Return to Transcripts main page
Hours Before NATO Meeting, President Slams Allies; Trump's SCOTUS Pick Gearing Up For Battle; President Trump Calls Putin A Competitor; Trump And Putin To Go One-on-One In Helsinki; House Freedom Caucus Votes To Support Jim Jordan; Man Harasses Woman For Wearing A Puerto Rico T-Shirt; Old Man Beaten With Brick; House GOP Pulls Support For NJ Congressional Candidate Over Bigoted Remarks. Aired 11-12a ET
Aired July 10, 2018 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, live with all the new developments tonight. One big story after another. President Trump just hours away from meetings with our European allies after making it clear he is looking for a fight. But he is apparently not looking for a fight with Vladimir Putin, in fact he seems to think his meeting with Putin in Helsinki will be easy. He said the easiest one of them all. And in spite of the trail of murder that Putin opponents, it is the U.S. Embassy in London not Moscow, warning Americans there to keep a low profile during Trump's visit to Great Britain. And the big stories, well, they just keep coming.
Newly Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh beginning his P.R. offensive on Capitol Hill. Gearing up from what promises to be a contentious battle to fill retiring Justice Kennedy seat. Then there's the disgraceful news that the Trump administration today blew a court order deadline to reunite parents with their children under the age of 5, children taken from them at the border. 102 of those children have been ordered return to their mothers and fathers.
And as of a few hours ago, just 38 were back with their families. The state of our union feels fractured and contentious tonight. There's a new park officer in Illinois that is being investigated tonight after he allegedly stood by as a man harass a woman for wearing a shirt with a Puerto Rican flag saying it was un-American, and apparently completely failing to comprehend that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
Then there's the story of the 91-year-old man, a permanent legal resident of this country who was beaten with a brick and told to quote, go back to Mexico. Sadly there are more and more disturbing stories like these, and we are going to talk about them all in just a moment. So stay with us throughout the hour here.
I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator, Scott Jennings, CNN Political Analyst, Kirsten Powers, CNN National Security Analyst, Nada Bakos. A lot to discuss. Good evening all of you. Kirsten, on the evening of this big NATO summit, the President is
taking a harder stance against our allies than he is with Vladimir Putin. You written before that the president is pretty upfront about his love for authoritarian figures. Are we about to see another demonstration of what you write about?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. I think, the thing that you have to sort of step back and realize that is sort of happening -- and we don't talk often about the big picture. We talk about the individual thing. Is that Donald Trump has a real affinity for authoritarianism and authoritarians and so we see the people that he tends to like and speak positively of and want to be friendly to and flatter seems to be authoritarian. And who do we all tend to, you know, if we like somebody it's usually because they're somewhat like us. I mean, if you look at what he is doing day-to-day, and he is doing things that are very classic authoritarian maneuvers.
Attacking the media, attacking any institution frankly that would hold him accountable, whether it's the FBI, any Democratic institutions that sort of keep, you know, the -- that protect democracy like NATO, for example. These are things that are very threatening to him that he doesn't like. And then also, guess who doesn't like, Vladimir Putin.
LEMON: So interesting. So, Nada, what do you think of the President calling Vladimir Putin a competitor? Simply calling him a competitor, is he right, does he have a point?
NADA BAKOS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALSYT: Well, I think Putin, I think Trump actually agrees with Putin. I think that is one of the more disturbing aspects of all of this. It isn't necessarily that he sees him as somebody who is trying to manipulate him or co-opt him. He is really buying in to the ideology and some of the tactics that Putin has been putting forward for 10, 12 years.
LEMON: Are you comfortable, Scott, with the President, you know, the amount of hostility he has shown or said towards our allies?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I am comfortable with him pressing our allies to live up to their obligations on NATO. Only four last years of the country is in NATO lived up to their spending obligations on defense. I think that numbers is going to hit eight this year. If you listen to the speech at the NATO, Secretary General gave today, he thank Donald Trump for pressing everybody in the alliance to spend what they're supposed to spend.
So, I am comfortable if we get a net result of more spending overall out of the NATO countries on mutual defense. I do think he needs to go into the meeting with Putin, eyes wide open. He can call him a competitor, and it sounded like businessman jargon to me. And sometimes you have friendly competition with folks in your industry, but these folk are not friendly, they are not our friends, there are a lot of people around the world, they lie to us. Their aims and goals are much different than what ours are. And the President needs to understand this when he goes into this meeting. There are areas where we have to cooperate with Russia, but there is certainly areas where we are competing with them in a very unfriendly way.
[23:05:15] LEMON: I said list here and the reason I asked that question is because Putin is an ex-Crimea, right, he invaded the sovereign nation, he invaded the Ukraine, he interfered in 2016 election to aid Trump. So he put Assad in Syria. He is nerve agent in the U.K. I mean, it's just simply calling a competitor though, and to say nicer things about him than he says about our allies?
JENNINGS: Well, we are issuing and promulgating sanctions against Russia at the same time all of this is going on. So it is not like it is all, you know rainbows and unicorns between United States and Russia right now. But, yes, we have to treat Vladimir Putin like the adversary that he is. There will be areas where the United States and Russia have to work together on things. And they have done that in the past. We have done that in the past. But for the most part, they don't share our goals for what the world should look like. They want a world that centered around Russia --
LEMON: (Inaudible) back in -- he wants them --
JENNINGS: Yes, I don't agree with that. I think we have to -- we have to see a lot more out of Russia before we let them in to our alliance just like that.
LEMON: So, you tweeted something that not to be taken lightly and I just want you to explain it, because you wrote this. You said, the Republic is burning and we are all bystanders, this is not hyperbole. Explain what you're saying and why today?
BAKOS: So this CIA analyst, I saw the strength of the institutions, I saw the bureaucracy, anyone whose dealt with the federal institution knows it's really hard to get them to do something when you need them to do it. Now what we are seeing is how weak these institutions are when it comes up against authoritarian measures.
So, the institutions themselves aren't built for this. And our democracy is fragile enough right now I think, because of the (inaudible) that happened that we are starting to see and not feel quite as impact fully is as we should some of the things that authoritarians have typically done throughout the years. So for instance, we have two branches of power, executive branch and Congress who we were hoping would not act in their self-interest.
That doesn't appear to be the case at this point. So we're still relying upon the Supreme Court to be able to do that. And that, you know is going to be determined by what happens when Blaine Kennedy retires. But for me, it's really just about seeing how D.C. has changed, or the evolution of D.C. since I left the CIA. And what has happened with all of these institutions and how easy it is for Trump to denigrate them, just through a tweet, and continuing attacking this institutions that to me is usually problematic. And I just feel like we're not seeing a sense of urgency that all of this that we need to at this point.
LEMON: Scott, you want to respond? JENNINGS: Yes, I hear your point and I respect them. I would to say
that I have more confidence in the durability of American institutions. I mean we have endured a lot in the 240 plus years since our founding. We have been doing a lot of presidents, a lot of different kinds of personalities. And here is the thing, we have elections every two years. If you don't like what Donald Trump is doing you can vote his Party out in November and you can vote him out two years later. I think the alarm that people are sounding forgets that we have a chance as Americans to change the government or keep the government in place. Depending on your point of view. So, I think it's a little alarming to say everything is crumbling when we have not yet had an election since Donald Trump became the president.
LEMON: Yes. Kirsten, I dealt there is big side, go on.
POWERS: This is what happens in every country before the fall. Some people say, people are being alarmist, everybody is overreacting. When things start to crumble people literally say our institutions are too strong, they can, you know, stand up against this. The fact of the matter the first institution that goes is the media. That is the first institution that Donald Trump is trying to tear apart and talks about the media being the enemy of the people which is authoritarian speak and has Republicans now parading this, you know, constantly about fake news, (inaudible) media, that is literally out of Vladimir Putin's play book. I mean this is, you know, when Scott was saying, well this isn't, you know, -- we don't want what Vladimir Putin wants. Well, we who? Donald Trump seems to very much want what Vladimir Putin wants. He acts exactly like Vladimir Putin. The whole government by spectacle. That is something, you know, that Putin did. Where you just create everything as a spectacle to the point that nobody can trust anything anymore and so they just tune out.
LEMON: Go ahead Scott.
JENNINGS: I think that to say that Donald Trump is operating in the same way that Vladimir Putin operates, when we see on display every day, you know, Vladimir Putin assassinating people and doing things that are completely outrageous, Donald Trump has rhetoric, I don't dispute your points on that. But, I think to say that he is approaching or doing the same thing --
[23:10:01] POWERS: I said, Vladimir Putin's play book that is what I said. And the thing that he is doing. Just because he haven't assassinated anybody doesn't mean he is not doing the other things that Vladimir Putin did to tear down institutions. Putin's whole goal is to dismantle democracies and to convince people democracies don't work. And Donald Trump acts like what, you know just an opponent and he parrots the same language that he uses and talking about his legal -- you know, going in to other countries, whether it's Crimea, starts parading, you know, those talking points. The same thing with Kim Jong-un, he was parading Kim Jong-un talking points.
LEMON: I want to give NADA, the last words here, because she hasn't much. Nada, I do have to say, when you speak to anyone who has been either part of an atrocity or had proximity to it, if you speak to holocaust survivors, anyone like that, they sort of look at us now and say, are you guys seeing what's happening. Do you see what's going on now? And we're the only ones sitting back, oh, can you believe this, No, it is not happening, he would never do that. And they say that is exactly what happened in their own personal atrocity and people thought that it wasn't going to happen and they couldn't believe it?
BAKOS: That is exactly it. And from the CIA analyst perspective, this is something we'll call an early warning analysis. We would talk about the fact that, here is the fine coast along the way and the signals that you can see that measure authoritarian values that are cropping up. When you start to attack institutions or whatever it means, usually through media, usually criticizing the media, it is now through a tweet, went you're attacking those institutions, you're eroding Democratic norms. We've seen him do this over and over and over.
Also we are talking about voting measures, the gerrymandering that is happening around this makes it really difficult for us to be able to say we can wholly rely upon voting, like the stall word against solid (inaudible). And we don't have to compare him specifically to Putin, it's not, you know, one to one. It's the fact that he is even leaning this direction. And that, some of these Democratic norms don't seem to be as part of his value system.
JENNINGS: Kirsten compared Donald Trump in the current state the United States to Russia and North Korea.
POWERS: That is not what I -- you know, don't twist my words.
JENNINGS: I am not. That is totally you said. Is it not?
POWERS: It is not what I said. I said he parrots their talking point. I never at any point says that the United States was like North Korea. I said that he parrots the talking points of authoritarians and then attacks NATO.
JENNINGS: OK, so --
POWERS: I mean, why don't you explain that? Rather than twisting my words around, explain something --explain that -- explain -- he treats NATO like our enemy and then parrots the talking points of two of the most evil leaders in the world, who also are sworn enemies of the United States. Just explain that?
JENNINGS: I just don't understand how you can have so little faith in the durability of 240 years of the Democratic process --
POWERS: Two hundred forty years actually isn't that long, Scott.
JENNINGS: We have the magic of the founders, we have the history of the constitutions, we have run elections every two years in this country through thick and thin and we're going to keep doing it and I don't understand how we can lose all the confidence that term four years of history, his broadest in a mere --
LEMON: We've never had a leader to attack institutions, Scott like we have now -- POWERS: We've never had someone who is so hostile to American values.
JENNINGS: Again, you can say whatever you want about him. You can make extreme comments about him, you can love him, and you can hate him --
POWERS: That is not extreme.
JENNINGS: At the end of the day, it can all be resolve in an election.
LEMON: What is extreme?
BAKOS: I totally disagree with that.
POWERS: What do you mean you disagree -- you disagree with elections to resolve our political differences?
BAKOS: No, I totally disagree we are -- well, yes, I mean part of this erosion --
JENNINGS: Then how do we operate?
BAKOS: -- is to rebuild what we've actually lost so far. So we're going to have to go back and figure out, how do we piece some of this back together? We've never been in this situation. You've talking about 240 years --
JENNINGS: That is true. The Rain Corporation did a study this year about truth decay. I encourage you all to read it and they analyze four different periods in American history. Where we had similar circumstances of American distrust. I don't dispute that we live in this right now, but it is not historically unique to this time.
POWERS: We've never had a President that is so determined to destroy truth. OK. That is the difference. We are not talking about distrust between groups of people, we are talking about a President who is hostile to basic American values, hostile to international values, that institutions that the United States built. That they help built to protect democracy and he is hostile to them while he is kissing up to authoritarian leaders, and you still have not explained that.
JENNINGS: I don't see him as being hostile to the concept of NATO. I see him hostile as being to the concept of the people in NATO not spending as much as they should on our --
POWERS: You know it is well beyond that.
LEMON: On the campaign trail he said it was worse than that.
POWERS: Exactly. JENNINGS: But he is also confirmed his commitment to article five
since he become president, he is having meetings, look, he wants more money out of these people, it's very clear. He wants them to spend more money and some are doing it -- and some are actually doing it.
[23:15:07] POWERS: I don't disagree with you on that. They should do that. I agree with that. That is not the problem.
LEMON: Can't you say that, I think we should get more money NATO and that Putin a bad guy?
JENNINGS: I think that all the countries in NATO should live up to their obligations and I also think, the President should confront Vladimir Putin about what they did in our election. Both of those thing are true and they both should happen.
LEMON: Ok. But the President?
JENNINGS: We'll see what he does to Putin. I mean look, here is the thing, no matter what he says to Putin, Putin is going to lie to him and I hope he knows that.
LEMON: he didn't know when Kim Jong-un was doing it.
JENNINGS: We are not done with North Korea, we are in a long dance with those guys.
LEMON: OK. All right. Thank you all. I appreciate it. That was interesting. We'll be right back.
LEMON: The President is in Europe tonight for the NATO summit. Just hours away from meetings with some of the United States closest allies but Trump isn't treating them like allies. I want you to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I have NATO, I have the U.K., which is in somewhat turmoil. And I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Putin, the man who meddled in the U.S. Elections, he is the easiest of them all. Let's discuss now. "New York Magazine," Jonathan Chait, he has a new piece, and it is an interesting title. It says, Prump/Tutin. I just got that in the mail today. Will Trump be meeting with his counterpart or his handler that is the name of it? Also, David Kramer. He is a former assistant secretary of state under President George W. Bush and the author of back to containment dealing with Putin's regime.
That is an easier one to read David. So thank you for that. Both, gentlemen, good evening to both of you. David, I will start with you. President Trump says his meeting with Putin will be the easiest of them all. But, I mean you got an op-ed, it is in "the Washington Post" it says Putin is about the con Trump in Helsinki and here is how. You predict Putin will come prepared using three main approaches. Praise and flattery, blaming Obama and appealing to Trump apparent desire to wreck international order, explain how you think this will go down.
DAVID KRAMER, SENIOR FELLOW, STEVEN J. GREEN SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: I hope this won't be the President's easiest meeting. Because I hope it will be a really confrontational one. Where the president takes on Putin challenges and about the interference in the 2016 election ongoing interference in U.S. social and political issues, of course the situation in the Ukraine, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the situation in Syria.
I worry that President Putin will try to play to Trump's ego and flatter him, say it was amazing how you pull off the victory in 2016. It is amazing how you stay connected to your voters. I also worry that he will point the finger at President Obama, and say this is all Obama's fault. The reason we're at this point in U.S.-Russia relation is because of your predecessor. As we know the President does like to turn things around against President Obama.
And lastly, I think the question remains, do Putin and Trump share interests in trying to weaken institutions that have been vital over seven plus decades and preserving international order and peace and stability and those include NATO, the European Union, WTO, the new World Organization and the G-7 after Russia was kicked out from the G.A.
LEMON: All right, Jonathan, before I get you in to respond. I want you guys to listen to how President Trump has talked about Vladimir Putin in the past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Donald Trump is a friend of Putin. Well, actually, Putin did call me a genius and said I'm the future of the Republican Party. I think Putin's been a strong leader for Russia. Putin's the leader of Russia, Russia's is a strong country. If he is said great thing about me I am going to say great thing about him. I have already said, he is really very much of a leader, very smart, much smarter, and much more cunning than our president. Putin is a nicer person than I am. Putin's fine, he is fine. We're all fine. We're people. Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along as an example with Russia? I am all for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin's a killer.
TRUMP: We there's a lot of killers, what do you think our country's so innocent?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think Vladimir Putin a friend or foe?
TRUMP: I really can't say right now. As far as I am concern, a competitor, a competitor. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So that last competitor comment, that was just this morning. Listen, you laid out the theory and the piece that I mentioned in the introduction here. Do you think this could go back decades? Explain that.
JONATHAN CHAIT, WRITER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, it's possible, there is a huge and wide array of contacts between Trump and his inner circle and Russia that stretches back to the 1980s. We don't really know when this relationship started in its current form, we don't know how deep it goes. But the reason I wanted to write this piece was, first of all, let us just put everything together. There's so much news that is come out about this odd relationship over two years, these bombshells often get forgotten.
The other reasons, we're just assuming that the most likely scenario, who is the worst it would be, the most likely scenario, it just goes a little bit farther, that the connections between Trump and Russia, they've been lying about it. And goes a couple steps further in some kind of light collusion. But we don't really know where it ends. And I want to gain out -- what if it just goes much further than we think it does? I mean, you could make a plausible case and try to draw there and it actually is a much more alarming situation than we even were thinking about. So that is why I try -- I tried to do this piece.
LEMON: I don't know if it's a good sign or bad sign. Maybe it's good, because it draws more eyes to it. But you know your piece has gotten a lot of criticism, right? People saying you're pushing a conspiracy theory. What's your respond to the backlash?
CHAIT: Yes. So, I am just going to call the conspiracy theory, because one of the things I do at the start of the piece is quote John Brennan, who was the head of the CIA, who said about people go down in his path. Referring obviously to people around the Trump, if not Trump himself, saying that he thinks Putin has something over on Donald Trump. And Brennan saw, intercepts of conversations Russians had about the Trump campaign and its contacts with the Russia during the campaign. He is been making these startling accusations. So, it's kind of strange to call it a conspiracy theory to say, hey, you know, the guy who was running the CIA during this period might know what he is talking about. I don't think you have to believe that every accusation is true to say, there's a lot of really damning information out there. Let's lay it all out.
LEMON: OK. I got it. So, David, listen, the meeting hasn't happened yet, things could change, but we are told the president is going to be meeting with Putin, one on one, what are the dangers of meeting like this without anyone who is more level headed about Russia in that room?
KRAMER: Well, I think we do want to see the President challenge Putin.
[23:25:00] There have been a number of examples that you've cited earlier in your program, Don, where Russia has attacked us, not militarily, but by interference in our election, the situation in Syria where it is complicit with murderous Assad regime and slaughter innocent civilians. He has even been talked of war crimes, the illegal annexation of Crimea, of the ongoing aggression and invasion of Eastern Ukraine. The pressure on Russia's neighbors, the interference of other countries, our allies, our country's -- at least we used to call our allies, and the President needs to really push Putin on this. Putin is looking for a normalized relationship. He also wants to drive divisions and splits within transatlantic relations and within Europe itself. And the President I think really needs to push back on that strongly. He needs to be made clear sanctions won't be lifted as long as Russia continues what it is doing in Ukraine, including Crimea and he needs to make it clear to Mr. Putin that this interference and western democracies and electoral processes will incur costs.
LEMON: David, Jonathan, thank you, I appreciate it.
When we come back, Conservative Republicans lining up to defend Congressman Jim Jordan as he faces accusations of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse more than two decades ago. We are going to bring you the latest in the investigation, next.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The conservative House Freedom Caucus has voted to support its co-founder, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, as he faces accusations of turning a blind eye to alleged sexual abuse more than two decades ago. Five former wrestlers at Ohio State University have made accusations over the past week that Jordan knew about the sexual abuse but did nothing about it while he was the assistant wrestling coach.
Nine other former wrestlers say it's not clear if Jordan knew anything about allegations of abuse. Ohio State started an investigation back in April. Congressman Jordan repeatedly denied having any direct knowledge of sexual abuse, has not sat down with investigator, but says it's possible he might sit down with them this week.
I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator, Charlie Dent, a former U.S. representative, and Ambassador Norman Eisen. Norman Eisen is a former White House ethics czar. He has filed a request with the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch a preliminary investigation.
Gentlemen, good evening to you. I'm so glad to have you both on to talk about this really important story. So, Charlie, I'm going to start with you. The entire Freedom Caucus just came out in support of Jim Jordan.
OK, here's what they're tweeting. "Mr. Jim Jordan is a man of integrity, and we believe him and stand with him 100 percent. If he had seen or heard something he would have acted. We continue to support his work in Congress to fight for everyday Americans."
So, Republican Steve Scalise is also backing him, while other Republicans have been more cautious to defend him. What do you think -- why do you think that is? CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, Don, I would say that I'm neither here to condemn nor to defend Jim Jordan in this serious allegation. As a former chairman of the House Ethics Committee, I learned a long time ago never to jump into a situation like this without knowing all the facts.
I believe it's very important that the Ohio State University conducted a thorough investigation and Jim Jordan should cooperate with that investigation to see just what the facts are before jumping to any conclusions one way or the other.
I've known Jim Jordan for some time. He and I have disagreed publicly on policy tactics, strategy from time to time, but we always try to do it in a civil way. We knew he has always been very candid and forthright. I knew where he was coming from. He knew where I was coming from. So we have that kind of relationship. Even if we disagree, we respect one another.
LEMON: Yeah. So, listen, Norm, Jordan told CNN TONIGHT that he is working on scheduling time to meet with Ohio State investigators, possibly sometime this week. With the university conducting their own investigation, why do you feel it is important for Congress to launch another investigation?
NORMAN EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Don, thanks for having me back. I agree with Charlie. I neither support nor condemn the behavior. I want to know what's happened.
But Don, when you have a sitting congressman who is using his congressional pulpit and his staff to attack, by my count, eight accusers, CNN reported on an eight today, who said he told Jordan directly, eight of these victims calling them liars from within Congress, that raises the question, if he's not telling the truth of bringing disrepute upon the House.
And I think it's not enough to have Ohio State look at it, this is also a House issue. If he truly is speaking the truth, then he ought to be willing to talk to the Office of Congressional Ethics. Charlie was a leader on ethics enforcement on the Hill, he knows. OC will look at this and will make a recommendation. That's all we're asking for, make a recommendation, to the House Ethics Committee, whether there should be a review or not
But, you know, with these eight individuals who stepped forward, the students, it's not one or two or three, Don.
LEMON: You're talking about the people who say he knew about the abuse or you're talking about those are alleging? Because our reporting is five. Maybe other outlets have that. These are people who say that he -- that Jordan knew of the abuse.
[23:34:58] EISEN: According to our review of the facts and our complaint, we count, with the additional CNN, a person who stepped forward today, eight. But Don, whether it's five or eight, this is a large group of people who stepped forward now to say that he knew about it and I think the House needs to look at it. LEMON: Yeah. Charlie, listen. Texan Republican Louie Gohmert defended Jordan. Here's what he says. I'm going to quote this. "Unlike the Olympians who were minor children at the time they were abused, these former wrestlers were adults at the time they claim they were sexually abused by the Ohio State team doctor."
Does age matter here when you have this alleged sexual abuse? Imagine if the tables were turned, right? And he was talking about women. I'm just saying. Young college women. Go on.
DENT: Well, I guess for legal reasons, I guess it does. But as a practical matter, it's never a good idea to make accusatory statements of potential victims in a situation like this. That's what I would say. One other thing too on process, Don, that I think needs to be understood, that the House Ethics Committee is the only entity that can make sanctions against a sitting number of Congress.
But the House Ethics Committee does not have the authority or the jurisdiction to deal with situations that occurred prior to that individual service in the House of Representatives. And even then, if you remember, say -- Jim Jordan has been a member for 12 years, the committee can only look back three terms or six years, doesn't have that jurisdiction.
Now, if the complaint as Norm has described is about conduct of his office or himself in terms of he is handling the situation today, that's potntially in terms of how they're handling the situation today, that's potentially another matter.
But the Office of Congressional Ethics that has received this complaint from norm, you know, really can only make a recommendation to the House Ethics Committee to either -- to further review the matter or to dismiss the matter. The House -- the Office of Congressional Ethics cannot sanction any member or staff.
LEMON: Wrestlers were adults at the time they claimed they were sexually abused by the Ohio State team doctor.
EISEN: Don, I --
LEMON: Quite a statement. I got to go. I have to go. But I mean, I just -- I find that to be outrageous.
EISEN: I have to say terrible. That's terrible. These are victims and we don't treat victims that way. Shame on Representative Gohmert for saying that.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. When we come back, a woman harassed at a public park just for wearing a Puerto Rico t-shirt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Are you a United States citizen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Can you please get away from me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Then you should not be wearing that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Can you please --
LEMON: Well, the harasser apparently completely failing to comprehend that Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Everybody, please watch this because tonight, officials at a park in Illinois are investigating an incident in which a man harassed a woman because she was wearing a t-shirt with Puerto Rico flag on it, calling it un-American. The woman asks a police officer for help, but he seems to just walk away. She recorded the encounter. She posted it on Facebook. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not going to change us, you know that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): I'm not trying to change anyone. I'm just trying to come here for a birthday party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, the world is not going to change the United States of America, period.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should not be wearing that in the United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a United States citizen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Yes, I am a citizen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a United States citizen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Can you get away from me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you should not be wearing that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Can you please get away from me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should be wearing United States of America flag, not Puerto Rico.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Officer, I feel highly uncomfortable, can you please grab him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Are you a citizen? Are you an American citizen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Please, officer. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, what was the officer doing? Didn't do anything. OK, well, I want to talk about this now with CNN Political Commentators, Keith Boykin, Angele Rye, Matt Lewis, and Mike Shields. Hello, disturbing video. What did you think, Angela, when you first saw it?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One, I was trying to figure out who let this jerk in the park to begin with. Number two, I thought about the fact that this officer was in "La La Land."
I think what is more unbelievable to me than the video is that the officer is on administrative leave or -- I'm sorry, (INAUDIBLE) even on administrative leave so he can just, you know, continue to collect a check without being in the sun at the park. So it's just frustrating to continue to see these incidents happen and no consequences.
LEMON: So, Mike, as we can all see, the police officer just stands by, ignore the woman's plea for help. The man got back at the woman's face a second time and even then, it was a second officer who finally stepped in. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Can you please get away from me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're an American citizen, you should not be wearing that shirt in America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Let me tell you something, buddy. Puerto Rico is an American state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It isn't an American state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Yes, they are. They vote for our president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should wear --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, calm down. Get away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Why do you think the first police officer didn't help this woman, Mike?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I don't know. Actually, the first thing I thought when I watched this as well was, what's this guy doing? I mean, not just the words that the man is using, the threatening behavior. And I give the woman a lot of credit how she's handling herself.
You know, I'd love to see that old man say that to a Puerto Rican marine. I don't think it will work out so well for that guy. I am glad to see at least the other police came and did the right on this. The one thing I will say is that this sort of thing has been going on for a while in this country.
[23:45:05] Racism has been going on for decades and now we actually have people filming it so that we can have conversations about it like this and help put an end to it, have a national dialogue about what is happening, that these things are real.
There's too often that people, especially white people, have not necessarily been able to see this and therefore understand that this is real, that it actually happens to people on a daily basis. This guy's a jerk, obviously. Most Americans don't agree with this.
The great thing is, I saw this on Facebook and the overwhelming reaction of everybody was this is terrible. That's the reaction Americans should have when they see it.
And I'm glad it is getting exposed so that we can all join together and say this is unacceptable. Puerto Ricans are Americans. Even if she wasn't an American, that's not appropriate behavior to treat anybody in our country.
LEMON: Yeah. So, listen, here's the forest preserves county -- Forest Preserves of Cook County, I should say, tweeted. "After the incident, we immediately launched an investigation pursuant to our personnel policies into the response of our officer. The investigation is ongoing. The officer involved has been assigned to desk duty, pending the outcome. The intoxicated individual involved in the incident was arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct."
Matt, should he have kept his job?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They have to go through the investigation. But I -- you know, based on what I saw, I don't think so. I mean, police are here to serve and protect. And I think that you need to intervene.
I think that if you watch that video, clearly it got to a point where there was escalation. You can hear the woman saying -- the woman of course is very calm and I think very polite, really most of us would have been much more rattled than she was.
But she is saying, look, I have a permit, I paid a permit, this is a birthday party, would you please step back? She said it repeatedly. And then she even summoned the police officer and asked him to intervene and he didn't do anything. So, based on what I saw, maybe there is more, but based on what I saw, I don't think he should have a job.
LEMON: OK. Keith, I want to get you in, but I want to get to the break. But listen, just put up the video just for a moment here. We are going to talk about this. A 91-year-old Mexican man visiting his family in California, beaten with a brick and told to go back to Mexico. We'll talk about that when we come back.
2[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Back now with Keith Boykin, Angela Rye, Matt Lewis, and Mike Shields. So, Keith, the incident we're talking about in Illinois, isn't an isolated one. We have been talking about these kinds of racist incidents. It is almost weekly on my show here.
Another recent example is a 91-year-old Mexican man, visiting family in California. He was beaten with a brick, told to go back to Mexico. He is a permanent resident, legally here. You say, Keith, that this -- the political -- the current political climate right now is fueling this kind of anger. Explain that.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We've always had private citizens who have been policing black and brown bodies going back for decades, Emmett Till in 1955, George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin. What's going on now is that we have a culture where I think the president of the United States is feeding this environment.
He's not the cause of it, but he's feeding it. He's not speaking out forcefully when these things happen. And it requires presidential leadership to stand up when something like this happens. George W. Bush famously spoke out against Islamophobia and went to a mosque after the 9/11 attack. And so we are not fighting a war on Islam, we are fighting a war on terror.
LEMON: There's a video of it.
BOYKIN: This is what's happening right now. It is a reflection of -- a sad state of affairs that America is being divided and pulled apart. Unfortunately, we don't have leadership at the top to bring us back together.
LEMON: Yeah. So I have to put this. Listen, Mike, CNN's "K-Files" uncovered -- it's a disturbing social media posts by a Republican House candidate from New Jersey, Seth Grossman.
In posts that are now deleted, Grossman wrote, he said, "diversity leads to Muslims killing Christians. In another post, Grossman wrote, "Kwanzaa is a fake holiday made by black racists. He also promoted opinion pieces from white nationalist website.
National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled its support for him. But Grossman says he is not dropping out. Why is this man still a Republican candidate?
SHIELDS: Well, the local voters -- the party can't go in as we know, can't go in and force someone off the ballot from the national level. The National Party has done -- yes, I worked for the NRCC and I absolutely applaud Chairman Stivers in the position they took which is that they are not going to give any support to this candidate.
But the local district in New Jersey is to decide whether or not they are going to keep him on the ballot or try to replace him. That is up to them. I hope they do. There is no place in the Republican Party for that kind of rhetoric.
One thing I want to disagree with Keith a little bit on this is that this is not a partisan issue. There are racists in both parties. There are good people in both parties. And, you know, in Michigan, you had a whole brouhaha where the Democratic Party was fighting itself and using racism about a Muslim candidate who was trying to run fro governor there.
This sort of thing happens all over the place. I do think it will be better for our leaders to speak out about it. I think there is a lack of leadership on both sides. During the inauguration --
LEMON: Hold on.
SHIELDS: I'm not saying both sides. Don't try to pull me into Charlottesville (INAUDIBLE). It is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that there is a lack of leadership in both parties. During the inauguration, my son, who was 14 at the time was called a Nazi by somebody walking into an event. There are ugly people all over the country in this tribal world that we live in.
And I think it is a mistake to try and assign some kind of partisan aspect. And I think it does a disservice, because I think that woman, the Puerto Rican woman needs us all to understand what she is going through. And if we make it a political fight, then some people shut the whole thing.
LEMON: Why are Republican voters choosing these kinds of candidates, someone who has -- who says things like that?
[23:55:02] I think that's a fair question.
SHIELDS: I don't think that they knew that about him when they nominated him. Now, they got to do something about it to fix it. I think that's a shame. I reject it. I don't think Republicans should support that. The congressman who had that seat now who is retiring, Frank LoBiondo, is not that kind of Republican. He's held that seat for 20 years.
LEMON: I got 10 seconds.
SHIELDS: That's not who the Republicans are in that part of New Jersey. I hope they do something about it.
LEMON: Angela, I got a few seconds. Go on.
RYE: Yeah, so, really quick. Mike, I completely agree with you about the issue with the Puerto Rican woman wearing the Puerto Rican shirt. I completely agree with you, Keith, about this man who was beaten by a black woman in L.A. County, by the way. I don't have any compassion for anyone who behaves in this way.
But I resent the fact that we would all try to liken what happened on the more progressive end of the spectrum, to what happens overwhelmingly now in the Republican Party. I think it is very dangerous for us to create a false equivalency to say that there are bad people on both sides. That is exactly the Charlottesville argument.
LEMON: OK, I got to go.
RYE: Just really quick. I think it's very important that your party begins to be more accountable. You said there is no room for that rhetoric. Rhetoric started at the top at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
LEMON: That got to be the last one. I'm way over. Good night, everyone. Thanks for watching.
[24:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)