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CNN TONIGHT

House Republican Trying To Discredit Mueller Investigation; Five Dead, Two Injured In Capital Gazette Shooting in Maryland; Capital Gazette Shooting Victims; White House Hopes SCOTUS Nominee Named By July 9; Does President Trump Have Fewer Checks On His Power Than Any Recent President?; Arrests Over Trump's Immigration Policy; Are Women Leading The Charge For Democrats? Aired 11-12a ET

Aired June 28, 2018 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Millions of dollars.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: And Mueller's investigations which has run a lot shorter as you indicated earlier has already been more productive. And the thing about at least in my mind about the Mueller investigation is that Bob Mueller would not contrive in its extension. He wouldn't make it any longer than he needed to. And what I sense here is that there's more to come, and that there's a lot more evidence for him to obtain and sift through. Otherwise, if there were no there-there and I've said this consistently, he would end it.

LEMON: Director Clapper, thank you, sir, always a pleasure.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, coming up on 11:01. We are live with all the breaking news for you, the latest mass shooting in America. We're going to discuss. This time in the Newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. Here is what we know right now.

Five people are dead, two injured, the suspect in custody tonight. Law enforcement sources identifying him as Jared Warren Ramos, a white man in his 30s who filed a defamation claim in 2012 against the paper. The case was dismissed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACTING CHIEF WILLIAM KRAMPF, ANNE ARUNDAL COUNTY POLICE: This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette that is located at 888 Cascade Road on the first floor. He entered the building with a shotgun, and he looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level. This person was prepared today to come in. This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm. And as I stated before the investigative part of this is going to be thorough and it is going to take some time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: We've also got the latest on the President's continuing

attempts to cast out on the Russia investigation as he prepares for the summit with Vladimir Putin in just a few weeks. A lot to get to. I want to get right to the latest on the shooting today in the Capital Gazette, at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. And I want to bring in now CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, who is stationed there for us and bring us the very latest. They had a police conference about an hour ago at the beginning of this news cast, 10:15. Bring us up to speed on what happened.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, that news conference, Don, they named the victims, the five people who were working inside this Newsroom here at the Capital Gazette that is now a crime scene. And they continue to say, police, that they're interviewing the suspect. They're not telling us if he is cooperating, but since the shooting happened a lot has been learned concerning the suspect. His social media. Police at this moment are at his home in Laura, Maryland, which is about 25 miles from here where they're waiting to search it. They're waiting for a search warrant.

And they're looking for more evidence as exactly as to perhaps what caused him to come here today, open fire on these employees, these reporters, editors inside the Capital Gazette killing five of them, Don, and now police are just really trying to focus on exactly what perhaps may have been the motive here, Don.

LEMON: All right. Shimon, thank you very much. I appreciate that. I want to bring in now CNN's Brian Todd for some more information. So Brian, police -- good evening to you, police released the victim's names tonight. What can you tell us?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Don. Just a short time ago the police did release the name of the five deceased from this attack. They are identified as Wendy Winters, who we were told by spokeswoman for the mayor's office. Ms. Winters was a features reporter for the Capital Gazette, who had been there for 15 to 20 years, a long time writer for the paper.

Another person killed, Rebecca Smith, she is identified as a salesperson for the newspaper, and assistant editor Robert Hiaasen was also among the victims today. Gerald Fischman, who we are told as the editorial page editor of the capital Gazette was also killed and the fifth victim, John McNamara, identified by a spokeswoman for the mayor's office as a writer for the paper. We're told he covered sports with reporting that this gunman Gerald Ramos did apparently issue threats against the newspaper, that there were some threats issued via social media. Not necessarily against any one person in the newspaper, but against the newspaper in general.

We also have an account here from a woman name Anne Lipinski, a journalism professor at Harvard who apparently knows the family of Robert Hiaasen, she is quoted in Fort Lauderdale Sentinel saying quote, a birthday package from her husband still awaited her, Maria Hiaasen said. Rob Hiaasen had asked her if she wanted to open her gift Thursday morning, but she told him she is rather wait until he got home from work. End quote. That is from Anne Lipinski citing an account from Robert Hiaasen's wife.

[23:05:14] A really heart breaking story. Also we're getting riveting accounts from survivors, what it was like inside that Newsroom as the gunman opened fire. Phil Davis is a writer for the paper, described him shooting through the windows entering, just opening fire on the Newsroom, Don, as people cowered under the desks. This gentleman, Mr. Davis, heard the gunman reload. And we're also told by police that the gunman himself, Ramos, tried to evade officers when they interrupted this attack. He was found hiding under a desk himself elsewhere in the building and he ditch his gun some distance away from him, Don.

LEMON: Ms. Lipinski's that account about his wife, she was quoting from the Suns Sentinel and all these accounts by him, I mean just horrific. Thank you so much, I appreciate that.

I want to bring in now CNN Commentator and Analyst, Phil Mudd and Stuart Kaplan, a former FBI agent. So Phil you heard -- good evening to both of you. You heard Shimon talk about the latest on the investigation. Where do you think this is going?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Look, I'm sitting here thinking and going back in my life saying it is 7:15 a.m., I don't know what time the current director does it, but we would be sitting back in the day with the director that time Robert Mueller, talking about the investigation. There is a couple of elements we would be talking about. The media is talking about motive. I don't think that would be primary in the investigation right now. It's a key question, but there's a couple of other questions.

Number one, are we sure we have pattern of life on this individual himself, now that we know who he is. Facebook, travel, credit cards, whether he has a vehicle, who he talk to you for a couple of reasons. Did anybody participate with him? That is a criminal investigation. Did anyone assist him, for example, even providing motivation, what you're doing is appropriate? Did anyone even know where they cognizant of the fact that he was going to go out and conduct an attack? Before I sort of proved the negative, I proved that nobody else was involved. I'm not going to focus that much on motive. I want to focus on people. And I think overnight with interviews, for example, family, I want to know whether anybody else knew.

LEMON: He went in, Stewart, there's no doubt of his intent, because he went there with a shotgun and smoke grenades.

STUART KAPLAN, FORMER FBI AGENT: Yes, I mean, no question about it, Don. This is a guy who had an intent to go in and create as much havoc as possible. I have to tell you what's interesting, Don, the FBI recently released a study on pre-attack behaviors. In 2017 there was 30 active shooting scenarios here in the United States. And quite interesting the majority of those active shooters took at least a week or longer to prepare before they actually engaged in their mass killings.

The interesting thing with respect to this study was when they went out and re-interviewed or interviewed people that had associated themselves with the shooter most of the people if not all identified certain odd behaviors. Notwithstanding that none of them, or a majority of them did not bring it to the attention of law enforcement. I think it's going to be interesting in the coming days to see what interaction this individual had and why it is that there was nothing done to intercept him before he actually did what he did today.

LEMON: Yes, I mean between the time he had a lawsuit with the paper defamation, he filed a defamation claim in 2012 against the paper, but that case was dismissed, but what happened in that time that caused him to go to these extremes?

MUDD: Time out. Let me throw a penalty flag out here in what I've seen in the past six hours or eight hours since the shooting. We have a phrase in the intelligence business (inaudible), let me think about how I would think in this environment. What would motivate me to go into a newspaper and shoot somebody up? A lot of these cases you're talking about people who are emotionally disturbed. A fair number of cases in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, in Washington at the federal and state level and saying how do I understand the motive of somebody who is so emotionally disturbed that they themselves can't even articulate why they conduct an attack.

My point Don is, let's not assume that somebody in this state has a rational reason for doing this. In the coming days, remember, it took us forever to figure out even the beginnings of why the Las Vegas shooter did this. Let's not assume that the reason for this shooting was rational in the way that we would think about it.

LEMON: Of course, what's rational about what he did? But he had a connection to the paper. If he didn't have a connection to the paper I would say, OK it was --

MUDD: But sure. We would sit there and say why would it take someone three years to do this, why wouldn't he have acted earlier and why wouldn't his family know? We're suggesting that somehow there's a thought process here, a path of thinking that is comprehensible to you and I who are rational. And I'm going to say I don't think it will be.

[23:10:03] LEMON: OK, but isn't that part of figuring out what is happening?

MUDD: It is. I think the most critical question to know, this is not what his motive was, and it is not what happened at the newspaper, it is a question what's happening in states across America. Are we seeing -- remember what happened in Florida, at the school shooting recently, there were so many interactions with the school shooter in Broward County. You asked the question should the red flags that leaves law enforcement or school authorities to say a weapon should be taken away. The key question is going to be whether interactions with the shooter that should have led somebody to say forget about gun control, but on emotional stability this is someone where we should have laws that make it easier for you to say you shouldn't have weapons.

LEMON: That would be the last word. Thank you gentlemen, I appreciate it. When we come back, much more on the deadly attack on the Capital Gazette newspaper including the initial reactions from Sean Hannity. Who did he blame before any of the facts were known? That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Five people were killed today in whether -- what's being called a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette. A hometown newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. So I want to bring in now CNN Political Analyst, Carl Bernstein, CNN Contributor, Mr. Frank Bruni of "The New York Times" and CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Max Boot, the author of "The Road Not Taken."

Good evening. You were reporting on another mass shooting. Frank I am going to start with you. Five people are dead, multiple people wounded in another shooting. This time in a Newsroom. What do you think?

[23:15:03] FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I mean, obviously it is heart breaking, it's tragic. And I can't get out of my mind the words I heard on this news network earlier. One of the survivors was being interviewed, the young woman who is in the Newsroom and she would mentioned also she covered the pulse shooting. And she said these words, which I think we should all think about long hard, she said a week from now no one's going to remember this or maybe a week from now no one's going to be talking about this.

LEMON: She interviewed with her the young man in (inaudible).

BRUNI: Yes. And I thought, you know, you hear that and you think that is impossible. But, no, she has every reason to be that skeptical and to be that pessimistic, because we've become so accustomed to these, so (inaudible) to this and I think among the many questions we have to ask ourselves is why that is and how we keep this in our conversations, in our minds in a constructive ways so that maybe somehow we move beyond these incidents, because they're way too frequent.

LEMON: What struck me as well she said I don't want to make this partisan, but we need more than -- because, you know, lawmakers -- she said we need way more than that because they were praying? They were praying at the time the shooting was happening.

BRUNI: She mentioned that the president tweeted they have my prayers and she said while all this we were praying under their desk, but where's that going to get the next group of people the next time a shooter enters.

LEMON: Yes. I have talked about this it is really unbelievable. Fox News Show, Sean Hannity drew a line from comments made by Democratic Congresswoman, Maxine Waters through this deadly shooting in Annapolis. Take a look at this clip, this is from his radio show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: We have multiple deaths also being reported and the sheriff is saying the multiple fatalities in a Newsroom shooting. Oh, good grief. So scaring. I'm not turning this into a gun debate. I know that is where the media will be 30 seconds from now. That is not it. You know, as my voice said, I mean, honestly, I've been saying now for days that something horrible is going to happen, because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine, you want people to create -- all your friends get in their faces, and Obama said that too, get in there faces. Call them out, call your friends, you know, get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls and where ever else she said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, this was this afternoon. This was right after we found out the shootings, before any facts came out. How does a tragedy -- how does this have anything to do with Maxine Waters? First of all, she didn't say anyone should be violent, right, first of all. And that was another sort of bait and switch talking point. Come on, Sean can do better.

MAX BOOT, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, this is this kind of insanely partisan perspective that Sean Hannity and a lot of people in this country have today where it doesn't matter what the facts are, they're going to shoe horn them into some existing ideological predisposition and in this case. Trying to blame Democrats for everything, which is nuts. Now to be fair, I think there are also some Democrats that are rushing to say this shooting has something to do with the fact that Trump is calling the press, the enemy of the American people, which is certainly abhorrent rhetoric.

But again, I haven't seen any real connection between this guy, because he clearly had a beef with this newspaper, unfortunately, a long running history and that from what we know today, right now what appears to be what motivated him. So, I think there's a tendency on both sides to kind of jump in and use these horrible tragedies as fodder for these partisan debates.

Which kind of further poisons the political life of this country. I mean, we are not in this case, but just in general, I think we are being deeply hurt by incivility, by this partisanship, by this extremism, this finger pointing. I think everybody needs to step back, but especially I think people like Sean Hannity and Donald Trump who are just demonizing the opposition in ways that are deeply gross off our democracy.

LEMON: Sean should take a step back and say I jumped the gun and I am sorry?

BOOT: Yes. I mean maybe he could try apologizing which is something I know President Trump never does.

LEMON: Sean, be a big man do that. Just say I jumped the gun and I'm really sorry. This is an awful tragedy to have information like that incorrectly jumped into conclusion.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is not isolated.

LEMON: Go ahead Carl.

BERNSTEIN: We can't isolate this. This is part of this greater phenomenon of a cold civil war that is going on in this country, in which there is an instinctive and reactive move by so many people who are determined to put everything into a cultural warfare context instead of being willing to look at complexity. Instead of being willing to look at fact and having a fact based argument about the conditions of our country. And rather we resort, and it's particularly true of what we see in Hannity there, very often in what Hannity says, that everything fits into this neat little box of venom that he expresses.

And there's venom going on from the President of the United States. There's venom going on from Fox, and yes, there is venom going on also on the other side, but I think a lot of if it disproportionate. And what we saw there from Sean Hannity is indicative of it.

[23:20:08] LEMON: So listen, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders tweeted this response in tragedy. She strongly condemn the evil act of senseless violence in Annapolis, Maryland. A violent attack on innocent journalists, doing their jobs and is an attack on every American. Our prayers are with the victims and their friends and families. So she did condemn the violent attack, and that is a quote, but journalists come on this program all the time. We hear them say they feel that they're under attack, not a physical attack. Maybe from -- they might be they feel from, because of the President's rhetoric, right, and some of the supporters, you know, who say nasty things the President is saying enemy of the people, but journalists feel that they're under verbal attack from the podium and from the President every day.

BRUNI: And they are. They're under attack from her verbally, again nothing to do with this all the time. I mean, she is constantly digressing in her non answers and in her evasions to take kind of swipes at journalists and take verbal shots at them. So that statement from her rings sort of hollow given how fond she is at demonizing journalists. No one saying everything that Carl said is completely right. We were trending in this horribly hyper-partisan direction before Donald Trump came along, but he has gleefully thrown fuel on this fire.

And now it's at this point, and again we're stepping away from the shooter and we are just talking about the general poisonous climate. It's at a point where you have people at the poll, USA today saying that they could see a civil war happening in this country. Not in having answered asked the question in how much we should make of that, but the fact they're even asking the poll question could you see a civil war in this country, and yet something like more than 33 percent of people saying yes, I could, how did we get here? One of the ways we got here is Donald Trump is the most inflammatory President at exactly the wrong time.

LEMON: Well, Carl, believes we are in the midst or at least at the beginning of a cold civil war as he has stated, but I need you guys to stick around, I'm going to bring you all back. When we come back, does President Trump have fewer checks on him than

any other President in recent history, and how will he use his power to reshape America?

[23:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: President Trump met tonight at the White House with key Senators to discuss his pick to fill the latest Supreme Court vacancy. Those Senators including three Democrats who were up for re-election in red states. Back with me now Carl Bernstein, Frank Bruni and Max Boot. So, Max, this President's power in this country is really reaching a new level. This is what Mike Allen of Axios said, talking about the (inaudible) Trump will have fewer checks on his power than any President in his lifetime. What does that mean for our country?

BOOT: That is a pretty frightening situation.

LEMON: Do you agree with that?

BOOT: I agree with that. You are already seeing that Trump has accumulated vast power. And of course both houses of Congress are in Republican hands. They are not standing up to him. They're not fighting back in the way that they should be even when he is doing great violence to their purported believes, for example, these tariffs which most Republicans on Capitol Hill purport to oppose. And yet they are not doing anything to stop and take back that power from the president, which they could do, to take a way his digression on tariffs, one issue of many are -- many of them are actually enabling his attacks on the Justice Department and the FBI reside today with these (inaudible) hearings with Jim Jordan and the House Republicans after Rod Rosenstein and Chris Wray.

And you know, now appointing a justice to fill Justice Kennedy's seat, I mean in some ways Trump is appointing his own jury, because this is Supreme Court that could very well rule if Mueller issues a subpoena, to get Trump to testify, there could be further legal matters that come to the Supreme Court as this investigation unfolds, and there's no question that Trump is going to be looking for somebody who's going to be deferential to his executive power. As in fact the Supreme Court was -- just a couple of days ago, they ruled on his favor on the travel ban. So, I think the press is doing a great job trying to hold him accountable but in some of the lower courts as well, but I think, Congress has done a horrible job, the Supreme Court has not done a great job and the prospects are pretty damn unless the House changes over in November.

LEMON: I think that is a very big story that I've been discussing with my team. What Trump is doing to the judiciary at the appellate level and on and on and a lot of people don't know about that. And now, here we go. They're finally finding out about it. But I mean, to your point, right, you said, you thought the media is doing a good job. Carl, we have often talked about the difference between the media now and then when you covered Watergate. Allen also writes and said the media, normally the last check on a President with total control of a government has lost the trust of most Republicans and many Democrats after two years of Trump pummeling. Is that how you see it, Mr. Bernstein?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think that is very true that what the President has done in his unconscionable attacks on the press, and they are unconscionable because they undermine the role of a free society and a free press that makes it possible for our system to work. And Donald Trump and the cold civil war that he presides over and has brought to the point of ignition, is to make sure our system does not work. He is undoing the last 75 years of America's policies in the world and leading the world and the world order that was established after World War II. And similarly at home, turning back the clock in terms of civil liberties, in terms of women's rights, in terms of abortion, right to abortion as we're seeing in his pronouncements in the last few days. And for what? To build his base? Why is he building his base and willing to do things as Frank Bruni pointed out in his column today, he used to be a supporter of a woman's right to choose.

I'm not sure he gives a damn about the abortion issue except as a means to hold onto power. And if you talk to the people that know him the best, they say that so much of this cold civil war that he is bringing to the point of ignition is to stay in office because of the Mueller investigation. Because underneath all is his fear and knowledge that Mueller is onto what has gone on both in obstruction of justice, and if not collusion by the president himself, those around him in terms of doing the bidding of somewhat of Vladimir Putin wants done and his interference in the campaign. That's what this is about. That's the bottom line. And he is willing to preside over a cold civil war and bring it to a firestorm for his own ends.

LEMON: Not to mention whatever his business practice is. Whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Just finding out how it goes. I'm not saying it's good or bad, but Mueller knows.

BERNSTEIN: That's it. That figures in this investigation.

LEMON: Yes. 2 BERNSTEIN: And this investigation includes his business practices in Russia.

LEMON: Yes. OK, so listen, Frank, your new column is titled "The Cosmic Joke of Donald Trump's Power." And you write, Donald Trump barely won the White House, under circumstances, a tainted opponent, three million fewer votes than she received. James Comey's moral vanity and Russia's amora exertions, that raise serious questions about how many Americans yearned to see him there.

But he is virtually assured of appointing as many judges to the Supreme Court as each of his three predecessors did and could reshape Americans' lives even more significantly. It is the craziest dissonance. The cruelest, too.

How do you think Donald Trump is going to reshape this country? FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, he is going to do it when

he appoints his second Supreme Court justice but he has done with a tax overhaul, he is doing it with, you know, max mentioned tariffs before. I mean, issue after issue. What is so interesting about it when you step back and that is why I wrote that column, is he's doing all of this when he has such a tenuous claim to a mandate.

You know, if you look at the way he was elected, if he was a normal person, he would govern with some humility and he would go for some bipartisanship because he would look at those numbers. He only won the electoral college as we remember by 77,000 votes in three particular states. And that was in the climate I mentioned in the column.

I mean, you know, he did not have a very flawed opponent. He may have had help that worked from Russia. We know he had help from Russia. We don't know whether it was consequential in terms of the outcome. We know from most analyses that what Comey did toward the end probably helped him.

He does not have a legitimate plan, some majority support in this country. Nothing about the way he's governed reflects that. And I think that's what makes his opponents so incredibly crazy and I think it's what makes all of this feel so surreal to so many Americans.

LEMON: Someone just said something in response to this. Very interesting. He said in the coming decades or in a generation or two, we may be -- this country may be run by a minority of people, right, meaning demographically, people who are in power holding on just because of what Donald Trump is doing with the judiciary. The majority of the country won't have control over its fate. The minority of the country will be controlling that.

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's a real concern. I mean, as Frank was pointing out, I mean, Donald Trump is basically a minority president and yet he is ruling in a very heavy-handed fashion. And I really blame the Republicans and especially the Republicans on the Hill for letting him get away with it.

I mean, it's crazy how Donald Trump has developed 90 percent Republican support. Republicans are afraid to press back against him on anything, even though he is doing great damage and violence to what they have stood for decades. You know, from fiscal responsibility to a lot of tariffs, to morality, all these things that he is trashing, and they're letting him get away with it.

They have a chance now with this Supreme Court nominee who is coming up. I mean, it's a very thin majority in the Senate. If you just had two or three Republicans who said, hey, we're not going to give you a Supreme Court justice until you agree that we pass a law protecting Robert Mueller, we take back the power that you abused on tariffs.

They can do that. They have the leverage to do that. Are they going to do that? I think the odds are against them.

LEMON: I was going to say good luck. Thank you, Max. Thank you, Frank. Thanks, Carl. I appreciate it. When we come back, almost 600 people arrested on Capitol Hill today, protesting against the president's immigration policy. One of those arrested, a congresswoman. She joins me, next.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: More than 1,000 people, mostly women, marching on Capitol Hill today protesting the president's administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that has led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.

Five hundred and seventy-five people were arrested for unlawfully demonstrating, including Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She is a Democrat from Washington. She joins me now. I am so happy to have you here. Thank you for joining us. How are you doing?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: I'm doing well. I'm doing well. It was an incredibly inspiring protest, incredibly inspiring civil disobedience. As Representative John Lewis likes to say, it's good trouble. And I think that's what people were doing today, is drawing attention to the fact that we've got kids in cages on the borders, we've got people in prisons when they're trying to seek asylum.

It's not right. It's beyond politics. It's about right and wrong. And it was incredible to see all those women out there today. Courageous, strong, and fighting for women who are in prison, mothers who are in prison, and trying to be reunited with their children.

LEMON: Just to be clear, I want our audience to know again, you were arrested. Right?

JAYAPAL: I was.

LEMON: For protesting, right, for these immigrant families. I know that you would -- you know, there's a lot to be done here, but do you feel that your voices are being heard?

JAYAPAL: You know, I do, don. I'll tell you, I think that obviously a lot of things have happened in the last few days, but I think the last two weeks have been really consumed by this issue. And Americans across the country, Democrats, Republicans and independents, saying this is wrong. They cannot believe that this is happening.

And the outrage has been real. You know, the idea that this president would pass a zero-tolerance, zero humanity policy and separate children from their parents, put these kids in cages, I think it's got everybody across the country outraged.

[23:40:02] And so those voices, I think, are being heard. Obviously the last few days, we've had a lot of things going on. But on Saturday, there will be a massive round of protests across the country. There are 400,000 people who have signed up, people who are going to be wearing white at rallies across the country.

Every single state across the country, I think it's 650 events, including a big one here in D.C. at Lafayette Square at 11:00 a.m. And that's because people believe that this has to be changed. And you know what? The president put this policy into place.

He can pick up the phone or pick up his phone and tweet at Secretary Nielsen and Jeff Sessions and tell them to reverse this policy. That's all it takes. And then we've got to reunite these kids because right now HHS and DHS have no idea which kids belong to which parents.

LEMON: So let me ask you about that. Immigrant children as young as three representative being ordered to appear in court alone without their parents or any representation, how can a three-year-old be expected to advocate for themselves?

JAYAPAL: They can't. And that's just the point. You know, it is horrendous. And I've worked on immigration issues for a long time. So I really know this area. And there are lots of things that are wrong with this system.

But when I went and met with the 174 women held in a federal prison who had been transferred from the Texas border and I heard their stories of children being ripped from them, forcibly separated, no chance to say good-bye, did not know where they were, had been held in some cases for more than a month, had no idea where their children were.

And, you know, Don, I'm a mother and -- honestly, I don't even have words for how I would feel if that happened. And I think that's what's happening across the country.

LEMON: Yes.

JAYAPAL: People are looking at this and say, how could this be on U.S. soil? And then you see the pictures of the kids in cages and you hear the audio of these kids weeping for their children. We had two shadow hearings on the Hill last week. Representative Lucille Roybal- Allard and I co-chaired something called "The Women's Working Group on Immigration" and we had two shadow hearings. We have the president of the American Association of Pediatrics come and speak with us --

LEMON: You said it's child abuse, right?

JAYAPAL: Child abuse.

LEMON: Yes. We have representatives -- I want to get this in before we run out of time because I think it's important. Because today the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, claims the federal government knows where every child is. You took issue with that. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAYAPAL: Asylum seekers who are being imprisoned, mothers who told me their children have been stripped from them, one as as young as one year old. And attorney general, I don't believe that the administration knows even where these children are, who they belong to.

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Congresswoman, I appreciate you raising that. I met just the other day with Secretary Azar, and he was quite emphatic that is a false story. HHS does know exactly where everyone of those children --

JAYAPAL: Attorney general, let me just stop you for one second to tell you of my personal experience, I was surrounded by the warden of the prison, as well as a number of employees who can clarify, who can corroborate exactly what I'm saying to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: He said it was a false story. Your response?

JAYAPAL: Yes, I told him it wasn't. I told him I saw a slip of paper of a woman's name and her children's names, and she said, those are not my children. They were the wrong children assigned to that parent. I am convinced that DHS, HHS does not know where these children are and who they belong to. And it's absolutely outrageous.

LEMON: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Good luck. When we come back, the protests on Capitol Hill today, just the latest example of women galvanized by the Trump presidency. Are they leading the Democrats' opposition to the president?

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Many people have their crystal balls out there predicting the upcoming midterm elections will make 2018 the year of the woman. So I want to bring in CNN's Political Commentators, Alice Stewart, Angela Rye, and Joe Trippi.

Hello to year of the woman! We shall see. Good evening. So, Angela, you know, I just spoke with Representative Pramila Jayapal, who -- she was arrested today for protesting immigrant family separations. More protests are scheduled and she talked about that. This is an issue that women from both sides of the aisle no matter where you politically can relate to, right?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, sorry, I thought you are still ongoing. Yes, absolutely. I hope that, Don, we're not at a point where it's just women, whether they're mothers or not, I hope this is an issue that unites all the American people, people who have children in their family, sit next to children at church, teach children in schools.

This shouldn't just be about women and mothers. This should be an issue where we look at kids and we say no matter who you are, where you are, how old you are, you shouldn't be separated from your parent. You were talking to the congresswoman about a kid as young as one year old, we all read about the child who was three years old, and a judge asked the kid what his name was and he replied in Spanish like, oh, a plane, right?

These are heart-wrenching stories, whether we are talking about separation for a small amount of time, it's traumatic, it sticks with us all of our lives when we are separated from our parents just for a moment. I can't imagine what these children are going through. And it shouldn't be something that is not partisan at all. It should be something that is just about decent humanity.

LEMON: So, Alice, with Justice Kennedy retiring, there are some real concerns from folks out there that Roe V. Wade could be overturned. What is the likelihood of that happening? And if so, that may have some unintended consequences for an election.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, the likelihood of that happening is extremely high. And I say that because the president has made it quite clear that one of the things that he intends to do and he did with Neil Gorsuch is to appoint conservative Scalia-like justices. And he's done that once. And now he has the opportunity to do that yet again.

[23:49:55] And as you mentioned earlier in the program, the president spent this evening meeting with senators from across the aisle and getting their input on when and how and who to go about moving forward with this appointment. But I have no doubt whatsoever that he will appoint a conservative leaning justice to fill that spot.

And I have no doubt that we will have many issues not just Roe V. Wade the abortion issue but same-sex marriage, gun control issue, voting right issues, all of these will be important issues coming before the court. One thing is that this will motivate voters. This will get voters out. This is -- the idea of a conservative justice is

comfort food to the evangelical base and they will turn out voters like never before.

LEMON: We're talking about women. We're talking about women. So I want to stick women here. So, I got to get just for a second time, I got to get Joe in. So, Joe, listen, President Trump, he loves to say that he won the support of women in the general election but that is not correct. It's incorrect. He won with white women, right? So what role are women going to play in the midterms?

JOE TRIPPI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, you've seen already, it's women in the Democratic Party that are the most energized and the ones that have been volunteering, really carrying the party on their backs literally in a lot of these victories that have happened throughout, the Doug Jones victory in Alabama, Conor Lamb and others.

But the more significant thing is the number of Republican women, suburban Republican women, and younger Republican women that are moving away, actually thinking for the first time about voting for a Democrat. That again happened in Alabama and in Conor Lamb's race up in Pennsylvania and Northam's race in Virginia for governor.

So, what I think is happening is yes, all -- this was before separating children from their families, you know, when they're picked up on the border, or Roe V. Wade being in tremendous jeopardy now with a second appointment for the Supreme Court by Trump. I actually think it's -- people may be reading this all wrong. That it will be women that are both energized among Democrats but also exhausted by what this president is doing on the Republican side.

LEMON: Yes.

TRIPPI: It's those women, the Republican women that leave that are going to be the problem. It could be big in November.

LEMON: Angela, in recent days, we have seen the president continue to attack Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters repeatedly on Twitter. I mean, clearly he thinks it's good politics for him. I'm not sure why I want to ask this question, because he attacked Republican women during the primary, during the election, and he's president, so do you think that's a good strategy for him to continue doing it?

RYE: Well, I think it depends on what his strategy is, Don. If his strategy is to continue to gin up his base, to encourage death threats of women in Congress, if it is to, you know, further divide the nation and lean into hatred and violence, then yeah, it's a great strategy.

Unfortunately it's not a good long-term strategy for moving the country forward, for uniting people to ensure that we can walk off into the sunset happily ever after. That is not what is going to happen based on his tactics. What is going to happen is it is going to further the divide.

Alice talked about earlier, the Supreme Court picks the opportunity to pick a supreme court justice, to nominate a Supreme Court justice, gins up voters, maybe evangelical Christian voters, but I think on the other hand, you're starting to see progressive women all over Capitol Hill today, all over Twitter, they have the hashtag because they are energized as well. People are tired of Donald Trump's rhetoric and the resulting actions coming out of that rhetoric.

LEMON: Alice, I have 30 seconds here. I just want to say that Democratic women kept winning in Tuesday's primary, including the biggest one here in New York City, right, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, defeating the incumbent here. You heard what Joe said, he said, listen, Democratic women are energized and also some Republican women who are just exasperated, they are energized as well, is that concerning, you think?

STEWART: I think the damage that was done with regard to the separation of the families at the border and the support from women that the president lost on the Republican side, anyway, he's going to make up a lot of ground on the Supreme Court side, because the pro- life issue or women's issues are so important for conservative women and they're going to come out in full force from that standpoint.

That being said, it's encouraging to see more women get involved. It's encouraging to see women on both sides of the aisle get involved in politics.

[23:55:00] And on the Democrat side, I think women on the Democrat side are going to be key. We're seeing the Cook Political Report saying they're outperforming men by 15 points. So, it is encouraging to see fresh blood and women involve in politics --

LEMON: I got it.

2STEWART: -- even if it comes at the hurt of President Trump. It's good to see them.

LEMON: I got to go. Thank you all, appreciate it.

STEWART: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: When this week's CNN hero learned that kids in his close-knit community were sleeping on the floor, he went from businessman to bed maker. What started as a single good deed, helping one family in Idaho, soon spread to helping 3,000 children across America, help them get a good night sleep. Meet Luke Mickelson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUKE MICKELSON, CNN HERO: Mattress and sheets. I'm just a farm kid from Idaho. I grew up here. What I didn't know was there's kids next door who are struggling.

[24:00:02] They had kids sleeping on the floor. I was making a six- figure salary.