling the United States interests. I don't believe in coincidences anymore with this family or with this investigation. It was always shocking from the national security perspective that when Trump became President, the America, not Trump's, America's interests lined with Saudi Arabia and UAE against Qatar and their sort of fight in the Gulf in the Middle East.

So, you put pieces together, and who knows if there is a direct line, if there is causality, but you see that the Trumps are known to sell, right, in other words, they are known to be bought, and are willing to take these meetings, period. Let's just stop there. They are taking these meetings. And then policy changes out of the blue. We had the same thing with the Kushner family and the baling out of various buildings and we had the same thing with the Russians. So, you know, at some stage this is like, there are no more coincidences, and Donald Trump Jr. is an adult male who is real running the Trump Company. The idea that he is somehow naive, it's just, you know, it is like male privilege at this stage. It's just ridiculous. He is an adult male. He knows that this is wrong.

LEMON: Yes. I want to talk about George Nader and his role in this, because we know, Michael, that he is cooperating with Robert Mueller and we have seen his reporting that Nader attended a number of meetings involving Emirati officials, involving Erik Prince and members of Trump's inner circle. Is this new reporting revealed Nader is even more significant in the Mueller probe?

ZELDIN: It appears so. It seems as if this August 3rd meeting that we were just talking about at Trump Tower, along with another meeting in the Seychelles and the allegations that there were policy changes in the aftermath of those meetings, that Nader is in the epicenter of those things. And so what we thought was a sort of incidental witness seems now to be coming more important to the investigation.

LEMON: Harry, also at the same time in January of 2017 of that meeting, CNN is reporting that Nader was at the same hotel bar as Erik Prince when Prince met with a Russian banker and a friend of Vladimir Putin. Prince later denied to the House intel that he was trying to set up a backchannel with Putin. I mean, how do you see all this cloak and dagger? Is this cloak and dagger stuff?

LITMAN: It feels like it for Prince. I mean, Prince not only denies that, he denies that he had any communications and it looks like a flat lie. But the significance here is Nader is cooperating. Mueller already knows, as has been the case in so many instances where snippets emerge, whether Trump Jr. is telling the truth, that it was just an innocent meeting and he rebuffed it right away.

Nader has told Mueller everything Mueller knows -- I mean, excuse me, everything Nader knows, and I think that likely bodes very ill for Trump Jr.

LEMON: Juliette, I mean, you were talking a lot about Don Jr., there saying he's a grown man and he should know better. He apparently had no hesitation in meeting with foreign nationals during the campaign. First it was that famous meeting with the Russians in June of 2016. Now three months later, with an emissary for the Saudis and the emirates.

Is it surprising to you that there was -- do you think that there was one red flag after another and that no one seemed to understand what was going on here?

KAYYEM: There were 72 contacts amongst the Trump campaign and Russians that were denied over the course of the last two years. I mean, remember, this family and this president started off that there were no contacts whatsoever. We're now at 72 known contacts, at least what we know right now.

So the red flag, I mean at this stage, it's just a fire in terms of the number of contacts that are going on. And I think one of the hard things for us to contemplate but that clearly the Trump family contemplates is that they see no difference between what benefits the Trump family monetarily and that being beneficial to the United States.

That may be true in some instances. Maybe they'll benefit from good American foreign policy as many companies do. But it does raise questions about why we didn't do the sanctions, why the Trump administration has not been tough on the sanctions, why they change their position towards Saudi Arabia and the UAE, why this China tariff thing is going on and then the Chinese all of a sudden bail out the Trump family in another property.

And so, you know, it starts to make sense if you just see for the Trumps, their interest is America's interest. For us, that's not true. And that is --

LEMON: But Juliette, to the heart of the question, though -- to the heart of the question, though, do you believe that with all of these coincidences, do you think that there was no one in the campaign to raise a red flag, no one knew what was happening here?

KAYYEM: Oh, no, I mean, I don't know who in fact knew it, but the idea that Trump Jr. is acting as unknown to others in the campaign is ridiculous. First of all, remember this campaign. This campaign literally had like 10 people in it at the time and Trump Jr. is always calling his dad and he admits that.

LEMON: I got to run, Juliette.

KAYYEM: So, you know --

LEMON: Yeah, I got to run. Sorry about that. Thank you. We're out of time. I appreciate it, all of you.

When we come back, a border patrol agent detains two U.S. citizens in Montana, believe it or not, simply because they were speaking Spanish. One of those women will join me, next.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Tonight, the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into what happened when a border patrol agent detained and questioned two U.S. citizens. So, why were two American women stopped at a Montana gas station? Believe it or not, it was all because they were speaking Spanish. One of the women recorded the video of the incident. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): So can you tell us in the video, please, why you ask us for our IDs, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, the reason I asked you for your IDs is because I came in here and saw that you guys were speaking Spanish which is very unheard of up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just write your name, date of birth --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Because you are racial (ph), right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Racial purple (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has nothing to do with that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): No?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Spanish in the store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a state where it is predominantly white.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joining me now via Skype, the woman you heard in that video, Ana Suda. Ana, thank you so much. I mean, we just heard that video that you shot. Walk us through what happened at this gas station.

ANA SUDA, U.S. CITIZEN STOPPED BY BORDER PATROL FOR SPEAKING SPANISH: Well, we need some -- like in the video, you can see we need some eggs and my friend needs some milk for her daughter. So we decided to go to the gas station because we don't have a store open. That was the only store. So we stopped there while we picked up the items. And I was in line. I was going to pay. I was next in line.

And I hear my friend say something, so I looked back. And it was this border patrol agent. He looked at me and he asked me where I was born. So I looked at him and I say, are you serious?

[23:40:02] He's like, I am very serious. I said I was born in El Paso, Texas. And he looked at my friend and my friend say I was born in El Centro, California. So he said, I need to see you I.D. I need your I.D. So I said, I am going to pay, and then I will give you my I.D. He said, no, you are going to give me your I.D.

So, I said, OK, I will give you my I.D. and then I am going to my truck and I am going to pick up my cellular phone and then I am going to record you. He said, OK. So I gave him my I.D. He went outside. And I paid for my items and I picked up my cellular phone and I started recording.

LEMON: How long -- how long were you out there in the parking lot? How long did he question you?

SUDA: Well, I believe it was like 35 to 40 minutes for the whole thing.

LEMON: It was that long?

SUDA: Yeah. Like 40 minutes.

LEMON: So, when he said that, I want to see your I.D. because you're speaking Spanish, I mean, that is -- most people would consider that racial profiling. Does he not understand that?

SUDA: To me, it is. You know, I am not a lawyer, but to me it is. It is a racial profiling.

LEMON: What if you were speaking German or French or some other language?

SUDA: You need to ask them because I don't know what happened. You know, I asked -- at the last when they gave me my paperwork, a supervisor came and he said, is everything OK? I said, no. He asked me for my I.D. because I was speaking in Spanish. That's the reason he gave me.

And he said, oh, OK. I said, no, it's not OK. If a Canadian, because we are in a Canadian border, crossed the border and starts speaking French, are you going to ask him for an I.D. like you asked me? And he said, they don't do that. So try to tell me that Canadians don't speak French when they come to the United States.

LEMON: Ana, here is what the U.S. Customs Border Patrol told CNN. They said that they are reviewing the incident, adding that they have the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence. What do you say to that?

SUDA: I wasn't doing anything criminal. I believe they need to have a reason to stop you. Not just because you speak Spanish, I don't believe that is a reason. I don't believe that's a crime.

LEMON: Your seven-year-old daughter saw the video and said, should you not speak Spanish anymore? How do you explain this to her?

SUDA: Well, I was upstairs and she is watching the video with my husband. I didn't watch it at that time. And she came and say, mommy, it's like, you are in television. I said, I know. She is like, we can't speak Spanish anymore? So I feel -- I feel very sad. I decided that I am going to bring this to somebody else for help, the ACLU, because I told her, you need to be proud. You need to be proud because we speak Spanish and you speak in English. You are very smart, you speak two languages.

LEMON: Right.

SUDA: And you need to be proud to speak Spanish. How can you explain to a 7-year-old this?

LEMON: Yeah. Well, Ana, thank you for coming on. Will you please tell us updated as to what happens?

SUDA: Of course.

LEMON: Thank you so much.

SUDA: I will, thank you so much for covering me.

LEMON: When we come back, I want to talk more about this story that's happening in Washington. Some of the policies being proposed. Is that emboldening this kind of behavior?

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: You just heard from Ana Suda, an American citizen who was detained by a border patrol agent for simply speaking Spanish. I want to discuss her story with CNN Political Commentators Maria Cardona, Tara Setmayer, and Alice Stewart. Hello to all of you.

(CROSSTALK)

Can we see your I.D.?

LEMON: So, he -- the border patrol agency said, I stopped you because you are speaking Spanish. And she asked him, is it because of race? What do you think? Was she racially profiled?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, of course, she was. He actually admitted to her on camera and to her face that he racially profiled her. He said, I am detaining you because you are speaking Spanish and not many people speak Spanish around here. Now, last time I checked, speaking Spanish was not a crime in this country. Because if that's the case, then I would be in jail.

LEMON: Unless you're talking about the attorney in New York City who wanted to --

CARDONA: Right, exactly. Exactly. But here's the larger point, Don. As you know, I'm a naturalized citizen. Spanish is my first language. I speak Spanish at home. I speak only Spanish to my children. We speak Spanish everywhere we go. You guys heard me speak Spanish with them. Alice speaks Spanish to them. Really cute. I think they've even spoken Spanish on your show.

LEMON: Yes, they have. CARDONA: And so to me, that is a privilege. For me to be able to teach them a second language and a language that more and more people are using here in this country, that is what makes this country great. But what is so scary and incredibly appalling about this is that the occupant of the White House, what he has done, what he has said, the policies that they have supported are what is making this kind of thing more allowable.

LEMON: OK. I just want to get everyone's opinion going around. I know you're conflicted about border patrol in this country, right? What do you -- how do you see this?

2TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I'm conflicted about this entire scenario. I see both sides. I worked with border patrol a lot in my capacity when I worked in Capitol Hill. They have a very tough job.

[23:49:59] And a lot of people don't realize that border patrol has jurisdiction within a hundred air miles of any border, air or land. So their authority in jurisdiction to conduct immigration duties extend even in land. This was like 35 miles, I believe, from the Canadian border.

What people also don't realize is that there is some gray area in what constitutes reasonable suspicion for border patrol officers to inquire about someone's status. And defining reasonable suspicion is where everyone gets very upset about this.

LEMON: Why -- hold on. Why would he be suspicious from the Canadian border if someone is speaking Spanish?

SETMAYER: Because --

LEMON: Can he be suspicious if someone from the Canadian border speak in French?

SETMAYER: Well, we don't know whether he would have or not if someone was speaking French. We don't know that. We are just assuming in this circumstance that there was something other than reasonable suspicion.

Now, it says in border patrol regulations, and as recent as April 2013, that you can use nationality as a factor in questioning someone. Not race or ethnicity but nationality or country of origin. That may seem like it is technical to some people but that is what the law says and he is allowed --

LEMON: But their country of origin is the United States. They're United States citizens.

SETMAYER: He didn't know that until he questioned them.

LEMON: But so then that's profiling them.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That doesn't mean that it's not profiling just because it's allowed, Tara.

SETMAYER: It is permitted by the Supreme Court.

LEMON: But it's wrong. It's wrong because someone is speaking a language there. I don't want to hear it. Stop, stop, stop. If someone is speaking -- what if they are speaking German? What if they are speaking French? No. It is wrong. It is profiling.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Is it illegal to speak a different language?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Why is he stopping them from speaking a different language?

SETMAYER: He didn't stop her --

LEMON: He did. That's what he said. He said, I am --

SETMAYER: You're not understanding --

LEMON: I am understanding it. You are not making sense. He is stopping her from speaking because she is speaking Spanish. Please roll the tape. Please roll the tape. Please roll the tape. This is absolutely ridiculous. I can't believe that you're --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): So can you tell us in the video, please, why you ask us for our IDs, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, the reason I asked you for your IDs is because I came in here and saw that you guys were speaking Spanish which is very unheard of up here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just write your name, date of birth --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Because you are racial (ph), right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Racial purple (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has nothing to do with that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): No?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact, it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Spanish in the store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a state where it is predominantly white. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SETMAYER: So Supreme Court cases say that what he did is allowed. U.S. versus (INAUDIBLE) and U.S. versus Martinez --

LEMON: OK, can we let Alice talk, please?

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It is racial profiling. Go on. Can we let Alice talk, please? Go ahead.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: As we heard in the piece leading up to the interview, the border patrol does have the authority to question individuals, and they do have the right to receive information. But he is the classic case of racial profiling. It would be different if he was -- if there had been an all points bulletin on two Hispanic women that robbed a convenience store.

But these were two women who were just minding their own business shopping in a store and he overheard them speaking Spanish. And the fact that he said, I'm questioning you, I want your I.D. because you're speaking Spanish, that is racial profiling.

And look, I think if nothing else -- I'm so glad you did the interview. That's the first I've seen this woman. I think if nothing else from this, the fact she is able to reinforce to her daughter, be proud of who you are, be proud of your heritage and don't be afraid.

LEMON: We'll be right back. We'll be right back.

[23:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Before we leave you tonight, I want to share a great experience that I had today. I was honored to give the commencement address at Clark Atlanta University, a historically black university. Those graduates are amazing.

And I wanted to speak to them about the world we live in and why they matter, especially when we so often see the incidents of blatant outright racism, even coming from the White House.

I wanted each of those graduates to know the power they have and the history that makes them the strong men and women they are. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Are you ready? Are you ready? OK, well, let's go. I came here to tell you that slavery was not a choice.

(CHEERING)

LEMON: No matter who tells you slavery was a choice, no matter what exalted names that they may bestow upon themselves. Jesus, whoever, slavery was not a damn choice. I came in to tell that your blackness is so beautiful that it almost hurts my eyes to look out at you.

(CHEERING)

LEMON: That I almost have to look away because you are so stunningly beautiful, all of you. The skinny to the thick. The short to the tall. The brother with the Afro and the one with the fade, OK? And not a day goes by that I am not underestimated, still at 52 years old, that I am not -- there you go.

All right, black don't crack. That I am not underappreciated, that I am not undervalued, and still I rise and still I rise and still I rise. And you want to know why? You want to know why? Because I had no choice. And you have no choice.

Even with everything I just said, there is no excuse for you and there is no excuse for me either. You built this. We built this. And when I say we built this, I'm talking about our ancestors. I'm not just talking about Clark Atlanta University. I'm not just talking about Atlanta. I'm not just talking about Georgia. I'm talking about America.

[24:00:00] This is America. Don't catch you slipping up. Don't catch you slipping up. Look what I'm whipping up. This is what I'm whipping up. This speech that you need to hear. All right?