Return to Transcripts main page
Children Still Held in Cages; Trump Not Backing Down on Zero- Tolerance Policy; Children Still Being Taken Away From Their Parents At The Border As President Meets With House GOP; CNN Source: Michael Cohen Willing To Give Investigators Information About President Trump; Rudy Giuliani Interviewed By Justice Department Over Comments He Made About Hillary Clinton In 2016. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 19, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We'll continue to share in these inspirational stories all week. You can also watch the Champions for Change one hour special this Saturday at 8 p.m. That's all the time we have. Thanks for watching. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. "CNN TONIGHT" starts right now.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Children still being taken from their parents on the border tonight as President Trump met with House Republicans behind closed doors, calling on them to pass legislation to fix the mess he made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are laws that have been broken for many years, decades, but we had a great meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So sources telling CNN the president didn't take questions from members of his own party. Went on and on about his promise his border wall and call for $25 billion to build it. It sounds like hostage taking, doesn't it? We'll talk about that.
And he said his daughter, Ivanka talked to him about images of children well over 2,000 of them so far, being separated from their parents. Some of those children held in cages, some housed in this tent city along the southern border.
Even the president's daughter has so far remained silent publicly, when so many others, including the president's supporters had been speaking out. And if you're attempted amid the onslaught of misinformation coming your way to think this can't be as heartless as it seems, well, I want you to just listen to Trump loyalist Corey Lewandowski.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whomp, whomp.
LEWANDOWSKI: I read about a -- did you say whomp, whomp to a 10-year- old with Down syndrome that's taken from her mother? How dare you!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I said is you can say--
LEWANDOWSKI: How dare you, how absolutely dare you, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There is a word for that. That word is disgraceful. But make no mistake, this is happening because it's what President Trump wants. This is what Donald Trump wants. He can put a stop to all of this at any time, right away. No other administration has done this. But not only is the president ignoring growing anger, this growing anger over his policy, he is continuing to blame, guess what, Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As a result of Democrats supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, without outrage, without hyperbole, that is simply not true. And what do you call something that's not true, it's a lie.
The fact is this administration, this White House decided to prosecute every single adult caught crossing the border illegally, even if they came with children, separating parents from their kids with no clear plan to reunite them. That's the fact.
The president himself chose this fight. Immigration gets him like nothing -- gets him going like nothing else. And he proved it today again. Doubling down on his rhetoric, claiming undocumented immigrants will, his word, "infest our country."
This is a president who is still determined to build his wall. And he appears to be willing to hold thousands of children hostage to get it. That's right I said hostage. Many of those children, too young to understand what's happening to them. But Americans understand exactly what is happening here. We see it with our own eyes. We're not stupid, we know what's going on.
So, let's bring in CNN's White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, and CNN Political Analysts, April Ryan and Jonathan Martin.
Good to have all of you on this evening. Kaitlan standing there in front of the White House where all of this is countered at. Are we any closer tonight to a change to this policy as president -- as a result of president's meeting with Republicans on Capitol Hill?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: We sure don't seem to be, Don. That meeting on Capitol Hill was initially seemed to be like a pep rally essentially for the president to garner some support for this immigration bill that these House Republicans are hoping can get passed.
That doesn't seem to be the discussion, of course the focus of that meeting seemed like it was going to be the outrage over this policy of separating families at the border, something that has dominated news coverage in recent days.
And even clearly, the president's mind, if you look at his Twitter feed or comments he's made at other times. But we're told by sources who were in that meeting tonight that the president only touched on it briefly and saying that he did speak with his daughter Ivanka about it. That she touched on it that she showed him images of it.
[22:04:59] And of course, we've seen in the past those images have garnered the president to do something in a situation like that. But the president repeated today in that meeting with House Republicans that he believes this is a legislative solution.
So it doesn't seem that any of these members confronted the president over this. Even though they have worded or issued these strongly worded statements. It doesn't seem that when they were actually in the room with the president that they said anything.
Because, Don, our sources tell us the president didn't take any questions. So it didn't come down to that debate that a lot of Washington thought they were going to see tonight between the president and these members who were outraged over this. It was just the president essentially going over his greatest hits.
LEMON: Yes. It's always someone releasing a strongly worded statement, what does that mean these days?
So, Jonathan, a freedom caucus source tell CNN that both of these immigration bills are designed to fail. And that the president is only, he's the only one who doesn't get the joke on this. So what happens when this bill fails? What does the president do about these kids and families then?
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was in the capitol this afternoon, Don, talking with folks who work in the leadership on the House side, and my understanding is that there's no hope that the conservative bill gets anywhere near the votes needed to pass. But there is some hope that the broader and more mainstream bill that would offer some accommodation for the DREAMers and now has language to address the kids at the border, that there is somehow -- it could pass.
Now the challenge there, Don, is even if you pass that bill the Senate is unlikely to move on a broader bill that addresses the DREAMers as well as these kids stuck at the border without they're parents. So what I'm told is that what's likely to happen is that the house does not move some kind of a more narrow bill about the kids at the border. The Senate goes first, passes it overwhelmingly, and that put enough pressure on the House that they then pass their own straightforward, clean, narrow of their targeted version of the bill to get those kids back with their parents.
LEMON: Quick answer for me.
MARTIN: The question, I don't know if that happens, though.
LEMON: Question answer for you before I get to April. Essentially, this is what's going on here. Give me my wall and I'll give you your kids back? Is that what's happening? So give me your kids if you give me the wall?
MARTIN: Yes, I don't think that he's going to demand a wall to sign a bill that's going to address the kids at the border. Now look, I have no doubt that later on in the year he's going to push aggressively to get money for the wall if the next year's fiscal approves bill. But as of right now--
LEMON: So these kids are not part of the bargain for the wall?
MARTIN: Look, I think if the Senate passes a narrowly tailored bill, Don, to address the kids at the border, 85 to 50, or 90 to 10, the House falls or -- that creates enormous pressure on the president to sign a bill. And let's say that's four or five days now, the fastest. That's four or five more days of images of these kids at the border the pressure will be pretty immense at that point.
LEMON: OK. We'll see. I have you back and we'll discuss and see what happens here. April, this is according to Dana Bash, one disappointed and disgusted GOP member described the president saying quote, "the crying babies doesn't look good politically."
Now he was more concerned with the optics, he knows he can change those optics and the policies any time he wants to. So then what is this strategy here? Because you heard what I just talked to Jonathan about what is the strategy.
APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It's crazy because, you know a president wants to have a winning picture. The picture that makes people say, wow, he's strong, there's strength, we can rally around this.
This is not something all America is rallying around. And not only that, it's not helping him when you have Cory Lewandowski saying whomp, whomp, whomp, and you have people like, who is it, Amy Kramer last night talking about, you know, she hugs her dog or misses her dog when she leaves.
LEMON: She almost cried when she left her dog. That's all I know. RYAN: Yes, yes, it was crazy. So those things are not helping the
president getting -- to get a winning picture. And then I called -- well, I talked to a former congressional leader, Republican congressional leader last night who said look, this bodes well for the Democrats down the road. Because we are a nation that is becoming a Hispanic, a Hispanic population that's increasing and the votes are going to be more so for Democrats.
So they're looking at all of the short-term and long-term plays as it relates to this. This is not about politics at this moment. Many people are talking about the humanitarian piece. Children being separated from their parents, crying, placed in kennels, not knowing if they're going to be reunification and tracking of these kids to make sure they're reunified with their parents. This is an ugly issue for this president and he's got to get over this hurdle.
LEMON: Yes. So Kaitlan, just a moment ago in your response you mentioned, you know, strongly worded statements. I mean, my real question is how far does that go? Because anyone can release a strongly worded statement and then they back up every single policy that this president puts forward. Signs every bill that comes, you know, that he wants, you know, signed.
[22:10:05] But this is my question. Twelve Republican senators -- and let's put up -- including Orrin Hatch sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling on the Department of Justice to halt family separations while Congress works on the legislative fix. I mean, this again shows that this is not the fault of Democrats as the president falsely claims here.
COLLINS: That's right. And Don, these are conservatives, these are president's own party that are doing this, that are expressing this outrage saying, hey, you need to stop this policy because it is causing them a lot of problems as well.
And so that is certainly something to see here as the president is continually trying to get on top of this narrative by saying that this is the Democrats who were doing this, and it is all the Democrats fault. He has repeatedly said that over the last few days, that is not the case here, Don. That is just simply not true. This is not the fault of Democrats.
So we're seeing that from the White House and you're seeing that play out in this Capitol Hill is not too far down the road here from the White House. And the White House sent talking points to Republicans on Capitol Hill yesterday, the outrage over this was continuing to get louder and louder and they could no longer ignore it.
But they sent these talking points to the Capitol Hill, the staff members that they couldn't really use because they were blaming Democrats, that's something you have not heard from Republican members. And if they had a chance to blame Democrats here they certainly would. We've seen that with issues in the past. But here they're not even doing that because they realize that's not the problem here. It's administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that is
leading to the separation of these families, of these parents from their children and that is the issue. As much as the administration wants to blame it on Democrats, or say that it is because criminals are bringing children across the border, or saying that it is a deterrent, which the numbers have shown it's not.
None of those things are true. We are continuing to see the White House fail to develop any kind of messaging strategy on this. So either they're going to try to develop something over the next few days because it doesn't seem as if the president is backing down off of this measure.
LEMON: Well, let's talk about the possible strategy, OK, Jonathan. Because this is what you're reporting. You said that the president sees issues like immigration as a way to rally his supporters for midterms.
LEMON: And here's what you -- and this is what you and Maggie Haberman writes. You say, "With more Americans still opposing the tax measurement than supporting it, Mr. Trump's allies believe that trying to link Democrats to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, and gangs like MS-13 will do more to galvanize Republican voters and get them to the polls in November than emphasizing economic issues."
LEMON: I mean, one thing, is he saying that Republican voters are that vulnerable or that naive? And the other thing is it's a deliberate calculation because the tax cut is falling flat. Their thinking is, let's use this racially charged issue to gin up votes. Is that correct?
MARTIN: Yes, that's exactly it. I mean, the fact is that the economy is doing well. I think a lot of Americans now believe the country is headed at a better course than they perhaps would have six months ago. But I think the challenge, Don, in the midterm election is these contest are won by which party's base shows up.
And the fact is Democrats have the advantage in this midterm, and every poll suggests that they are more likely to come to the polls. So the Republicans are trying to figure out, how do we match the anti- Trump intensity on the left with some kind of rationale for our own base to show up.
And, you know, a lot of the Trump voters don't necessarily love their members of Congress who are more conventional Republicans. So I think this is Trump sort of thinking out loud because the cultural war stuff worked for me, these tactics works to get me elected in 2016. If we just rally folks with red meat, whether it's MS-13 or NFL players kneeling for the national anthem--
MARTIN: -- that gives our folks a reason to show up.
LEMON: So I've got to ask you about this, April, having said that, "New York Times" is reporting that criticism of Fox News is coming from within the Murdoch empire. Steve Levitan, the creator of "Modern Family," and the film director Paul Feig, each express disgust with how the news network coverage of the Trump administration's border security policy going. Could that ultimately have an impact on Fox News and the White House?
RYAN: People are saying truth. I mean, if you're not saying the images on, or hearing the audio on Fox, and it's been spun a different way. I mean, you cannot change the fact, a crying baby is being pulled away from its mother, you're seeing people in cages, how can you spin that?
You know, I mean, it's one thing to say, OK, the White House is saying this, but then there is fact. And then you have to also look at the fact that this president wants to push this base to appease issues like your last guest said, about matters of race. This is racial. And that's something that Fox wants to deal with as well.
[22:14:57] So, they're looking at it as different pieces versus the whole picture, the whole plate. And I'm going to say this on the matter of race. The president made a tweet today talked about the infestation of illegal immigrants. That is racial. And you cannot walk around that any kind of way. That's racial.
And listening to civil rights leaders who are against the zero- tolerance -- this zero-tolerance policy, they are saying look, it's racial and not only that, it not just effects Mexicans, it affects people from other nations, to include Haitians, to include those from the Caribbean, Guatemala, Honduras. This is not just about Mexico, so this is a bigger piece. And again, it's about race and it's getting that base to galvanize for the midterms.
LEMON: Infest, whomp, whomp, whomp, that's what we come to, huh. I said disgraceful but there's a much worse word for this. I think probably figure out we're all part of the human race and doesn't seem like some folks are acknowledging that.
RYAN: Yes, yes. A beautiful race of people.
LEMON: Yes, we are. Thank you very much.
MARTIN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: We are going to have much more later in this program about the backlash inside of Fox to the network's coverage of this immigration crisis.
And when we come back, in response to the president's policy separating children from their parents at the border, officials claiming that they are just following the law. But is that really a defense, is it really a defense? There's something you haven't heard, you better stick around, I'm going to talk to the former director of the CIA and the NSA. [22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump made a decision to enforce a zero-tolerance immigration policy, prosecuting 100 percent, 100 percent of all adults caught crossing the border illegally and leaving thousands of desperate children separated from their parents tonight. And the president is doubling down on that brutal policy, even in the face of blistery criticism even comparisons to Nazi Germany.
So joining me now CNN National Security Analyst, General Michael Hayden -- he is a former director of the CIA and NSA. He is also the author of the "The Assault on Intelligence American National Security in an Age of Lies." General Hayden, thank you so much.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Thank you.
LEMON: I've been listening to you and watching you over the last couple of days. And I had to congratulate you on the boldness of your statements, the truth of them, and that you actually also have the courage to come out and say it in these times. So thank you so much for that and thank you for coming on.
So, in response to this separation policy, here's what you tweeted over the weekend. You said, "Other governments have separated mothers and children along with a picture of the entrance of notorious Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camps. And most cities have been reluctant to invoke Nazi Germany with respect to this administration?
Why did you, tell me about it, why did you go that far?
HAYDEN: Sure, I've been there, Don, I've been there several times. And that railroad siding that you saw on the foreground is actually the location where families were separated at Birkenau. And if you walk there you're overwhelmed by the horror of the history of the sight.
I sent that tweet out with that picture, Don, and then I sent a companion tweet out which really I thought had more of the punch line I was intending, which was simply, no one today can walk through that portal that you see behind the railroad siding, walk through that portal and casually believe that civilized behavior is guaranteed.
And that was -- that was the point I was trying to draw. I was trying to emphasize. The veneer of civilization is thin. And we're nowhere near Birkenau, our current government despite all my complaints is nowhere near Nazi. Our needles are not in the red.
But Don, I sat there reflecting on my back porch Saturday. And I just thought the needle is not in the red but it's moving. And it's not moving in a good direction. And as bad as what's happening on the southern border is, it's a symptom of broader trends within our society that frankly, frighten me.
LEMON: The attorney general was asked about the comparison of detention facilities to concentration camps. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, it really exaggeration, of course in Nazi Germany they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country, but this is a serious matter. We need to think it through, be rationale and thoughtful about it. We want to allow asylum for people who qualify for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: How do you respond to that?
HAYDEN: Well, I agree with the attorney general, this is a serious matter and we need to think our way through it. It's clear to me, Don, that the administration did not think its way through the second and third order effects of changing their policy five or six weeks ago.
They were totally unprepared for what happened to the children and then what the American public would think about what happened to the children.
The way I - by the way, Don, you know, I stared at that tweet a long time before I hit send. And what I felt was, the sky is darkening, and I've been -- I've tried to be very patient and understanding about what's been going on for the last couple of years. But I just thought I had to send out a warning flare, to draw attention -- not to say we're Nazi, not to say the president is Hitler, all right, or those poor folks trying to enforce the law at the border are stormtroopers, none of that is true.
But a warning flare that we are moving in the direction. Well, I mean, let me just take off a few things, Don. I mean, should I have waited to send a flare until we had hundreds of people in a torch-like parade chanting blood and soil and Jews will not replace us? Should I have waited until the White House press office look more like the ministry of propaganda. Or should I have waited until the attorney general began to incarcerate the weakest and the most defenseless population group that we could get our hands on?
I mean, that's what I'm talking about, Don. And all of it is based on false information and untruths with regard to who these people are, why they're coming here and the situation along the border.
LEMON: Since I've known you and I had the privilege of interviewing you here on CNN, you have always been very moderated in your comments, and glass half full, positive.
[22:25:09] HAYDEN: Yes.
LEMON: But there's something lately that seems to -- something has triggered something in you that you feel that you must speak out. And I think Wolf Blitzer's question to you were -- was -- I know you answered it -- that you said that you were afraid. But that you're afraid, you're worried?
HAYDEN: Yes. I am. Look, I'm an intelligence officer, all right. People can debate the virtues of the profession. One of things I've experienced is to go to a whole bunch of troubled societies. I usually don't get sent to relate work in or help societies that are tremendously healthy.
I've experienced what happens to civilized people when they lose their touch with civilization. And what about us in North America, Don, guarantees that it can't happen here.
I mean, I'm back at Birkenau at the sighting. Now it's in Poland now but it was in Germany during war, you can't find a more civilized people on earth than the Germans. So don't tell me that we can't slide in that direction. Maybe we don't go there maybe we don't go to that location, maybe we don't go that far, but you know, a lot of things about us are fragile. And frankly, I'm concerned.
LEMON: We go to some bad places. May not be that, but we go to some bad places.
LEMON: I've got to get you -- I've been wanting to since I know that I was going to talk to you today. I've been wanting to show this to you. One of explanations that we're beginning to hear from customs enforcement is that that they are following the law, doing what they're told. Now this is the exchange between Tom Homan, he's the acting head of ICE and Wolf Blitzer. This is earlier. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THOMAS HOMAN, ACTING DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Law enforcement officers we're enforcing laws, we're also law enforcement as we have enforcing laws. If anybody's to blame for that child being taken away is the parent that chose, I'm going to break the law.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Is this new zero-tolerance policy that the president has supported, that the attorney general announced, is it humane?
HOMAN: I think it's the law.
BLITZER: It may be the law--
HOMAN: Look, it's the policy.
BLITZER: But is it humane?
HOMAN: I think it's the law, and I'm law enforcement and I must follow the law, that's our job. Our job is to enforce--
LEMON: So, we cut off there just for the essence of time but it went on for a long time.
LEMON: And I mean, essentially I'm not making fun, it was sort of Homan, Homan, how do I get out of this without actually -- maybe -- to me, it sounded like he did think like it was inhumane and he couldn't say it. So what do you think? Why can't they just -- why can't he answer the question beyond this is an enforcement of policies of law, which is not a law?
HAYDEN: So, Don, I actually watched it live. And I actually felt for the official there trapped into a fair question from Wolf, and trying to defend an indefensible position. You know, a pattern that we've seen in the administration, and it's not just confined to this issue or that officer. A pattern we've seen is you make the lie, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie again and then good people end up being forced to defend the lie. I think that's what we saw here today.
Look, serving in the federal government is hard. I actually had admiration for the president I served other people, I don't think is highly of President Bush, but I did. I can't imagine, Don, being a senior official in this administration. It's hard enough in normal times, and these aren't normal times.
And let me quickly add, I'm talking about the people at the senior political appointee level. I am convinced that the good Americans along the border who have to carry this out are doing it to the best of their ability to do it in a humane fashion.
LEMON: Listen, I have to run. But I do have to say that he doesn't have to defend it. It's not--
HAYDEN: Look, I fully understand, but Don, the dynamic is good people end up doing things that they'll regret.
LEMON: Thank you, General Hayden. Always appreciate your time.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, more comparisons of the president's immigration policy to Nazi Germany coming from a surprising source. The first lady's former immigration attorney. I'm going to ask him about his scathing criticism, next.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So interesting segment coming up, First Lady Melania Trump is keeping her usual low profile -- low profile. She has issued a statement about the families being separated saying she hates to see it, and hopes Congress can find a solution. Her former immigration attorney, his name is Michael Wildes, he is speaking out about the President's policy tonight.
He's the author of the upcoming book, "Safe Haven in America: Battles to Open the Golden Door." We've talked about the Golden Door last. I wonder what the Golden Door looks like now, considering what's happening on our borders.
Thank you, Mr. Wildes for coming in. I appreciate it. So here is what you said earlier today, you called the separation of children from their parents, you said it was inhumane, you said it was reminiscing of Nazi, Germany, of slave trade. Very powerful words. Why do you feel that way?
MICHAEL WILDES, FORMER IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY FOR MELANIA TRUMP: First, thank you for having me.
WILDES: First time on your show, and I'm a big fan. I'm also a big fan of my client, Mrs. Trump and her family, and I represented the President for transparency on all of these immigration affairs for about 15 years.
Look, I am a Jew, an observant Jew, and I am a very proud American. And in my basement, there are photos of my mother, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents who stalled their selves with a letter J on their passports.
And if you eviscerate the J, there was a name Israel by every male, and by every female, that was inscribed on their passport. The notion of separating people is what disturbed me. Don't get me wrong, Don, I'm a family of federal prosecutor, I'm a law professor.
[22:35:03] I don't believe for a moment that any of the law enforcement, ICE. agents are in any way Nazis, they're not just following orders, and so forth. But I do believe that the execution of our immigration laws, and the broken system we have is ill conceived from the Muslim ban to this.
2And it doesn't make a difference to me who my clients are. Today, I can speak up, and I'll be respectful on the attorney-client privilege, on the relationships I have on all the interview that I do. I still need to speak up. I'm a former mayor, and I'm a very proud American. And this is not within the spirit of what our founding documents, and founding fathers and mothers would envision.
LEMON: So, again, you mentioned that the First Lady Melania Trump is a client, right?
LEMON: You represented her on immigration issues -- her immigration issues, right, and with her parents as well?
LEMON: OK. So, she spoke out, and said that she thought it was -- she hates -- I just want to get the quote here, hates to see children separated from their families. Would you like to see her take some action to change this policy?
WILDES: The last five first ladies all came out with statements. I'd like to see our President take action. He is the only one that can take action, so that the orders then would be followed. So, that people can be put together in proceeding. Understand this, the act of coming into America unlawfully is a crime, but the continued presence in the United States isn't.
What's more upsetting to me is the dialogue that deteriorated. The media coverage, every time I'm on other networks where they have people running behind my shoulders climbing walls, the insinuation that everyone with an accent is a potential criminal. And those words we talked about, what we call chain migration, it's family reunification.
LEMON: OK, I'm glad you said that because they use that chain migration.
WILDES: As a negative tone.
LEMON: It's a derogatory --
WILDES: And one of the hallmarks of immigration -- I'm a second generation immigration, where my dad represented to John Lennon in a hallmark case where prosecutorial discretion was discovered against the Nixon administration that tried to selectively prosecute the Beatles.
The notion that families should be torn apart whether it's John Lennon, at the time with Yoko Ono, that were looking for a child that was absconded by a first marriage, or these poor children, we have to get our act together. Our children are watching us. When we fought pirates in the high seas, we didn't throw out the very culture of our community. No reason to ISIS and the war on terrorism should allow the dialogue to deteriorate further.
LEMON: OK, couple things, because you mentioned families. Nor the First Lady's family being torn apart, because didn't her family come over on what they call chain migration or family reunification?
WILDES: The parents are permanent residents, again, unguarded by the attorney-client privilege, it has been reported that they replied for citizenship. It is the normal course of events for people to get a visa, to attempt to get permanent residence, green cards, and then to go for citizenship, the golden grail. And those golden doors need to be hinged open to anybody who comes in lawfully or qualifies based on a family, or an employment delivered.
LEMON: So, let me ask you, in the process that you have just described, is that family reunification?
WILDES: I think so, don't you?
LEMON: OK. I think you just answered my question.
WILDES: Yes. And you want to know something? I'll do it again.
LEMON: Yes. WILDES: And I'll do it tomorrow. And I'll do it as -- you know, I'll do it for people in provocative ways. And our office right now, and we're in several states, you know, we're in overdrive because of the challenges that are going on here.
And I have to tell you that the First Lady and her family are -- how should I say this? They're elegant, they're impressed with quality, and they're getting this thing right. And I just want to read if I can --
LEMON: Before you read that --
LEMON: -- and I'll let you finish. As far as you can answer it, did the First Lady do everything by the book as you know when it comes to immigration?
WILDES: Oh, absolutely. I told her when I met with her, if she hadn't, I couldn't be there for her as a loyal Democrat number one. I'm a former mayor. And number two I wasn't going to advocate if I thought somebody broke the law, and cross the line. I've been physically went through all the papers, and she was pristine, and her parents, and sister, all by the book.
LEMON: All right. Thank you for answering that.
WILDES: So, Mrs. Trump (Inaudible), and so forth, but I want to read something from former chief rabbi, our Lord Sacks. Only once does the Hebrew Bible command us to love our neighbor. You know, in 36 time, it commands us to love the stranger.
And the neighbors are the ones we love because here she is like us, a stranger is when we are taught to love precisely because here she is not like us. Throughout this book Michael shows his love of the stranger and his passion for opening the doors of America to the world.
LEMON: And this is from the First Lady?
WILDES: No, this is from Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi, who is also a client of our office.
[22:40:00] LEMON: I thought that she --
WILDES: She also gave a blurb, and then people have to get it --
LEMON: She did give a blurb, and she supported -- she supports it.
WILDES: Right. But the bottom line is, our doors need to be hinged open. We have these foreign students that are on boarding into the work force. We need to not shoot ourselves in the foot. We need to embrace people in harm's way, so that they can do every job from television studios to pulling blueberries in Georgia. We need all hands on deck. And now is the time to invest, and not be intimidated, so we'll invest more thoroughly.
WILDES: But that's what's our Gold Doors are about.
LEMON: I am in a major time crunch here. If you can just answer, there is a way to have zero tolerance -- a zero tolerance immigration policy, and not rip children away from their parents?
WILDES: Absolutely. You can keep them all in the same proceeding. Just because the parents are now going into criminal federal court, doesn't mean that we lose our hospitality. Back to the Bible, Abraham greets strangers, he just circumcised, he washes their feet. We have to walk with zeal to welcome the stranger. It's just a mandate, it's really part of out DNA's as Americans.
LEMON: So this whole idea that they say it's a binary choice, it's one or the other. It's either open --
WILDES: It's election -- it's election stuff.
WILDES: Let's look at the big picture.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you.
LEMON: Pleasure having you on as well. When we come back, sources telling CNN the President's former fixer is willing to give investigators information on the President. So just how worried should the President be tonight.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight, a source tells CNN that Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal attorney, is willing to give investigators information about the President. I want to bring in now CNN Justice Correspondent, Evan Perez. Evan, welcome to the program. Thank you so much.
I want to talk to you about this new information that you have tonight about the President's long-time lawyer or fixer, both, because he calls himself a fixer as well. He is lawyering up, and he is considering whether to cooperate with prosecutors. What are you learning about that?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, he's hired new lawyers -- a lawyer by the name of Guy Petrillo who is a criminal attorney here in New York. He previously was represented by some lawyers out of Washington.
And really, Don, I think this means that there's going to be a new legal strategy. And we're hearing from people who are close to Michael Cohen. He's been telling friends that he's got a story to tell. And if prosecutors want to hear from him, he's willing to talk. He wants to tell whatever he knows.
LEMON: So, what does that mean for his loyalty? Is there a new information about that? Is he going to stay loyal with the President?
PEREZ: Right. I think that's the signal. And look, I think what Michael Cohen is doing is essentially signaling that he's up for the highest bidder, right? And he's willing to talk to prosecutors. He's telling prosecutors, hey, if you, guys, want to give me a deal, I'm willing to sit down and talk to you.
By the way, we don't even know if prosecutors want to offer him some kind of deal or some kind of plea agreement. And then he's also signaling to the President who he feels let down by. He feels that the President essentially has abandoned him, and he's looking at millions of dollars in legal payments if he doesn't find some kind of way to pay for this.
LEMON: Do you remember during the campaign when Rudy Giuliani said that there's a big surprise coming, right? But there's like -- so there are some new questions being raised about that. Tell us why and put it in context.
PEREZ: Well, it's clear now that the FBI has been investigating the Inspector General, the Justice Department is investigation this very question. And originally, just a couple days before the election, essentially, I raised the question that there was going to be spme surprises coming.
And then, of course, there was a surprise from Comey who told Congress that he was reopening the Hillary Clinton investigation. So, Giuliani says that he was interviewed on February 28th. And he said, you know, that he didn't know anything special from the FBI agents. He says that he was simply speculating.
LEMON: Always something. Thank you, Evan Perez.
LEMON: I appreciate you on the new reporting tonight. When we come back, team Trump's latest strategy to distract and deflect from the immigration mess on our southern border. Why they're calling for the President to fire Jeff Sessions?
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani telling CNN he was interviewed by the Justice Department earlier this year about comments he made about Hillary Clinton just before the 2016 election. So I want to talk about this now with Jack Quinn, he is a former White House Counsel for President Clinton, and CNN Legal Analyst, Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor.
Gentlemen, good to have you on. Renato, you're up first. President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani raised new questions today, when you said that he was interviewed by the Justice Department about the Inspector General, about a comment -- remember the comment he made during the election where he was predicting this surprise on Hillary Clinton much reported about on this program, you say this could be a big problem for Giuliani. Why do you say that?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, a couple of things. First of all, this was certainly consequential if you read the inspector general's report that came out. You know, Comey and others were believed that agents in the New York field office were leaking information.
They believed that they were anti-Clinton, they were trying to help the Trump campaign. That was a widespread belief amongst Comey, and Loretta Lynch, and others. And, you know, leaking grand jury material is a crime. It's one of the rare things that is a crime, usually, leaking is not a crime. It's protected by the First Amendment, but if you obtain something first via grand jury subpoena, and then you leak it, that's a crime. That can be an issue for those -- for those agents.
LEMON: OK. So I want to play, this is what Rudy Giuliani said. This is October 2016. This is what's come under question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LAWYER: He's got a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days. I mean -- I mean, I'm talking about some pretty big surprises.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard you say that this morning. What did you mean?
GIULIANI: You'll see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You guys remember that, right? So, Jack, the suspicion has been that people in the FBI New York field office may have leaked the surprise information to Giuliani. What is their exposure legally speaking if that is so?
JACK QUINN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, you know, as Renato just pointed out they have significant exposure. I don't think Rudy necessarily has that exposure, except that I wish I had been able to hear him in his interview with the Special Counsel's office.
Because reportedly, you know, he said he was speculating. The clip you just played does not suggest that he was speculating at all, but rather that he had pretty hard information that this was coming. But, look, I don't know. You don't know, and we can be pretty certain that Bob Mueller either does know, or will know. LEMON: Well, I was going to play it again, but we don't have time.
What do you mean when he goes ha, ha you'll see.
LEMON: I mean, to me this is some speculation. But anyway, that's what's gears now here. I want to talk about President Trump re- election campaign manager, Brad Parscale. Here is what he tweeted out today, and this is for you, Renatto. He says time to fire Sessions in the Mueller investigation. You can't obstruct something that was phony against you. The I.G. report gives Donald Trump the truth to end it all.
So sources are telling our Dana Bash that this is part of a new strategy by Parscale and other GOP operatives who are tearing their hair out over the immigration fallout. They think it's better to talk about the I.G. report.
[22:55:02] You say that this isn't going to help them.
MARIOTTI: Well, I will say -- first of all, I've got to say, Don, it's interesting to me because who would think that having the President focus his attention on his own criminal investigation would be a good thing, right? It tells you something about the pickle that they're in right now.
But will also -- I've also got to say, you know, their strategy, I think part of the reason that they're willing to do that is the strategy has been working for them. They've been turning public opinion away from Mueller and his investigation. We've seen the poll numbers go down for Mueller.
And I think that what's going to be -- what they're concerned about, and their focused on is a concern about a report from Mueller saying that the President obstructed justice, which is what I expect Mueller to issue.
And when that happens, they're going to make sure that GOP and Congress do not -- do not, you know, vote for impeachment. The problem for them is Jeff Sessions is very popular in Congress amongst Republicans, so this could really backfire for them, the strategy of attacking Sessions.
QUINN: Especially coming on the heels of this mess at the border. I mean, this Senate like the House, these folks are irritated with the White House.
LEMON: Jack, let me give this to you, because Giuliani -- Giuliani's responding to Parscale's tweet. He told the Daily Beast that he prefer if the President's political team would stop demanding he fired his attorney general, adding, I wish they'd sit back and keep quiet for a while. I mean, even the President's own lawyer thinks it's a bad strategy here.
QUINN: Yes, and Rudy hasn't been saying all that many things that I at least have agree with. In fact, I'm trying hard to think of one that I agree with before this. I think this is just a terrible idea. I think, frankly, the campaign manager didn't get off to a good start in terms of demonstrating political acumen.
I think to now turn around and suggest that Sessions be fired, he's popular in the Senate, who does he think is going to be confirmed in Sessions' place? We have a long history of seeing how well these firings turn out from, you know, Richard Nixon to the firing of James Comey. You can't fire your way out of these things. That's the lesson.
LEMON: Jack, Renato, thank you. I appreciate it.
QUINN: You're welcome.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. It's a little past 11:00 here on the east coast. Actually 11:00 here on the east coast. We are live with new developments.