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Trump to Revoke Opponent's Security Clearances; Judge Grants Immunity to Five Witnesses Against Paul Manafort; Judge Delays Paul Manafort's Trial Until July 31; New Carter Page Documents Undermine Trump Attack On Mueller Probe; One Week Later, Still No Information On What Happened During Trump-Putin Meeting. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired July 23, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now. I'm telling you what, Don, I watched it time and time again, not the fool with the sausage but watching Trent Lott, OK. Rohrbacher who is in there now, other guys who are in there now, saying, you know preschoolers, you know, second amendment doesn't have an age on it. And you know, our age limit -- you know, you trained. They're the gifted, the gifted kids, you know?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Well, it's OK. So, a couple things. Yes, it is how ignorant and gullible and tribal and, shall I say, stupid we are. I disagree with you. I mean, listen, if we at our best? Sure, we can be better than that. But that is who we are. I mean, a lot of people --
CUOMO: Oh, I thought you were saying you were disagreeing about the preschoolers --
LEMON: No. No, no, no.
CUOMO: I was going to come into your studio and give you a little slap sense.
LEMON: Oh, come on, Chris. You know me better than that.
CUOMO: I know.
LEMON: Actually not. But I think that this is who we are. I mean, look at the situation we're in now. Look what the people overlooked and still overlooked in order to make excuses for the terrible behavior of this president.
And if you point it out, you know, he calls this fake news, if you point it out, they say that, my gosh, you know, you're against him or you're the fake news. No, this is our job, to point it out.
And he lies a lot and he gets people to believe that they are being hurt when they're not and that he's going to get them jobs when he's not, and all of these things and people they buy it hook, line and sinker. Chris, this is who we are.
CUOMO: That is an aspect of who some of us are.
CUOMO: I think that if you call out what doesn't make sense.
CUOMO: There is a bigger conversation. You say it all the time. I mean, both of us are blessed to have very full lives. You got lots of different kinds of people in your life. And there is so much more to us where we agree and where there are problems that can be solved instead of playing to these polls. And that's what got me about this video.
LEMON: I hope that--
CUOMO: We can do better on both sides--
LEMON: I hope that at one point, Chris, and I thought I think you're being a little bit naive. I think that the bulk of the country, that we haven't dealt with a whole lot. We haven't dealt really with racism.
CUOMO: No question.
LEMON: We haven't dealt with sexism.
CUOMO: No question.
LEMON: We haven't done -- dealt with misogyny and we haven't done with a lot of things.
CUOMO: No question, but you got to talk about it.
CUOMO: And we know that the overwhelming majority wants certain kinds of change.
CUOMO: And we know that there is common ground and it gets ignored and it gets drowned out by the noise of extremes. What I'm saying is you can overcome that.
LEMON: Yes. Well, I hope you're right.
CUOMO: I know there is a lot of differences but there are a lot of similarities and commonalities and chances for action.
LEMON: I hope you're right. Right now I see regression.
CUOMO: We must always have hope.
LEMON: I hope you're right. I hope you're right. Nice show. We'll talk about this later. I'll see you soon. Thank you, Chris.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Classic Donald Trump. Kind of what we're talking about right now when I said regressive, right? His distraction and diversion strategy. Don't get it twisted. That's exactly what's happening right now. We're in distraction and diversion territory.
Get people to stop focusing on the disastrous Helsinki summit and the worst week of the Trump presidency -- remember I told Chris last week, well maybe next week we'll be focused on something else and we won't be talking about Helsinki. And he said, no, we'll still be talking about it. Look what's happening this week.
So the White House today going vocal critics of the president. Six former top intelligence and national security officials, there they are up on your screen, threatening to strip their security clearances.
So here's what he's doing or wants to do. Silencing critics. That's right. Even an effort, though, to distract everyone is worth reporting because it's what dictators and want-to-be strong men do. They try to silence critics.
At the top of the list is former CIA Director John Brennan who called President Trump's Russian denial of attacking the 2016 election nothing short of treasonous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not only is the president looking to take away Brennan's security clearance, he's also looking into the clearance of Comey, Clapper, Hayden, Rice and McCabe.
The president is exploring the mechanisms to remove their security clearance because they politicized, and in some cases, monetized their public service and security clearances, making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia or being influenced by Russia against the president is extremely inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Stop right there, Sarah Sanders. Baseless accusations? There are almost no words for how audacious that is given the president spent years promoting and reportedly still believes the racist baseless accusation that President Obama was not born in the United States. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
TRUMP: There is something on that birth certificate that he doesn't like.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, why--
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My God.
TRUMP: I brought it up just routinely and all of a sudden a lot of facts are emerging, and I'm starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.
So I would like to have him show his birth certificate. And can I be honest with you? I hope he can. Because if he can't, if he can't, and if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility. If he doesn't, it's one of the greatest scams in the history of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So yes, there is that. So back to possibly revoking security clearances for former top intel officials. James Clapper, the director of intelligence, calls the idea chilling and an abuse of the system, which it is.
The former NSA director, General Michael Hayden says he doesn't get classified briefings at this point and revoking his security clearance wouldn't stop him from saying what's on his mind. So he's saying you're not going to shut him up.
[22:04:57] And sources say that former FBI officials Comey and McCabe, well, they no longer have security clearances, so the threat is moot. So there you go. See distraction. Probably should have done a little homework. Maybe they already knew it but just wanted to put it out there.
See, that's the point. Just making the threat to take action changes the subject from serious issues facing the country like the fallout from Helsinki or the upcoming trial of Paul Manafort or the Michael Cohen tapes or, let's see, lack of progress on North Korea and its nukes or heightened tensions with Iran or the separation of migrant families, children in cages. The list goes on and on and on.
President Trump may or may not revoke the security clearances. It's likely it doesn't really matter to him. But today he thinks he looks like a tough guy, standing up to former officials who weren't loyal to him in the first place, at least that's how Trump sees it.
In reality it's childish, it's petty because they aren't supposed to be loyal to any one president but to the Constitution and the rule of law. One official telling CNN that it's a new way to make the deep state
argument and the president believes that fires up his base. At the end of the day, it seems that that is all he cares about, his image, his base, and his reelection. Me, me, me, me, me, me, me. What about me, what about me?
We're told that President Trump is more than comfortable with how this whole discussion is playing out. That is truly not a surprise. Don't be fooled. The OK-dokey of the man in the tailpipe. Keep your eyes open.
Let's begin tonight, though, with CNN's Chris Cillizza. He is a politics reporter and editor at large here, CNN Political Analyst,April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and Republican Strategist, Rick Wilson. Good evening to all of you. Chris.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, sir.
LEMON: So let's cut to the chase. If this is a distraction, what are we being distracted from? Let's get right to it. What's going on?
CILLIZZA: Well, I always think the answer to that is Russia, Don. You know, I just -- that's the overarching thing. That's what the Mueller investigation is focused on, that's the thing that we know Donald Trump fixates on.
If you go back and look at his tweets, analyze them to the extent they can be analyzed, that is the theme that comes up again, again and again. The witch hunt, the hoax, no collusion. His public appearances are the same.
So I think that, look, we saw this with 11.24 last night, Sunday night, almost midnight on Sunday night, Donald Trump all-caps tweet about how Iran better not test them or they will suffer worst than anyone has ever suffered.
Then this afternoon we had the security clearances. I mean, I don't -- these are not unserious issues, particularly Iran, and I would say more broadly, sort of free speech as it relates to people who used to work in the government.
But they are, I think, meant to take some level of attention away from that one thing that he just can't get rid of that he views as a looming cloud over his presidency, that he has told the Russians Lavrov and Kislyak in the Oval Office that there was a weighed on him prior to Comey being fired. We know all these things just Donald Trump has told us all these things. So I'm going to take him at his word and say that it's Russia.
LEMON: Yes. April, how do you explain e all this lashing out and destruction?
APRIL RYAN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, one, he's angry because people are pointing fingers at him. This president does not like to be chastised. He does not like to look like he's wrong. But this is a wag the dog theory, this is a wag the dog situation,
meaning that it's a distraction from the real issue. And Chris is absolutely right. It's Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia all the time, and what can I do to take people's attention away from it?
And look at this, you've got poll numbers from NBC and Wall Street Journal saying that independents have dropped for Trump by 7 percent and they're going to de Dems. So this is not boding well for him.
And you got to remember this president did not want people from the intel heads, from the other administrations, to have these security clearances extended from the beginning, at the beginning of this administration. And these security clearances, Don, are specifically to help them come in, if this White House wants them, and this is something that's been happening before in other administrations.
These security clearances allow these people to come in and be read in on an emergency issue, foreign policy or intel issue, or to give them information. They've not gotten the information, they've not been brought in. So this point is moot.
LEMON: Yes. Well, and if he's not doing anything wrong, this -- no one has been accused of giving up classified information.
LEMON: If they do, then they have to face the repercussions for that.
LEMON: So if your administration, everything is on the up and up and you're doing everything right, then what is the concern here?
[22:10:01] Rick, here's what you tweeted. You said, "Donald Trump can be a petulant little child and take away all the clearances he likes. He can't, however, take away the service of these men to our country, or the knowledge of his actions and character they possess. At length the truth will out."
Is that where this pettiness do you think comes from Trump knows that they know stuff about him?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Absolutely. This is a guy, look, you can map out Donald Trump's rage tweeting and verbal dysentery and his outburst that he has, this sort of political tweets that he has about Russia with the rising tension level of the investigation.
And any time one of these men is asked, you know, on the record, what can you tell us? Were you concerned? Do you know things about the Russian interference? And they walk up to the line they're allowed to go up to legally. It sends them into an absolute frenzy.
And he knows that all these folks have been exposed and read into these programs that specifically were revealing information about people who were very close to him who were hip deep in Russia, and it makes him incredibly nervous. It makes him -- it makes him understand the one thing he fears the
most is to be humiliated and for people to associate him with a Russian effort to put him in the Oval Office. He will notice he's going to have an asterisk next to his name by the end of this thing, if he doesn't already with most people, and he's terrified of it.
He hates it. And he also fears the legal liability and the collapse of all these people around him, and he fears most of all that we're going to get to the fact that the Russians are a significant part of his business and have been for a very long time, and he's going to have some explaining to do, and I don't think he's very comfortable with that fact.
CILLIZZA: Don, I just--
LEMON: Go ahead.
CILLIZZA: Can I just one quick point. You know, I think because Trump -- or Sarah Huckabee Sanders named these six former intelligence officials, there is a tendency to focus on them.
But Rick reminded me of this point while he was talking, which is, how about the current CIA director who was the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yes, the Russians actively meddled in the election?
How about the FBI Director Chris Wray who was Donald Trump's pick. How about any -- literally any intelligence official currently in office? There is no one this side of Donald Trump, and I guess maybe Devin Nunes--
CILLIZZA: -- who think that anything other than what Clapper, Hayden are saying is accurate.
LEMON: But except for Susan Rice.
CILLIZZA: I mean, that's the difficult thing.
LEMON: Most of the guys, most of the people he's talking about, Clapper, they were appointed by Republicans and most -- and are Republicans.
CILLIZZA: I mean, Jim Comey is -- was a Republican.
CILLIZZA: Bob Mueller is a Republican. You know, I mean, we can go through this. The point is it's not about these six people who he cites. These just happen to be people that they put on a list--
LEMON: Well, let me--
CILLIZZA: -- which in and of itself is dangerous. But the intelligence community broadly, including his secretary of state, the CIA director now, and the FBI director, all of whom are Trump picks. So if everybody else is -- if everyone is in on it except him--
CILLIZZA: -- I think at some point you got to ask--
LEMON: Yes. I need you to hold your thought.
RYAN: This president doesn't listen to anyone.
LEMON: I've got to get to the break, April. Hold your thought. And I want to ask you guys when we come back, you know, I think the point you were getting to, Chris maybe, is that Sarah Sanders used the podium today to really push out Donald Trump's enemies list.
LEMON: An enemies list of the president. We'll discuss that. So stay with me.
And also ahead, President Trump said to be pleased with all the discussion about possibly stripping security clearances, and why not? It's a huge distraction from serious issues. More on that, next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Tonight a source is telling CNN that President Trump is quite pleased with the whole discussion of possibly stripping security clearances from former intelligence and national security officials.
So let's continue to discuss now. Chris Cillizza is back, April Ryan and Rick Wilson.
Here's the question. If the president, he's essentially, as I said before the break, April, he's created an enemies list. Sarah Sanders used the podium today to push it out to the public. RYAN: Yes.
LEMON: We can't ignore that even though it's a shiny object.
RYAN: You know, this president has an enemies list almost in every category, be it intelligence officials, be it the press. I mean, there is an enemies list on every platform for this president.
But at issue, and this is a national security issue, this Russia issue is bigger than people want to understand or care to believe. At issue, this president does not listen to his own intelligence community.
And then you have people from prior intelligence communities from other administrations who could help shed light on several topics.
Now, this president currently is fighting wars in Afghanistan and fighting against ISIS. We are not at a point where we can go and take on Iran if that happens. We are not at a point where we can take on North Korea if that happens, we're not at a point we can take on Russia.
And those people who are on that list are people who are saying this out in the public, and this president doesn't want to hear it. He has made our friend our adversaries and our adversaries -- I don't know what you call them now.
RYAN: We -- yes, competitors, exactly.
RYAN: And these people would be able to talk to this administration and talk to this president to say, this is what happened years ago. This is what we dealt with and this is the issue.
This president doesn't want to listen and this is a big national security issue that has tentacles. It could really cause problems for this country and the world.
LEMON: Yes, competitors, and that's a good thing, right? That's supposed to be a compliment. Rick, you know, I hate to do this, but it's the God's honest truth. What if President Obama had revoked General Michael Flynn's security clearance for leading the lock-up chants against Hillary Clinton? How do you think Trump would have reacted?
WILSON: Republicans would have a strong a noose over a tree outside the White House and been down there with pitchforks and torches screaming for immediate removal from office. That's what would have happened. They would have gone absolutely out of their damn minds. Now, this is a president--
RYAN: You said lynching, you use the scenario of lynching, you did a scenario of lynching, basically.
WILSON: April -- April, I'm telling you these people would have lost their damn minds. I'm not--
RYAN: And you basically created a scenario of lynching, so say it, just say it. You just said it. They would have lynched Obama.
WILSON: I did say--
LEMON: I think he's well aware but go on, Rick.
WILSON: April, I'm not saying it was a good thing.
RYAN: OK. I know, I know.
WILSON: I'm saying that they would have reacted with an absolutely hyperbolic lunatic response that would have absolutely been inflected also with the fact that they believed in some cases that Barack Obama was a Kenyan Muslim sleeper agent, whatever.
[22:20:07] I'm telling you this reaction would be so over the top and so hyperbolic, they would lose their damn minds.
And the fact of the matter is they have given Donald Trump every pass on everything, they've accepted the fact that he has this desperate fetish, they've accepted the behavior that tried to shred every institution, and this entire situation is going to be like this because they refuse to behave as a co-equal branch of government to check Donald Trump's behavior.
So, you're right, Don. It would have been, you know, the question -- the question is exactly pertinent. How would we have reacted as Republicans otherwise? They would have lost their damn minds.
LEMON: So I get what April is saying. So, then the analogy that you made, why does this president get away with it and the other president didn't get away with it? Rick, to you.
WILSON: Well, look, they have given Donald Trump the permanent get out of jail free card. No behavior is corrupt enough, evil enough, disruptive enough, treasonous enough for them to ever do anything to resist him, or to oppose him or hold him to account.
I mean, the reason I use that very vivid analogy, April, is that I fear that Donald Trump has absolutely no checks on his behavior.
RYAN: He doesn't have.
WILSON: There is nothing controlling his behavior. And this -- and you need to have a clear line of understanding of how different he is from every single other president we've ever had before. With Richard Nixon was proven to be corrupt. Republicans were out there saying, we've got to end this. This has to stop.
RYAN: They're the one--
WILSON: And we have reached a point now where he will never be held to account.
LEMON: Well, that's when I think the party and probably the country, even though we were dealing with many, many issues at that point. I think people were concerned about the country overall, and they weren't putting one big issue aside, which people had to overlook in order to support this president. Chris, you wrote a piece for CNN.com, and here's what you said.
"President Trump can't seem to dig his way out of his own Russia contradictions," and here's the president's tweet.
You said, "So President Obama knew about Russia before the election, why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign? Because it's all a big hoax, that's why, and he thought crooked Hillary was going to win."
So, well, that's exactly not true because he was told about it, so walk us through the contradictions which are basically lies.
CILLIZZA: Well, right. So you've pointed that one out which is he was told about it. The thing is he used the word hoax. he was asked or Sarah Sanders was asked today, does Donald Trump believe that the Russian election meddling investigation by the FBI and the special counsel is a hoax?
No, he wasn't talking about that. He was talking about the idea that there was collusion. Well, he didn't say that, and I'll note that this is not an isolated incident. This is the third time in a week.
Remember, he said would but he meant wouldn't when he was talking about Russia and whether or not they were meddling, standing next to Vladimir Putin. He said no when he was asked whether Russia was actively targeting the election anymore, but he was actually saying, no, he didn't want to take any questions, but of course he then went on and took several questions.
I mean, the point here is that at some point you have to look at it and say, there is too many of these 'oopsie' moments. I think Donald Trump always tell people, Don, you and I have talked about this on air and off. His tweets and his public statements where he is speaking off the cuff is what you need to pay attention to, because that's him.
RYAN: Who he is.
CILLIZZA: Other stuff is -- other stuff is managed. That's him. And what do we get out of that as it relates to Russia? Even when he was trying to say he believes in the intelligence community last week, he had to say, could have been someone else also because he does not believe it.
I don't know why we can't take it at face value. He is putting into our face over and over again, he does not -- he is not sure Russia meddled in the election. Despite all evidence to the contrary and to Rick to the point earlier, he -- every intelligence person has told him that. He can't accept it.
CILLIZZA: He's telling us he can't accept it.
CILLIZZA: But his White House is trying to sell something else, and that's not the case.
WILSON: We need to take it literally and seriously in this case.
LEMON: Well, he says one thing and says another thing, and then he says one thing and says another thing.
LEMON: But what you're saying, Rick, I'll give you the last word. I got to run.
WILSON: We need to take him literally and seriously when he is speaking off the cuff like that. Chris is right. That's when you see the real Donald Trump.
WILSON: That's when the mask is off and you see the real character there. And he's all over the board, but you know, paying attention to what he says when he feels like he's performing is different than when he's reading off a teleprompter or a script.
LEMON: Well, here we are.
CILLIZZA: Happy Monday.
LEMON: This is America.
WILSON: Never a dull moment.
LEMON: None in my area. OK. Thank you.
CILLIZZA: Thanks, Don.
RYAN: Thank you.
[22:25:00] LEMON: When we come back, major developments in the case against Paul Manafort. His first trial delayed while the judge grants five witnesses immunity to testify against the former Trump campaign chair.
How worried should Manafort be at this point, and what could this mean for President Trump?
LEMON: We have new developments to tell you about in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. A federal judge delaying the start until next week, and granting immunity to five key witnesses. Charges include bank and tax fraud. And while they are unrelated to Russia's attack on the election, what will the trial mean for President Trump? That's the interesting question here.
Joining me now, CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, and Harry Litman, a former deputy assistant attorney general. Good evening. Good to have both of you on. Welcome to the program. Harry, the trial was supposed to start Wednesday. Why the delay?
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know, it's a short delay, Don. Manafort actually had asked until September. He was deluged with a lot of documents. He said it was hard to go through in short order.
Judge Ellis, who likes to move his court things around quickly and his courtroom said, I'll give you a week. Not a good development for Manafort. Same thing with the five witnesses who now have immunity and were going to take the fifth. These are tax preparers, bank officers now will have to testify.
All in all a bad day and the guy is being led to the slaughter. It's just a short stay of execution.
LEMON: Yes. One week delay until July 31st. You're right, that's not really a long delay there.
[22:29:58] LITMAN: That's correct.
LEMON: So Laura, listen, we know the identities of the five witnesses granted immunity by the judge testifying against Manafort. What do we know about them know when and how they factor into this Mueller case.
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we know that there are probably going to be the ones that corroborate or bolster the government's case about why this is largely about money laundering, and why they can actually show there was an intent to try, and conceal the source of money, and where it was actually going.
But the larger issue here as well, Don, is that it's a real problem for the prosecution. That now you've got the identity of these five witnesses who have been immunized that's out there along with that 30 witnesses in total who are now in the hands of the Manafort team.
Now, the reason that is important is because normally, a prosecutor they call ready, and then gives the information about the witnesses when the jury is about to be let in, and the trial is going to begin to try to prevent undue harassment of the witnesses, to have people try to figure out why they would not be credible...
LEMON: So, this gives them an advantage?
COATES: It gives them a little bit of an edge if you're the Manafort team to say, well, now I'm prepared. I know what the government's case is going to be. Essentially with all the witnesses available to me now, I can now start to prepare my defense more adequately.
That additional 7-day period is not a great deal of time to go through all the documents as my colleagues alluded to, it does give opportunities to say, OK, now we can present a defense based on what they're going to be to show the jury at trial. LEMON: What do you think of that, Harry?
LITMAN: You know, I understand what Laura is saying, but not a huge surprise who these five are. Three of them helped prepare the taxes. Manafort already knows his taxes are coming in. That's like half of the case.
One of them gave him $16 million in bank loans, and was the colleague of someone who Manafort might have promised a job in the White House to. Those loans, he knows, they are also coming in. So, it doesn't give him much of a jump.
And by the way, that second part you asked at the top, how does this concern Trump? And this is one way it does concern him, because at least the end of the trial concerns Manafort is being really short of money after Yanukovych was deposed in Ukraine, the man he's working for, and that's when he goes begging after the campaign management post went out for free, and it will begin to eat into the campaign time.
LEMON: OK. So I'm wondering if this gives an edge or not, Laura, since you mentioned that. The judge said prosecutors can only mention Manafort's role in the Trump campaign as it relates to a banker who allegedly wanted a role in the campaign in exchange for a loan to Manafort. Does that limit any potential damage to the president?
COATES: Well, conceivably it could. Now, the reason they are doing that is trying to say, listen, this case is not to be used as some kind of veneer to talk about the Russia collusion investigation. You haven't charged that particular charge, or it hasn't been up there, not that it exist, but you haven't charged one in order to have that in front of the jury here.
So you have to limit it, and not be about that particular aspect. However, you know, the prosecutor already said we didn't have any intention of bringing about this issue. We don't think anyone is going to even talk about the word Russia. We are going to limit...
LEMON: Or collusion, right?
COATES: Or collusion.
LEMON: So, then why should the President be concerned, then?
COATES: Well, he's concerned because on the other side, then Manafort's team can also not allude that they're some type of a victim, or that they are the attending recipient of a witch hunt, or a scandal, or a partisan hunt in any way.
And so, it cuts both ways in this case, but the President should be concerned as well still because although there has not been a specific allegation that Manafort in terms of this indictment was trying to collude with the foreign entity, that being Russia for the campaign, he still had -- during the actual time he was the campaign chairman, and again, he's the campaign chairman who has these ties to a pro- Russian Ukrainian entity. That's not assuming to that to the President of the United States.
LEMON: Got it. So, Harry, what is the main concern do you think for the President here? Is it that Manafort could flip, and cooperate with Mueller? What do you think?
LITMAN: Well, so he has said a couple times through -- and we know this from Cannon, and himself that he is worried most about Manafort. I think there is a general worry, and that's what caused the kind of tweet, you know, logier of yesterday. He again and again, it's all a witch hunt.
Today, there hasn't been an allegation that Mueller has made that hasn't been substantiated. But everyone has pleaded guilty. Here's the first time, the first guy that says prove it. Mueller proves it, Mueller stock goes up, Rosenstein's stock goes up, the witch hunt accusation goes down. I just think in general he's seeing a zero sum game with Mueller.
LITMAN: And every big victory for Mueller is a loss for him.
LEMON: Hey, I've got to go. Laura, yes or no. Is it too late for Manafort to cut a deal?
COATES: But it won't be -- but it won't be a favorable though.
LITMAN: That's right.
COATES: A different kind of deal. You're going to get -- he's going to have some prison time, absolutely.
LEMON: Got it.
COATES: He can cut a deal if he wants.
LEMON: All right. Thank you both. Appreciate your time. When we come back, House Intelligence Devin Nunes ducking cameras tonight after Justice Department documents who release that undercut a lot of the claims he made in his infamous memo. And that's not all the document sheds light on.
[22:35:00] Congressman Eric Swalwell joins me next with more.
LEMON: The President and his supporters once again making a baseless attack on the Mueller probe saying that the warrant to spy on ex-Trump adviser Carter Page released by the FBI over the weekend vindicates their claim that a dossier funded in part by Democrats was improperly used as reason to spy on the Trump campaign. I'm talking about that memo by GOP Congressman Devin Nunes from
earlier this year, which now looks even more like a partisan attempt to smear the Mueller investigation. So let's discuss now. Congressman Eric Swalwell is here.
He is a Democrat from California, and member of the House Intelligence Committee. We've been talking about this a lot. Remember when that happened, when the memo came out...
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Oh, yes.
LEMON: ... and release the memo, and all of that? You were on this program. So, who is really vindicated... Good evening, by the way, Congressman.
SWALWELL: Don, thanks for having me back.
LEMON: Who was really vindicated by the release of this FISA application?
[22:40:00] SWALWELL: The rule of law, the hardworking men and women at the FBI, who were concerned that someone so close to the Trump campaign listed as one of the top five foreign policy advisers had concerning contacts with the Russians. And so, I think, you know, it would be outrageous if a judge did not grant this application.
And so, Don, it's time for us to move on. This was not the only contact in the Trump orbit. We later found out about the Trump family members, and their meeting at Trump Tower. We learned about Michael Flynn, and his trip to Moscow, and then his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
So, again, this is just a distraction. When I was a prosecutor, I would see this tactic a lot. Defense attorneys would focus on one small fact, trying to exaggerate any flaws in that fact, and try, and make you believe that fact did not relate at all to the bigger picture. There is a much bigger picture here, and it is that this President has drawn us quite close to Russia.
LEMON: The facts are important here. Because if you listen to the president's apologists, and if you listen to state-run TV, this vindicates -- even, you know, I'm sure, his, you know, biggest supporters are saying -- his spokespeople, this vindicates the President -- you know, what Devin Nunes was saying what it does in all of this.
And now Nunes ducks CNN when asked why his memo is off the mark. But, do you think the damage from that memo has already been gone. The President and his allies still claiming that this FISA warrant in the court showed bias even now after it has been released? And before you answer your question -- And before you answer that question, the judges who signed off on this appointed by who? Republicans.
SWALWELL: President Bush -- yes. President, you know, Clinton and President Trump. They've all had appointees. Look, Don...
LEMON: So has the damage already been done?
SWALWELL: Yes. The longstanding damage is that they're undermining the faith that the American people have in this independent FISA court which also reviews cases involving terrorism and national security.
However, the Republicans, we've just learned, are also attacking, and calling for an investigation into the court, and into the Department of Justice for putting this application together. So it seems like, you know, every week there is a new exploding cigar that they are trying to, you know, have the president light, and it keeps backfiring.
So, you know, we'll see, you know, what they bring next, but I am comfortable now, Don, that the American people have awakened to these different distractionary tactics, and they just want the Mueller investigation to proceed, and come to a natural end once he's chased down all the evidence.
LEMON: So, I just want to say a couple things here, because, you know, Trump is saying in his tweets that this began with the Steele dossier that was false, or concerns about Carter Page before the Steele dossier, right? That's a fact. Three of these judges were appointed by George W. Bush, and one was appointed by Reagan. All Republican appointees here.
And he was saying he wasn't briefed, why didn't Obama, in the tweet, brief him on this investigation? Well, they were briefed. August 17th of 2016, he was a Republican nominee at this point. So, let's put up the polls here now.
The latest NBC News Wall Street Journal poll shows 46 percent of voters want the Mueller probe to continue. Thirty-eight percent think it should end. Are the President's attacks on the Special Counsel working, Congressman?
SWALWELL: Well, in the short term they are working. Yes. And that's -- I think, you know, the American people will have -- want to see this come to an end. You know, I saw this when I was a prosecutor.
You know, it's called the CSI challenge, which is you watch TV, and you expect that in one hour, you're able to get DNA evidence, video evidence, and the case is closed. Well, in reality it takes much longer.
But I'll tell you what, when you lie to investigators, when you obstruct justice, when you tamper with witnesses as so many of the suspects and defendants in this case have done, it takes longer. And when you refuse to sit in the chair, and answer the questions that have already been provided to you, it takes a lot longer. So I think this is really on the president. Sit in a chair, stop delaying this, and we can bring this investigation to a close.
LEMON: By the way, that same poll also shows 41 percent think the interference by the Russians affected the outcome of the election. That's up eight points from a year ago. My question is, the public seems pretty resilient in the face of all the attacks and denials. SWALWELL: I also believe that the free press has reported on just
what exactly this misinformation looked like. You know, they're finding out that over 150 million people viewed a Facebook or Twitter Russian, you know, information ad.
And so they're starting to understand that this was a real attack, and it had a wide audience. Don, I believe the best antidote to future interference from Russia, or any other country is unity among our nation's lawmakers.
That's why I wrote legislation should have an independent commission. Almost every Democrat is on board, two Republicans are on board, but this would allow us to tell the America people what the Russians did, what we can do in the future, and ensure that it never happens again.
[22:45:04] That would awareness will inoculate us for future attacks.
LEMON: Congressman, thank you. Let us know all of your efforts.
SWALWELL: Yes. I will.
LEMON: Thank you very much. When we come back, the President appearing once again to take Vladimir Putin's word over his won Intel officials. What is it about Putin that has the President constantly denying the facts about Russia's attacks on the election?
LEMON: It's been one week since President Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin, and we still have no idea what happened behind closed doors. It's unclear if the President's own team even knows what was discussed there. CNN's Kaitlan Collins asked the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders about that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Has the President briefed his national security adviser, his secretary of state, the director of national intelligence, and the defense secretary on what exactly was said between him and President Putin?
[22:50:08] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has met and spoken with all of those individuals since his meeting with President Putin.
COLLINS: Is he relying solely on his own memory to tell them what happened during that two hour meeting?
SANDERS: I'm not going to go into the specific details on how the President interacts sever single time with his national security team.
COLLINS: But it's a sit down with the Russian President...
SANDERS: It's a normal practice for two world leaders to be able to have a conversation with one another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, let's discuss now. CNN National Security Analyst, Shawn Turner, the former director of communications for U.S. national intelligence joins us, and Jeffrey Edmonds, former National Security Council's director for Russia.
Gentlemen, it's good to have you on. Thank you so much. Jeff, I'm going to start with you. The White House is planning another Trump- Putin meeting, this time at the White House. But as Kaitlan Collins just pointed out, we still don't know what happened during the first one-on-one meeting. What kind of danger does that present?
JEFFREY EDMONDS, FORMER DIRECTOR FOR RUSSIA, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: So, I think one of the real dangers going forward is that we don't know what happened in that meeting. And we don't know really -- I mean, Trump has been fairly consistent in his behavior here, but he's going to continue to drive -- it's very clear -- there are two things, Don.
First is President Trump's inability to disassociate meddling in the election with his own worries of collusion. And what bothers me there is that basically we're saying is he can't put the core national security interest of the United States first. And the second part of this is I think he thinks something's out there.
I don't think Putin was actually showing him the videotape, or anything controversial at the time. But I think he believes something's out there, and as long as he does, he's going to continue to kind of, you know, kowtow to Putin's desire there.
LEMON: Shawn, Republican Congress Trey Gowdy was not happy with the President inviting Putin to the White House. He says Trump's -- the administration should consider quitting his advisers if they won't listen to -- take their advice. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend, and they tried to attack us in 2016. So the President either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration, but the disconnect cannot continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, they should resign if he continues not to listen, or take their advise. Do you think the president's intelligence officials are feeling the same way as Congressman Gowdy tonight?
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think we're all fortunate that they're not feeling that way, Don. Look, I think that for the intelligence officials -- for the people on the president's national security team I think that this is not the time to walk away. The easy thing to do is to walk away.
I think that, you know, what they should do, and I think this is a more admiral position is to take a step back, and muster the courage to speak truth to power. Muster the courage to be able to stand up, and say to the president, Mr. President, I disagree with you.
And to do that privately, and if necessarily to do that publicly, I think one that, you know, of the things that we know about the president is he doesn't like when people disagree with him, but we all know that when the president has a range of views, and when those views are made public, so that the public can actually weigh in on them, and decide what direction the president...
LEMON: But, Shawn, how long can it go on for him to continue to contradict them? How much do they take? Do they just continue to take it, and he keeps saying, oh, yes, I agree with him, but then saying things publicly that contradict what they say? How much should they take?
TURNER: Yes, you know, look, I think that for many of them -- I know it's an extremely frustrating situation. We saw Dan Coats whom you know, has a very natural reaction to fining out Vladimir Putin was coming to the United States, and then he pull out a statement kind of, you know, apologizing for his reaction.
So clearly they're feeling a lot of stress, and a lot of pressure. In terms of how long they can take, look, I think it's in all of our interests that they hold on as long as they possibly can, and that they continue to push the president, push the envelope.
Because what their -- the feedback that they are getting -- I mean, the feedback that Dan Coats got was that he is doing a great job, and that everybody felt as though his reaction was understandable. So, you know -- and for all of us, I hope that those who were advising him stop now.
LEMON: That wasn't from the -- that didn't come from the White House. I mean, they were upset, you know, of his reaction when he was sitting on that stage in aspen with Andrea Mitchell. They were not happy about that.
TURNER: And when he found out that they were not happy about it, you know, he had the option to walk away, but he chose to stick around. I think that was the right thing to do.
LEMON: So, listen, Jeffrey, we're also learning that back in 2015, Butina who is -- you know, Maria Butina, the woman who was now being held by American authorities, met with a high ranking official at the Federal Reserve.
And an official at the treasury department -- the meeting was setup for her mentor, who is Aleksandr Torshin, who wanted Butina there as an interpreter -- as his interpreter. What do you think they were trying to accomplish with these meetings?
[22:55:01] EDMONDS: I really think they were trying to, you know, garner some kind of favorable reaction from the next administration going forward. And on the Republican side in particular.
And I really think that anywhere they feel like they can fit in, and talk to somebody, or anywhere they can fit in, and undermine what they believe to be this large anti-Russian body in the United States, they will do that.
But like I said earlier, I mean, she's a very cheap kind of solution to this. Put her in the mix, give her some resources. See where she lands, see who she talks to, and see who she has inroads with, and then go from there.
LEMON: Yes. You talked to me about her tactics last week. What were her tactics? You said you knew some individuals who were targeted by her?
EDMONDS: Yes. I mean, she would just talk to anybody. I mean, anybody that she thought she had -- and this was a journalist in particular, but like, you know, anybody that she felt that she had inroads with, she would certainly spend time with to try to figure out how to widen maneuver -- given the limited amount of time I have, limited resources I have, how do I maneuver to get to the people I actually think are going to make decisions now, and going forward.
LEMON: Yes. Jeffrey, Shawn, thank you. I appreciate your time.
LEMON: When we come back, why the President lies, and how damaging his lies are for the country.