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Fresh Face in Politics Won the Election; Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Travel Ban; Russian Pop Star Trolls President Trump In New Video; FBI Agent Who Criticized Trump Will Speak To Congress. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired June 26, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We were just -- when we just saw each other a few minutes ago, it hadn't come over yet. But now there is a projected winner in the district here in New York. It is the 11th -- New York 11th primary.
This young woman, very young, up start, newcomer is going to upset a 10-term incumbent. And this is on the Democratic side. Chris, we've been paying so much attention to the Republican side.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Sure.
LEMON: We were talking about here in New York, we're talking Mitt Romney, as well, but maybe do you think we should be paying more attention to the Democratic side?
CUOMO: A hundred percent. Because they have to figure out what their messages that will be presented as better for voters than what they're getting from Trump right now. They can't just win on hostility, they're seeing that in real-time. Joe Crowley, who they project will lose this primary--
CUOMO: -- he's a 10-termer, right?
CUOMO: So that's 20 years, the woman who is about to land --
LEMON: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
CUOMO: -- is 28.
CUOMO: Which means he was in office almost this long as she's been alive. What does that mean for the party?
CUOMO: What is being made manifest. We'll see. LEMON: The last time he saw a primary, again,, as I told you in the
tease she was a teenager. But it's interesting, because Democrats used to think in order to win over -- at least meaning in recent history since Trump has won -- in order to win over the working class, you know, the folks they lost during the Obama years, they believe they would have to somehow become a little bit more conservative. But I don't know if that's the right strategy when you consider whose been winning these races when there have been primaries, Democratic primaries.
CUOMO: Over history you see that all parties have to get back to the fundamentals of the three R's, reach, which is how you get your base out and how you get people out, OK, reason to believe, what is your message that elevates people. Especially important for Democrats. And rationale.
CUOMO: Why is it better than now? How do they make that case? Who makes that case? Big questions. They've got to check those books.
LEMON: Thank you, sir. I won't tell them what your nickname is from your brother, that's why I'm talking to you about all this stuff, but I'll save that.
CUOMO: Every time you bring him up, you just put a frown on my face, Don. Get back to news, brother. Get back to news.
LEMON: See you tomorrow. Have a good night, my friend.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
As we said we have some breaking news for you. Its primary night in America, votes cast in states around the country, including New York where a major upset is happening right now.
Here's what CNN can project, that Congressman Joe Crowley, a member of the Democratic House leadership team, who could have been speaker, has lost to a Democratic socialist, Andrea Ocasio-Cortez.
This is a race that will have major implications for the Democrats nationally. And we're going to take it to Utah tonight, polls have just closed in Mitt Romney's run for the Senate. We're going to bring you all the results as we get them. So make sure you stay right here.
This is all as the president of the United States is claiming victory as the Supreme Court upholds his travel ban. The third version of a ban that was a signature Trump campaign promise. The third version of it. It restricts people from Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Venezuela from entering the United States.
Most of those countries are Muslim majority. Well, today's ruling, is validation for the president who was forced to cave last week on immigration, but has repeatedly call for some version of travel ban since the early days of his campaign. This ruling is proof positive that elections have consequences. And
that brings us back to our breaking election news tonight. We are going to get stated there at breaking news.
This primary night, CNN's Senior Political Writer, Harry Enten here with me. And CNN White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins also joins us, and our chief political correspondent Dana Bash is going to join us in just a moment. So thank you all for joining us. Good evening to you. So Harry, this is a big upset, what's going on?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: This is a huge upset. Nobody thought that Joe Crowley was going down. Yes, there was some noise on the left that there was going to be a challenge. The intercept really got behind Joe Crowley's progressive challenger.
But there was no sense that this was going on. But this is a not an isolated incident. In the ninth district of New York in that Clarke is in a lot of trouble tonight, in Maryland Governor Ben Jealous who is the left wing candidate in that race is doing particularly well.
So it does seem that there was some argument before tonight that there wasn't a lot of energy on the progressive side of the Democratic Party, there certainly was this evening.
LEMON: So let's talk -- let's talk about her a little more, OK, Harry? Because she is running obviously to his left, right?
LEMON: To Crowley's left. It says even with universal healthcare, federal jobs guarantees and abolition of ICE headlining her demands, Crowley has a formidable liberal record to lean on. So, she is young, but--
ENTEN: She is young, she's also a minority candidate in a district that is now majority minority, she's a woman in the year of a woman. But to me it's amazing that Joe Crowley didn't have a fire in the fence, right. He was a very liberal congressman but he wasn't liberal enough.
LEMON: Yes. What does this say you about -- say to you about this? I saw you just before the show and you said this is big we are paying attention to what has happened is that announce, especially because of Grimm and Grimm going to jail and all of that. Should we be -- same question I asked Chris just moments ago -- should we be paying for attention do you think to Democratic primaries instead of so much focus on the Republicans?
[22:05:05] ENTEN: Absolutely. I mean, look, Democrats have been shouting (ph) taking control in November but more than just for this year, I think it's a preview of the 2020 primary season the presidential race, and it could be a lot of energy on the left. And it does seem to me that you can't be against Trump. You have to stand for something at least in the primaries tonight.
LEMON: He ranks fourth among House Democrats and it was said that he could take over for Nancy Pelosi.
ENTEN: Exactly. He definitely could have given how much trouble she is. And remember, Eric Cantor lost his primary about four years ago tonight. This is that. What that was on the Republican side. This is on the Democratic side. It's huge.
LEMON: All right. I want to get to Kaitlan Collins now. Kaitlan, you know, it is a big night for the president because in two races in Staten Island and in South Carolina the candidate that the president threw his weight behind came out ahead.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's true and this is a test of the president's endorsement. Because so far he's had mixed reviews when he's done that. And we heard a little bit from the president on that last night when he was in South Carolina at that rally for Governor McMaster, trying to get out those last-minute votes.
And the White House has really put their full weight behind him. Not only was Trump there but Vice President Mike Pence had been there over the weekend. So that was really an indication of what really that was going to mean for the president.
And the president tried to couch it last night by saying that if McMaster did lose, it was going to make the president look bad and the press was going to say it was a test of his endorsement which would have been. So he was telling people to get out and vote in order for that that would not happen.
But McMaster is someone who is an early very loyal supporter of the president. Of course, he became governor when the president picked Nikki Haley to become the United Nations ambassador, so that is how that went.
But truly the president going there. He's already tweeting about his projected victory tonight. The president doesn't typically tweet this late at night, co clearly he is pleased with the results of that race there. And it does seem to bode well for the president in his mind going forward when he does go and throw his weight behind someone there.
You can see there, he is saying, "A tremendous win for Congressman Dan Donovan." Someone the president endorsed earlier this year saying that he had voted for his tax cuts which he did not. Kind of an embarrassing tweet there.
But the president saying he showed great courage in a tough race. Now this race was interesting, Don, because of course people thought that Dan Donovan's opponent was someone who is more like President Trump than Dan Donovan. So they were -- or that he was the more Trump-like candidate that would appeal to the president's base more often.
But the re the president clearly expressing some pleasure, he's very happy with the results of these two races here tonight.
LEMON: Yes, that was a pretty fast tweet, Kaitlan. Let's bring Dana in now. Dana, what does this mean for the 2018, for so-called blue wave? Can we read anything in here?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, obviously at this point in the night, the most stunning election result is what we've seen from Representative Joe Crowley. The fact that he has been defeated from within his own party, a Democratic leader defeated from within his own party from the left.
Now, this is something that we have seen for a decade among Republicans. Leaders and others who have been in office for many, many years being much more worried about their right blank than anything else.
Obviously, as we've heard from our colleagues that since a sentiment and sensibility has been growing inside the Democratic Party, but nothing is going to shock. And already I can tell you from talking to sources inside the House Democratic caucus; it already is sending major shock waves through their ranks.
Because this is Joe Crowley is the conference chairman in charge of messaging and much more importantly, up until an hour ago, he was somebody who was very seriously considering and considered for potentially the speaker of the house.
So, that's why this is incredibly symbolic and also a real wake-up call for Democrats. Tonight, not just in New York, not just in Washington, but frankly, around the country.
LEMON: So let's talk about, Dana, why you're there. Obviously we want you on the breaking news. But I see a Romney sign behind you. Tell us what's happening in Utah right now.
BASH: Yes. That's right. Meanwhile, in the Republican Party, I am in Utah, you see this picturesque scenery behind me. It is because the Republican nominee in 2012 for president, Mitt Romney, who is now considered as establishment as a guest, he is hoping that he's going to be able to claim victory in his primary here tonight, Don.
This is actually something that he didn't expect -- nobody in his family or anywhere else expect it, but when Orrin Hatch, the long-time serving senator from Utah announced he was going to retire, he asked Romney to consider running for his seat, and he is.
[22:10:02] And this is something that is incredibly significant. Because when we're talking about the splits within each party, this is probably as kind of iconic as it gets.
Because you, of course remember Mitt Romney went after Donald Trump in the heat and the heart of the Republican primary season, calling him a phony and a fraud, since at least certainly when the president was elected, he was considered for secretary of state. So he's gone back and forth. 2
But the main reason Mitt Romney wants to go back to Washington is because he feels like there needs to be a voice in that wing of the Republican Party. And I think I hear one of Mitt Romney's sons starting to speak behind me. So, I'll toss it back to you. LEMON: OK. Dana, stand by. Thank you very much for that. I hate to
keep jumping around. I want to brink Harry back in now. Harry, let's talk a little bit more about the Democrats because I'm wondering what is this going to mean for the future of the party come 2020.
Because there's people have been lamenting about the lack of leadership in the Democratic Party. And I'm just wondering if this race in New York here, is that some indication that we are going to be looking at the whole -- or at least a lot of possibilities some new folks?
ENTEN: I think we could be looking at a lot of new folks and a lot of younger folks. I mean, Joe Crowley is sort of the young person in the Democratic leadership. Nancy Pelosi who is obviously the leader of the Democrats right now in the House is getting up there in age. Chuck Schumer is not a young man, either.
I think that there's a lot of energy, not just on the left side of the party but among young people. And tonight, obviously in the 14th where you have a 28-year-old Latina woman fighting and looking like she has won that race, it indicates to me that there's a lot of balls going on jumping in the air right now, and I think that it could be a very, very interesting time ahead.
LEMON: Does this say to you in some instance, and maybe on a micro level, it could be macro, that Democrats, especially the strongest part of the party right now, I would imagine, there was resistance in the progressive part of the party, they really want people to fight back against this administration and its policies.
ENTEN: I think that's definitely the case. Although I should say we should point out that there are differences within the resistance, right? There's plenty of resistance that's not necessarily that far to the left. But this is definitely a sign that the left wing of the progressive wing of the party is very, very strong and they want a seat at the table.
LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, Harry. Thank you, Dana. Thanks, Kaitlan. I appreciate it.
When we come back, much more on our breaking news tonight. A major upset in New York, CNN projects Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year- old running for her first campaign she has defeated 10-term incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley in New York's 14th. The most shocking upset of a relocking political season.
Plus, President Trump's travel ban may be watered down. He said so himself, but it's still a win.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Here's our breaking news tonight, and there's no other way of putting it. This is the most shocking upset of this political season. CNN projects a progressive political activist has defeated a member of the House Democratic leadership in New York's 14th. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez, a 28-year-old running her first campaign beating 10-term incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley. I just -- it's unbelievable, you want to talk about it.
Let's bring in now former Congressman David Jolly. He is a Florida Republican, also CNN Political Commentators, Scott Jennings and Angela Rye. So here we are on another election/primary night and wow, there's a lot going on. So, Angela, give me your reaction to this. I mean, Joe Crowley, he was like fourth among House Democrats losing today losing.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, he's the chair of the Democratic caucus. I think one of the things that we're seeing, it really reminds me of that 2010 election, you know, going into the 2010 election when you saw the tea party really rise and say that they're taking their country back, and whatever, you know, what's behind that, we don't have to debate right now.
But I think the interesting thing is, people really start battling with the identity of a party. So you're seeing folks saying you're not liberal enough, you're not progressive enough or you don't recognize their support or represent my value system anymore. And so we're going to bring people who do.
And I think you're going to see that a lot more, not just within the Democratic party ranks between liberals and more with liberal or more progressive, but also along racial lines. I mean, you're seeing that with (Inaudible) freshly race in Boston as well. So I think you're going to see more of this.
LEMON: Hey, before I bring the other guys in, I just want to ask you this. Do you think that that strategy, Angela, seems to be working in a bunch of local, and maybe even some state races? But what about on a national level, do you think nationally people are going to say, OK, at least for Democrats, we want to country to be more progressive and have more liberal value rather than sort of trying to reach out to the people that everyone said missed last time during the 2016?
RYE: Sure. Well, I think this is -- this is a race that is any congressional district certainly has national implications, you talked on the fact that Joe Crowley is in congressional leadership so that has national implication.
I also point to two state races right now that I think folks have watch very closely, the Georgia gubernatorial with Stacy Adams who ran against Stacy Evans who now will be up against two very, very conservative folks. Their run-off is coming up who supported Trump.
And then you also have the Florida gubernatorial race where Andrew Gillum has just pulled ahead. And I think you're going -- again, we're seeing more of that. There are historical implications there as well. Two African-American candidates, they too would become the first African-American women governor in the history of the United States in 2018.
LEMON: So, David, what do you think of this upset here in New York? What do you think this means for Democrats and for Nancy Pelosi?
FORMER REP. DAVID JOLLY (R), FLORIDA: Sure, look, I think both parties are having hard family conversations right now. And the reality is in the last two years the Republican family conversation has been in the spotlight and it should have been because of Donald Trump's leadership and his tone, and how we've seen the division within the Republican Party.
But Democrats are facing a hard time as well, right. Do you take the progressive wing, do you take the Elizabeth Warren wing. Do you take the Joe Biden and how do we win the fly over state's wing, that is a -- that is a hard formula for Democrats to work through.
And the reality is immediately after the November elections that's going to be on full display.
Look, Donald Trump has disrupted the Republican Party in a historically bad way. And it's one in which the party might not recover.
[22:19:56] The Democrats don't suffer from the same extremism, if you will. But they do face a challenge of how do you define a party going into the next two years. We saw that tonight in Joe Crowley's race.
LEMON: All right. So let's talk, Scott, let's talk a little bit more about this. What kind of message -- first of all, your overall thoughts -- but I also want to know what kind of message does this send to Republicans in this race?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, in the case of this New York race where Crowley goes down, this might surprise you to hear me say this but I'd like to let Angela keep talking. Because the more liberal these Democrats get that within these primaries.
I mean, if this Crowley race is any foreshadowing for the 2020 Democrat primary for president, Donald Trump is going to win 49 states. There's no possible way to nominate people this far left and expect them to beat a national election. You might compete the congressional district.
JOLLY: Come on.
JENNINGS: She is way out of touch.
RYE: So, I'm not sure --
LEMON: Well that was it. Hang on, Angela. Hang on. That was the reason I asked you a question where I said, does it work on the local and state level but how does that play nationally. But go on. I didn't mean to cut you off. Go on.
RYE: You know, there are a couple of things here. One is I think that David raised some really good points about the identity of the Democratic Party. And you just brought up Nancy Pelosi.
And one of the things that I would say is I think what happened today and or yesterday was Congressman Maxine Waters who many of us call Queen Maxine or Auntie Maxine, who is a celebrated hero, right, of not just Democrats but progressive and how she's been treated by congressional leadership both in the Senate and the House is really demonstrative of the type of value you have going on.
You have the DNC chair, Tom Perez who surely after was, you know, sad. They're not going to endorse in any races, endorsed in a gubernatorial primary in New York. So, we're running into the same mistakes over and over again.
I'm supposed to having a family conversation on the big screen, Scott. I'm going to tell the party that I've traditionally supported the truth. I don't believe in lying to make people feel better like some of the Trump supporters do.
LEMON: OK. So I need to put this up. This is for you, David. And let's put it up on the screen here if you haven't have the chance to see it either. This is the president says, "Wow, big Trump hater Congressman Joe Crowley who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi's place just lost his primary election, in other words he's out. This is a big one that nobody saw happening, and perhaps he should have been nicer and more respectful to his president."
So, he lost because Donald Trump doesn't feel that he was nice enough to him.
JOLLY: Look, it's nonsense. It's nonsense. And the Republican candidate on Long Island who endorsed Trump Michael Grimm also lost. Somebody who embraces baits with immigration like this president.
JOLLY: And here people will unite Democrats, and it is the theme of the moment the story of the moment. This is a president who has defined the Republican Party not through divisiveness, not through fear but through hatred, right. This is a party who you can draw a direct line by the president from the Central Park Five to calling Mexicans rapist and criminals. From saying we're not going to allow Muslims in the country, and Haitians have AIDS.
This is a president who injects hatred and divisiveness into the country. And so, as a result of that Democrat have a much better likelihood of surviving their family conversation than Republicans do. Because Democrats can win the suburban moms in Virginia and the suburban communities across the country. Republicans have lost those which is why Republicans are looking at doom in November.
LEMON: All right. That's going to be the last word. Thank you all. I appreciate it.
RYE: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, President Trump claiming victory as a Supreme Court upholds his travel ban, the third version of the ban. That was a signature Trump campaign promise, the third version of it. Is it vindication for the president who just last week was forced to cave on the immigration?
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump curling at the Supreme Court hands him a big win today on his travel ban, just one week after he was forced to cave on immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Today, Supreme Court ruling just coming out, a tremendous success, a tremendous victory for the American people, and for or Constitution. This is a great victory for our Constitution. We have to be tough and we have to be safe and we have to be secure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So I want to bring in now CNN's Chief Legal Analyst, Mr. Jeffrey Toobin, the author of "American Heiress," and CNN Political Commentator, Matt Lewis. Good evening, gentlemen. A lot of news to cover tonight.
I just want to put this up. This came out from "The New York Times" scathing editorial, Jeff. And here's the headline. "Bigoted and feckless. The travel ban is pure Trump." And they write this to say, "White racial fear has always been at the core of Mr. Trump's world view. What's so dangerous about Tuesday's ruling is that the Supreme Court has now implicitly blessed his use of this strategy as a politically organizing tool and a governing philosophy."
What's your analysis of this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, we're going to be talking about the Supreme Court ruling 25 years from now, 50 years from now. And the real question here is, are we going to let presidents use the subterfuge to hide racial bigotry and hide ethnic bigotry. Because I think everybody knows that this was the Muslim ban dressed up in a tutu.
LEMON: Well, you said subterfuge, I don't know how much of it and how subtle it was. I mean.
TOOBIN: Well, as the Supreme Court majority said repeatedly. If you look at the document itself, the travel ban itself, they never say Muslim, they include Venezuela and South -- and North Dakota -- North Korea, which are not Muslim countries.
But, if you look at how this document came about and how this policy came about and the basis for it, it is the Muslim ban.
TOOBIN: And the Supreme Court said, that's OK, even though they even knew. Even the majority knew how biggoted the impulse was. Sonia Sotomayor for the defense said, let's not kid around, we know why this rule was issued, why this directive became government law.
TOOBIN: And they'll -- but you only have four votes.
LEMON: And the president himself called it a Muslim ban in the beginning by the way.
TOOBIN: Sure did.
[22:29:58] LEMON: OK. So Matt, you know, we heard the president, I mean, he is vicious tonight on this travel ban. Jonathan Swan over at the Axios tweeted that Steve Bannon texted him unprompted following the Supreme Court decision. There it is up there on the screen. He said, "Travel ban vindication a big deal for his psyche -- reinforces his instincts are right and the haters are wrong."
His instincts are right, and the haters are wrong. Does this reinforce the President's instincts, Matt?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it does. Look, this is -- it is something they've tried to do in January when Steve Bannon was there. The roll out was a debacle. It took him three -- this is like passing the bar on your third time -- your third test. Like, are you going to really celebrate it that much? Maybe go out and have a beer. It's not a huge victory.
The third time, it took him a year and a half to do it. I would say, I think that the bigger victory is for the Supreme Court, who I think actually got this right. I was actually happy to see their job is not to divide what Donald Trump's original motivates were.
Nor is their job to decide whether or not this is a good policy. Their job is to interpret the constitution, the President has wide latitude on this, and if you look at the actual order at the actual travel ban, which, as you noted earlier includes North Korea, and Venezuela --
LEMON: That wasn't in the original -- that wasn't in the original.
LEWIS: They made the right call, and I'm happy to see that.
TOOBIN: You know, I think I disagree with ever word you said, Matt, including the ands, and the thes (ph), and everything else. I think it is a huge victory for Donald Trump, and I think he's going to take it that way. And he's going to keep pushing immigration. He's going to keep pushing on the Mexican border.
This is the issue that made him President of the United States. I think he believes that, and he's going to continue to use it in the most divisive way possible. I think unlike Matt, it is a shameful moment for the Supreme Court because they are the last word on what we -- what kind of country we are, and it's an embarrassment.
LEMON: Well, this is a big issue, this is why people --
LEWIS: They're job is to interpret the constitution, and what the order is. Not to try -- look, I agree. I think that Donald Trump's original motivates, the first time he issued this order, which by the way has changed. I mean, originally, there were U.S. citizens who couldn't come into the country.
People who had visas who couldn't get back into the country, it has changed. Their job is to look at the travel ban as it currently exists. And it doesn't -- it doesn't target people based on religion, it target people -- excludes people based on what country they come from. You and I may not think that's a good policy, but it's certainly a legitimate thing for the president to do.
TOOBIN: This is like the argument that, well it doesn't ban every Muslim majority country, it doesn't ban Indonesia, it doesn't ban Pakistan. That's like saying, well, if you robbed some banks, but not all the banks. So you are innocent.
LEWIS: You should be a Muslim person coming from London, or Paris, or many other countries, it doesn't -- it doesn't --
TOOBIN: That's right. This has to do with North Korea, Yemen, countries that I think we would agree actually are unstable, and probably aren't doing a great job of vetting immigrants as they come in.
LEMON: I got to get this in because I want to ask you, because your book "The Nine," right? You wrote about this. What does this say about Justice Kennedy because, (Inaudible), or anything, is he going to announce something that he's going to be retiring?
TOOBIN: Well, tomorrow's the -- tomorrow's the big day. You know, it is not required for Supreme Court justices to announce their retirement on the last day of the term. But tomorrow is the last day of the term, that's customary, Anthony Kennedy is 81, he's a Republican. He might want to turn his seat over to a Republican president.
But the concurrent opinion he issued was pretty hostile to the way Donald Trump has conducted himself. He talked about how -- you know, even if it's not unconstitutional, public officials should be careful of how they express themselves. It had a good deal of contempt for the president --
LEMON: -- should be held in check as well.
TOOBIN: Right. Although, you know, he gave -- his vote was the one that gave Trump the victory, I thought it should suggest -- and I don't want to pretend that I know what's going to happen tomorrow about the retirement. I thought I suggested that Kennedy was going to hang around for at least another year.
LEMON: Jeffrey, Matt, thank you very much. I appreciate it. When we come back, an important investigation in the Russia investigation I will tell you about. We're going to tell you what a judge is saying about criminal charges against the former Trump campaign chairman, talking about Paul Manafort. Plus, the Russian pop star at the center of that infamous Trump Tower
meeting releasing a music video that sure seems to be controlling the president. You got to see this.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Major developments to tell you about in the Russian investigation today, and it is a big legal set back, bigger for Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman. Let's discuss now, CNN Political Correspondent, Sara Murray joins us. Sarah, good evening to you. Federal judge has denied a request by Paul Manafort to dismiss criminal charges against him in Virginia. Tell us more about the ruling.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was basically arguing that the Special Counsel didn't have the authority to bring these charges against him in Virginia.
And what was interesting about this case is this judge actually looked like sort of the most sympathetic figure to Paul Manafort's plight in recent months. You know, he actually said a couple of months ago that it appeared that prosecutors were essentially just using Paul Manafort to try to get to Donald Trump.
And these comments stuck out. It's frankly the one kind of ray of hope for Paul Manafort. But they stuck out so much that even the President himself latched on to that them, and pointed them out, used to insist that Mueller's investigation was in fact a witch hunt.
But today, Paul Manafort got another blow when the judge decided that this trial could more forward, it now means that Manafort is preparing for trials in D.C., as well as in Virginia. Prosecutors have brought roughly 25 criminal charges against him.
And if he is convicted, he would face more than 300 years in prison. He's still pleading not guilty, insisting he is going to fight his way to trial, Don.
LEMON: Wow. OK. More news in the Russia investigation, now there is a new music video, Sarah, released by a Russian pop star with a notorious connection to the Trump family, and the Russian investigation.
[22:40:06] So tell us about the video and the man behind it.
MURRAY: Well, Don, the Russian investigation has brought together an interesting cast of characters, and now a music video, if you can believe that. This is the Russian pop star who helped to facilitate this now infamous meeting at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign. And it's hard to describe this video as anything other than trolling President Trump.
MURRAY: The Russian pop star who helped facilitate the 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and the Russians at Trump Tower, taking a cheeky jab at President Trump.
MURRAY: Emin Agalarov's new music video, titled Got Me Good, features a risky round of encounters with Trump family looked alike. From Agalorov and a Trump impersonator partying in a hotel room with bikini-clad women to a fake Ivanka Trump accepting a mysterious brief case from Agalorov.
MURRAY: Agalorov, the son of a billionaire Russian real-estate developer came under scrutiny for encouraging his publicist Rob Goldstone to contact Trump Jr. about a meeting with a Russian lawyer offering up dirt on Hillary Clinton.
If it's what you say I love it, Trump junior replied. It culminated in a June 2016 meeting, including top Trump officials like Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. One year later, after meeting came to life, it sparked a deeper dive into Trump's year long relationship with the Agalorovs.
Back in 2013, the real Trump partied with the Agalorovs when they helped Trump bring the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow. The music video nudged to the salacious, but unproved claims about Trump's activities on the trip, documented in the dossier that is dogged the president.
The images of a Trump impersonator, along side the scantily dressed women in the hotel room, particularly adjusted after Trump's longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller testified to lawmakers that he rejected an offer from Agalorov's circle to send women to Trump's Moscow hotel room during the trip.
At the time, Trump declared the Russia trip a success, tweeting at the elder Agalorov, I had a great weekend with you and your family. You have done a fantastic job. Trump Tower Moscow is next, and it was wow.
The project never came to fruition, but has emerged as another area of interest in the Mueller probe. Grant with raising references, the three minute music video features full appearances from Hillary Clinton, porn star Stormy Daniels, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as a shadowy figure of Trump's encounters apparently all under surveillance, he edited Trump out of the footage. All of this under the watchful eye of none other than a look alike of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
MURRAY: Now, Don, I'm not sure if that that is going to be the pop hit of the summer. But it does give you just the latest indication of how President Trump cannot escape the investigation that he calls a witch hunt even when it comes to music videos.
LEMON: That was some good trolling, Sarah. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Let's bring now CNN Counterterrorism Analyst, Philip Mudd, who worked for both FBI and the CIA, and Michael Isikoff, the Chief Investigative Correspondent for Yahoo! News, who is c-author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. You have to laugh -- good evening to you guys.
LEMON: You know, you call this a very bizarre music video, right? But what's the significance beyond just how strange it is, and trolling it is?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Well, it certainly is bizarre. I mean, the real question is, what the message that Emin Agalarov us trying to communicate here?
Because -- I mean, some of those lines, I wish you could be honest, I wished you had told me the truth, suggest that the Agalarov's, who are so key on the whole Russia story believe that Trump may have been some way, betrayed them or promised something that he didn't deliver.
That's certainly one interpretation. Another interpretation here is that Emin Agalarov is just truly trying to exploit the Russia scandal for his own personal profit to get attention from this video --
LEMON: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. There we go.
ISIKOFF: -- to get attention for his music career. And I think that's probably the one we should rely on for the moment, absent further evidence.
LEMON: I'm sure you heard the sound effectives, I think you hit right on it.
LEMON: That was me with the bell. So let's put up some of the video and show a little bit more of this because it shows him hanging out with the shady -- you know, shady meeting with impersonators of Trump, Ivanka, Stormy, Hillary Clinton.
While handing over mysterious briefcases, and then envelopes, you just heard, he is no stranger to the Trump family. Why do you think he's mocking the President?
[22:45:00] Do you think it's just for -- he's exploiting it for his own gain, or do you think there is some other message?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There is no message here. I get to do pop culture on CNN. This is the highlight of my career. Let's cut to the chase about what this is because it's not very complicated. This is Kim Kardashian meets a Kremlin. This guy is saying, how do I make a career in pop culture.
Let me see how many hits I can get not only on YouTube, or Instagram, or whatever heck of this, from Facebook, or Myspace. I don't know what this is on. This is about somebody saying, I want to get hit, so I can increase notoriety.
If we're trying to over interpret this to say there is some deep dark political message beyond mimicking the P-Tapes that are so famous, I don't 2think it's true. I think this guy is just trying to make a name in my pop culture interpretation, this is not very deep. That's it.
LEMON: Let's take a break on that one. We'll bring these guys back after this. More to discuss.
LEMON: An FBI agent who sent disparaging texted about President Trump to a colleague set to answer questions behind closed doors from Congress tomorrow.
Back with me now, Philip Mudd, and Michael Isikoff. So, Michael, Peter Strzok, that's who we're talking about, dues in Capitol Hill tomorrow. He's that agent -- the FBI agent who exchanged text messages with Lisa Page about stopping Donald Trump from becoming President.
[22:50:06] The interview is scheduled to be conducted behind closed doors. But I mean, given the political fire storm that is raging all around him about this, do you expect that we're going to hear about what he says?
ISIKOFF: Sure, and I think inevitably, he's going to have to testify in public. Now, interestingly on Thursday, Christopher Wray, the FBI Director, and Rod Rosenstein are going to be testifying in public before the same committee -- the House Judiciary Committee.
And that's going to be a really interesting session because, you know, where the house Republicans are coming from on this. They are -- you know, they've convinced themselves that the entire Mueller investigation is, you know, fruit from a poisoned tree that originated by biased FBI agents, Peter Strzok being their -- being the prime example.
And Rod Rosenstein has been trying to walk a very fine line here. He's the guy overseeing Mueller's investigation. He's the guy in charge of it. The House Republicans are going to be coming after him to defend the Mueller investigation. It's going to be really interesting to see how he handles that, how he responds to what's going to be hostile questions at that hearing on Thursday.
LEMON: Phil, listen, you have a unique perspective here because you have work would the FBI. So what kind of information can Strzok provide? What can he possibly share?
MUDD: He can offer some context. Look, you're dealing with an investigation that involves hundreds of people. He made an epically stupid mistake, using a government issued phone --
LEMON: And had an affair.
MUDD: -- to talk about not only an affair, but to talk about a political candidate in an investigation he was already involved with. His mistake was not saying negative things about Donald Trump. Everybody involved, every American voter was saying negative things about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
His mistake was using a government issued phone to do this. I tell you, I've learned one lesson about what he's going to go do on the Hill, that a lesson I learned in the CIA -- when you're in a situation like this, go dumb early.
He's going to walk in and say, I'm sorry, I made a mistake, there was no excuse. I was never involved in doing anything to manipulate the investigation, I was trying to impress my girlfriend. Something every guy in America does every time.
LEMON: OK. He messes up, but you said when asked, oh, there is no way or is he going to become president, and you say no, we'll stop him, what do you mean by that?
MUDD: What I interpret that to mean is I've got a chick I'm trying to work on, she's my new girlfriend, I'm trying to say I'm the tough guy. Let's play this out seriously. I don't think the American people understand how many people would have been involved in this investigation, hundreds.
So what do they supposed to do? Walk in the room and say, hey, we got a conspiracy I want you to participate in. Among all of us -- not just me and Lisa Page -- among all of us, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and the other 200 people involved in the investigation.
I'm going to persuade you to have a massive conspiracy that nobody else is going to reveal to undermine the President. That's not clear. He made a mistake -- an epic mistake, I don't think he'll undermine the investigation.
LEMON: Chicks man.
MUDD: I guess you're in trouble.
LEMON: Because I haven't heard that term in a longtime. So, Michael, you know, let's talk about Erik Prince now, given total access to his phone, his computer, and the Special Counsel. We know that Mueller is also going to be looking to that meeting (Inaudible) supposed to be a secret meeting in the Seychelles. What is Mueller looking to find out?
ISIKOFF: Well, look, you know, Mueller is coming to a crucial point in his investigation. I think there's a sense that he's got a couple of months here, if he's got something big to deliver -- to deliver it.
Because, you know, come Labor Day, I think anything he does after that would be perceived as trying to do something on the -- you know, on the eve of an election. Given all the criticism of what Jim Comey did, Mueller's not going to fall into that trap. So, you know, we're at a crucial point.
Now, the Erik Prince story, you know, it seems in one sense a big tangential to the core issues, to what extent it took place after the election, to what extent was that part of some sort of conspiracy involving the Russians, and the Trump campaign? You know, there's still a lot of murkiness to this.
And certainly Prince's answers that he's given so far have been inconsistent with some of the testimony that Mueller's gotten from others about what he knew, about who he was meeting with, that he was going to be meeting with a Russian there.
I think we just have to sort of, you know, hold off until we see the full -- the full story before we reach any conclusions about it. But I do think we're coming to a critical moment for Mueller.
LEMON: But his testimony, I mean, there is some scrutiny there because he said that it was a chance meeting, and then -- but then saying well, maybe not so much because it was a planned meeting, right?
[22:55:03] They're saying that it was planned, and it could have been to establish this back channel between the Kremlin, and the Trump administration. So, he is in a lot of trouble if that is indeed so, and even because his testimony is under scrutiny.
MUDD: It is. But let's make sure we keep our eye on the ball here. Whether or not somebody had weird meetings in the Seychelles is not really the critical issue here. It might be stupid, but it's not illegal.
There is one basic question here, and Michael hesitates to support a journalist as dead on. The real issue here is whether something happened in the Seychelles that involved Erik Prince arranging a meeting where somebody offered something of value to the Trump camp.
For example, we will put stuff up in Pennsylvania that's negative on Hillary Clinton. I think Michael is dead on about one -- other final issue, if Mueller doesn't lay out something by early September, he's not going to want to do something more indictments for example in October and November.
They are going to interfere with the elections. If we don't something -- see something by early September, we're going to see something until December. I don't think that's likely. We're going to see something within 60 days.
LEMON: Yes, someone really smart sat there recently, and said they believe it's going to be, I'm just saying, by Labor Day. Because otherwise it's too late after that, or he's going to have to wait until after the election.
MUDD: I think that's right.
LEMON: Thank you, Michael. Thank you, Philip.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, a primary shocker in New York tonight. A 10-term Democratic leader defeated by a newcomer. It is a race with national implications. We're going to have more in just a moment.