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Russia Still Poses Threat to U.S. Democracy; Mueller Wants to Interview the Agalarovs. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 2, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You said, you did say that it plays right into that. But I have to tell you I was at an event this weekend with a friend who happens to be white, right. And she turned to me and she said, do you ever -- does it -- do you notice or are you aware, does it make you uncomfortable that you're, like, one -- maybe the only person of color in the room?
And I just -- you know, people have asked me that before, and I said I'm not uncomfortable about it. I am aware of it, but it happens all the time. And she said well, I wasn't aware of it until I was invited to a birthday party where everyone was a person of color. Everyone was black and I was the only white person, and I said is this what it's like.
She said is this what it's like for my friends of color all the time who even in most work environment, most places you go, restaurants, everywhere you go, management of companies, on and on, and I said yes. She said yes -- I told her that's what it's like.
And so unless you're put in the position to be in someone else's shoes, it doesn't exist to you. And I think we should all probably try to put ourselves in other people's shoes a little bit more if not a lot more.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Because even in the example that you raise with you with, you know, all of the status that you've gained and the respect that you get for what you do in your success, it's not just that your skin color is different than maybe everybody else in that theater.
CUOMO: It's what the concerns are about how they see you. You know?
CUOMO: You're much more likely to be a white guy in an all-black birthday party and everything be fine than the reverse. But it's about the animosity that comes into it. It's the judgment that comes into it. That's part of it as well. It's the content of a character as we've heard from a much greater mind than us.
LEMON: Or the unconscious bias, and just things that we were taught in this country, you know, as we were growing up. And that's just how it is here.
So, again, we need to really all work on that. And I do think, you know, Angela has a point. We need to really come to some sort of consensus on race or really deal with it, or it's not going to get any better at all. And it's not going to get better by not talking about it.
CUOMO: We always put our hope in our kids that they'll see pass the color to the content of the character to go back to Dr. King once again.
CUOMO: Look, you're a great example of that also, Don. People should not treat you by the color of your skin. If they get to know you, there are plenty of reasons not to like you.
LEMON: there's plenty of reasons not -- I knew you were going to say that.
CUOMO: A really good, solid--
LEMON: I was just going to say that.
CUOMO: -- demonstrably true reasons.
LEMON: I was going to say that you're a nice guy, Chris Cuomo, but I take that back. You are an -- I'm just kidding. I love you, buddy. Chris Cuomo, everyone. Goodnight, everybody.
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
President Trump out on the campaign trail again tonight for another typically off the rails rally. Bu this is really something. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Helsinki I had a great meeting with Putin. We discussed everything. I had a great meeting.
TRUMP: We got along really well. By the way, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. That's a really good thing. Now we're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax. OK? I'll tell you what. Russia's very unhappy that Trump won. That I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So if Russia is actually unhappy that Trump won, then somebody forgot to tell Vladimir Putin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yes, I did. Yes, I did, because he talked about bringing the U.S./Russia relationship back to normal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So there you have it from Putin himself. It's not fake news. It came to out of his own mouth, out of his own words. He wanted Trump to win the election. And that may shed some light on the big question tonight. And that question is why won't President Trump clearly and ambiguously call out Vladimir Putin for election interference? Why won't he do it?
Well, that's what a strong leader would do. Right? Instead, this White House put on a display today in the briefing room. A display intended to send a message to the American people.
That message is to convince you that this administration actually takes Russia's attacks on our democracy seriously. So they trot it out one top official after another. Every one of them pointing the finger at Russia, which is all well and good, but obviously there is one person missing. Want to guess who that is? President Donald J. Trump who no matter what the members of his own administration say just can't seem to bring himself to blame Russia for anything without walking it back in the same breath.
So let's compare this is the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, what he said today to what President Trump said after that disastrous Helsinki summit. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:04:55] DAN COATS, UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The intelligence community continues to be concerned about the threats of upcoming U.S. elections, both the midterms and the presidential elections of 2020.
In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States.
TRUMP: I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. There's a lot of people out there. There was no collusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: No collusion. Could be a 400-pound man in someone's basement. You've heard that one. And then there's the Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen bluntly warning that our democracy itself is being targeted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs. Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries who seek as the DNI just said to sow discord and undermine our way of life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you hold Russia at all accountable for anything in particular, and if so, what would you -- what would you consider them that they are responsible for?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. I think we've all been foolish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And what about this? This is from the FBI Director Christopher Wray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FBI: As I have said consistently, Russia attempted to interfere with the last election, and continues to engage in maligned influence operations to this day. This is a threat we need to take extremely seriously and to tackle and respond to with fierce determination and focus.
TRUMP: I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia but I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So there's the 400-pound thing. So then as a candidate and now more than a year and a half into his presidency, Donald Trump has let Russia off the hook again and again and again.
Calling into question the assessments of his own intelligence chiefs that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and will do the same thing again. Even in today's, let's call it what it really is, Kabuki theater in the briefing room, the national security adviser John Bolton could only point to what Vladimir Putin said about election interference, not what President Trump said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, UNITED STATES NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: And in fact, President Putin said, I thought at the press conference but certainly in the expanded bilateral meeting when the two leaders got together with their senior advisers, President Putin said the first issue that President Trump raised was election meddling.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So take off your tribal hats and your conservative or liberal or like Donald Trump or don't. Whatever. What does it tell you when the president of the United States sends out members of his own administration to make the case that he should be making himself. Think about that.
That Russia attacked our democracy. Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Russia is constantly working to divide America. The facts are there. The intelligence agencies are saying it. They all are saying it.
And they're doing a pretty good job of it, Russia is. So why doesn't this president, why won't this president in the words of his own FBI director, take the threat seriously?
It's no coincidence that all of this is happening as the Mueller investigation is moving into the Oval Office, as Mueller is pressing for a sit-down interview with the president himself. As former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is on trial. The first trial to come out of the Mueller investigation.
And as the president brands the whole thing a witch hunt, the fact is, this is no witch hunt. Robert Mueller is doing what the president should be doing. He's working to get the facts. The truth about what Russia did in 2016. And about what Russia is still doing right now.
That's the only way, the only way we can defend our democracy.
I'm going to bring in now CNN politics reporter and editor at large, Mr. Chris Cilizza, and CNN law enforcement analyst, Josh Campbell. Gentlemen, good evening.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Hi, Don.
LEMON: Thank you for joining us on this lovely evening. Chris, you first, Why isn't the president as forceful or direct as his national security team when it comes to Russia's efforts to attack out elections and undermine our democracy?
CILLIZZA: He doesn't believe it? Despite all evidence to the contrary. Look, I think at this point when Donald Trump says it, let's take him at his word. Over and over and over again he has not been able to say Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
My intelligence community tells me they did so because they wanted to help me and hurt Hillary Clinton.
[22:10:01] That election is over with, but the threat isn't. We need to figure out as a country how to protect our democracy.
All those clips you played, Don, could have been a lot of other people, could have been China, could have a 400-pound guy sitting in his parent's bedroom. He can't simply say it because he doesn't believe it. If you need evidence, the show of force, four big major figures in the
Trump administration coming out and saying Russia interfered in the election. We need to stop them. This is a threat to our democracy.
Hours later that clip you played Donald Trump in Pennsylvania says all a hoax. If the boss doesn't believe it, there's no way that the administration is as focused on it as they could be.
LEMON: Right. Because there's no urgency behind it. The big guy is not saying you guys take care of this. Make sure--
LEMON: Right. So, Josh, what do I have for you? This is what you tweeted today. You said he take away. "If Trump privately told Putin to stop interfering in the U.S. elections and the intel community continues to see Russia's -- Russia efforts to interfere in U.S. elections as the DNI said today, then Putin is either disrespecting Trump or didn't get the message." So most likely President Trump doesn't see it that way.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, he may not see it that way, but I think he should be focused on the fact that he does not look good here. This is very simple if you think about it.
I mean, we heard today from our U.S. intelligence community officials that Russia is continuing to interfere in U.S. elections. So, that either means one of two things. Either the president actually sat down with Vladimir Putin and scolded him and said cut it out and Putin ignored him or the message never was delivered.
So that either way it should be concerning for the American citizens. Because it either means we're being lied to and that message wasn't conveyed forcefully or it means the power of the presidency wasn't what it once was.
And then even after being scolded by the president of the United States, someone like Vladimir Putin thinks that he can continue interfering with our elections without consequences.
LEMON: Chris, I want to play more from President Trump's speaking about the Helsinki rally tonight. Watch this. At a rally tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I got along great with Putin and everybody said wow, that was great. A couple hours later I started hearing these reports that, you know, they wanted me to walk up his opponent, they wanted me to walk up and go like this. Son of a -- they wanted me to go up and have a boxing match. I said whatever happened to diplomacy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, well, there's a lot of things there. I mean, there's -- I mean, there's a wide gap between diplomacy and actually a boxing match.
LEMON: No one was really asking him or thought that he would have a boxing match. They just thought that he would stand up and be a man as the president of the United States and call Russia and Vladimir Putin on exactly what they're doing instead of capitulating.
And he skips the part where he -- where Putin undermined his own -- where Trump, I should say, undermined his own intelligence agencies on a world stage and had to clean up his own mess.
CILLIZZA: And by the way, and I'll get to the other point, Don. But in cleaning up his own mess, that's when he said could have been other people also. Like he can't -- even in the cleaning up of the mess, he still hedged.
LEMON: I meant to say would or wouldn't.
LEMON: Remember that?
LEMON: Go on. I'm sorry. Yes.
CILLIZZA: So go back to what he's doing there. Look, what you see there is vintage Trump, which is he is telling himself and everyone around him a story of how he sees things. Whether or not that comports with facts, it doesn't in this case, is immaterial.
No one outside of, maybe his family and some of his advisers. No one Donald Trump who is not on the payroll thought whether it was one minute after that summit or 10 hours after that summit that it went well.
CILLIZZA: The reaction in the Trump White House, the reaction on Capitol Hill among Republicans was I can't believe I just saw what I saw. So he creates a reality. He tells himself it, and then he uses that to scapegoat the media in some way. The media is covering -- the media doesn't make Republicans say I can't believe that just happened. We quote them saying that.
CILLIZZA: But that's -- again, vintage Trump.
LEMON: I want to get this in. And if you can get a quick response to me, Josh, because I'm up against a clock. I just want you to take a look at this. This is a surprising moment from the White House press briefing with the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: I'm not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki. I'll turn it over to the national security director here to address that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So two and a half weeks after Helsinki the top intelligence person in this country can't speak to what happened there?
CAMPBELL: So key -- two key aspects there. First he says that he doesn't know what happened and he can't talk about it. The second, I can appreciate. Someone in his position, he has access to highly classified information. If he had a private conversation to the president maybe he couldn't talk about that.
[22:15:04] But the fact that he actually indicated he doesn't even know what happened, is highly concerning. And I know him to be a very person. I talk to people who are in this war, but he is a good man.
But the fact that he wasn't briefed by the president of the United States on what took place in that meeting he's going to do a disservice to the intelligence community.
What should have happened after that meeting is the president of the United States should have been sitting down at Langley CIA headquarters with the head of the DNI, the head of CIA and all the intelligence analysts that are working on Russia and gave them -- should have given them a full debriefing on what took place in that meeting to inform their analysis to a form what it is that they're doing. We know that didn't take place because the head spy, the top DNI doesn't even know what happened.
CILLIZZA: And by the way, Don--
LEMON: And the DNI, the person who is in charge of all intelligence, maybe should have been in the room to have--
CILLIZZA: Hey, Don, I was just going to, just very quickly.
CILLIZZA: I know you're up against it.
LEMON: I am.
CILLIZZA: But just remember, Donald Trump is the one who piss -- pushed for -- excuse me -- a one-on-one meeting with Vladimir Putin with just translators that went on for two plus hours. That the only version of what happened there that we know is from interviews that Vladimir Putin has given with Russian state television. Just sit with that one for a little while.
LEMON: Thank you, gentleman. I appreciate it.
CAMPBELL: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, the Mueller investigation heating up as former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is on trial in Mueller's first Russia case.
Is this turning point -- turning into, I should say, President Trump's Watergate? I'm going to ask the experts. Carl Bernstein is here as well as John Dean. And they know. They were involved in Watergate.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Special counsel Robert Mueller pushing to interview Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov and his pop star son Emin who were instrumental in setting up that 2016 Trump tower meeting.
Earlier this month, Emin Agalarov, well, he appeared to be trolling the president releasing this music video featuring a Trump impersonator in a hotel room with a slew of models. I just wanted to watch that a little bit longer so you can see what's going on.
There were Trump impersonators. There we go, and an Ivanka impersonator and on and on. So there he is right there.
So let's discuss now. CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein is here. He is a former Nixon White House counsel, and john Dean is a CNN contributor. Good to have both of you, gentlemen on. Your expertise. You were there for Watergate. I'm going to get your impressions on all of this relating to that and the latest on what's going on with this whole Russia investigation.
So, good evening. Thank you for joining us. John, the Agalarov's attorney says that the conversations about an interview with the special counsel have been going on for nearly a year. And we also know that Mueller is offering the president's legal team new parameters for an interview with him.
What does that tell you about where Mueller is in his investigation? Is it a sign that he could be wrapping things up or we still have a long way to go we just don't know?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I don't think we really know for certain. This is an airtight investigation, but I think it's interesting that he wants to get to the source of the meeting that is a key meeting that June 9th meeting in the Trump towers, and Agaralov is one of the key players is setting it up.
So he wants to get to the source and find out what's behind it. I don't think he expects any confessions. But I suspect this fellow who travels the world wants to cooperate or might -- doesn't want to be subject to an Interpol sanction against himself. So he may come in voluntarily. LEMON: So, Carl, according to the Agalarovs attorney, Mueller's team
is interested in discussing the Trump tower meeting and the talks around the building of a Trump tower -- a Trump tower in Moscow. Right? They were talking about building a Trump tower there. What does that tell you about Mueller's focus, Carl?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This may be the real sleeper of the whole Mueller investigation, because clearly on its face the Trump tower meeting was convened for the purpose of collusion and collaboration and conspiring.
And with Don Junior and in the letter -- I'm going to read. I'm going to do something very un-television like and read the letter that brought this meeting about.
"Emin just called and ask me to contact you, Don Junior with something interesting. The crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary in her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump helped by Aras and Emin. What's the best way to handle this?"
That is perhaps the most important document that we have in this whole investigation. And if Donald Trump, indeed, means it, that he did not collude and people in his family did not collude, it is very easy for him to call these two people, Emin and his father Aras, good friends of the president, call them up on the telephone and say I want you to come talk to Mr. Mueller. Testify in my behalf. Tell them that this is, indeed, a witch hunt and this letter does not mean what it says.
BERNSTEIN: Trump has the ability right here to put this perhaps behind him--
LEMON: It never happened.
BERNSTEIN: -- if he wants to be honest about the meeting -- about this, well, but it tells you something about where Mueller is.
BERNSTEIN: This is not just an investigation about obstruction of justice. This is about collusion.
LEMON: Yes. And you're absolutely right. So listen, John. More details now. The New York Times is reporting that President Trump pushed his lawyers to try to reach an agreement with Mueller's team about sitting for an interview. Do you believe that this president actually wants to sit down with the special counsel or does he just want it to seem that way to the public?
DEAN: I think it's the latter phase of the question. He wants it to seem that he wants to sit down. I'm sure his lawyers don't want him to sit down. But, you know, the man has such an ego. He might sincerely believe that he can somehow turn Mueller to think his own investigation is a witch hunt. I doubt that he can do that. But Trump's imagination seems to have no boundaries.
[22:24:59] LEMON: Yes. That is an interesting way of putting it. All right, gentlemen. Stick around. I'm enjoying the conversation so much. We're going to continue to talk about it. More on the Russia investigation and all the new details that we have coming out today. We'll be right back.
LEMON: The president stepping up his attacks on the special counsel's investigation. Just a little while ago he called Russia's interference a hoax for about the million time -- millionth time.
So I'm back now with Carl Bernstein and John Dean. Carl, you know, we know that your former colleague Bob Woodward coming out with a new book on the Trump White House. And you said the scandals surrounding the Trump administration are getting worse than Watergate. Why do you say that?
BERNSTEIN: I think that this is worse than Watergate because the system worked in Watergate. It worked among other things, because Republicans said what did the president know and when did he know it? And they pursued the truth unlike Republicans on Capitol Hill today who have provided cover for Donald Trump to cover up in whatever has occurred here in this question of collusion and obstruction of justice.
So that's the first big difference of why this is worse than Watergate. On top of which we learned in Watergate that President Nixon was guilty of crimes that he, indeed, had undertaken authoritarian use of the powers of the presidency to order break ins and it was Republicans once again who said that cannot happen on our watch. The president must be held accountable.
[22:30:00] Nor did we have a president in Nixon who sought to undermine the western alliance. So, you know, under President Trump, Putin has destabilized the United States of America and our electoral system. That did not happen under Richard Nixon.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT, ANCHOR: Yeah. John, I want your take. Is history repeating itself or is it becoming worse than Watergate? What's your take?
JOHN DEAN, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, I have already used the title worse than Watergate.
LEMON: You have? OK.
DEAN: Yes. About the torture in the Bush administration, Bush two, which I thought, was pretty bad. But I think we are in an area that is worse than Watergate aside from python and ostrich coats which never made it to the Watergate scene. We do have something here that was unlike Watergate in that a foreign adversary is involved in the hacking of the DNC.
With Watergate, it started with just a bungled burglary and expanded from beyond that. Of course, the definition of Watergate in the end meant far more than the burglary and the cover-up. It came to be the abuse of power that Nixon had demonstrated throughout his Presidency from preceding Watergate and during Watergate. That marked it as a unique reason that he was likely to be impeached had he not resigned.
So I think -- but I think we're beyond that. I think the points that Carl makes are well made.
LEMON: You think we're seeing a cover-up playing out right now?
DEAN: I think we're still in the middle of it, and I have got to tell you, Don. I never feared for the country during Watergate. I fear for the country, and I fear for our democracy right now. I have a knot in my stomach. It's been there ever since Donald Trump won the election, never had that with Nixon. I knew he would ultimately apply and follow the law. With Trump, I am not so sure.
LEMON: Carl, you were saying absolutely. Is that what you said?
BERNSTEIN: Yes. Among other things we've got to consider here, also you know you talk about Bob Woodward's book. You know one of the things that one would hope that we would see in the reporting from the newspapers, from the networks, from Bob's book is the question of whether or not this President is acting in a competent and coherent manner, because every evidence that we see so far is that he is incoherent, and not competent in terms of how he is conducting the presidency and the policies of the United States.
That is a -- all of these questions are related to the Russia investigation, to what we saw in Helsinki. In Helsinki, what the hell happened in Helsinki? We don't know. Did that occur that what we saw on the stage because of incompetence or because of nefariousness on the part of the President of the United States? This is unprecedented.
We have never had a President of the United States whose loyalty has been called into question by responsible members of both parties in the Congress of the United States. It's never happened.
LEMON: John, Carl has said that President Trump is unhinged in a way that we have never seen publicly with Nixon, you know, with the tweeting and his behavior, and what he does at rallies and on and on and on. Privately, was Nixon unhinged?
DEAN: Nixon had a drinking problem. He would get fairly loose late at night and get on the telephone and have some pretty unhinged conversations, but he went in the office in the morning and he was cold sober. He wasn't somebody who drank on the job or totally lost control. There were checks that were placed on him late in Watergate.
His secretary of defense, for example, said listen, don't follow any extreme orders without clearing them with me first, which is highly unusual, Secretary Schlesinger, who was worried that he might try to use his war powers to somehow deflect from his Watergate problems. We're not there yet with Trump. In fact, it's Trump's incompetency right now that I take some comfort in.
He doesn't know how to use the powers of the presidency the way Nixon did, who was a student of the presidency, who had been in Congress, who had been Vice President before he became President. He knew where all the levers were and how to work them. Trump hasn't figured that out yet.
LEMON: I always enjoy my conversations with you gentleman. Thank you so much. Have a good night. I'll see you next time. When we come back, the President attacking the media yet again tonight, but his daughter had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, ADVISER, PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But he's not letting her have the last word, though. Well, we're going to tell you how he's trying to explain away what you just heard her say there, next.
[22:35:00] LEMON: The First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, did something you'll rarely hear her do, and that is contradict her father, which apparently didn't sit well with the President since he promptly tried to explain it away. So I want to bring in now CNN Contributor Frank Bruni, CNN Political Commentator, Amanda Carpenter, who is by the way the Author of Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us. A great summer read, OK, fall read, winter, spring, all of it.
So thank you all for joining us. Again, this is one of those examples I think of don't believe what you see or hear unless it comes out of Donald Trump's mouth, right? So Frank, I want to talk about Ivanka, was asked whether she believes the media is the enemy of the people. This is her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate. So I have you know had some -- I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe, especially when they're sort of feel targeted. But no, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:40:18] LEMON: So why do you think she broke with her father? There's a whole lot there. What did you think of the whole thing?
FRANK BRUNI, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: First of all, there's a lot of throat- clearing at the beginning of that answer. You know I think she broke with her father because she's in the midst of a kind of a image reset, image overhaul. You know I mean she's doing that interview because she's trying to kind of come back out into public. She just got rid of the business, right?
We had a story in our paper about a week ago that clearly reflected the fact that people around Ivanka were saying you need to take a fresh look at her. You know she's getting her act together again. She's going to step back out on the stage. So she's breaking with her father. It's not that much of a break, because she's trying to tell the world what she told us from the beginning, which is I have the name Trump, but I am not in totally with my father. I am different. I'm more modern. And I'm going to try to retrain him yada, yada.
LEMON: Rehabilitating her image?
LEMON: But so my question is -- and listen, I know it's tough. Everyone who is in the public eye really gets media criticism. There are things people write about you that aren't true. Much of it you cannot control. So if I were in her shoes, I would say as awful as that is, I am in a unique position to be able to have a front seat to creating -- to implementing policies that are good for the American people.
So no one should feel sorry for me because not everyone gets the opportunity I have in a lifetime to effect change the way I am doing. That you know -- unless she said it afterwards, I did not see that.
BRUNI: She should hire you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's so easy. It's so easy simple when I see these (Inaudible), but.
BRUNI: She's one of the most frustrating figures in the Trump administration. Because you're right, she could do exactly that. She wants to have it all. She's an opportunist. Let's be really honest about this. She went along for the ride. She wanted to go to Washington. She had her glamorous Instagram feed. And she wanted the exhilaration of this ride in the presidency with her father.
She also told us all along you want me here because I am going to restrain him. I'm going to moderate him. I am much better off here than anywhere else. So just watch what I'm going to do. She did nothing. She did not restrain him on climate change. She did not restrain him on trade, on NAFTA. All the things where she supposedly had distance from her father, she did not restrain him on. And so now she's stepping out and she says these things and she's
trying to kind of once again painting an image of herself, but to what effect, to what end?
LEMON: Right. So right, and even the children being separated at the border too, apparently she didn't agree with that but you know didn't -- never said anything about it publicly before it happened. So Amanda, what do you think of this? And I have another question for you. What do you think of her response?
AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Well, she had to shut down her business because no one was buying her dresses anymore. And I think she needs to shut down this pseudo advisory role that she plays, because no one is buying that either. The problem with her remarks -- because it speaks to the privileged that she enjoys in this White House, both as First Daughter and adviser that she feels entitled to protect her brand rather than defend the words and policies of her boss like all other White House employees are expected to do.
When she was asked about the family detention policies, she spoke to her feelings and said it's complicated. This isn't easy. And I feel very emotional about this issue. That's just very hard to buy when we've heard the cries of children, parents, you know mothers and fathers on tape, and we're supposed to believe that she feels badly about it.
And so we should just give them a pass. Was she not in the room for the zero tolerance planning policies, because that pain was the policy? That was supposed to be...
LEMON: And that's her role as an adviser, right, is to advise her father.
LEMON: So listen, Amanda. Here's what the President tweeted, OK. And then I'll get your response. They asked my daughter, Ivanka, whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the fake news which is a large percentage of the media that is the enemy of the people. So if we break it down, right, he couldn't handle his daughter contradicting him.
And again, as I said, this is one don't believe what you hear and see things. That's exactly what she said. She said I don't believe the media. She didn't say fake news. She didn't -- she said the news media.
CARPENTER: No, and she gave a good answer. It was an honest answer. It's one we would expect to hear from someone in the White House. But there's no other employee that the President would play cleanup for on Twitter. And if you want to see the difference in her status in that White House, look at her remarks, which again, I welcome, and how they contrast with what Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the briefing today, where she was asked I think three times by Jim Acosta.
[22:44:52] Why won't you say that the press isn't the enemy of the free people. And she demurred every time and then acted aggrieved, like I have been attacked too. And that's the President's view, and I am sticking by it. There's a huge gap there.
LEMON: So listen. I want to play this because this is -- Amanda, you brought it up. This is what -- she also broke her silence on family separation. This is what she told (Inaudible).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That was a low point for me as well. I feel very strongly about that, and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children. So I would agree with that sentiment. I think immigration is incredibly complex as a topic. Illegal immigration is incredibly complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So 572 children by the way remain, Frank, separated from their parents and there are different reasons why. But you know they say some of them you know may not belong -- you know, they have all kind of excuses. Some of them may be true. Benefit of the doubt with that, but still this was handled very poorly from the beginning.
That audio of the children crying that Amanda mentioned that came out in mid June. That sort of galvanized the country and said oh, my gosh, this is great. Listen. Wouldn't that have been or even before the time for her to speak out? So I am wondering you know if everyone is -- what do you think of this sort of profile and courage or is...
BRUNI: I mean she wants total sympathy and no responsibility and no accountability. And that's what she's wanted from the beginning. And I got to say I am a little offended when she's sitting there talking about how emotional it was for her, how much it disappointed her, etcetera, etcetera. We heard nothing from her privileged vantage point about how this came to be, you know about why this happened in the first place, about why it went on as long as it did, about what they're doing now to remedy it.
She supposedly you know is a close adviser of the President who is making a positive impact, but we heard nothing substantive. We heard about how down that made her feel, well, I am a lot more worried about the children than I am about Ivanka Trump.
LEMON: Thank you both. Appreciate it. When we come back, the President again telling the world tonight what a great meeting he had with Vladimir Putin just hours after his top intel people confirm that Putin's Russia is a serious threat to our democracy.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [22:50:00] LEMON: Some of the administration's top national security officials out in force today, saying in no uncertain terms that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and is trying to do so again. But their boss, the President of the United States, clearly does not believe that. Let's talk about it now. CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Susan Glasser is here, Susan, good evening to you.
SUSAN GLASSER, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: What do you make of the timing of all of this? Why today of all days did the White House choose to trot out all of these intelligence people to talk about the Russia threat?
GLASSER: You know it's a good question. I mean I think we're looking at extended play, cleanup duty from the Helsinki summit. Clearly, there was a sense that even among many members of his own party felt that Trump had gone too far in lavishing praise on Vladimir Putin, and raising questions in the press conference with Putin about his own intelligence agencies conclusion.
So I think what you saw today was this extraordinary briefing in the White House by five senior top intelligence officials and other national security officials. They're all singing from the same page and saying not only that they agree that this election interference occurred in 2016, but that they're determined to make sure it is not repeated in 2018.
The one guy who was missing from that briefing was President Trump. And then he contradicted them essentially a few hours later. Never mentioning this important priority of his government, and once again calling the Russia investigation a hoax.
LEMON: So Susan, the President talked about the Helsinki summit. He spoke of it as a boxing match tonight. And you actually used that analogy in one of your articles.
GLASSER: Well, you know I have to say I was wondering where President Trump got this. He said a couple times, including tonight after Helsinki, well, you know, those people in Washington. They just wanted me to have a boxing match with Vladimir Putin. But you know hey, I am giving diplomacy a chance. It was a great meeting.
Well, actually, it was a long-time State Department diplomat who told me in the run-up to Helsinki. He said that he worried that Trump was so unprepared for the meeting that he would be like an amateur boxer going up against Muhammad Ali. You know that's the only boxing analogy that I am aware of before the summit. And, of course, he wasn't saying that Trump should get in there and punch Vladimir Putin.
He was saying that the United States is not being represented by a President who is really prepared to go toe to toe with someone our government or the rest of our government considers an adversary. Remember, Putin has been leader of Russia for 18 years now. He's met with four consecutive American Presidents, four total American Presidents. Trump's three predecessors have come out feeling in many ways that
they misread Vladimir Putin and didn't get what they wanted out of the relationship. So yeah, I think a lot of people would agree that he was like an amateur up against a pro like Muhammad Ali in that meeting. But it's interesting, isn't it, that it really stuck with President Trump. He seemed stung by that criticism.
LEMON: And just hours though, Susan, after intelligence teams firmly stated Russian interference has happened and continues to be a threat. The President says he had a great meeting with Putin and called out the Russian hoax. These are quotes from him, Russian hoax, great meeting. What message does that send to the Russians?
[22:55:01] GLASSER: Well, I think that's an important point that you're bringing up, Don. Because you know Putin has always been a believer that only his peers, presidents, and other leaders really matter. I remember when I was based in Moscow during George W. Bush's presidency and Putin was getting some criticism from Colin Powell, from the U.S. Ambassador at the time.
And he and his advisors basically said yes, but we haven't heard this from President himself. Therefore, this criticism doesn't matter. And I believe that that is the way that Vladimir Putin would look at this situation and say basically, well, we'll let Trump's bureaucracy say whatever they need to say. But the President himself has assured me as recently as Helsinki that he doesn't take this seriously.
And I think that Putin would get the message that this is a divided government, and that the President himself is not on the same page as his own bureaucracy. Which -- by the way is the right message again, it's very, very clear a year and a half into this that no matter how many times his advisors go out there and say that they care about Russian interference and they're determined to do something about it that Trump himself has not -- is not on board with that policy.
LEMON: Susan Glasser, thank you. Have a good rest of your evening.
GLASSER: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.