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Stormy Daniels Files New Lawsuit Against Michael Cohen And Her Former Attorney; Guiliani Attacks Stormy Daniels' Appearances, Career, Credibility; Arizona Officers On Leave After Punching Unarmed Man; Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins Holds Up Signs; Trump Versus NFL; Trump Invokes War Of 1812 In Testy Call With Trudeau Over Tariffs; Justice Department To Show Lawmakers Classified Materials On FBI Source; Melania Trump's First Public Appearance In Weeks. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired June 6, 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] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
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 new developments in the Stormy Daniels saga.
The porn star filing a new lawsuit against Michael Cohen and her ex- attorney charging they colluded to manipulate her and benefit Donald Trump. The lawsuit quoting from alleged text between Cohen and Stormy Daniels's former attorney and Keith Davidson. That as President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, takes a cheap shot at Daniels. Claiming she has no credibility because she is a porn star. Her attorney, Michael Avenatti is firing back, and he joins me now.
Michael, good evening. Thank you for joining us here on CNN this evening. You say that Stormy's former lawyer, Keith Davidson, colluded with Michael Cohen, there is the quote, to manipulate Stormy by getting her to appear on Sean Hannity and falsely denying the affair with Donald Trump. And this is 2text messages between them and you that you say are proof here.
This is what Cohen says. He says, I have her attentively scheduled for Hannity tonight. Call me after your trial. And Davidson says, she cannot. Don't today. She is flying -- she cannot do it today, she is flying to L.A. tomorrow. I'm trying to get her to commit for tomorrow. And Cohen says it's really important. Why? Davidson says, still trying. Cohen, this is no good, we need her by doing tomorrow, just create another news cycle instead of putting an end to this one. Some of it is not grammatically correct here. So there is stuff to reason, and then Cohen says Keith, the wise men all believe the story is dying, and don't think it's smart for her to do any interviews. Let her do her thing, but no interviews with all, with anyone. Davidson says 100 percent, and then he says thanks, pal. That is what Cohen says.
So, this is the same time -- same day that In Touch magazine published the excerpts from the 2011 interview where Stormy Daniels gave details about the affair. How does this prove that they were colluding with each other against your client? MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIEL'S ATTORNEY: Well, Don, I think the
text messages attached to the complaint make it clear that these two guys were in bed with one another, no pun intended. I mean, you know, Mr. Davidson was supposed to be adverse to Mr. Cohen, he was supposed to be representing my client. They had no reason to be communicating whatsoever at this point. The agreement was supposedly completed prior, although as you know, it's our claim that it wasn't. That it wasn't a valid agreement.
But Mr. Davidson had no business communicating with Mr. Cohen in this regard, and he certainly didn't have any business communicating with Mr. Cohen in late February or early March when we allege he tipped off Mr. Cohen about my new involvement representing Ms. Daniels and about the fact that we were getting ready to file a lawsuit.
LEMON: But clearly Cohen is trying to pressure Daniels to get -- Stormy Daniels to get her to deny the affair, but Stormy had already signed a nondisclosure agreement. So, why wouldn't Cohen push for that? I mean, what's -- why is there wrongdoing?
AVENATTI: Well, it is clear -- No, Don, there's clear wrongdoing. First of all, Michael Cohen has previously claimed that he thought that my client at all times was a liar and he just paid her $130,000 to go away. How do you square that explanation with him then attempting to get her to go on the Sean Hannity show on the 17th of January? And if you look at the text messages, it's clear that Michael Cohen is begging to put her on Sean Hannity. There are text messages after text messages back and forth between Mr. Davidson and Mr. Cohen.
And then, of course, the last message is, the one that you referenced where Mr. Cohen says that the wise men have concluded that it's better if she doesn't go on the show. So how can Michael Cohen and the President now claim that at all times they thought she was a liar. That they didn't have anything to do with her. Michael Cohen paid her $130,000 just to go away and the President knew nothing about it. You cannot square these text messages with the t lies that have been told to the American people including the lies on Air Force One.
LEMON: Just -- hold the wise man thought for a moment. But, -- I just want to ask you, I had Dan Abraham on, who is a legal expert on early. He said, listen, this is not unusual, lawyers communicate with each other all the time. You may not like it, but there's nothing illegal nor nefarious about that. What do you say to that?
AVENATTI: Well, Dan unfortunately doesn't know what he is talking about. This is not appropriate for lawyers to be communicating in this way. After an agreement was put in place, allegedly, there was no reason for them to be communicating about this, about putting her on the Sean Hannity show. And what is Abraham explanation to why Mr. Davidson is communicating with Michael Cohen in late February and early March? What is his explanation for that? There was no reason for them to be communicating at all.
LEMON: So, let me ask you about, you'll have to ask him that, and I'll ask him if I see him, but the wise man comment there. [23:05:00] Are you saying -- didn't you say you believe one of the
wise men is the President?
AVENATTI: Yes, we have evidence that suggests that one of the wise men referenced in that text message was, in fact, Mr. Trump. And I think it makes common sense, Don. Michael Cohen is not deciding unilaterally to put Stormy Daniels on Sean Hannity. Stormy Daniels who allegedly had a relationship with the President, do you honestly think -- does anyone really think that Michael Cohen who can barely add two plus two to equal four is making that decision on his own, to put Stormy Daniels on Sean Hannity? Nobody believes that. Just like nobody believes that Michael Cohen is unilaterally deciding that he is going to meet with the first lady of the United States and talk about Stormy Daniels.
LEMON: You say that you have evidence of one of the wise men is the president. What's your evidence?
AVENATTI: Well, I'm not ready to disclose that, but if I'm wrong about it let Michael Cohen or Mr. Davidson or someone else come forward tonight and tell me that I'm wrong. They're not going to do that, just like we have yet to hear the denial from Michael Cohen and his lawyers that there are audio recordings between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, which is what I stated a week or two weeks ago. They have yet to deny that, because that is true as well. You know, Don, I like my batting average thus far over the last three or four months. I think I've been hitting pretty good from the plate.
LEMON: Let us talk about your client's credibility, because the President's attorney Rudy Giuliani spoke about that, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GUILIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, very, very credible source. Stormy the porn star -- you know every porn person can't be a star. But I would say that is about the same credibility as her lawyer who basically got thrown out of the case. I don't trust -- I don't believe Stormy Daniels. I don't believe her. Sue me, Stormy. I don't believe you. When you look at Stormy Daniels, I know Donald Trump --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's just stick to --
GUILIANI: Look at his three wives. Beautiful women, classy women, women of great substance. Stormy Daniels? So Stormy, you want to bring a case let me cross examine you. Because the business you were in entitles you to no degree of giving your credibility in any weight. And secondly, explain to me how she could be damage. She has no reputation. If you're going to sell your body for money you just don't have a reputation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What's your response to that, Michael?
AVENATTI: Well, first of all my client was never a prostitute, which is what Mr. Giuliani is suggesting. But even if she was, Don, these comments are piggish and they are disgusting and he should be embarrassed for himself. What he is suggesting is that if a woman participates in pornography that somehow they're not entitled to respect and somehow they're not entitled to be believe in something they state. That somehow they've lost credibility.
And, you know, Don, I don't know the facts and the circumstances around this, but I know for a fact that at one point in time the first lady, I understand, when he came to the United States engaged in modeling and may have engaged in some scantily clad photographs or something of that nature which by the way, there's nothing wrong with that. That doesn't mean she is not entitled to our respect, it doesn't mean that she is not entitled to credibility. No one would ever say that about Mrs. Trump, because it would be outrageous. And yet somehow Rudy Giuliani thinks that my client isn't entitled to be believed, because she was in the adult industry. It's disgusting. And this guy is an absolute pig.
LEMON: You know some would take offense at you even brought the first lady up in that respect for saying that, you know, that you're besmirching her credibility as well by bringing her up.
AVENATTI: Absolutely not. Don, I want to be really clear. I'm absolutely not saying that, and in fact if you listened to what I just said, I said just the opposite. What I'm saying is that all women regardless of their profession deserve respect, and their credibility has nothing to do with whether they were a model, whether they were in the pornography industry or anything of that nature. That has no bearing on someone's credibility and to suggest otherwise is a disgrace.
LEMON: Yes. This is a statement that is coming from Michael Cohen's attorney. OK? They called a lawsuit, this is attacking your credibility as well. The new lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford aka, Stormy Daniels has no merit whatsoever as to my client Michael Cohen, and it appears to be yet another publicity stunt and nothing more. We look forward to defeating the lawsuit in court. What do you say to Michael Cohen as an attorney's read that statement?
AVENATTI: Well, I have been bringing it. I am looking forward to opposing Michael Cohen. I wish they -- instead of issuing the statement they should send over the rest of the text messages that me and my client are entitled to, and they ought to send over the recordings where Mr. Davidson disclosed attorney-client privilege information and while they're at it they should disclose the recordings between Michael Cohen and Mr. Trump to the American people.
[23:10:13] LEMON: Also, Mr. Davidson said that by filing this lawsuit that you have essentially given up attorney-client privilege between him and Stormy Daniels, what do you say to that?
AVENATTI: Well, Mr. Davidson unfortunately in each passing hour demonstrates he is not a very good lawyer. He doesn't know the law. That is not the law in California. We were well aware of what the law in California was before we filed the case. It's not a blanket way of the attorney-client privilege. We actually sent Mr. Davidson's lawyers a three-page letter this afternoon after the issue -- that ridiculous statement, educating them on the law here in California. So, hopefully they're squared away tonight.
LEMON: Michael Avenatti, thank you, I appreciate it.
AVENATTI: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back as President Trump ramps up his war with the NFL over protests against police treatment of African-Americans, this may be a case in point right here. We're going to tell you how and why this scene that you're watching right here on surveillance video turned incredibly violent in a matter of moments.
LEMON: Today, the Philadelphia Eagles had their chance to respond to President Trump who has been ramping up his war with NFL players who have taken a knee during the national anthem. So the President using the issue as a wedge to divide the country. Regardless of the President's manipulation of this issue for political purposes, the fact is not a single one of the Eagles took a knee last season, not one of them.
[23:15:09] But players who have knelt in the past say they've done it to call attention to racial injustice especially at the hands of police officers. And tonight what may be a case in point here. I want you to watch this closely. Four officers in Mesa, Arizona, placed on leave after a video caught them punching an unarmed man. Again, a warning, the video is violent. Some may find it disturbing. CNN's Nick Watt has the story.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Robert Johnson leaning against that wall says he was just tagging along with his buddy who was trying to collect a bag from an ex-girlfriend. So how did it go from talking on his phone to this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down.
2UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit your (BEEP) down.
WATT: Multiple punches and knees according to cops, because he refuses an order to sit down. Officers had patted him down moments before. They knew he was unarmed before hitting him over and over.
BENJAMIN TAYLOR, ROBERT JOHNSON'S ATTORNEY: But they kept on and kept on, and they kept on assaulting him. They didn't stop until he was knocked out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The level of force is troubling, and when they approach him they try to force him down, and when he resists that tension the officers strike him several times to get him to comply.
WATT: The local officers union and the Mesa Police Association tells CNN that Johnson was not compliant and physically resisted what we feel was a lawful detention.
TAYLOR: They hog tie him. They drag him to the elevator door.
WATT: Johnson with no criminal record we could find wasn't actually a suspect in this operation. The suspect was his friend there on the ground, Eric Rayes. His ex-girlfriend had called 911 after Rayes had allegedly tried to break into her apartment. He was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia. CNN was unable to reach him for comment. Johnson was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering a prosecution. He pleaded not guilty.
TAYLOR: And the reason they did that to justify their actions for beating him up.
WATT: Late today police released the officer's body cam video, but the incident happened on May 23rd, and the investigation only began May 30th when an alarmed citizen brought the security camera video from the apartment complex to the chief who has now a changed policy regarding punches to the head and face.
RAMON BATISTA, CHIEF, MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Henceforth any strikes are only authorized in situations where a person is actively fighting with us, actively taking a swing at us.
WATT: The three unnamed officers who struck Johnson and a sergeant are now on paid leave. The chief who heard the audio on the body cam said this --
BATISTA: Certainly at first glance this looks like a mistake, and it doesn't look right. And it's my job, it is our job, to collectively investigate and find the answers to this.
WATT: Johnson's lawyer wants these officers charged and plans to sue.
TAYLOR: He is physically hurt, he is emotionally hurt, and this is going to affect him for the rest of his life.
WATT: Nick Watt, CNN, Mesa, Arizona.
LEMON: Nick Watt, thank you very much. Let's bring in now CNN Political Commentators, Marc Lamont Hill, Ben Ferguson and Tom Verni, who is a former New York City police detective. Hello. Disturbing video. Marc, isn't this what NFL players wanted to bring attention to?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Exactly. You know, while the President is making this a distraction by suggesting players are protesting the flag or the anthem or being unpatriotic, what they were actually trying to do is shine a spotlight on police violence and in this case, police terrorism, and this is disgusting and there no excuse for it. That is why we are protesting, that is what NFL players are protesting. That what it needs to have a spotlight and that is why I love Donald Trump to speak out against, since he is using Twitter all the time, speak out against this. LEMON: What do you say, Ben?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's certainly time for people to come together on this and find common ground. And I think that everybody needs to take a step back for a moment and not make it so personal. I mean, initially I agree that this was about police brutality. But the reality is the biggest day of protest was in a day of protest by NFL players against Donald Trump. It was after he spoke out against the players. It was not about police brutality. Colin Kaepernick has his own problems wearing communist t-shirts and wearing socks depicting police as pigs. That is a fact.
LEMON: Ben, what are you talking about?
FERGUSON: I don't know what you are not hearing from me. Listen to what I'm saying, Don.
LEMON: I listened to what you are saying --
FERGUSON: Kaepernick wore socks that depict cops as pigs.
[23:20:00] LEMON: You are deflecting. That is a complete deflection. We are talking about the --
FERGUSON: I'm talking about the reality --
LEMON: We're talking about what the NFL players are saying to the country, to the world. They're telling you and the President and everyone, why they want to take a knee. To draw attention to situations like this. And you can deflect with all those other things. And you have a right to do it --
FERGUSON: I am not deflecting. It's part of the conversation.
LEMON: It's not part of the conversation now.
FERGUSON: It is part of the conversation.
LEMON: OK. So can we be bigger than that, then? When you look at that video and both sides --
FERGUSON: My point is both sides --
LEMON: That they are --
LAMONT HILL: There is no both sides. First of all, the idea of saying don't take this personal, as a black person, as someone who's likely to be subject to this time of random unmerited violence I do take it personally. It is my brothers, my sisters, my daughters, my sons, my fathers, my mothers who are going to be beaten by police so, yes, it's a very personal matter. No one would tell anybody -- no one would tell a Jewish person not to take anti-Semitism personally or a gay person to take LGBT violence personally. This is personal matter --
FERGUSON: Marc -- LAMONT HILL: No, no, no, hold on --
FERGUSON: Mark, you do see one of the guys that is hitting the guy is African-American. You're talking about all police brutality.
LAMONT HILL: Yes, I am saying --
FERGUSON: Let's not make it about race. When you got one of the guy who is punching the guy in the face with his elbowed by one of the African-American police officers.
LAMONT HILL: Ben, that is a (inaudible) nobody said white police --
FERGUSON: You can't say it is racial when you got a black guy that is pounding him --
LEMON: You can be a black officer and --
LAMONT HILL: I don't care if it's a black officer or --
FERGUSON: My point is, it's not racism when you have a black guy doing it.
LEMON: Ben, hold on --
LEMON: you're smarter than that. You can be black or white or Hispanic or you can be co-opted by a system regardless of what race you are.
LAMONT HILL: But you're getting beaten by black people --
FERGUSON: My point is it is not always about racism which some people had been implying here.
LEMON: You think a white person would be beaten by an officer like that?
FERGUSON: There have been white people that have been beaten by police officers, Don.
LAMONT HILL: Where they at, though? Give me some numbers. Bring me some video.
FERGUSON: We are getting plenty of stories about it.
LEMON: Bring me some video.
FERGUSON: You're saying no police brutality happens against anybody else but people other than African-American that happens to be at the hands of an African-American. (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: I want the actual police officer to respond. He is here. Go on.
LAMONT HILL: Let me be clear, the issue here is structurally black people are disproportionately abused and killed by police officers. The fact that black officers and white officers collectively beaten black people's ass does not make me feel better. We did not march and struggle to get beaten by black officers. I don't care, we're disproportionately getting beaten. That is the racial component to this.
LEMON: Tom Verni, go ahead. Tom Verni, please.
FERGUSON: If you want to fix the problem with police brutality it cannot be always be race issue.
LAMONT HILL: It is a race issue, because black people are the ones getting beaten and killed. This is not --
FERGUSON: By a black guy who took his elbow and was pounding him in the face. You can't blame white people for that. That is the video, it is a black guy who is pounding him and --
LEMON: Listen. Stop. Please.
LAMONT HILL: I never said a black person wasn't doing it.
FERGUSON: I'm talking about the reality of the situation, and you're trying to make it a racial issue when you have a police brutality issue in this situation. I agree with you on that.
LEMON: Why are you pointing out the white officers who are doing it as well, right?
FERGUSON: I have no problem with it doing that. My point is police brutality has to be talked about with the issue of police brutality, and it can't always be turn into a race issue and you are watching an African-American pounding another African-American. That is not a race issue when a black guy is beating a black guy.
LEMON: That is the dumbest -- Ben, you can't be that uneducated. Go ahead, Tom. Sorry.
FERGUSON: I can't be that uneducated, what does that have to do what he think?
LEMON: Let somebody else talk. Go ahead, Tom.
TOM VERNI, FORMER DETECTIVE, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Guys, I just want to yell at somebody. I wish I'd brought my police whistle. So, first think's first, you know, the video that we saw is not pretty. It never is, right? Marc and I have many times we have been here, right?
LAMONT HILL: Agreed.
VERNI: As well as you Don. The videos are never pretty, they never will be pretty. What I will ask people to do as we have done in the past, in some cases the gun has been jumped, no pun intended, is we have to let this play out, let the investigation play out. Find out all the facts that occurred here to make sure if there is any wrongdoing that has occurred, which it seem like there could be in this case. I have no problem with the cops being disciplined and or fired whatever suits for that matter, if they have clearly broken the procedure, but the law, it take too much force in this incident.
I have no problem with that, OK? The other part of this is to Marc's point, studies do show what the rates are of the amount of African- Americans and the violence between them and police.
[23:25:00] But also just one other thing I want to mention, too, is that the frame of this is that the guy was unarmed and that makes him not dangerous. That is baloney. Many, many officers are killed every single year by unarmed men, black, white and green --
LEMON: OK. I want you guys to listen. This is an interaction so we can continue the conversation. This is before it got violent. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down. Bro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit your (BEEP) down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See what happens. See what happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in there. Get his arms back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, watch his --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, Tom, you're making the point as you heard that, does that help you make your point there or -- I may be talking back to --
VERNI: Yes. Of course. The premise of this is that the gentleman was not listening to their lawful order to sit down, he is standing up. And this plays out in a lot of instances that we have all been involved and you, myself, Marc, we have talk about this before. Where we have to talk about, where's the responsibility of the people that the police are interacting with to listen to the lawful orders of the officer?
You know, if they're not listening to lawful orders of the officer, in this case whether he is supposed to be put under arrest and resisting or whatnot, resisting doesn't necessarily mean that they're throwing punches at the officers. Resisting is they are not listening to the lawful orders to place his hands behind their back, to be compliant and so forth.
The officers are using the level of force have used seems a little excessive to me.
LEMON: The police chief admits the incident was wrong -- the police chief admits the incident was wrong even after having heard Johnson's comments from the body cam audio. Does that make a difference?
VERNI: Because again the level of force that I personally believe that was needed to get this person to the ground, I believe looking at the video seems excessive to me. And that seems to be echoed by the police chief. Now, the investigation from front to back is going to come to a final conclusion as to whether or not they did violate some of department policy.
LEMON: The chief did say they're changing their tactics in use of force because of this.
VERNI: Yes. Which is fine. If you see something that doesn't -- yes, I've got no problem with that. Again, I'm a firm believer in training, retraining and training all over again if you have to. If you have something that clearly does not fit and it is, you know, -- because that also puts the officers at a disadvantage as well. If it's not clear to them what of what level of force they should have at in any given incident that they're involved in.
LEMON: There's always an excuse. There is always an excuse. OK, we're going to take a break. We'll come back.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: All right, we're back now. After the Philadelphia Eagles' practice today, the normally outspoken Malcolm Jenkins chose not to talk to reporters and instead made his feelings known by holding up signs, other signs highlighting the charitable works of players.
Back with me, Marc Lamont Hill, Ben Ferguson, and Tom Verni. So Ben, you saw Malcolm Jenkins. Are you listening?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it was a great way to make a point. I think it was a great way to make a point and maybe have the conversation come back where people can actually start talking about things instead of it being about stunts of not showing up to the White House and saying eight guys are going to show up and then seven are going to show up. I said it at the very beginning and I'll say it again --
LEMON: I think there was a report today that said it was only one who actually wanted to come which says a lot about --
FERGUSON: Maybe it's only one. The bottom line is it was clearly done by the Eagles to try to embarrass the president of United States of America. And I think he made the right decision by canceling. It was a missed opportunity by the same guy that's holding the signs up to go to the White House with his teammates and have a dialogue with the president of the United States of America.
You're not going to fix a problem if you're not willing to sit down and talk to the most powerful man in the country. Whether you like it or not, he's the president. And you got enough time to write on poster board, you should have enough time to go and talk to the president of the United States of America.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's an interesting point, Ben. I mean, Donald Trump has ignored his generals, he has ignored his chief of staff, he has ignored the vice president, he has ignored American voters, but he might listen to free state (ph) Philadelphia Eagles on race relation. That's --
FERGUSON: He lets Kim Kardashian get a woman out of prison --
LEMON: Can you let him talk, please? Can you let him talk, please?
LAMONT HILL: So what I'm saying is that I think --
FERGUSON: I'm going to correct it when he says he never listens to somebody.
LAMONT HILL: Your argument is that the president has listened to somebody, Kim Kardashian. Cool, if that's who he wants to listen to.
FERGUSON: Sometimes he listens. Sometimes he doesn't.
LEMON: Ben, you have to let other people talk. If you want correction, I would spend the entire conversation correcting misinformation that you give out. So just let other people talk and then we will work it out.
FERGUSON: Name one thing I said that was misinformation.
LEMON: Please stop interrupting so that we can finish this conversation. Come on.
LAMONT HILL: Here's my point, Ben. There are multiple ways to resist. One way to resist is to go to the White House and talk to the president. I think there's a legitimate argument that the president hasn't been particularly responsive to black voters, to black voices, et cetera. To many voices of all sorts on both sides of the aisle.
So if that is in fact the case, another way to resist is to defy authority, to ignore authority. Martin Luther King didn't -- wasn't disrespecting the Pettus Bridge by sitting on it. People weren't disrespecting the lunch counters of the Montgomery bus system by boycotting it. Resistance is another way to push back. In this case, the Eagles said we are not going to dignify this with our presence. And finally, there are many people in the last eight to 16 years who have told sitting U.S. presidents that they shouldn't go to certain regimes, that they shouldn't talk to certain people if they find them unresponsive, anti-democratic, arrogant, elitist, violent, et cetera. We say it all the time. Don't dignify that person with the meeting. I'm saying Donald Trump is not worthy of the meeting.
LEMON: Yes. So Tom, listen, Jenkins tweeted some of the signs that he held up. The second one had the number of people shot and killed by police this year and noted that the high percentage of them were black males. As a former member of the NYPD, I want to know, why such a disproportionate number of black males here?
[23:35:00] VERNI: That's a great question. I wish I could answer that distinctly. I mean, clearly the numbers show what they show. I would, again, judge each of those instances based on their merits and whether or not those officers acted within the confines of procedure and whether or not they acted within the confines of the law.
And I think if I'm not mistaken, all those incidents are not under review of any kind that I'm aware of. So we have to, again, take each incident as based on the facts and evidence and the merits as they stand.
As far as standing for the flag and pledge of allegiance or national anthem, you know, I'm of the train of thought that out of respect for the flag, out of respect for our serving military members and our veterans, that it is polite and respectful to stand.
As far as the, you know, number of NFL players who decided to take a knee for them, that's their prerogative. That point of view is not going to necessarily sit well with friends of mine on the right who feel they should stand regardless.
And the fact that if you are an NFL player and your team says you are supposed to stand for the flag because that is part of your duty when you are out of the field, you know, that's for the teams and NFL to decide.
But they passed something recently that they're going to fine the team. So that's on them. You know, if that is their way, to Marc's point, of voicing a silent protest, then that's their First Amendment right to do that.
LEMON: Well, we'll see how this plays out and see what happens moving forward here. I unfortunately have to end the conversation. Again, as I said every night, this is America. We have a choice. We don't have to be forced to -- there's no forced patriotism here. Thank you all. Appreciate it.
When we come back, the president's testy call with Justin Trudeau got even worse when Trump got his history very, very wrong. New reporting tonight on why we are fighting with Canada.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: For tonight, a CNN exclusive, sources saying President Trump had a contentious phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. And Trudeau pressed the president on how he could justify the tariffs as a national security issue.
In response, the president said to him, didn't you guys burn down the White House, referring incorrectly by the way to what happened during the war of 1812.
Let's bring in now CNN Senior Economics Analyst, Stephen Moore, who was a former economic advisor to the Trump campaign and also CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken."
Gentlemen, good evening. So Max, of course, that was the British. It is a basic knowledge of U.S. history, something the president should have, right?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you would think so. There are a lot of things the president doesn't know including the fact that the nation of Canada did not actually exist in 1812 when the White House was burnt.
LEMON: I didn't expect you to be that short and concise. I mean, Stephen, even you laughed at that. What do you think?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: I think he got confused.
MOORE: It was obviously the British who burned down the White House in 1812. But --
LEMON: I'm just wondering --
MOORE: -- it was a gaff. It was a gaff.
LEMON: OK. I was going to say, how does that justify tariffs anyway, especially considering that people say the United States is --
MOORE: I think Trump is making a big mistake. Canada is our closest ally in the world, by far.
LEMON: Our military partner.
MOORE: In every way. So it makes no sense to be picking a fight with Canada or Mexico, for that matter. Look, you and I have talked a lot about this. I'm in favor of getting very tough with China because I think China is a problem. But if you want to do that, you don't want to pick a fight with your allies. You want to have a unified front against them.
LEMON: Did we just hear Stephen Moore said that the administration did something wrong, the president? MOORE: By the way, Donald Trump knew from the very start when, you know, I started working for him that I didn't agree with him on tariffs, I'm a free trade guy. You know, I respect the fact that he said something, you know, we'll respectfully disagree on that issue. I'm not going to change my positions and my principles because I favor Donald Trump.
LEMON: Max, what do you want to say?
BOOT: I think this is going to be a first, Don, where Stephen and I end up agreeing with one another. I have to applaud Stephen for his intellectual integrity for not defending the indefensible which is the fact that Donald Trump is calling our closest allies threats to American national security, and I think that wrangles as much as the fact that he's imposing tariffs.
I mean, the steel tariffs alone are going to cost 40,000 jobs in the U.S. auto industry alone. But even leaving aside the economics of it, the symbolism is so damaging. I watched on TV this past weekend the Canadian foreign minister and prime minister and the sense of hurt in their voices was just palpable because, I mean, today is the 74th anniversary of D-Day when Canadian and American troops landed side by side in Normandy.
We have fought with the Canadians for more than a century. They are brothers and sisters and to label them as a national security threat, just a sense of shock and anger in Europe, not just in Canada but same thing with our closest allies in Europe, I mean, this is such a cockamamie thing to claim that they are threat to our security.
LEMON: But "The Washington Post" is reporting that Trump isn't happy about his upcoming trip to Canada on Friday. The president has vented privately about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as their trade tensions have spilled into public view. He has mused about finding new ways to punish the United States' northern neighbor in recent days, frustrated with the country's retaliatory trade moves.
Adding that he is, you know, he is complaining to aides about spending two days in Canada for a summit of world leaders. He believes this is a distraction for the upcoming Singapore trip. What do you think about that, Stephen?
MOORE: Look, Donald Trump made a big point during the campaign. I think he called NAFTA the worst trade deal in history. Again, I disagree with him on that. But this is something he made a big deal about in the campaign, that he was going to renegotiate NAFTA. Look, it's been 25 years. I think NAFTA has been a good thing but it does need to be modernized.
Now, Canada, in my opinion, Max, does not get away Scott free here. In these negotiations, they're bringing up things like our right to work laws here in the United States.
[23:45:03] They're bringing up things like climate change, transgender issues, nothing to do with the trade deal. And so, you know -- BOOT: Donald Trump is the big impediment to a deal here. And the latest from the White House is they're voting an idea of giving up on NAFTA and negotiating separately with Canada and Mexico, which I think would be a huge failure of this so-called master negotiator President Trump.
But, you know, to me the fascinating thing to watch in this upcoming G-7 Summit this weekend in Canada is the dynamics between Trump and his fellow Democratic leaders. I'm willing to bet that he's going to have better dynamics with Kim Jong-un next week than he's going to have with his fellow Democratic leaders this weekend because the G-7 is now the G-6 versus one because the other six are against the United States because of these terrible tariffs.
MOORE: Let me defend the president on this. I am for free trade as you know, Max. But, you know, looking at the tariffs, other countries in Europe are charging the United States versus what we impose on them, and their tariffs are two to three times higher than we are.
What Donald Trump is saying and he said this many times, I want to use these tariffs as leverage to get to fair (ph) trade where these countries are lower in their tariffs. Now, if we can get that outcome, you know, what is wrong with that? Do we want the Europeans to be imposing high tariffs on American products?
BOOT: You know, Stephen, there is evidence whatsoever that Donald Trump has had any success in negotiating any new deals. He is great at breaking deals. He has broken a lot of deals from the Paris Climate Accord to the Transpacific Partnership to the Iran Nuclear Deal. He has had no success in negotiating new deals. The NAFTA negotiations are stalled. It's not even clear what he wants from the Europeans. There not an actual negotiation going on there.
You know, he's fixated on the idea that any kind of trade deficit is a ripoff on the United States, which as an economist, you know that's not true, that is not true. There is nothing inherently wrong with running a trade deficit, but Donald Trump is obsessed with this, which just goes to show that he doesn't understand --
LEMON: All right, gentlemen, to be continued. I've got to end this.
LEMON: Thank you both. Thank you both. We'll see you next time. Listen, I do have some breaking news that I need to report to you right now and it's about the battle over the so-called informant in the Trump campaign, a claim that has been debunked including by senior Republicans who attended the recent briefing with the Justice Department.
Here's what a senior Justice Department official tonight says, the department will be extending an offer to the gang of eight to review certain documents that were made available during its prior briefing on May 24th to the same group, as well as a briefing on certain questions specifically raised by the speaker and other members.
The official says that the briefing is expected on Monday or Tuesday depending on member schedules. And CNN will be on top of that story. We'll bring you the very latest details on them as we get them. That is the breaking news. We will be right back.
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LEMON: The First Lady Melania Trump, appearing in public today for the first time in since May 10th. She was hospitalized for a kidney procedure last month.
Joining me now to discuss, CNN Contributor, Kate Andersen Brower, the author of "First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power." Congratulations on the book.
KATE ANDERSEN BROWER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
LEMON: Welcome, by the way. The president tweeted this earlier today about the first lady's absence. He sad, the fake news media has been so unfair and vicious to my wife and our great first lady, Melania. During her recovery from surgery, they reported everything from near death to face lift to left the White House and me for New York or Virginia to abuse. All fake. She is doing really well.
CNN reported that she just hadn't been seen in public for so many days. I mean, that's different than being obsessed. After all, she is the first lady of the United States who had just gone through a medical procedure. People want to know what's going on with her. Is she getting oxygen though to the theories that he is talking about?
ANDERSEN BROWER: I think it's a strange idea. One thing that's really interesting about her staff is that they are so protective. I mean, I've covered Michelle Obama and of course there's always this fierce protected East Wing, but this is nothing like I've seen before. And I think it's because of Melania Trump.
I think they would like to give us more. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told me that Melania instructed her to get back to all the people who had written her notes during her recovery, but she doesn't go beyond that. It is feeding the flames because we're all just wondering what is she doing.
LEMON: I think it's normal to wonder if the first lady is OK, especially after she has had a medical procedure.
ANDERSEN BROWER: Yes, especially given what we know, what was going on with Stormy Daniels and they're not holding hands. I mean, there aren't even tea leaves to read, it's so obvious.
LEMON: This is just practical. The first lady had a medical procedure. We did not see her after that. What is going on? Very simple and straightforward. And we would be derelict in our duties not to if we didn't ask. And then later in the day, the first lady, we saw her for the first time, that was 27 days, the president welcomed her back. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to start with our great first lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania. She's doing great.
TRUMP: She went through a little rough patch, but she's doing great, and we're very proud of her. She's done a fantastic job as first lady. The people love you. The people of our country love you, so thank you, honey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He said she went through a little rough patch except the folks at Walter Reed, the spokesperson told CNN that she had a kidney procedure. It was successful. There were no complications. I'm wondering if the president is contradicting them or is he saying there's something that was more serious. What have you heard?
ANDERSEN BROWER: Listen, the medical questions are difficult to get into because it is so personal. But even Michelle Obama said the White House, she jokes about it being a really nice prison. Every first lady since Martha Washington has joked about being it a state prison. It's a difficult job.
And so I wouldn't be surprised if Melania Trump wanted time in the hospital to have privacy, quite frankly. You know, it's not an easy job. In this White House, it's especially difficult. She didn't want this position. But I will say she's savvier than people think. She reads what's written, a lot of what's written about her and her family.
And in my reporting for the book, it turns out that she was actually instrumental in picking out Vice President Pence, and that she said, you know, we need a clean VP.
LEMON: What did she want in a vice president?
ANDERSEN BROWER: Somebody who didn't have all the baggage her husband had. She was very smart in ways that her husband wasn't. I mean, he had Michael Flynn on his list of vice presidential possibilities. It terrified his lead lawyer at the time because, you know, I mean, the baggage that Michael Flynn had was obvious.
[23:55:03] But she believes that someone like Chris Christie or someone like Newt Gingrich just came with too much baggage. She knew he had a surplus of that already. And I think that shows how smart she is, really.
LEMON: There was already enough drama around him. He didn't need more. We saw Vice President Pence at the FEMA event as well. In your book, you write about their relationship, right, the relationship with the president and the vice president. What is it like?
ANDERSEN BROWER: Well, Vice President Pence told his older brother, Greg, that Trump reminds him of their father. And I think that was really interesting. Their father was a Korean war vet, very tough disciplinarian.
You know, Trump does all the talking in their meetings. Pence never disagrees with him. They do speak three -- you know, they spend about three hours a day together. They talk every morning and night. But Pence is on message mike, you know, in the White House. Even when he travels abroad, he calls the president late at night to go over speeches. I think there's a feeling of fear there in his staff not to upset the president.
LEMON: Yes. I just wonder how the president feels that he's like a father figure, like a dad. I don't know about that one.
ANDERSEN BROWER: Yes, probably not.
LEMON: But I think it's interesting you talk about the vice president also speaks with Joe Biden once a month. I found that very interesting in the book. Again, congratulations on the book. Thank you for coming in. I appreciate it.
ANDERSEN BROWER: Thank you.
LEMON: Kate Andersen Brower, thank you. The book, again, is "First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents, and the Pursuit of Power."
That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.
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