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CNN TONIGHT

Lawyer Who Represents Trump In Russia Investigation Makes Surprise Appearance At Briefings On Confidential Source; The Impact Of President's Lies On Our Democracy; Speaker Ryan Address Catholic Group; Trump: NFL Players Who Don't Stand During National Anthem Maybe 'Shouldn't Be In The Country'; CNN Original Series Event. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired May 24, 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 TONIGHT HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, live with all the new developments for you. The Trump administration again today stomping all over the norms that have kept our government running for centuries. The President's lawyer Emmet Flood, the man who represents him in the Russia investigation unexpectedly showing up for the start of two classified Justice Department briefings with lawmakers on a confidant with an intelligence source used in, wait for it, the Russia investigation.

Emmet Flood was not the list of those invited. He has no oversight role, so what was he doing there? Perhaps these comments from Rudy Guiliani could shed some light on it for you. The President's newest attorney telling CNN there will be no interview with President Trump unless the legal team gets more information about the confidential source.

Like I said, stomping all over the norms that have kept the government running for centuries. Let's bring in now Fareed Zakaria, the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS," to talk about all of this. I've got a list in front of me. What a week it's been for the President. Good evening, by the way. Deliberately lied to the American people, pushing a conspiracy theory, demanding an investigation into an investigators of his own campaign, he praises oppression of the descent at the NFL, telling players to get out of the country. And it's only Thursday. What is this doing to our democracy?

FAREED ZAKARIA, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS SHOW HOST: Well, you know, what we're witnessing is actually something very worrying, which is, that the President of the United States has always been a somewhat special position in the American system. The president does not have, you know, there has always been this old Roman saying, who would guard the guardians, who will watch over, who would, you know, put checks and balances on the person with ultimate power? That is something that Madison, Benjamin Franklin worried a great deal about the president.

And part of the solution was provided by George Washington, which is you a man of impeccable character who demonstrated that you restrain yourself. The President has always had these kinds of powers that you can send people in, you can do what you want, the executive branch, you know, ultimately reports to you, you can pardon everyone.

But those powers have never been used. And what we are witnessing now is the President doing things that as you say violate all these norms that have been accumulated, but unfortunately, and it's -- one has to say it, much of this is legal. It's unethical, it's unprecedented. It jars with the way American democracy works. It is a use of power that almost no President has done before.

LEMON: I'm wondering if we're consider some changes or if we can even change after this presidency, because what you're saying the system relies on the integrity of the person who is in office. But what if that person has no integrity.

ZAKARIA: Well, this was exactly the debate that took place during the founding and this is why the impeachment process was put in place. Because the fear was in Franklin has to say (inaudible). Well the Europeans do it the old fashion way, they assassinate, their kings, the big they don't like. We're not going to do that. We are going to try to come up with some other way, but clearly that doesn't address this larger issue of the degradation of norms.

You know, my big fear is forget about what happens for the next few years. Will the next person who becomes President say, look I don't have to release my tax returns, I don't have to resign from my businesses practices, Trump didn't?

LEMON: I don't have to have any political (inaudible).

ZAKARIA: I don't have to tell my lawyers to recuse themselves, you know at various points and exactly the thing you were saying with Flood, Trump did it. If that becomes true, then what we have is not a one-time blip, but we have a slow degradation of the norms and all of a sudden we're not that different from Turkey, 20 years down the road.

LEMON: That is the integrity of the process you said. That is why they came up with impeachment process that relies on the integrity of the congress. And the congress has no integrity. At least some members.

ZAKARIA: And the bizarre thing, I think Mike Hayden has pointed this out, so the President is now using the branch of the government that was meant to check his power, the congress, to actually attack the sections within the executive branch that are standing up to the President. The Justice Department, the FBI. So he is enlisting Republicans in Congress to attack the impartial bureaucrats within the intelligence agencies, the FBI, the Justice Department whether it's Rod Rosenstein or whoever. I mean, I've never seen anything like it.

LEMON: I am -- few things surprise me now. Now when we talk about these, I'm like really, now are you surprised? Since I talked about it two hours every night, so I am barely surprise.

[23:05:00] But the one thing that did surprise me was this investigation into the investigation. And I wonder just how far the congress and the people who are supposed to check and will allow this to go, even his own Justice Department that is supposed to be independent of the executive branch.

ZAKARIA: You know, the sad thing about it, I think, Don, is that we can get into the details of it, but what I think Donald Trump has realized is this works very well. Which is you throw so much noise into the system and so much many accusations and counter accusations that people just lose track. They don't even understand what's being discussed. They just know vaguely that Trump says everyone's attacking him, there's some problem. Therefore, you know, we have to investigate it. This is what he is done.

There's so much scandal that there's scandal fatigue. Somebody once said to me the other day, just the one thing, imagine if President Obama had raided his doctor's office.

LEMON: Yes.

ZAKARIA: That would have been a four-month congressional investigation right there. I mean, think about Benghazi. We've forgotten. I mean who remembers that Donald Trump raided his doctor's office?

LEMON: I always say a president black man did it -- I mean, it's the truth. But the standards are different. There are so many, but the standards are different and I think that, one, the President, this has nothing to do with his policies or not, but this is on a personal level, he is a man of integrity, he is a very classy man, a very classy family. This is completely different from all, I mean if you, just objectively if you look at this family and you look at President, it seems to be a family of drifters who have gotten ahold of the executive offices and they are using it for their own purposes. And have some full people all around the country.

ZAKARIA: Well, that is a whole different problem that we still don't have an adequate way to, again, because it's sort of legal, I suppose, because of the status of the President. The Chinese are making a $500 million investment into the Trump organization in Indonesia. The Qatari's are making investments in the Kushner properties in New York.

LEMON: Unbelievable.

ZAKARIA: And, you know, what do we -- what does one do? You watch and say to yourself let's hope this doesn't (inaudible) --

LEMON: People say -- you know, the thing is as a journalist, people will say, you know, you guys have Trump derangement syndrome, but when these norms are being trampled over, when our institutions are being degregaded (ph) -- degraded, I should say, we just can't sit around and just let it normalize and let it happen. We have to inform the American people about it.

ZAKARIA: If you look at what is different about America from a country like Turkey, where democracy really has gone from being free vibrant to the coming (inaudible) authoritarian country, the difference is in this country you've had real push back from the courts, from certain elements of the bureaucracy. Ike the FBI, and from the press. If not for those three elements the courts, the bureaucracy and the press, America would look like a banana republic.

LEMON: Yes. I want to get your thoughts on North Korea, because, you know, the President called off this summit, right. But I think that Kim had already decided that it wasn't going to happen. But he dictated every word of this letter to Kim Jong-un. All right.

ZAKARIA: The break up letter.

LEMON: the break up letter. OK, so you talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to god they will never have to be used. But then he says I thought a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters. Someday I look very much forward to meeting you. Mixed messages.

ZAKARIA: It's the call me maybe break up letter.

LEMON: No, you hang up.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAKARIA: It is the jilted lover who says, wait a minute, I thought you loved me and we're not going to get back to together. By the way here's my number in case you want to call. Look the whole thing was a disaster from the start. There should never have been a head of state summit between two countries as opposed -- this is why history matters. This is why preparation matters. You need to understand what the history of the North Korean negotiation strategy has been.

You need to understand what they mean by denuclearization. Trump got all caught up in the idea that he was going to win the Nobel Peace Prize that he was going to make this big deal. Look, there may be a deal to be had, but you have to prepare. You have to understand -- you don't let your hopes go ahead of you. He was gushing about Kim Jong-un, about this honorable man with whom he was going to make world peace. And then, you know, elements of his administration, and this often happens started doing exactly the opposite.

They are saying, he is going to be like Gadhafi, we're going to run him out of town. So, you know, how much of it was sure incompetence, how much of it was, you know, they had second thoughts, I think at this point it's a very useful breather. Let's pause. Let's try to figure out whether there are intersecting interests. Let's slowly try to build to them, and let's make the president the head of state summit, the end of the process rather than the start. Unfortunately, it's not going to be the pay-per-view summit that Donald Trump wanted. It's going to be the slow you know, -- but that is the actual work of diplomacy is often kind of boring.

[23:10:05] LEMON: You said it much more eloquently than I did earlier. I said I think they will meet and I think they make it something accomplishment, it will be much more akin to traditionally diplomacy than what was (inaudible).

ZAKARIA: Let's hope. Because you still have two very bizarre individuals at the heart of this. And then they may decide tomorrow, you know, Kim may decide that that break up letter does have the phone number.

LEMON: A North Korean official expressed a willingness to quote, give time an opportunity to the U.S. always with a big and open mind. So you're saying there's still a chance? Call me maybe. I understand you're 10 years old.

ZAKARIA: The show is 10 years old. I'm a little bit older. The show is 10 years old.

LEMON: Fareed Zakaria's GPS celebrates his 10th anniversary this weekend, don't miss it. Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and then 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Thank you for your time.

ZAKARIA: Such a pleasure.

LEMON: Always a pleasure. When we come back even members of the President's own party were shocked when his attorney made a surprise appearance at today's confidential briefing. Did the President order him to go?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The more you representing the president in the Russia investigation showing up unexpectedly at the Justice Department briefing today on a confidential intelligence source used in the Russia investigation. So why was Emmet Flood really there? Here to discuss, CNN Political Commentator, Margaret Hoover and CNN Political Analyst, Mr. John Avlon. Good evening.

JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good evening.

LEMON: So Rudy Giuliani told CNN's Dana Bash that he assumes the President wanted Emmet Flood at these briefings today.

[23:15:04] Is there a reason that he should have been there?

AVLON: Should have been there? I mean beyond the President wanting him to be there. No, this is clearly outside the normal, but then so much of the politics of --

HOOVER: He wants him there, because he wants to see what he can learn about the investigation on behalf of his client. The thing is it's entirely inappropriate for him to be there on behalf of his client. These are top secret, very classified, very sensitive details that are being shared to top legislators. It is inappropriate for the president's lawyer to have any of that information. Of course, he didn't get it. He just went, and being there was a bit of the --

AVLON: Framed the meeting.

HOOVER: Frame the meeting, I mean, what it does, it was all the kabuki theater you need? You know, it was an attempt to throw your weight around, but this is an independent investigation. LEMON: Yes. The Republican Congressman told Jake Tapper about Flood

attending the meeting saying, quote, it is the craziest shit I've ever heard. George Bush said a similar thing, a congressional staffer, I should say. And George Bush said the similar thing after the inauguration speech, remember?

AVLON: That is actually -- almost exactly.

HOOVER: Almost an exact --

LEMON: That was some crazy, you know what. This whole thing came about, because of one of the Nunes wing of GOP, what does this say about the state of the party?

HOOVER: Well, it's a --

AVLON: You're Party.

HOOVER: Yes, it is my party and it's a mess. It is a mess. No, just don't look at the Democratic Party. Keep focusing on Trump. Because, the Democrat senator are all inside (inaudible) going on. That is to deflect, but I mean the party is hugely divided. I mean, and the challenge here is that what we all as citizens want is for Congress to be an independent and separate branch, equal branch of government. And it is.

AVLON: It's a quaint notion.

HOOVER: But, you know, these lines get blurred when you see the executive branch with the optics and the executive branch come in to sort of throw its weight around with an intelligence committee on the house side that is supposed to be having an independent investigation of these Russia investigations. It ends up sort of blurring the lines and --

AVLON: And that is -- Congressional staffer comment to cry for help, right? Because allegedly constitution conservative are saying Conservatives do not care at all about the constitution. Separation of powers is not enough.

LEMON: Well, I mean, it did force the complaining about it, right. It did force Mitch McConnell to make it a bipartisan meeting, right? He did that, but he won't call out the President's baseless claim that there was someone -- that there was an informant that was embedded inside of his campaign. Will Republicans ever call that out?

HOOVER: Well, in a way all -- like all of the relevant people now Democrats and Republicans have seen that information. Which by the way, they have absolute right to be able to see it. It is classified, so we don't know a lot of that is come out of it, but certainly everybody should feel comfortable that Democrats and Republicans like wise have now seen this information. And that -- takes it away from being too politicized.

AVLON: Their acting like invertebrates. And you know, that is the problem that people in the Congress, the Congressional should not be showing backbones at all.

LEMON: Don't you think that there was something damaging in there? And something that backup with the president said.

HOOVER: Don't you think Nancy Pelosi did?

LEMON: But don't you think Nunes would have leaked it by now and said, I told you so we would have been.

AVLON: Quite possibly and the other hand, you know, the kabuki may be enough. This is about creating the appearance of impropriety.

LEMON: Yes.

AVLON: This isn't about reality. This is about perception.

LEMON: So Paul Ryan wouldn't address the President's demand to, you know, that there is a conspiracy theory about, you know, someone was implanted in his of his appointed in his campaign. This is his exchange, Manu Raju.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Isn't it appropriate for the President to float the notion that there may have been spies implanted in his campaign? This could be the biggest political scandal in history without having any evidence to support that notion?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), UNITED STATES HOUSE SPEAKER: Look, we know Russia meddled in our election. We know there are efforts to get to the bottom of that, and we're going to find out how all of that took place. A lot of this is classified. So, I am just going to leave it to that. We are going to have more briefings on justice today.

RAJU: Do you honestly believe that there were spies --

RYAN: I don't know the answer to that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Doesn't that make him complicit? He knows the answer to that question.

HOOVER: No, look, hold on with conspiracy theories there's two ways of dealing with it, right. You can say sunlight is the best disinfectant, you put sunlight on it, but it's classified information. The other thing you do you're adding oxygen to a fire. Right, so, you know, probably the best thing to do is just not give it the time of day.

AVLON: Look the first thing he said has reaffirmed what the Senate Intel Committee affirm, not the House Intel, but the Russians did interfere in the election that is a step in the right direction. He gave a very inspired speech today.

LEMON: At the national prayer breakfast. AVLON: Yes.

LEMON: Let's listen.

AVLON: Yes, sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: There is a deeply serious problem that we see right now within our society. We see moral relativism becoming more and more pervasive in our culture.

[23:20:00] Identity, politics and tribalism have grown on top of this. And on top of that it is made all the more prevalent with 21st century technology, and on top of that there's plenty of money to be made on making all of this worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He is speaking -- lecturing people on the truth and tribalism, but a President who has lied more than 3,000 times according to "The Washington Post." I mean, you don't -- how do your rate that is according to the Washington Post?

HOOVER: Actually, if you read the speech which was a very, very good speech he wasn't talking about Donald Trump. If you can imagine, said we can possibly imagine that this program -- what he was talking about was our civic society and civil society. I mean, that teach us about how catholic institution, right. It was like, these mediating institutions in our culture are the ones that are healing our culture, because we are divided. And it's not we're divided simply because, when you go and ask somebody if a Democrats or a Republican on the streets of Dallas, Texas, that is not what this is about. It is about but sort of unraveling of our culture and that what the speech is about.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: And who's doing the unraveling? Who's attacking institutions? We did not have the president doing this. We did not have a leader of a country doing this as much, and lying to people and gaslighting people and putting up propaganda and investigating investigators.

HOOVER: There's no question that Donald Trump has brought the level of rhetoric of the presidency down to -- it's like a race to the bottom. There is no question about it. That is not what Paul Ryan was talking about.

LEMON: Shouldn't he be talking about.

HOOVER: But he is not in the Catholic prayer breakfast. The Catholic prayer breakfast, he is talking to catholic volunteers and layman across the country about their civil service.

LEMON: They wanted to hear -- they wanted to hear us, Margaret, they would have invited the preacher. They invited a politician. So apparently they wanted to hear those, he should be talking about this.

AVLON: here is the thing. The things he is talking about in that speech are right. They are tribalism, identity politics, money making it worst, all absolutely correct. The problem is that disconnect with that righteous point of view and the fact that the President of the United States of his party is the primary perpetrator of that division right now.

LEMON: OK.

HOOVER: I just hate to break it to all of you, Donald Trump did not -- I mean, Donald Trump won the election based on a series of forces that were 2at bay long before he assumed the presidency. The division and unraveling in civil society and culture had -- Donald Trump represented that. He didn't make it.

LEMON: Yes, he is not helping it.

HOOVER: Probably not.

LEMON: So, John, it's a big day for you at CNN. You were named CNN senior political analyst after several years as editor-in-chief at "The Daily Beast." We're excited to have you here full time.

AVLON: Thank you. I'm glad to be here, man.

HOOVER: Proud of his leadership at the Daily Beast.

(LAUGHTER)

AVLON: Thanks.

LEMON: Thanks everyone. So, when we come back, President Trump telling NFL players who want to exercise their first amendment rights by taking a knee, maybe they should get out of the country. Again, point made here. Is he trying to force them into mandatory patriotism?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:26:55] LEMON: The NFL caving to the President yesterday announcing a new rule which requires players to either stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room. But even that may not be enough for the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not only they should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it's good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Marvin Washington is here, a former NFL player, George Martin, a former NFL player and former president of the NFL players association, and CNN Political Commentator, Scott Jennings. Gentlemen, good evening to all of you.

So, Marvin, if the NFL was trying to make the pressure from the President go away, I mean, that didn't work and at what cost?

MARVIN WASHINGTON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well, I think they made a situation that was dying out worst, because at the end of the last season, always seven guys were kneeling during that last game. But they brought this thing up again and now the players feel like they're being bullied, they feel like they are being shunned. They feel like employees. They miss on opportunities to really have a sensible anthem resolution. If they would have included the players, just like the NBA does. But now they've put down this mandate, and this thing is going to prop up once again, once we start playing football again.

LEMON: George, this is last month, the New York Times release this quotes from -- between the team owners and players. And a friend of the President Trump, the New England Patriot's owner Bob Craft, he was quoted as saying the president -- excuse me -- the problem we have is we have a President who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is the best interest -- in the best interest of America. It's divisive and it's horrible. Why did the owners capitulate to the President?

WASHINGTON: Well, I think a couple of reasons. Number one, I think it is a protection of the shield, it was an economic decision, because I think that they saw that it was going against the sentiments of a lot of the fans that they had. But, Don, I've got to be honest with you. I think once again we've been distracted and the narrative has been changed. This is not about our patriotism.

By the way, our patriotism as I understand, it cannot be relinquished, and it cannot be taken away from them and it's about the rights -- civil rights of those individuals who happen to be African-American who have been violated. And I think we continue to get distracted by these notions that we are unpatriotic. That is not the case at all.

LEMON: The President, Scott, said the players should not only stand but do it proudly and if they didn't do it, they should leave the country. What do you think of that? Did he go too far?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, that is not correct, I mean, if you can -- I personally think people should stand for the national anthem. I know the President does. But to say you should leave the country, if you want to not do that, I thought that was a step too far. I understand why it does it, because frankly, last year, when all this happen, I thought he ultimately came out on the right side of the politics of it, but that doesn't make the sentiment of people leaving the country correct.

LEMON: It's like mandatory patriotism, don't you think?

JENNINGS: Well, it's more than that. It's -- if you're unwilling to participate in a ritual, then we're going to toss you out of the country? I mean, that is beyond mandatory patriotism that is something else. I think there's a way to talk about this and stand up for what you believe in as a patriot without taking it that one step too far. I don't think that is going to help this cause.

LEMON: Yes. Well, this decision, George, appears to have been made by the league and team owners without much of any input from the players. Do you think that was a mistake?

GEORGE MARTIN, FORMER NFL PLAYER: That was absolutely a mistake. We have never adhered to a unilateral doctrine. We've always looked at a bilateral agreement between both player and management, and in this case it did not happen, and as a result I think it is going to be challenged as well it should be by the union. I think that the players are going to look at it and say we should have had a voice around that table.

LEMON: Yes. I know you want to say something about this, Marvin.

WASHINGTON: The whole thing is if owners want everybody to be respectful to flags, then why are they making money off it during the national anthem by still having concessions in the bathrooms and tailgating and these team shops open during the national anthem?

So, if it's about the anthem, shut everything down. But if it's not, then you're infringing on another person's right because corporations have been ruled to be people. And so they are infringing on these player's right. And this thing is not over. We'll be back this time in a few months once football season starts.

LEMON: What's interesting is because he called NFL players, you know --

WASHINGTON: SOBs.

LEMON: It sounds bitchy like get them out of here.

WASHINGTON: Yes.

LEMON: He said nicer things about Kim Jong-un than he said --

WASHINGTON: Well, he said nicer things about Putin and Kim Jong-un than he has about players and immigrants, but that's a whole different talk right there. But what's going to happen in September, in October when we have midterms coming up and he's in a red state and he's freewheeling from the podium and he says something about these players that are standing in the locker room?

What are the players going to do then? And then what are the owners going to do then? Are they going to align themselves with the players? Or are they going align themselves against somebody who's divisive?

LEMON: Divisive and twisting, actually demeaning of what the players are doing.

WASHINGTON: Exactly.

LEMON: This is an emotional issue for a lot of people. Columnist David French called out conservatives in New York Times, Scott. He says, the cure for bad speech is better speech, not censorship. Take that message to the heartland, and conservatives cheer. Until, that is, Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel. Until, that is, the president demanded that the NFL fire the other players who picked up on his protest after he was essentially banished from the league.

Do you see this in Congress or people who support free speech, not to support the player's right to protest?

JENNINGS: Well, I actually think everybody has the right to protest. Protesting is fundamentally American. I think the complicating issue is that they're doing it on the time of their employer. And so that complicates, and of the league, of a private entity.

And so that complicates how their free speech rights are interpreted. I mean if I walked out here on "CNN Tonight" and had an offensive t- shirt on and ripped open my jacket, I mean what would my -- what would our employers say?

LEMON: But they're kneeling in silence.

JENNINGS: But a lot of consumers, the customers are offended by that. And so my point in response to what French says is, is that there is a competing interest here which is a private entity that has customers that are admittedly not happy. I mean, I think the ratings were up 20 percent since last Tuesday (ph).

LEMON: I know. We have to go, but I know you want to say something. Quickly, if you can, Marvin.

WASHINGTON: I don't have much to say, but the whole thing is you're saying private entity. These are corporations. And it's been ruled that corporations are people. So this is one person infringing on another person's right.

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

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A CNN investigation has uncovered a pattern of alleged inappropriate behavior by legendary actor Morgan Freeman both on set and at his production company, Revelations Entertainment.

Joining me now is CNN's Chloe Melas and An Phung. Thank you both for joining us. Chloe, you know, I actually know Morgan Freeman professionally. I've interviewed him here. I know him socially. I admire his work, but I'm surprised at this. What did you find out during the course of your investigation?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT WRITER: Yes. Well, Don, you're not alone. Many people are surprised by what our investigation has uncovered. It was months in the making with An and I and 16 people agreed to share their stories with CNN. Several of them said that Freeman made constant comments about their bodies and clothing choices. Eight said that they were victims of harassment or inappropriate behavior.

And Don, two of those eight said that they were subjected to unwanted touching by Freeman. And, you know, I want to share some of those stories with you. One woman who was a production assistant on the movie "Going in Style," said that while filming it in 2015, Don, that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching of her back and comments about her figure on a near daily basis.

In one incident, Don, she said that Freeman actually attempted to try to lift her skirt and asked her if she was wearing underwear. She claims that this alleged incident actually took place in front of his co-star in the movie, Alan Arkin. We tried to reach Arkin for comment, and he couldn't he reached. Now, Morgan Freeman issued a statement after our investigation was published.

LEMON: What did he say?

MELAS: This is what he had to say. "Anyone who knows me or who has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy. I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected. That was never my intent."

LEMON: And then we learned that this allegedly was not just happening on movies. It was happening at his production company also?

AN PHUNG, CNN MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT DEPUTY EDITOR: That's right, Don. What's alarming about our reporting was that so much of what was alleged was happening out in the open. Movie sets, in front of other actors and crew members. Some of it was even happening while the cameras were rolling.

Three individuals who attended a birthday party thrown for Morgan Freeman at his production company claim that staffers were asked to stand in a circle, and Freeman allegedly walked up to the women, looked them up and down, and stood within an inch of their face before moving on to the next in the circle. A source who was there told us that they were quote, sexual (INAUDIBLE) whole exchange.

[23:39:58] Another source claims that he witnessed Freeman massage the shoulder of an intern who appeared visibly uncomfortable with the touching. Another female employee says he walked up to her on set and asked her, quote, how do you feel about sexual harassment? When she appeared flustered by the question, Freeman then turned to others in the set and said, see guys, this is how you do it. The source told us she was stunned by that interaction.

LEMON: Clearly I understand that these allegations are just from production staff. It's also from entertainment reporters as well?

MELAS: Yes. We talked to wide range of people in all different professions. And one of the women who spoke to me, her name is Tyra Martin, a producer at WGN in Chicago, and she said that over the course of a decade, she interviewed Freeman multiple times and that he always made sexually charged comments to her.

But she described to us that she was always quote, in on the joke, that she perceived it as more as flirtation. But there was one time that she felt it really crossed a line. She said that this time in particular, he asked her not to pull her skirt down as she stood up to leave an interview with him.

Now, that incident was not caught on tape, but there were other exchanges of her where it was caught on tape or he was being very flirtatious. But I just want to back up and explain that this investigation started after Morgan Freeman made comments to me during a junket last year for the movie "Going in Style."

As soon as I walked in the room, he began to make sexually suggestive comments. And as an entertainment reporter for over a decade, it was unlike anything that I've ever experienced. And one of those comments was caught on tape, Don. In it, he says to me, boy, do I wish I was there while looking me up and down.

I was six months pregnant at the time. And his co-stars, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine, are actually seated right next to him during this exchange with me and they actually looked at him. We're going to play that clip and I want you all to take note at Freeman's eyes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CAINE, ACTOR: One time I congratulated a woman on being pregnant, and she wasn't. And so I've never done it again. For 50 years, I've never done it.

MELAS (voice-over): You've learned your lesson.

CAINE: I've learned my lesson.

MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: Boy, do I wish I was there.

MELAS (voice-over): This movie is --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MELAS: Look, it's a short clip caught on tape, but to explain the context, there were sexual comments made to me when I walked into the room and as I was leaving, but those were not caught on tape. Arkin, we couldn't reach him for comment and Michael Caine declined to comment when we reached out.

LEMON: Wow. It's interesting that you're sharing these things. Because if you see it just in the context of that, you might think that he was responding to what the co-star said, I wish I was there --

MELAS: Right.

LEMON: -- when you were making the comments about the woman being pregnant and she was not.

MELAS: Right, exactly. And that's why I have to set this up for everyone because from the moment I walked in the room, he said to me when I shook his hand, I wish I was there more than once, while looking me up and down and also not letting go of my hand. Then he says this comment to me on tape and then he made more comments to me about my body and then calling me ripe as I was leaving. And, you know, it was that exchange that stood out to me just being so brazen. And that's what led us to just call around and do our job and look into it. And what we found is a pattern.

LEMON: He did release a statement and did apologize --

MELAS: Did apologize.

LEMON: -- for making anyone feel uncomfortable. Thank you so much. I appreciate your reporting. Thank you, An. Thank you, Chloe.

2PHUNG: Thank you.

MELAS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Now, I want to turn to some breaking news. A source telling CNN that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender tomorrow morning to New York police on charges of first and third-agree rape. Weinstein is expected to appear in a Manhattan courtroom tomorrow. We'll be right back.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Nineteen sixty-eight was a year full of earthquakes in American politics and society and conflicts abroad. Fifty years have passed since those events changed America forever. And this Sunday, CNN's new two-night original series event "1968" explores the icons and milestones of that pivotal year. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., AMERICAN MINISTER: I feel that we can still have a nonviolent demonstration and that we will have a nonviolent demonstration here in Memphis.

The important thing is that we are not going to be stopped by mace or by injunctions or any other methods that the city plans to use. And I think they are making a grave mistake because this will bring much more support to the movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There had been violence the last time he marched. So King comes back to Memphis to prove that he can lead a peaceful demonstration.

KING: We feel that this is something we have to do. The nation needs it. The movement needs it. Above all, the poor people of our country need a dramatic movement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a dramatic change in the move in Memphis. People are concerned and King gives a speech to galvanize his supporters.

KING: All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is injunction against marching, but King is very, very defiant in that speech. He's saying they're still going to march.

KING: Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Joining me now to talk more about the civil rights movement of 1968 and today, Cleveland Sellers, who was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and former president of the Voorhees College, and his son, Bakari Sellers, a CNN commentator who was a Democratic member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

[23:50:00] Thank you both. Excuse me, thanks for joining us. It's an honor to have you here.

CLEVELAND SELLERS, FORMER MEMBER OF STUDENT NON-VIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF VOORHEES COLLEGE: Thank you for having me.

LEMON: Yes.

SELLERS: Yes.

LEMON: Thank you for, I guess, for bringing --

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Thank you for having me as well.

LEMON: So, Mr. Sellers, you're on the front lines of the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s, but 1968 specifically. I want to talk to you about one event that people should watch. It's very graphic. I want to warn everyone. It's about the Orangeburg massacre. This was a protest about black students in Orangeburg, South Carolina that turned deadly when the police came to break it up. Tell us what happened, Mr. Sellers.

C.SELLERS: The students of South Carolina state had a long history of protests from 1967 about segregation and they had several sit-ins and that kind of activity in 1960 and 1963. And so, in 1968, the students decided because there was a segregated bowling alley in the community that they were going to protest the bowling alley's existence.

And you have to remember the 1968 -- four years after the civil rights act. So, students thought it was a kind of smooch in their face and they went out. They went out the first night. They didn't demonstrate. They went out the second night. And there was a police riot in which several coeds got lacerations of the scalp and beat up.

And I went to see what was going in the campus because I heard a lot of commotion. And I got to walk out into the middle of the students and I saw one of the students that ended up being killed, who I recognized. And I said -- I called his name out. And at that point, it just look like the skies opened up and the darkness turned to light. You could just hear bam, bam, pop, pop, pop, bam, bam.

The police shot for eight seconds. And they were using high-powered bullets, buckshots and all that kind of stuff. The result of that was that three of the students, one a 16-year-old high school student, were killed. Eighty percent of the students who were out there that night were shot in the back. 2 LEMON: Let me ask you. When you see the Black Lives Matter Movement,

you see what happened in Baltimore, you see what happened in Ferguson where they bring in, you know, police in force to stop this, did this take you back? What did you think when you saw that?

C.SELLERS: Absolutely. I remember the kind of experience that I went through when I was a teenager. And that was (INAUDIBLE). And in our minds at that point, we decided that we had to do something about this racial violence, racism, oppression, and all those kinds of things. That was like the mandate for that generation.

And one of the things that we use and we are talking about Bob Moses coming up with that, was that we would invite as many white students as we possibly could. Because we knew that the stories of the violence against African-Americans in Mississippi would not get out. It would get out if the violence were perpetuated toward white students.

LEMON: White students.

C.SELLERS: I was later arrested that night and charged. I was the only person ever arrested and charged.

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned the arrest because bringing it to you now, Bakari, we see people get arrested for -- police being called on in a Starbucks, Airbnb, barbecuing, shopping for wedding, also napping in their dorms. Can you believe, 50 years later, your dad just told us these terrible stories, that this is still happening?

B.SELLERS: I think that one of the things that I always bring to the forefront is the fact that my father is 73. I'm 33. We share many of the same experiences. I think that's the travesty of this entire dialogue that we're having. My product is a product of the MHL (ph) generation. I'm a product of the Mike Brown generation.

My father lived through the 16th Street baptist church. When me and you first became really good friends, we were talking about the slaughter of my good friend in a church in Charleston killed because of the color of the skin. And so we still share the same experience.

One of the most amazing things about the documentary and how timely it is, is the fact that Dr. King and people especially white evangelicals or white southerners like to lift him up now that he is 50 years past his death.

But those same individuals, those owners of the NFL teams, for example, still tell black athletes today that they can't protest and took at the revolutionary that Dr. King was. My father was shot. My father was in prison. He was housed on death row. My sister's middle name is Abedame (ph). She was born when my father was in prison. So, the travesty and the trials and tribulations that my family went through are still being replicated by black families today.

[23:55:04] LEMON: Your dad is a major figure in the civil rights movement. I am wondering how that influenced you because you're very outspoken about it.

B.SELLERS: You think?

LEMON: Quite honestly, your dad could have not been here.

B.SELLERS: That's true.

LEMON: We talked about that.

B.SELLERS: I think about that a lot when he was shot. I mean, if the bullet was six inches in a different direction, there's no Bakari Sellers. That's a fact. I just hope that 50 years from now, my son or daughter is not sharing and living the same life experiences I am today.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. I know I mess with you a lot, but I'm glad you're here.

B.SELLERS: Thank you very much.

LEMON: Don't take too much away from that.

(LAUGHTER)

C.SELLERS: Thank you very much.

LEMON: I appreciate it. It's an honor.

C.SELLERS: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you very much. Be sure to tune in to CNN's two-night original series event, "1968." It is this Sunday and Monday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching.

[24:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)