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White House In Early Talks For Possible Trump-Putin Summit; The On-Again, Off-Again, Summit With Kim Jong-un Is On Again; Trump Proclaims African-American Music Appreciation Month; Does President Trump Have A Double Standard When It Comes To Roseanne and Samantha Bee?; CNN Hero Ricardo Pun-Chong: It's The Little Things. Aired 11- 12mn ET

Aired June 1, 2018 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast live with all the breaking news for you. Sources say the White House working a possible summit between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, one that would focus on Syria. That is according to the Wall Street Journal, more on that in just a moment.

And speaking of summits that on-again, off-again summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, is, oh, it's on again right now, for now, anyway. The President meeting in the Oval Office today with the former North Korean spy chief who delivered a really big letter from Kim, but can President Trump make the really big deal that he wants? We will talk about it.

So let's us bring now, CNN Presidential historian, Timothy Naftali, and CNN contributor, Michael D'Antonio, he is the author of "The Truth about Trump," formally -- what was it?


LEMON: Never enough, and then CNN global affairs analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The road not taken." Good evening, gentlemen. Since I already screwed up your name, I'm going to start with Max.

Let's talk about the breaking news about this summit -- this possible summit between Vladimir Putin and the president, big met. This will be the third meeting, but this will be their first summit. They want to focus on Syria, Ukraine and nuclear arms control. What are your thoughts on this potential meeting?

MAX BOOT, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: My thought is -- my initial thought is that Trump has an awful lot on his plate right now. When you think about it he has got about half a dozen major crises that he is handling right now, most of them self-created, I mean, he got a crisis obviously with Mueller and the Justice Department. He got crisis in Iran, crisis with China, crisis with Europe, trade war with Europe, trade war with Canada and Mexico. He is got this big summit coming up with North Korea. I would just say cool it at this point. Don't put so much on the President's plate. LEMON: Well, that is a point you make, because you wrote about it

today on "The Washington Post." You say, Trump is juggling multiple crisis and he has created almost all of them and then you write at the same time that Trump is dealing with North Korea he is also trying to cope with these self-inflicted woes. So, you point to his legal crisis, the Iran crisis in -- he is going to China, the European crisis, the North America crisis, all self-inflicted wounds. What do you mean by that?

BOOT: Well, he is created these crises. I mean, you know he took over a time of peace and prosperity, but we acted as if we were in the midst of war and recession. He talked about American carnage and that is kind of become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because I don't think he can stand serenity. He wants to create chaos. He wants to create uproar, because all eyes focus on him, the ratings go up, people are riveted. But he basic creating needless crisis. I mean, he's playing trade wars with our allies.

Right now he is talking tougher about Canada and Mexico than he is about North Korea. It doesn't make a lot of sense. And now to add in a summit with Putin and Russia relations on top of that, I don't think Trump or the White House has the bandwidth to handle this many crises simultaneously.

LEMON: Listen, I don't disagree with Max, but I mean, if you read "The truth about Trump, never enough," then you know it's all about him. He maybe -- is creating these self-inflicted crises, because he wants people to talk about him. If he does things traditionally then people -- it won't be discuss.

D'ANTONIO: Well, the truth about Trump is there's never enough and --

LEMON: That is a follow up book.

D'ANTONIO: There's never enough attention, there is never enough stuff to break. I mean this is -- President Obama's motto was don't do stupid stuff. This guy just -- has to do stupid stuff, because it draws attention to him and an inexhaustible need that he has. You know, it's remarkable. He used to keep these binders of clippings behind his desk, and now I fantasize that he is in an ocean of clippings and he is kind of floating on top of them in the Oval Office and he still doesn't have enough.

LEMON: He is talking about the office in Trump tower with all the clippings and the books.

D'ANTONIO: Yes, his books and videotapes lined up. And this is all about him boosting his ego.

LEMON: Yes. You can see it. I mean, his, he doesn't have a good poker face. He really wants this with Kim Jong-un, right? He wants this face-to-face meeting saying, before you can even get to the cameras he is saying the meeting is back on. I'm like get to the cameras first.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: He wants to say he is the first one to do it.

LEMON: It's Nixon and China, right?

NAFTALI: Except Nixon knew what direction China was in. Here's the real problem here. Here is the real problem and Kennedy had this problem in 1961. Kennedy thought he could deal with Khrushchev, and he knew what Khrushchev wanted and he couldn't give it to Khrushchev. It had to do with Berlin.

[23:05:10] Trump knows what Kim Jong-un wants which is to hold onto his nukes until he is convince United States is not going to overthrow his regime. My question is President Trump willing to wait and to build a relationship with North Korea and a very unpleasant regime, this is not a nice regime. Is he willing to do that after all he said about North Korea, after all that his base understands about North Korea? So that is what I'm waiting to see. When has he shown patience?

LEMON: But he seems -- for him, whoa, it seems he is backed off a little bit. I mean, if you looked at his -- today, a lot of people were not happy about it considering who he met with and what they have done, but he seemed to have backed off a bit with pushing -- he really wants, you can tell --

BOOT: I mean he has backed off from his crazy unrealistic expectations that he was setting a month ago and he was saying that North Korea was already agreed to denuclearize, which is flat out false. And now, today he saying, well, we're not going to achieve anything it is just going to be basically a chance to meet and get to know each other. But, you know, even by doing this however he is helping the North Korea regime, I mean today he was providing this propaganda bonanza, standing with this spy chief of North Korea, basically the him or this regime that has turn a thousand people in concentration camps and he is grinning broadly and holding this letter.

I mean, we can just imagine on June 12th, he is going to have a similar photo-op with Kim Jong-un. This is, you know, this is propaganda gift to North Korea. It legitimates North Korea, undermines the sanctions regime and they're not really giving up anything in return. So once again we're saying he is not the world's greatest negotiator like he claims.

LEMON: Well, you said in the beginning, you said, they're never going to denuclearize.

BOOT: Right.

LEMON: And you said, to tread lightly here, I'm just wondering if this sort of art of the deal, backing off, and if that is working or it is not working?

BOOT: I don't see much evidence that it is working.

D'ANTONIO: There is no art of the deal. Look at that picture. He looks like one of the kids on Willy Wonka, he thinks he has the golden ticket there. You know, this is craziness. The idea he is this great negotiator is completely false. It's sort of like he is everybody's victim, he doesn't get enough attention. Nobody appreciates him. Nothing he says is true. So this idea of being a great negotiator, he got clobbered on the plaza hotel, he got clobbered on Trump airways, he got clobbered on the casinos. He doesn't negotiate well.

NAFTALI: At least Trump (inaudible) turn out very well.

LEMON: He says it, but to me, you know, something talking about the art of the deal, he said there's no art of the deal. When he was asked last week about, you know, the deal possibly being back on and he said everybody plays games, doesn't everybody? And I shouted at the television, no, everybody does not play games. Go on.

NAFTALI: Look, the North Koreans said how many times don't talk about Libya, don't mention Libya. And why because Libya is story of denuclearization gone wrong for Gadhafi. They are afraid of regime change after all. So what happens they set June 12, and Bolton and Pence talk about Libya? So, my question is, is there enough restraint in this White House that they won't say stupid things between now and June 12th. And I don't know the answer to that question.

D'ANTONIO: I don't think they have to say anything now, because North Korea has gotten what it wants. They have this face-to-face with the President of the United States, and now Trump is on too, what can I give away to the Russians before this Syria summit?

LEMON: Didn't he said don't want to use the term maximum pressure and then -- that he is the one who said --

BOOT: No, I mean, what he is saying there is that basically sanctions are collapsing and they're already collapsing even without North Korea giving up anything in return. So, once again, to the point what we are just hearing here, he is a horrible negotiator. He is only a great negotiator in his own mind, but his great achievement is to sell this line to people, and make them think that because he repeats, it must be true.

LEMON: You just took the words out of my mouth. He gets people to believe that. So, listen, again he took aim at Samantha Bee -- comedian Samantha Bee for saying something offensive about his daughter Ivanka Trump. David wrote an interesting piece in the Atlantic and he said, the antidote to Trump is decency. Trump points to the -- to the Bee controversy as an example of civility and restraining from ugly talk is the best answer.

Donald Trump and his people will violate the decencies of ordinary life no matter what Bee or any other hate target of opportunity may say or do. But by violating those decencies herself Bee greatly eased the Trump people's task of obfuscating their own such violations. What do you think?

NAFTALI: Here's the problem, is that it's so easy to be provoked by Trump. And the Trump team will use any bad language, bad behavior by anyone on the opposing side or in the center against them and say, you see, that is the way they all act. They're going to take one instance and make it into a thousand.

[23:10:08] BOOT: Of course.

NAFTALI: President Trump will do it a thousand times. So, I think David's point is well-taken. The way to deal with Trump is to show him that American values do not permit the kind of behavior that he is exhibiting in the White House.

LEMON: For me -- here it is for me, we can agree what Samantha Bee said was wrong, was in poor taste, same thing with Rosy O'Donnell, if was wrong -- sorry, Rosy O'Donnell. Roseanne Barr, my sister texted me did Rosy O'Donnell's show get canceled, and now it's in my head. But for me it's -- he has said it is really rich for someone having said so many things about people who actually said the P-word, who reportedly called the reporter the same word that Samantha Bee, called his daughter, how can you -- how do you expect someone to apologize to you when you --

D'ANTONIO: Nobody needs to apologize to him, but I think Trump is right about Samantha Bee. I don't think it would be crazy for Samantha Bee to be sanctioned in some serious way, because this is a descent. Pam, is right. We need to be better then. We need to heed our better angles not descend to where the president wants --

LEMON: He said he wanted her fired, but was the lady in the administration who said the horrible thing about John McCain was she fired?

BOOT: No, of course not and they haven't apologized. I mean, I agree with everything that everybody is saying here. I mean obviously Trump's hypocrisy is endless, it is infinite, because he is trashing our public discourse, he is using horrible language, he is abusing people, he is bullying. But I also agree that you can't just copy him and expect to get away with it.

I mean, we saw for example, you know, during the 2016 campaign when Marco Rubio got desperate and started joking about hand size and all that kind of stuff, and that was lights out for him. There's only one person who can play this low game and that is Donald Trump. And you're not going to win by imitating him. And you're basically playing to this what about-ism. Because, I am excuse to say, well, who cares about the fact that Roseanne Barr is saying these horrible racist things, because, you know, Samantha Bee is insulting Donald Trump. That is the real story. Just, you know, I would say cool it, Samantha Bee, don't play into their hands here.

NAFTALI: One of the strongest argument authoritarians can make is that everybody does it.

D'ANTONIO: And this is bad faith, this is god faith on the White House's part and it has been from the beginning.

LEMON: Two things (inaudible) thank you, Robert Mark, and number two, he said, he did say horrible things about Rosy O'Donnell. He called her names. You have a new grandson?


LEMON: Congratulations, what his name?

D'ANTONIO: Thank you very much. His name is Elliot Michael Haynes. He is 8 pounds and we're all thrilled.

BOOT: Congratulations.

LEMON: Hi, Elliot, hi mom. Congratulations. When we come back cellphone surveillance devices found near the White House. Who is spying and what did they learn? I'm going to ask a member of the House Intel Committee Congressman, Eric Swalwell.


LEMON: So here is the breaking news right now, a possible summit between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. Let's talk about it with Congressman, Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Good evening, sir. Good to see you.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D), CALIFORNIA: You too, Don. Nice to be back.

LEMON: Let's talk about this Wall Street Journal reporting tonight that the White House has early talks for a potential Trump-Putin summit that is going to focus on Syria, Ukraine, and nuclear arms control. What do you think?

SWALWELL: We have to get something out of it, Don. We shouldn't take meetings like this just because the President thinks it would be great for us to be friends with Russia. Of course it would be great for us to be friends with everyone in the world. But with an enemy like Russia or at least an adversary like Russia, we should have an objective going into the meeting. And I think being friends with Russia only helps us if we can confront them on what they did in our last elections. If we were able to confront them about what they continue to do in Syria by supporting Bashar Assad and the human rights conduct that is, you know, leading to the loss of life of innocent people and leading them to confront what they're doing in Ukraine. And so, I hope we get something out of this other than Donald Trump just, you know, being friends with another authoritarian figure in the world.

LEMON: He has previously said that you can only ask Putin so many times about meddling -- you know, in the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He believes the Putin denials of Russian interference there. So do you think -- what do you think the topic will be in the meeting? I mean, do you think they're going to talk about that in the meeting?

SWALWELL: Well, I don't think you need to ask Putin. I think you need to tell Putin that we know that you did it and we're going not going tolerate you doing it again. There is going to be a price to pay, we have more friends that you do on the world stage and we're not going to allow this to happen in elections.

So, I would not ask Putin anything, you don't care what he thinks. We have the evidence of our intelligence community patriots who can attribute this to Putin. So, of course there are other important topics to address. We want Russia's help in addressing the North Korea situation, and we want them to be productive rather than to undermine what we're trying to do over there. So, yes, of course there's other things we want. But again, Don, we have to get something out of this. Otherwise this is just, you know, more show and sizzle from the President.

LEMON: I want to talk about this new Homeland Security story tonight. Cellphone surveillance devices were detected near the White House and other sensitive locations in the area last year, Homeland Security doesn't know who is behind the surveillance Congressman. CNN and others have reported that President Trump uses his personal cellphone, not a government issued one to talk to his friends and outside advisers. Tis is potential problem.

SWALWELL: Big problem, Don. But, you know, it doesn't surprise me. The President has actually already invited, you know, Russian spies into his office. He had that Oval Office meeting where he gave national security information to the Russians when he kicked out a U.S. personnel and only allowed a Russian photographer, along with the Russian ambassador and Foreign Minister Lavrov to stay. But this is serious issues. Russia is not only our adversary. There are other countries with similar collection capabilities who would love to have an open operating environment where they could collect information, signals and intelligence around the White House.

[23:50:02] And I think the President has invited this type of attack, because he has done nothing to counter the last attack that occurs. And my Republican colleagues in congress, by doing nothing there is a cost. And the cost is that you're going to see an escalation by other adversaries who see this open operating environment. We should be able to unite and say we're not going to tolerate this from the Russians or anyone else.

LEMON: Yes. I want to talk to you about Rudy Giuliani. Here's what Dana Bash is reporting about Rudy Giuliani strategy as Trump's lead attorney for the Mueller investigation. Dana, finds that Giuliani is doing exactly what he was brought onto do, and that is to chip away at Mueller's credibility. Is it working?

SWALWELL: You know, I believe he has undermined this investigation. And, you know, Don, I was a prosecutor. Don't attack the defense attorney. He is got a job to do. I'm more upset with the client and his conduct, and the President has put his own political fortunes ahead of the rule of law and constitutional norms in this country.

And knowing that he is not going to stand up for it, I really put this, you know, squarely at the feet of the Republican leadership. Trey Gowdy said earlier this week that there's no evidence to support the President's claims about the FBI investigations being bogus or they put a spy in his ranks. So why can't we hear that from Paul Ryan, why can't we hear that from Kevin McCarthy, why can't we hear that from Devin Nunes. We are not helpless in this, Don, and it is time that we start standing up for our country.

LEMON: All right. Thank you Congressman. I appreciate it.


LEMON: When we come back President Trump declaring June, African- American music appreciation month. But for a President who has done everything from calling out what he calls Jay-z's filthy language, to talking about the so-called good people on both sides, the deadly white supremacy violence in Charlottesville, does this particular proclamation ring a little hollow?


LEMON: President Trump following a long-standing Washington tradition and marking the start of African-American music appreciation month, which is interesting coming at the end of this particular week.

So I want to bring in now Kierna Mayo, the former editor-in-chief of Ebony Magazine, Tre Johnson, a writer with Rolling Stone and Ayshia Connors, Asia is a Director of communications and external affairs for the Arizona Republican Party. Hello to all of you.

Kierna, you first. In a statement declaring June, African-American music appreciation month, the President wrote this, he said, our nation is indebted to all the African-American artists whose music fills our airways, and our homes, lifts our spirits and compels us to think, dance and sing, these musicians and their legacies ignite our imaginations and prove to us that the sky is the limit.

So I want to be the first to tell you happy African-American.


LEMON: -- wish you happy African-American music month.

MAYO: Thank you, I've been waiting.

LEMON: I know, right? What do you think?

MAYO: You know, the empty platitude -- first of all those writers, right? Hello, who wrote that for the man? Just the empty platitude. I remember before being on and a conservative black person said to me don't speak for all of black America. And I said to myself, you know what, I'm going to go out on a limb. We are over the contradiction, and the way that he plays to us is insulting. So is this supposed to get brownie points? He can take them back. I read the proclamation. He references Etta James, who would have probably cursed the man out, Etta James, herself. She was someone who embodied a kind of bravery that to me when he goes against Jay-z like he did, and I know we don't want to talk about that, it smack of him not understanding the very black music that he speaks of, he does not know the origins of this music and he does not know the spirit that it comes from.

LEMON: This tradition, Tre that started back in 1979 by then President Carter. So the President, he didn't create this. But it is coming on a Friday of the week where he refused to condemn Roseanne's racist tweets and criticized one of the most successful contemporary black musicians, Jay-z. Can I just mentioned that, it's an interesting way to end the week?

TRE JOHNSON, WRITER, ROLLING STONE: It is. You know, and I think for me, it is like, look, I'm not looking for Trump to give like a bluffing to what the contributions and the voice and vitality of black music has been over generations. I think it's right that fundamentally that we're taking the time to acknowledge the work that so many artists have contributed to the country and to the music.

I think like much what Kierna said, is that, I think my biggest problem is that -- like a gossip over so much of how much of that music has contributed to talking about the inequality and pain that has been at the core of the black American experience. And, you know, I kind of did a bit of an eye roll when I read the proclamation, too, because ultimately, it kind a glosses over, mix a very pretty picture of like, what actually has been the content and substance of a lot of our contribution in music.

LEMON: Ayshia, here is what the president said in Nashville this week about Jay-z performing in Clinton rallies.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only way she filled up the arena was to get Jay-z. And his language was so filthy that it made me like the most clean cut human being on earth. He'd stand up there before those crowds, and by the way, without any musical instruments. I had much bigger crowds than he was drawing.


LEMON: So do you think Jay-z gets any appreciation from the President for this month?

AYSHIA CONNORS, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN ENGAGEMENT, RNC: Just because he made a comment about Jay-z, I don't think we should deflect that the President is honoring and following our tradition to recognize the month of June as African-American appreciation for music. I mean it's damned if you do, damned if you don't, Don. If the President didn't do this proclamation, if he didn't do it for National Caribbean American Heritage month, he'd be criticized for that as well. So I think we should be -- I'm honored and I am grateful that the president is continuing the tradition and carrying this on.

LEMON: I don't --

[23:30:20] MAYO: He could not --

LEMON: I don't disagree though, Kierna, that he stand if he -- I mean, because if he didn't --

MAYO: OK. Maybe that's --

CONNORS: Right. MAYO: -- a point well made. I don't -- I think it doesn't matter. In the schemes of things, he called black men sons of bitches who are from mothers, black women like myself. So, I rather the president not do that than make proclamations about black music which, you know, African-Americans en masse.

If we don't understand anything about our contributions to this country, we certainly understand our cultural contributions. We certainly know the gift that we have given this nation by way of music.

LEMON: Jazz.

MAYO: Yes, and so while it's a nice idea coming from the source, I reject it. And I work on policy that improves black lives. Let's just keep it right there.

LEMON: What's interesting, too, when he talks about Jay-Z or whoever, what is the number one music? Isn't hip hop the number one selling --

MAYO: The number one music among --


MAYO: -- has been for decades.

LEMON: Yeah.

MAYO: You know. And he rallies -- first of all, it's just an unfair attack. It was an assault on Jay-Z for no reason whatsoever. It was --

LEMON: To build himself up.

MAYO: To build himself up. It's always that.

LEMON: I want you to check out these photos. President Trump seems chummy with Ja Rule, with Lil Jon, with Snoop Dog. There he is with P. Diddy. He loved rappers. And rappers honestly used to love him back in the day. Used to be -- used to be a name in hip hop community. How has that changed?

JOHNSON: I think it has changed for a lot of reasons. I think it has changed for rhetoric that he has put out there about black people and about black life, you know.

LEMON: But there you see him embracing rappers. You see him -- I'm just talking about the contradiction there with Jay-Z.


LEMON: Go on. Go on.

JOHNSON: No. I mean, look, you know, I feel like I've heard a couple of artists talk about how they feel like Trump just kind of got new on them over time and, you know, I think Trump much like a lot of white Americans at different times have looked to seek ways of vetting their own credibility by being black adjacent and then the proximity of black people because there is a certain cachet around the black American public figure and experience in this country.

And I think his ability to kind of like leech (ph) off of that was advantageous at that time and like now it no longer serves him because this is not -- the hip hop community is not the base that he's looking to speak to nowadays.

And I think that's what you hear in some of his commentary about Jay- Z. He's looked past and looked beyond and discarded much of the hip hop community. Sure, for a lot of those artists, it hurts but we'll keep on.

LEMON: Ayshia, I want to ask you quick -- a quick question because, you know, Kanye got huge backlash after he praised the president, right -- there he is wearing -- with the hat and everything. Why should other black musicians support this president?

CONNORS: Well, first we can start talking about unemployment and the numbers that came out today. Obviously the president's pro-growth, pro-jobs is working for the economy. So if black rappers are out there and they have a major platform to push for the black community, then we should be celebrating that.

MAYO: Such a low bar. This is -- yeah.

LEMON: Thank you all. Have a great week.

CONNORS: It's a low bar to celebrate black unemployment?

MAYO: But he's not celebrating black unemployment. We're still at the bottom of the totem pole. Why do we take the crumbs and celebrate it? It's OK. It's really OK.

LEMON: OK. All right. Happy African-American --

CONNORS: So we don't want to move the needle.

LEMON: -- music. Thank you all.


LEMON: Thank you. I got to go. We'll be right back.


LEMON: It has been a bad week for celebrities whose own words have betrayed them. The latest, MSNBC'S Joy Reid who offered an unconditional apology today, saying she is a better person now than when she wrote multiple incendiary blog posts more than a decade ago. That comes in the wake of Roseanne Barr's racist tweet and Samantha Bee's crude comment about Ivanka Trump.

I want to bring in now CNN senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter, and CNN political commentators Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson. Hello, gents. Good evening. What a week it has been. So Brian, MSNBC's Joy Reid is really facing some criticism tonight. Tell us what happened.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and she is now saying she is apologizing for these blog posts that have been uncovered from more than a decade ago. Here is part of what she said in a statement under pressure after days of coverage.

She said, while I published my blog in 2005, I wrote thousands of posts in real time on the issues of the day. There are things I deeply regret and am embarrassed by, things I would have said differently and issues where my position has changed. Today I'm sincerely apologizing again.

Some of these blog posts were homophobic and anti-gay, other posts were strange in other ways. She promoted a 9/11 conspiracy theory film that is an especially troubling example. She criticized various news anchors. She went after various people including John McCain.

Look, there is going to be even more embarrassing posts from her blog that I think are probably going to be published in the future. She is trying to put a stop to this. But the reason why it matters, Don, is because back in April, she said she was a hacked.

She said there was a breach of her blog. People put bad posts there to make her look bad. They were fabricated. Now she's not saying she was hacked anymore. It does seem she was misleading people by saying --

LEMON: We will talk a little bit more about that. But on this particular one, it seems like a very similar apology as last time. So, is her apology satisfactory, Marc?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For me, it is. I think if these things have been uncovered on a secret blog that she wrote last week or last month, I would have a different response. The reason why I feel comfortable is, one, I know Joy Reid, I know where her ideology is, where her heart is.

But on a broader level, these are things written 10 years ago. They hired her after she wrote these things. And so I would have a different response, again, if this happened during her employment at NBC.

[23:40:01] Similarly, if I look to Roseanne's records and I saw that she had written that Valerie Jarrett thing 10 years ago, I wouldn't be saying take her ABC show.

But I think the fact that it happened a long time ago and people do grow and people do change and we have to have space for that, it does create a different conversation.

LEMON: Ben, MSNBC also released a statement and here is what they say. Some of the things written by Joy on her old blog were obviously hateful and hurtful. They are not reflective of the colleague and friend we have known at MSNBC for the past seven years. Joy has apologized publicly and privately and said she has grown and evolved in many years since, and we know this to be true. So even Sean Hannity came out today saying that, you know, that she's taken responsibility for it and her apology should be accepted. Do you think that -- do you agree with that?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't agree that she's taken responsibility for it. I mean, she's lied about it, busted in the lie and then apologized about the lie. But then said -- remember, this is the same woman that said that the FBI was involved in some sort of hacking investigation. Now, she's not even saying there was any type of investigation, that she wasn't even hacked.

I mean, this is an issue of if you did say something that you disagree with now and people do evolve and people change, then own it and be upfront about it and apologize for it. But don't blame a hacker for this and then claim the FBI is involved. Don't say you hired a private investigative group to investigate who framed you for this.

The difference here between being honest and being a pathological liar on something like this is, what she's clearly done is she is pathologically lying and trying to just survive the moment here, when she has said that people in Israel shouldn't exist, when she has attacked, you know, even Anderson Cooper because of his sexuality.

She said that 9/11 was an inside job. I mean, these are so far outside of mainstream. This isn't just apologizing for insane comments. You're now lying about it and then acting like oh, well, today, I will apologize so it all goes away. You said the FBI was involved. Now, you're saying there is no investigation --

LEMON: Marc, you're disagree with that. Why so?

LAMONT HILL: One, I find it a little bit jarring. Instead of calling her insane or pathological, I think we can have critiques of her and her position. There are many people on the right who have similar positions which I disagree with, and we don't label them pathological or insane. I think we should be careful about the kind of language we use.

FERGUSON: I'm saying she's lying about what she posted. That's my point. I'm not saying --

LAMONT HILL: Right and I'm saying --

LEMON: You did call her pathological. You said she was a pathological liar. You just said that.

FERGUSON: Right. That's right. That's my whole point.

LAMONT HILL: I'm disagreeing with your use of pathological, Ben.

LEMON: OK. Marc, go ahead.

LAMONT HILL: Right. I'm disagreeing with your use of pathological. Anyway, but beyond that, again, I think in this case she has taken a responsibility for it. I mean, clearly there's some questions to be asked about the hacker and about the investigative team that she hired. She did hire a team and she does maintain that she doesn't believe that all those words are hers from the past.

But these particular articles, these particularly claims, she does say that she made and she's saying that she's embarrassed by them, that she's ashamed and she's apologized for it. I don't see anything she could do to take responsibility other than saying I wrote it, I did it, I'm sorry, I was wrong, it was bad.

LEMON: So neither she nor MSNBC addressed the hacking claims. Listen, Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay for exaggerating his role in a helicopter episode. I am just wondering if this failure to more substantially address this potential lie, does that hurt the network's credibility?

STELTER: I think it's up to viewers. In my mind, this is a problem for Reid in particular. But it also looks bad for the network because the network was supporting her throughout this whole thing when she was talking about being hacked, when she was saying her blog had been breached.

Then she had to backtrack and say she doesn't have proof of that. But this is continuing to haunt her because more of these posts have come out. And look, some of the people --

LEMON: And also we should say potential lie, because we don't know. They haven't addressed it, right? There was no evidence to show either way.

STELTER: You know, she said that someone from the FBI had been notified and investigating. The FBI won't confirm or deny that. But all the indications are she wrote this stuff more than a decade ago and now she regrets it. Some of the people using these posts against her, they've used it to weaponize it in order to attack her, that's true.

But she should own her words. To some degree today, she did in her statement, she owned her words. But you've to go back to why she said she was hacked. That is a credibility problem.

LEMON: OK. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The president took to Twitter today, demanding TBS fire Samantha Bee for her crude comments about Ivanka Trump, but does the president have -- does he have a double standard, because they've been claiming a double standard?

Back with me now, Brian Stelter, Marc Lamont Hill, and Ben Ferguson. So, Ben, you know, Roseanne Barr, Samantha Bee, let's talk about it. He has been silent about Roseanne, but then he said Samantha Bee should be fired. He said he congratulated Roseanne on her ratings earlier. Why the selective outrage here? One should be fired, one shouldn't?

FERGUSON: I think you have to be consistent. I have no problem with him saying about Samantha Bee. I think he should have especially when she came after his daughter that way, it's more personal. Look, if he wants to talk about Roseanne, then talk about it. If he wants to answer that question, answer it.

I think it's fine if you're going to praise her, then you have to be able to critique her at the same time when she says something that's clearly racist and should be condemned. I do think the Samantha Bee part is natural. If you're a dad and somebody comes after your child and refers to them as a C word, it would be insane to think or imply that the president is not going to respond to that.

The fact that she still has a job and that she is able to -- I guess you could argue survived this, you know, this was something that was well thought out and scripted in a teleprompter, a show got behind it. The president should respond to that and should protect his own kids. The same thing Obama did when people came after his daughters.

LEMON: So, Marc, how did all of this outrage over Roseanne Barr and Samantha -- I was sitting in the makeup room watching the conversations on Anderson before the show. Why -- how did this become so blatantly political? Because what Roseanne did was wrong and what Samantha Bee did was wrong.

Why are we arguing about who is more wrong than the other even though I don't that they are equal? I think one is worse, comparing someone to a monkey.

[23:49:59] I think that is deeper than, you know, with racism but go on.

LAMONT HILL: Well, I think there are a few factors with that also. I think one, a woman using a C word is different than a guy using a C word. I don't think anyone should use it.

LEMON: Right.

LAMONT HILL: But I do think that there are some other dynamics here that makes it not exactly parallel. That said, I think there is a thirst among Republicans or conservatives or the right more broadly to say that liberals get, you know, whatever they want and conservatives get beat down when they say inappropriate things.

And so they're saying Roseanne is on the right and she didn't get fired. Samantha Bee isn't and so she -- So that becomes a very kind of to me simplistic analysis of it which doesn't speak to all the different parts of this.

For example, Roseanne has a long history of this. Roseanne -- they took a chance on Roseanne. And I think at this point, they are saying, look, this was such an unpopular statement. She has the right to say it. But we don't want to stay next to this. Advertisers don't want to stay next to this. Many of our viewers don't want to stay next to this. We don't want this to be a representation of our brand.

I think that is a perfectly reasonable thing for a network to say. I hate what Samantha Bee said. I hope no one says that. Again, I am not excusing her behavior at all. I think the network made a different decision partly because we are in different -- oftentimes to women, it is wrong, but that's often what happens, misogyny prevails.

And also I think she is not a repeat offender with conspiracy theories throughout her Twitter feed. And so I think they can say, hey, this is a bad move and we'll give you another shot.

LEMON: So, TMZ, Brian, reported today that ABC is in talks, possibly doing a version of the "Roseanne Show" without the namesake. Do you think that will work?

STELTER: Oh, yeah.

LEMON: But, I mean, if it is sort of Roseanne, isn't it her concept?

STELTER: It will be the Connors. Two sources have confirmed to me these talks are happening. But they are early. They would have to buy out Roseanne's take in the show if they want to relaunch it without her. I think it is a very real idea.

Gosh, it feels like she was fired a week ago but it was only a few days ago. I just glad this week is over, Don. Roseanne screwed up and Sam Bee screwed up.


STELTER: The president screwed up by saying Sam Bee should be fired. The president should stay out of First Amendment. And frankly, Bee messed up. We should be able to debate the president's immigration policies without resulting to curse words and profanity. Can't we talk more about separating children from parents at the border without Sam Bee taking this in this direction? I hope we can restart next week without so much vulgarity.

LEMON: I just want to know though -- I think people got the wrong idea. I am just wondering where the line is and when everything someone says, are we going to demand that they be fired? People screw up and they say terrible things. They make mistakes. So what is --

STELTER: People should never be judged based on their worst moments. People should never be judged based on their worst action. But with Roseanne, there was a record, there was a track record. I think we should be soft on the people and hard on the ideas. We should be hard on the ideas whether it is a racist idea or immigration idea, whatever it is.

LEMON: Go ahead, Ben.

FERGUSON: Here is the thing. It is consistency though. The point that I think many conservatives like myself are frustrated with. If Samantha Bee was a conservative and would have said that about Chelsea Clinton, they would have been fired for it.

Keith Olbermann is a perfect example of hypocrisy that is at ABC, Disney, and that group. A guy who was throwing the F word and attacked the president and his daughter and their kids and referred them as Nazi and everything else and gets hired by them. With all of this out there, talking about how he wished people like S.E. Cupp would have been, for example, aborted. He has a long history of throwing things out there like this. He gets hired by the same company that fires Roseanne. If you want to fire Roseanne, fine --

LEMON: That's the point -- that's the same point, Ben.

FERGUSON: But the point is there is hypocrisy there.

LEMON: That's the same point I made about Roseanne. Why did she keep getting all these chances? Marc will tell you, I mean, I think that only happens with certain people. That doesn't usually happen for -- especially for people of color.

By the way, you guys keep bringing up Keith Olbermann. Yes, he says awful things. Where is Keith Olbermann? I have not seen him.

FERGUSON: He's back on --he is going to be back on sports center though. He just got a premium job.

LEMON: Yeah.

STELTER: Whether he says it on ESPN now, whether he says it on Twitter now --

LEMON: Yeah.

STELTER: I am betting he's going to be a lot more careful.

LEMON: Go ahead, Marc. Marc, I will give you the final word. I am running out of time, sorry.

LAMONT HILL: I was going to say I think Keith Olbermann will probably have a short lease the way Roseanne had a short lease because they both have long histories of saying inappropriate things. Finally, for me, a lot of it isn't about Democrat or Republican, left or right, it is about what the issue is.

We tend to response to race issues a little more quickly now. But much of what Keith Olbermann said was misogynistic. We seem to turn a blind eye today. And Martin Bashir said something wildly inappropriate about Sarah Palin, and he was fired. He was on the l left. So I don't think it is as simple -- I think it is not a simple puzzle. And I think we have to be a little more nuance when we think and talk about --

LEMON: Katy Griffin lost her job and, you know --


LEMON: -- and is dealing with ramifications of what happened to her. So --

STELTER: Maybe next week, we can all raise the bar.

LEMON: I think we should -- I think it is -- it should be the issue. It shouldn't be so partisan. LAMONT HILL: Let's do better.

LEMON: Easy just to fall back on the whole partisan left versus right thing or both sides. Thank you all. Have a good weekend. We'll be right back.



LEMON: During his medical training in Lima, Peru, this week's CNN hero noticed many families sleeping on hospital floors to access the medical care that their sick children so desperately needed.

They have traveled from remote areas of the country to the big city, knowing no one and having nowhere to stay. So he opened his heart and a home for them. Meet Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong.


RICARDO PUN-CHONG, CNN HERO: The journey is very difficult. They come here and it is very expensive to stay here. They don't have enough money to continue their trip.

[24:00:00] Sometimes families, they have to sell everything they have. They feel helpless. So, I decided to do something for them. I want them to know that they are not alone.