Return to Transcripts main page


Feds Have More Than 100 Cohen Recordings; White House Bans CNN Correspondent From Rose Garden Event; BBC Journalist Hammers Sean Spicer To His Face; Facts First; Immigration Debate; Fighting Addiction. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired July 25, 2018 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon. It's 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. Live with a breaking news for you tonight.

"The Washington Post" is reporting now that the government has seized more than 100 recordings made by Michael Cohen. Some that could relate to Trump and others with Trump himself talking. More on that in just moments. As a matter of fact, a lot on that. That is after CNN aired the bomb shell recording of Trump and Cohen discussing how they would buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal's story of her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

The President blasting his former fixer today, tweeting, what kind of lawyer would take a client? Well, the answer to that is pretty obvious. The kind of lawyer who has a client like President Trump. A man who is waging a campaign to distract and deflect. A man who wants you to ignore what you see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just remember, what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening.


LEMON: Yes, the President of the United States tried to tell you what you're seeing and what you're reading is not happening. Don't believe what you see with your own ears. Don't believe what you hear -- see with your own eyes, don't believe what you hear with your own ears, and there's more.


TRUMP: Just stick with us. Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.




LEMON: And those vets booing the press after the president attack yesterday, the VFW was forced to apologize. Pointing out they rely on the media to help spread the VFW's message. And you have to wonder, why is this President spreading this information? Why? Why is he telling you to 2ignore the facts? It is simple. Because the facts don't fit President Trump's narrative. Here are some of the facts the President would like you to ignore. Russia's attack on our democracy. The intelligence community is unanimous. Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump. Yet President Trump is claiming Russia will interfere in the midterms to try to help Democrats. One week after he stood next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and took the Russian President's word over his own intelligence chief.


TRUMP: My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others, they said they think social security think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it's not Russia. I will say this, I don't see any reason why it would be.


LEMON: Remember, would, wouldn't -- that was, you know, he said he meant to say wouldn't. Then there's the Russia investigation itself. The President would like you to believe his claim. The claim he repeats over and over that it is politically motivated. It is a politically motivated witch hunt. That is not true. No matter how many times he says it. The fact is Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, has brought 191 criminal charges against 35 defendants. 191 criminal charges against 35 defendants. There had been five guilty pleas so far. Five. Those are the facts and facts matter. So, let us talk about this. I want to bring in now CNN contributor, Frank Bruni, of the New York Times, Mark Mckinnon, executive producer of ShowTime's The Circus, and the former adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain. Frank, Mark, thank you so much for joining this evening. So the facts do matter. Right? Why is -- good evening, by the way, why is he engaging this disinformation?

MARK MCKINNON, THE CIRCUS ON SHOWTIME CO HOST: Well, it's interesting. I am a person of hope but it is starting to feel that I am in a solitary confinement.

LEMON: What do you mean?

MCKINNON: Well, I mean, I keep holding out hope that people will see through what is so obviously transparent. The interesting -- let me tell you about --

LEMON: You sound like Chris Cuomo and you sound like me, because I don't -- I think that we -- I think that we are diluting ourselves. I think that it is going to change, but go on.

MCKINNON: Well, what's interesting behind this whole narrative that he is saying in the last 24 hours yesterday about don't believe what you see and hear, that story that he was relating to that got him so mad was the story about the impact of tariffs on farmers around the country. Trump supporters. And it is terrifically well reported story about the real impact, about which now Trump is providing, what Senator Sass, are golden crutches to bail out the impact of those --

LEMON: Using what money?

MCKINNON: Using our taxpayer dollars.

LEMON: To correct a mistake he made.

[23:05:00] MCKINNON: It was an excellent report about the impact and it also revealed that even these farmers who are Trump supporters, despite all of this are still supporting him. So, there you have it.

LEMON: Facts matter. So, why -- and your -- are you as optimistic as he is? Because I am not -- you seem a pretty optimistic person. I don't. And I think we also do to ourselves in believing that or we are so civil before. We were not that civil before. I mean, we're at a record level now, but, you know, when you think about civil rights movement and people who had hoses, you know, and dogs, that wasn't so civil. People who were lynch and on and on and how women were treated, that wasn't so civil, but this rhetoric is off the chain. But why the disinformation campaign?

FRANK BRUNI, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": One simple reason about all of this, because it works. I mean, he is operating, you have to look at the environment he is operating in. He is operating in such a partisan environment and he is speaking to a crowd that is so inclined to believe him, so determined to believe him. That he has found that they will take whatever he feeds them. And so if that is working, why would he stop? He would stop if he had something called a conscience and what I think --

MCKINNON: Or consequences.

BRUNI: Yes. What I think is so galling continuously is he is not tethered by shame. He is not tethered by conscious. He doesn't care what he is doing to civil discourse in this country which is you rightly point out, has been bad at points in the past, but I think there is new NATO right now. He doesn't care if in the aftermath of his presidency like we actually no longer agree on demonstrable facts. Like we actually operate with parallel sets of truth and never able to find common ground again.

Donald Trump doesn't care about any of that. He cares only about the advancement, exultation and exoneration of Donald Trump. And if he has to use a different set of facts, alternative facts, in a memorial phrase of his adviser Kellyanne Conway, he will do that, because it's all about him. It's not about you, Don. It's not about us.

LEMON: I want to ask you about, I've got to ask you about Kaitlan Collins in the reporter today not being allowed in, because they didn't like the questions. How dangerous is that?

MCKINNON: Well, again, just when you think there couldn't be new president set, this is new president. And tis just goes to the point that you are making which is Donald Trump and this administration just when they don't like good news, they not only reject it, but they throw you out. If you're asking questions that they believe are impertinent, then they're not only going to hear it because they kick you out.

LEMON: How do you think news organizations should respond in?

MCKINNON: Well, I'm glad to see that all news organizations, including Fox today stood up and said this will not stand. By the way, it's interesting this is one of the first exchanges or interceptions with the press that Bill Shine has had to deal as the new Communications Director. And I'm pretty sure how this went down which is Trump walked out of that room and said get her out of here and he saluted.

LEMON: But it's surprising that Bill Shine who is a producer at a news organization would --

MCKINNON: I think it's unfortunate.

BRUNI: I mean, nothing is surprising about the way Trump's aides, you know, genuflect to him, they do it over and over again.

LEMON: but then we still see and as we were talking in the break about the support that this President has among Republicans. It still, I think, I report it last night, it was at 88 percent.

MCKINNON: But. There's a, but there.

LEMON: What is the but?

MCKINNON: The but is that, people who are self-identifying as Republicans is getting smaller and smaller. It's down to 25 percent which is the lowest in 25 years. So, if it's 88 percent of 25 then you're like down to 22 percent of the country. So that base which is strong but it is shrinking.

LEMON: OK, why is it shrinking? Is it because of this President or this Party?

MCKINNON: Sure. A lot of Republicans, who are conventional Republican, establishment Republicans, call them whatever you want to, but there are a lot of people that I know who in the Republican Party that aren't happy with the direction of the Party.

BRUNI: yes, if they were offended by Trump and many of them were, remember the never Trumpers from the campaign, they have stopped identifying in pollsters as Republicans. That 88 percent is those people who are still proud even in the era of Trump to call themselves Republicans. There's some research to suggest that if you factor back in all those people who were Republicans until two years ago, until one year ago and then looked at Donald Trump's approval rating, his partisan approval rating numbers they would go down to 70 percent which is not so impressive.

LEMON: Let's talk about the tapes. OK, the Michael Cohen tape. Because --

MCKINNON: By the way that breaking news that you just reported, 100 tapes.

LEMON: Yes, a 100 tapes. That is a lot of audio. And by the way, I presume and check my homework here, but those 100 tapes they have because it was OK by a Judge, right?

LEMON: The government --

MCKINNON: They're relevant, right?

LEMON: The government seized more than a hundred recorded tapes with Michael Cohen this conversations with people discussing matters that could relate to Trump and his business and with Trump himself talking, according to the two people familiar with the recordings is going to appear to make some recordings with an iPhone without telling anyone he was taping them and then it just goes on, but that is how -- that's have said.

MCKINNON: We are going to hear more.

LEMON: A significant portion of recording is Cohen recording reporters who met with or questioned Cohen about Trump doing the campaign and after Trump's election.

[23:10:05] The people said, his voice is on several of the recordings and it goes onto say the only recording was Trump and Cohen have substantive conversation is the one that Davis released Tuesday according to these people. So, there you go. And that is big news.

But let's talk about this. This is how Rudy Giuliani first characterized the tape on Friday. Putting out a statement and this is how it came out. Because the tape wasn't out on Friday. So Rudy Guiliani put of this transcript. Michael Cohen's attorney then put out the tapes and his sources are saying, he did that to correct the record, because they were so upset they thought it was too sully his reputation. So then it says, Cohen is talking about buying the rights for AMI, American Media Inc. They are talking about a corporation doing it. One of their corporation doing it. The President says make sure it's done correctly and make sure it's done by check. I mean, after you hear these --

BRUNI: I didn't hear that.

LEMON: Yes. The audio experts have talked about, have said that what they said, so what do you think? Is anything he said, says to be trusted?

MCKINNON: I think Lanny Davis said it right, believe your ears. I mean, just listen to it. And it's pretty clear to me what it was. It was two guys talking about covering up a payment to for a sexual misadventure.

LEMON: You're a sane, rational person who happens to be a Republican. And what did you hear? MCKINNON: I heard two guys fixing a situation.

LEMON: And what did you hear?

BRUNI: We all heard the same thing. I mean, there's only one thing to hear on those tapes.

MCKINNON: And by the way, the thing that, you know, bothers me as a campaign guy from the past is they put his campaign, I presume, in a very bad position of lying for him.

LEMON: So, I want to ask you guys about the -- I don't know --

BRUNI: Hope Hicks specifically.

LEMON: Yes. Did you see the New York Times story about that the President being upset about the first lady watching CNN on Air Force One? And then Kate Bennet, ask her the question, the spokeswoman, the question is said, the first lady can watch whatever channel she wants. How do you read that?

BRUNI: Well --


I read it like I read a lot of the things with the first lady, I mean, there are various ways in which she makes very clear to the public and to the president. That she wants a bit -- that she wants more a bit of separation from him. I mean, this is one of the most interesting marital dances we have ever seen in the White House and it's not like any other one.

LEMON: I don't care. Do you? On the back of her jacket. That was the thing on the back of her jacket.

BRUNI: No, but seriously, I care about the fact of the lies to the American public. I care about the fact, you know, that he is got a democracy for sale. I don't care about the pursuit of their marriage.

LEMON: Well, I was talking about with that was -- that was just another example of the independence of this first lady and how she may be pushing back against what's happening.

MCKINNON: She is blinking, check on the Morse code.


LEMON: Thank you both. When we come back, more on those 100 plus Michael Cohen tapes seized by the feds. I am going to ask Michael Avenatti, if he thinks his client, Stormy Daniels might be discussed on some of them.


LEMON: here is our breaking news tonight. The Washington Post recording federal investigators have seized more than 100 recordings from Michael Cohen. Some of the exchanges involving Donald Trump. Joining me now Michael Avenatti, attorney for Stormy Daniels. Good evening, Michael. Welcome to the program. You've said for a while now, you had been talking about these that there would be more tapes. There are more tapes. Do you think there are tapes, the ones that are seized by federal investigators, do you think they concern Stormy Daniels, your client, in any way?

MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Well, Don. I know for a fact there's multiple tapes among over the 100 tapes that include reference to my client. We have been demanding the release of all these tapes now for about two months. We have been telling the American public that there were multiple tapes, many tapes. I said that again on Sunday. Allan Dershowitz told me that I didn't know what I was talking about and here we are. But nonetheless, Don, we want all of the tapes released immediately. Not just the tapes relating to Stormy Daniels, but the American people have the right to hear these tapes and know what has gone on with the President of the United States and his personal attorney Michael Cohen.

LEMON: I want you to listen Michael to the enhanced version, Michael Cohen talking about setting up a shell corporation. Here it is.


MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David. So that -- I'm going to do that right away. I got you --

TRUMP: Give it to me.

COHEN: And I've spoken to Alan Weiselberg about how to set the whole thing up with funding.


LEMON: I want you to respond. That there are some reporting here that I have to give the view before you respond. The money was never paid, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Michael Cohen did set up an LLC to buy the rights to Karen McDougal story and he closed the LLC, the same day he setup another LLC to pay your client Stormy Daniels. So with that said, is the very acts of opening these shell companies, apparently at least the first one done with the knowledge of the President, is that evidence of a conspiracy to you?

AVENATTI: I think it is evidence of a conspiracy, Don. And it may also provide evidence of money laundering or bank fraud. If you're setting up these dummy LLC's to make these payments. You don't just set up the LLC. You got to set up bank accounts to go along with it. And of course, we disclosed a lot of information relating to the bank account that Michael Cohen set up for a central consultant to make $130,000 payment.

But, look, I want to get back to basics here. You don't set up single purpose LLC's and bogus bank accounts to make payments that are legitimate. You just don't do that. You don't go to all this effort and all of these shenanigans to do thing that are above board. Period.

LEMON: Rudy Giuliani is saying it doesn't make sense to use cash. Especially if it was being done to a corporation, he said that sort of negates the whole thing that he was acting like, you know, a mobster and just wanted to pay Karen McDougal in cash.

[23:20:07] AVENATTI: Well, Rudy Giuliani will say anything to protect the President. I mean, days and confused Rudy, you know, his days are long past. I don't understand, the guy is a shelling of himself. He is a walking disaster for the President. I don't believe anything Rudy Giuliani says at this point. I completely disagree. Look, this whole thing stinks. It's only going to stink more as each tape comes out. I think all of this information needs to be released by Michael Cohen and Lanny Davis. There's nothing on to be really clear about this Don, there is nothing stopping them from releasing all of the information right now. And I'll tell you, I don't know what Bob Mueller is going to do in connection with this, but I will tell you this. I'm going to work morning, noon and night to bring both of these two individuals to justice and make them face the music. Michael Cohen and Donald Trump. And the only way that is not going to happen is they're going to have to kill me, period.

LEMON: Wow. OK. Well, let's hope that doesn't happen, Michael. OK. Listen, releasing the tape of his secretly recorded conversation with Trump. I mean, it's a clear break from the President. Is there any going back for Cohen now, do you think?

AVENATTI: You know, I don't know. I still maintain that Michael Cohen has not quite come to the realization that he is not going to be back in the good graces of the President or they're not going to be able to patch things up. Because I don't understand if he is truly broke from the President and if he really loves his country and claims that he is patriot then why won't he release all the information right now into the public domain, so that people can hear it all and make their own determinations as to what happened. It sounds like, Don, is that they are continuing to hold information and evidence back with the hope that they're going to be able to get back in the graces of the President.

LEMON: Yes. We talked a little bit about this last night, but his attorney says, Lanny Davis says, he is a new man.

AVENATTI: Well, you know, I don't believe it, Don. I just don't. I mean, I'll believe it when I see it. You know, I was raised in the show me state. So, he is going to have to show me before I believe it.

LEMON: Missouri, huh.

AVENATTI: Missouri.

LEMON: I remember people saying Missouri in KYMOB radio as a kid with my grandmother and the great state of Missouri. Thank you, Michael Avenatti. And that whole part, that I hope -- let's hope that doesn't happen. Don't talk like that. All right. We don't want that to happen. AVENATTI: Well, I'm not worried about it, Don. But we're going to

make sure the truth comes out sooner rather than later. Period.

LEMON: Michael Avenatti, thank you. We appreciate your time.


LEMON: When we come back, what happens when the President lies? The people who work for him, well, they do too. Why a lot of White House staffers are being caught in some really big lies.


LEMON: President Trump blasting his former fixer Michael Cohen today after CNN aired the bomb shell recording of Trump and Cohen discussing how they would buy the rights to the former Playboy model, Karen McDougal story of her alleged affair with Donald Trump. But remember, it was just days before the 2016 election, that Trump campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks said reports about an affair between then candidate trump and McDougal were, this is a quote, "totally untrue." and that they, quote again, "have no knowledge of any of this." Well, now we know that is totally untrue.

So let's bring in now Bill Kristol, the editor-at-large for the Weekly Standard and CNN Political Commentator, Joan Walsh, national correspondent for the nation. Good evening and welcome.


LEMON: We know this President has issues with the truth.

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD FOUNDER AND EDITOR: You think. Wow, breaking news here from Don Lemon. That is breaking news from 1997.

LEMON: So, is this even prove the point more?

KRISTOL: Yes, of course it does. I mean, it does open -- I mean, it's pretty astounding to have these tapes. It is (inaudible) to Michael Cohen tape Donald Trump. He was -- Donald Trump's lawyer and fixer and I guess there's no honor among thieves, right. I mean, I think it does open up real vulnerabilities.

LEMON: You think it matters? Do you think it matters?

KRISTOL: It could, because who knows what's on all these tapes, right?

WALSH: I don't know, right, I mean, I really appreciated that Frank and Mark in the earlier segment made the point that the Republican -- he retains his popularity, but that is partly because the Republican Party, the number of self-identified Republicans are shrinking. However, that said, you know, we got Sean Spicer. He lied to us for six months. He lied publicly.

KRISTOL: Now he is out selling a book. WALSH: He is selling a book, I'm not out selling a book right now,

Don. So, you know, the consequences for these people right now, I'm not sure there are any. Rudy Giuliani -- I mean, they all --

KRISTOL: Mueller.

WALSH: They all sound like mobsters.

LEMON: OK. So let us talk, we want to talk more about how they -- I mean, if there, you know, if they have the Stockholm syndrome, right. With them sort of infected with this sort of Stockholm syndrome, but let's talk about Sean Spicer. Because you mentioned Sean Spicer. He was asked about his role in propagating from day one the day when lied about the inauguration size. Taka a listen to this.


EMILY MAITLIS, BBC, NEWSNIGHT ANCHOR: It was the start of the most corrosive culture. You played the truth and you led us down a dangerous path. You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm sorry. That you act as though everything began and ended with that. You're taking no accountability for the many false narratives and false stories that the media perpetrated.

MAITLIS: He shouts fake news when he doesn't like something. This is the office of President spouting lies or hard truths or knocking down real truths and you were his agent for those months.

SPICER: My job as I laid out in the book was to be the President's spokesperson and communicate his thoughts and yours truly ideas when he wasn't able to do it or wasn't present.


LEMON: I have to give props to the BBC, Emily Maitlis, for pushing him hard on this. The fish rocks at the head, right? Is it the press secretary's fault that the truth is so devalued now or is it the president?

WALSH: No, it was the president fault, but it is the press secretary fault. I take issue with the idea of Stockholm No, it's the president's fault, but it is the press secretary's fault. I take issue with the idea of Stockholm syndrome, Don, because that implies that they have been taken hostage, they are serving against their will. Sarah Huckabee Sanders went into that White House after she saw what happened to Sean Spicer, after she saw the lies and she saw the humiliation.

All of these people have voluntarily gone to work for him. So the idea that somehow, you know, that they've been mistreated is wrong. Obviously, it starts with him, it ends with him. Hopefully it ends soon with him.

LEMON: But --

WALSH: But they have agency here.

KRISTOL: Totally. They're still lying.

WALSH: They still lie.

KRISTOL: He doesn't work for him. You have private conversations, I've had a few with many friends of mine, people who have left the Trump White House. And they say in private, it's ridiculous. He's crazy. He's a liar. It's really horrible. You know, you should see. It's even worse than you think inside. Then they come on this show or many other shows, you know, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and a whole lot of people, and they are loyally lying for the president.

WALSH: Still.

KRISTOL: I don't know if they have consulting contracts, they want to stay in good shape with the president, with the RNC, the campaign. There's a lot of money sloshing around for the Republican consultants in Washington.

WALSH: Right.

KRISTOL: But it's terrible. It's one thing if you're working there, it doesn't justify lying but you can sort of say I'm doing my best. I'm trying to moderate him at times. I have to say some thing that makes him happy. Once you leave, just be quiet. You don't have to go and tell the truth.

Publish a book and the way you continue to say that you have the highest regard for him, Sean Spicer doesn't. He doesn't have the highest regard for Donald Trump. I'm just going to say that as a fact. But he thinks this is now his, you know, his -- I don't know.

WALSH: His way back in. It is his party. Until it's not, it is his party. It's said but he has taken -- I'm not going to use hostage because they're all doing it voluntarily, but he's taken over the party.

LEMON: You know what's interesting, even when you get -- we're talking about staffers but even some of the surrogates. Because, you know, I look at them and I say you can't, you don't believe that, do you?

KRISTOL: Privately up there --

LEMON: And they will say that and even some of the people who work at the White House. but the ones who don't do it, the ones who may actually, you know, believe it, they don't get upset by it, right? But the ones who don't believe it, get upset by saying, well, not all of them believe what they're saying. And so I think that's very telling because they know that they're lying.

WALSH: Yes. I think it's very telling. And I think it's very problematic. And I think, you know, it's a problem sometimes when we seem to have to go along with the lies or to be polite. And I am a polite person to the best of my ability. But sometimes, you know, the lies get you down.

LEMON: But I think it's different. You can be quiet, as you said, if you are somewhat who is setting is helping to set policy, right? Maybe if you're Coats or someone like that.


LEMON: You don't have to say anything or you can say, look, I took an oath to the constitution and not the president. But if you're the press secretary, you can't really be quiet.

KRISTOL: That is a different kind of job. There, you are personally working --

LEMON: But then if you're Coats, then you get reprimanded.

KRISTOL: Yeah. I mean, look, I think there are people in security side and other serious positions who I would defend staying in the administration if they are doing some good and if they can honorably. But I thought that Coats thing was a big moment. Made him issue a hostage statement on Saturday.


KRISTOL: What happened? You don't issue statements on a Saturday unless there's some kind of crisis or unless the president woke up in the morning screaming and yelling --

WALSH: And he did.

KRISTOL: -- that I want Coats to walk to make clear that he supports me and take back what he said in Aspen. I was there when he said it to Andrea Mitchell. And that shows me that Trump is more unhinged than he has been. I mean, the guardrails have gone down. The people who used to be in the White House, Gary Cohn on trade, who were able to sort of talk about --

LEMON: Will we see more of departure, you think?

KRISTOL: Yeah, I think Kelly will go soon. And I think Trump is now, you know, just bullying everyone. And the people who are left help him bully, people who are there in the House.

WALSH: Oh, my god.

KRISTOL: Sarah Sanders, Bill Shine, some of the others he has brought in are either incredibly weak standing up to him or are affirmative helpers of his in his efforts to --

WALSH: I mean, I just have to say, Bill Shine who bullied our own Caitlin Collins today, his last job was bullying women and working through sexual harassment. He lost that job after Roger Ailes left.

KRISTOL: It's unbelievable that he's deputy chief of staff.

WALSH: It's unbelievable.

KRISTOL: It's jaw-dropping. Caitlin Collins, the media complains, really feels sorry for her.

WALSH: I do.

KRISTOL: The media people, they always complain. I will say that it is an outrage, what happened today to Caitlin Collins. There should be some -- maybe the press corps doesn't go to the next White House briefing and say, you know, we're not going to sit here and passively take briefings from you --

WALSH: Right.

KRISTOL: -- if you're going to start picking and choosing which reporter is going to ask questions.

[23:35:01] WALSH: But it's no accident that Bill Shine did it.

LEMON: Yeah. I think that's a good idea. But it's also I think and I've said this from the beginning. When -- whoever is giving the press briefing cuts off the reporter, who is asking the question, the next reporter should ask the exact same question or say, I yield to my colleague.

WALSH: We see it occasionally.

KRISTOL: Or refuse, let them go on background to give these anonymous quotes and spin things and say I'm not having any conversations from anyone from the White House except totally on the record until you change your ways.

LEMON: I have to go. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.


[23:40:00] LEMON: One of President Trump's top campaign promises, the one many of his voters counted on the most, was to crackdown on illegal immigration. But now as the crackdown is taking effect, some Trump voters are having second thoughts.

Letty Stegall joins me now via Face Time. Letty was deported back in Mexico in February. Also joining us, her husband, Steve, and Steve's mother, Shirley, who is one of those Trump voters as well.

Good evening to all of you. Thank you so much for joining us. Letty, I have to start with you. Your story is so heartbreaking, a nightmare that many families fear could happen to them. How are you holding up in the months since you were deported back to Mexico?

LETTY STEGALL, DEPORTED BACK TO MEXICO: Well, nothing is easy and the way I am holding it right now, that's because I still have my husband, my daughter, my in-laws who support me and helping me to keep going through this, as well my family in Mexico have helped me a lot through these hard times.

LEMON: Steve, you and Letty have a 17-year-old daughter, Jennifer. How are guys holding on? How are you doing?

STEVE STEGALL, WIFE WAS DEPORTED TO MEXICO: You know, we make each other stronger. You know, we're going through the same situation. So, we're holding up. We help clean each other out. We help clean the house together. We help cook for each other. You know, we love on each other and we're friends.

It's made us stronger than ever because, you know, it was the toughest thing in the world, you know, when she came home from school having to tell her that, you know, hey, ICE came and picked up your mom today. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. You know, we sat there and bawled and bawled for 30 minutes just on each other's shoulder because it was just so hard to take in.

LEMON: Shirley, I have to ask you, because I understand you voted from President Trump in 2016, but is it true that you have some regrets about the decision? Talk to me about your regret.

SHIRLEY STEGALL, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW WAS DEPORTED TO MEXICO: You bet I do. I feel like I've betrayed my daughter-in-law, Letty. He promised to get rid of the criminals. Trump did. The gang members. I was all for that. Letty is not a criminal. She is not a gang member. She doesn't go around murdering people. She is like us, an every day working person. And that's the reason I voted for him. But they're going after the hardworking Hispanic people.

LEMON: Yeah. Well, listen, Shirley, all along, you know, there was some concern about the way the president was framing the immigrant situation. Listen, there are criminals in all facets of American society and usually people who are immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, they commit less crime than U.S. citizens. Do you understand that now? Do you think the average Trump voter understands that?

SHIRLEY STEGALL: I don't think they do. I think there's been so much propaganda from the White House put out on the Hispanics. They think it's all Hispanics, it's not Hispanics. There are people fleeing their countries because of murders and rapists and who wouldn't want a better life? Who wouldn't want to leave that kind of life and go to a better life?

LEMON: You know, Letty, you came to the U.S. illegally almost 20 years ago, two decades ago, but you have been married to an American. Your daughter is an American citizen. You made one mistake six years ago. You were arrested for misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated. Is that why you were deported?

STEGALL: You know what, it's hard for me to really say the reason because it was on paperwork. That's how everything started. When they came to my house, they didn't come telling me like I had a DUI six years ago. They did this like enforcement to remove (INAUDIBLE).

They had me in the computer because I got my fingerprints there because I got work visa and I also have a social security. They didn't really go to streets to look for the people who are doing all the wrongs. They just came and looked in the computer and say, OK, this is the person, I got the information, I got the address where she lives. That's how they did it.

My daughter that morning left to go to school around 7:30 and I was getting prepared to go to the gym. I was backing out of driveway and three cars just like surrounded me and stopped me. I told the guy, I said you can't do this to me because I have a child who is a citizen, I have a husband, I have a family, I have a business, and I'm supposed to stay here.

He didn't care. He like arrested me there and said you are illegal and you're under arrest. I said you can't take me because my family doesn't know where I'm going right now. They didn't know until I was able to make that phone call. They just throw me in the car, put handcuffs on me and arrested me.

[23:45:03] They took me to the detention center.

LEMON: Shirley, do you still support this president? Would you vote for him again?

SHIRLEY STEGALL: Absolutely not. No way.

LEMON: What do you want to say to him or to his supporters?

SHIRLEY STEGALL: They need to have an open mind and think if this happened to one of their family members, what it would be to go through what we're going through. And one comment I would like to really say is our pledge of allegiance at the end of it says for liberty and justice for all. It doesn't say for liberty and justice for you, for me, for our neighbors. It says for all. And I feel we have not had justice.

STEVE STEGALL: You know, Don, I know you don't have a lot of time. But, you know, I wanted to also bring up the fact that, you know, all these -- you know, when AP put the story out, you know, it went to Twitter and everything. You get so many haters, you know, that are just -- it's unbelievable.

No matter what you say, no matter what you do, there's so many hardcore Trump followers. I had one guy tell me on Twitter, you know what, you and your daughter should go to jail for harboring a criminal. Another guy said, you know, all nine million of them need to be sent back.

I mean, there's so many racists, bigots out there. They don't even want to listen. All they want is an all-white America and, you know, it's crazy. You can't fight it. You can't beat it. This world is so freaking cut in half and divided right now because of President Trump. I've never seen anything like it before in my life.

LEMON: We thank you all for joining us. Letty, good luck to you. We hope this all works out. Please keep us updated. Steve, thank you. Shirley, thank you as well. STEVE STEGALL: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

SHIRLEY STEGALL: Thank you, Don.

STEGALL: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: Multi-platinum singer Demi Lovato is reportedly stable and conscious tonight in a Los Angeles hospital. Sources are telling CNN that she was rushed there yesterday after an apparent drug overdose.

Lovato has long struggled with substance abuse as do millions of Americans. This epidemic has prompted talk show host Wendy Williams, who overcame addiction herself, to launch a campaign called "Be Here" which aims to support treatment and recovery for people facing substance abuse. Watch this.


WENDY WILLIAMS, TALK SHOW HOST, LAUNCHED "BE SURE" CAMPAIGN: People are struggling to gain access for support. Do you know that over 45 million Americans are affected by addiction? It doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're wealthy or you're poor or you live on the wrong side of the track. It will get you and destroy.


LEMON: And Wendy Williams, there she is, joins me now in the house. Wendy, we have this fun relationship. I love you. You know that. How are you doing?

WILLIAMS: How you doing?

LEMON: We have to talk serious stuff before I have to commend you for doing what you're doing, because this is a huge problem. Addiction knows no economic boundary, nothing. Race, gender, nothing. It plagues everyone. Do you think enough is being done to help stop it?

WILLIAMS: I think war can be done. You know, you have the National Heart Association. You have things for the National Kidney Association and other particular organizations regarding health. But regarding addiction, people will shun away, and I don't know why. It's not something to be ashamed of, you know? We have to step up and step out.

LEMON: And stop.

WILLIAMS: And stop.

LEMON: Yeah. Because people think like, oh, my gosh, I can't admit to it.

WILLIAMS: Yes, you can. Why not?

LEMON: You have been -- on your show, I have watched you.


LEMON: Crying, especially when you talked about Whitney Houston's death. You admitted your addiction. Do you think that helped people? I'm sure it did.

WILLIAMS: I don't know. I can only be me and I can only be me by what I have been through and only be me by what I see. And regarding, you know, Demi Lovato, me, and so many others, you know, That's my organization.

LEMON: You and your husband, Kevin.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Capital B. You go there. You get information. If you would like to participate in or just get information. I don't think there's enough information out there. Once somebody thinks that they are addicted, where do they go?

LEMON: Uh-huh. So how are you -- again, the foundation, it is the Hunter Foundation.


LEMON: It is that Wendy wants you to go to. You have been so open about it. What prompted you to become that open about it?

WILLIAMS: How could I not be? You know, how could I not? You know, I have such a brilliant platform in terms of, you know, over 30 years in broadcast.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: And I'm so transparent with what I do. And, you know, so this is only natural.

LEMON: The big issue now, opioids, of course, you know, heroin, K2 which is so attractive to young people? Why is it so attractive to so many young people?

WILLIAMS: The packaging, the cheapness of the (INAUDIBLE) and, you know, in some cases no smell or whatever.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: I don't know. All I know is, you know, Don, I come from a place where, you know, drugs were attractive and drugs are still attractive.

[23:54:59] We have to watch our kids and watch our society and be able to offer something more in terms of help, help, and help.

LEMON: Yeah. Wendy, thank you so much. It is called



WILLIAMS: And the Hunter Foundation. My name is Wendy Hunter. Kevin Hunter. Kevin Hunter, Wendy Hunter. The Hunter Foundation is for the good of the people.

LEMON: Yeah.


LEMON: You're doing a great work. Thank you so much, Wendy.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I'll see you on the TV. We'll talk hot topics.


LEMON: We'll be right back.


LEMON: More than 40 million Americans don't have enough food to eat.