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CNN TONIGHT

Mueller wants to talk to Russian oligarch and son; Roger Stone aide ordered to appear before grand jury; Manafort's bookkeeper testifies against him; Trump should not meet with Mueller says former campaign manager; Backlash for Pastor meeting with Trump. Aired 11-12p ET

Aired August 2, 2018 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It is 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. We are live with all of the new developments in the Russia investigation tonight and we are learning that the special counsel, Robert Mueller's team is doggedly pursuing an interview with a Russia oligarch and his pop star son.

The Agalarov's are the duo who were instrumental in setting up the Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Jr. among others. And there is more. A federal judge is forcing a long-time aide to Trump adviser Roger Stone to turn over documents and testify before a grand jury hearing during evidence in the Mueller investigation.

So, e-mails show that Stone sought damaging information about Hillary Clinton from WikiLeaks, the website which published thousands of hacked Democratic Party e-mails -- e-mails stolen by Russian hackers. Hackers the Trump Justice Department identified as agents of the Russian government.

There are also new developments in the trial of the president's former campaign manager. Paul Manafort's bookkeeper testifying that her boss was effectively broke and lying to banks about his precarious financial situation after losing his biggest client, which is the pro- Russian former Ukrainian president. And that was right about the same time that Manafort started working for the Trump campaign.

The bookkeeper also testified that she knew nothing of foreign accounts controlled by Manafort. That poses a problem for Manafort since yesterday car dealers and contractors said they were paid almost exclusively from foreign accounts linked to Cyprus. Now, in the middle of all this, the president still says that he wants to sit down for an interview with Mueller and clear everything up while his lawyers warn that would be a very bad idea.

Former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, telling our very own Erin Burnett just a short time ago he hasn't spoken directly with Trump but would also advise against a sit-down with Mueller. Well that is a curious claim since CNN reported that Lewandowski joined the president aboard Air Force One just last night after his Florida rally. Also on that flight, Trump 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who

tweeted earlier this summer that Trump should fire Sessions in order to bring the Mueller probe to an end. Lots to discuss. Former U.S. attorney Harry Litman is here and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson up on the late shift tonight joining us. Thank you so much, gentlemen.

Let's talk about it. Harry, we'll start with you. We're going to get Joey a chance to catch his breath here and get used to this night time air. So listen, Harry, President Trump as you know has been pushing his lawyers to come on to come to an agreement I should say with Mueller about an interview. And former Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was on CNN tonight. Here is what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I haven't spoken to the president about it directly, but if he did ask my opinion, and I'm not an attorney, but my political advice to the president would be not to sit down with Bob Mueller because there's been no evidence that this president did anything wrong, that the campaign did anything wrong during the campaign. And the opportunity to make a misstatement potentially or to potentially get caught up in the word is too great of something that could happen there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So my question is Harry, what does it say that everyone around the president has such a fear about the president lying or misspeaking to the special counsel?

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Right. Right. I mean, it says a couple things. The minimum it says is he is a very sloppy non-detail oriented, very hard to prepare kind of witness, very erratic, could blurt things out. But there's a deeper subtext here. I think that they are aware of, which is he's got real criminal vulnerability.

This is not a question of what's the meaning of is. This is a question of a lot of details that would tend to show that he's guilty of obstruction of justice. Mueller knows everything. Trump doesn't know what Mueller knows. And there would be all kinds of questions, even as he shaves his list of questions by 50 percent as he's offered to do.

It would just be absolute hazards for Trump because Mueller knows the answer having talked with other people. So, I think that's the real problem here. And I think this has been theatrical from the start. They haven't really intended to sit-down. The real problem is he has got criminal exposure and if he sits-down with him and he lies, exposure for perjury, if he tells the truth, exposure for the underlying crime. That's the biggest problem.

[23:05:07] LEMON: So Joey, respond to that. Do you think he said its theatrics? Do you think that Trump actually wants to sit-down with Mueller or he just wanted to look that way in public?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I believe it's very simple, Don. Always good to see you. The reality to me is that it's a farce. Number one, I do not believe that he wants to sit down with Mueller no matter what other people say. There's two schools of thought. One is that he is and his lawyers are holding him back, but he really wants to speak to them. I think that's political cover.

I see it far more simply than Harry does. I think he doesn't want to sit-down with him or his lawyers don't because, look, the president is truth-challenged. We know that. The fact is, is that whether you love Trump or whether you disdain him, I think everyone can collectively agree that his relationship with the truth -- there's a major disconnect.

There was a report, one report I saw, said he told 2,100 lies since office. Another one said 3,000. One said five a day. Another said 10 a day. The fact is that if you sit-down with Mueller, if they don't have obstruction, we don't know whether they do. He's tweeting. His state of mind is all over the place. He could say he fired Comey.

But if they don't have obstruction and there is no collusion conspiracy -- you want to argue collusion. It's conspiracy, but the fact is you can get him on perjury so why take the chance of going sitting with Mueller no matter how smooth you think you are, no matter what you think you can say, when you're going to get caught in a lie because you will lie because that's what this president does, period.

LEMON: Harry, so far Mueller hasn't moved on this demand that he wants Trump to sit-down in person. This negotiation has been going on since January that we know about. At what point does Mueller tire of this and just says, you know, I'm going to subpoena the president?

LITMAN: Exactly. I mean, and we -- it's been since January and maybe before. I'm a little surprised. I would have thought he would have said, you know, forget it. It's been silly that team Trump has been acting as if it's got the leverage here and maybe they'll decide to sit down. As you say, the law is likely to be with Mueller, and he can just go to court.

Now it gets a little tricky if he really is inclined to wrap things up before the midterms, probably even a quick process in the courts would extend past November. But -- so, look, I agree with Joey that he's an inveterate liar, but the bigger problem here, I think, really goes to the substantive exposure for obstruction and the fact that Mueller would have so much information that the president just doesn't have.

And at this point, though, there's also the real possibility that he filed a report with the conclusion, it looks to me, as if it's obstruction of justice. We gave the president many chances to come in and try to explain. He declined them. You can certainly charge without hearing from the defendant. So that's the risk if Trump stays quiet.

LEMON: I want to talk, Joey, about the Agalarov's, OK, because the attorney for the Russian oligarch and pop star son who encouraged Donald Trump, Jr. to hold the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting says that conversations about a potential interview between his clients and special counsel Robert Mueller are ongoing and have been for almost a year. So why are these Agalarov's so important to the special counsel's investigation? JACKSON: Well, they're important because we all know and we

understand, and I think there's agreement with the exception of perhaps the president, that there was Russian interference, right. That's not in dispute. I think the dispute is whether there was some kind of collusion, excuse me, conspiracy, which is an agreement to commit an illegal act. And so I think everyone looking at this investigation, Don, is looking and eyeing whether they could connect the dots.

Who is they? Mueller's team. And in order to connect dots as it relates to Russian collusion and it relates to the Trump administration trying to get information and working with the Russians alongside of them collectively agreeing, defining collusion, you need to have some people who might be knowledgeable as to that.

Ans so of course if you get the Agalarov's and other members -- people from the Russian community who could talk to the meeting, who could talk to the connection between the campaign and members of the Russian government, you can establish that nexus and connection. And so that's why they're central to Mueller's investigation.

LEMON: So Harry, the Agalarov's attorney appeared on CNN just a short while ago. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT BALBER, ATTORNEY FOR THE AGALAROVS: They never spoke to the president about the meeting before or after and they never heard anything either before or after to even suggest the president was informed the meeting was going to happen. From their perspective, he learned about it when it came out in the press.

The whole scope of the meeting has been somewhat misrepresented. From my client's perspective, this was about making introduction of a Russian lawyer to talk about the somewhat obscures Magnitsky Act.

[22:10:04] From their perspective, it was never about dirt on anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, that contradicts what Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, says. Is an interview with the Agalarov's how Mueller finds out who is actually telling the truth here?

LITMAN: Yes. Well look, he wants the facts and it's everything that Joey said, but plus two really concrete points. They're instrumental in setting up the meeting. They're the supposed -- Emin is the supposed client of Rob Goldstone who reaches out to Trump, Jr. And they also are in the thick of it for the December 2013 Miss Universe pageant where all kinds of, you know, it could be the sort of fountain head of the whole Russian expedition.

But Mueller wants to know who is lying and who is telling the truth. It is a little strange to me that interchange from the lawyer because they don't need to cooperate. They don't need to talk to him at all, and there have been some indication that Emin was actually soured on Trump, but that certainly seemed like an attempt to aid the president.

And it would suggest that if they do talk he'll be telling a story that would be exculpatory and maybe of Don, Jr. as well, his old buddy. So, you know, these are colorful characters but Mueller in any event wants to hear from them. He wants to know the truth.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Harry. Harry is here all the time. Joey, not so much. I'm glad Wolf Blitzer shared you. Let you come on the show tonight. So, we love having you.

JACKSON: Nice to be here, Don.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Come back. Thank you all.

When we come back, the African-American pastor who met with President Trump at the White House and is now facing a backlash, we're going to talk to him, next.

[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A South Carolina pastor facing criticism over his visit to the White House yesterday. Pastor John Gray says he attended the president's meeting with inner-city clergy members to discuss prison reform.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN GRAY, PASTOR, RELENTLESS CHURCH, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA: And in time of moral relativism and secular humanism, it is refreshing to know that those of us who have committed our lives to fighting for people who cannot fight for themselves have a seat at the table to share our hearts.

And so I'm very grateful for you, for this administration that's allowing for the conversation. And again, my prayers that you will continue to have wisdom and insight to lead this nation. Truly, all of us are created equal and so thank you for giving us an equal opportunity to fight for this nation and what it means to be an American.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

(END VIDO CLIP)

LEMON: So joining me now is Pastor John Gray of The Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina. There were, you know, you received some backlash. Welcome (inaudible). Good evening.

GRAY: Thank you. Good evening.

LEMON: It's good to have you. So, you received some backlash. Other people who were there were a bit more complimentary of the president, and got maybe in a bit more trouble than you. You were basically thanking him for the opportunity?

GRAY: Yeah. LEMON: But let me see, you told your congregation that you hesitated

meeting with President Trump.

GRAY: Yes.

LEMON: So why did you go?

GRAY: You want my honest answer. I believe the Lord sent me. I don't represent and I didn't go as a partisan politician. While I respect the political process, I went because I believe that the Lord wanted me in that room as a Christian. The first thing is I don't get to impute my faith on anyone else. I'm not asking anyone to believe what I believe.

I think that is unfair. I think it's dishonorable to try to make someone see life through my lens, but I have very strong inner belief that I have a calling that's bigger than me, and walking into that room I risked everything that I had ever worked for.

LEMON: Yes, because your parishioners, members of the black Christian community, you had to know that they would be upset by you attending this.

GRAY: Yeah.

LEMON: And there is a reason that you were sitting right next to the president, right? Your credibility, your influence among the faith- based community, and there you are. Other pastors -- I've had pastors come on who were on the president's advisory board and they quit because they thought it was a photo op in one of his first meetings and they didn't think that he was going to do it or the administration that it was -- he was interested in helping anyone except for getting a photo op.

GRAY: Yeah.

LEMON: What do you think? Did you expect the cameras to be there?

GRAY: No. When I first heard about this and was invited, I actually said I don't want to take pictures. I will go, I will listen, I will give my input, but I don't want to be photographed. And that was because I understood that certain parts of our community, the faith- based community and the African-American community and rightfully so, have felt immeasurable pain.

When you're dealing with an administration that at times has drawn moral equivalency to the Unite the Right rally, the people who organized it and those who opposed it, that's --

LEMON: Then why go there and lend your credibility to him, because there are other ways that you can participate that may be strategically smarter and more influential than being seen on the same page with someone who many people -- most people of color in this country, black folks, think that his policies, his speech, his language, his behavior, all of that are detrimental to African- Americans. You can help out in other ways rather than sitting next to him and him having taken a picture with you.

GRAY: Let me ask you this. You just invited me to your table. We don't know each other. We don't agree on everything, I'm sure if we had the conversation, but we're at the table for dialogue. The purpose of that conversation was to talk about prison reform.

It was the expressed understanding that we were coming to see if churches could partner with the government to help lower recidivism rates and systemic poverty, cyclical poverty based on people who are trying to re-acclimate. That was the intention of the meeting. That's why I went because people like me and who look like me don't often get a chance coming out of prison to be able to have a job that allows for them not to think about doing crime.

[22:20:09] Recidivism rates within three years, you're back in prison. So the reason why this was important to me is because it affects people that do look like me.

LEMON: Here's my question. I'm not (inaudible) understanding what I'm saying. You didn't have to come here, right. You said this to dialogue, and if you didn't come here, I would respect that --

GRAY: Right.

LEMON: -- and then I would say that is and maybe there is a reason because we invited other people on. And this is my point. They did not think that it would be good for them to appear because they were concerned about, you know, losing something or their reputation --

GRAY: Right.

LEMON: -- or being called out on television or what have you. So -- and I respect that because maybe they're correct in that.

GRAY: Yes.

LEMON: So, do you get what I'm saying?

GRAY: Absolutely. Let me answer that. Why would I risk whatever credibility I've gained over years in ministry with a community that I've come from? Why would I risk it? Would it be for a photo op?

LEMON: -- we ask you, why?

GRAY: I went because I believe I was sent. I believe that my faith --

LEMON: Do you have to go to the White House? Could you have done a conference call? Could you have been on, you know, via television or camera? Could you have teleconference or could you have maybe there should have been another place other than the White House where you can discuss this? Did you -- the question -- the thing is that sitting there, all of these African-Americans sitting there, it is being seen as the president of the United States, this administration that has proposed policies that are so detrimental to African-Americans that they're using you as a prop --

GRAY: What happened --

LEMON: -- and, hang on there, using you as a prop and that it is a photo op and that --

GRAY: But the photo op doesn't work. It backfires because the moment that I'm on the platform, whatever they were hoping to accomplish with their intended audience backfires because they don't have credibility in that market in the first place with those people. For me, the answer is really simple. I went through every detail. Why would I go? What could I possibly gain, which is nothing? And my wife --

LEMON: Would you go back? Would you do it again?

GRAY: Would I go back? If there were different circumstances, if I had assurances that we were going to meet about the intended conversation, yeah, I would go back. Not because I agree, because this is what's important. Alignment or even speaking does not mean agreement. Dialogue does not mean agreement. Sitting at the table doesn't mean agreement and that's important. I don't agree with many of the policies but it doesn't stop me from having conversation.

LEMON: Right. OK. I got to -- I know we've gone on long so, just sorry, producers. This is what you put on your Instagram page. You said, "Lord, do you want me in that room? My first mind was no. The pain of so many is too real. The hurt. The isolation. The sense of disenfranchisement. The real hate that has bubbled to the surface of the national discourse." Do you think this president is responsible for hate in the nation's discourse now?

GRAY: I believe that our president has fostered a culture and climate that has allowed for what was there and has been there for years to bubble up. It has empowered people in a horrific way. Absolutely. I don't think there's any question about that. And if you're looking for someone who is a fan of the administration or a boy for the administration, that not me.

I am a man of God. My faith guides me. I very well may lose credibility with whoever, but the people that know my heart know this. I am determined to honor what I believe is the calling on my life. There's nothing for me to gain from being there. But I am committed to fighting for people who cannot fight for themselves.

And if I began to cower to people who don't agree because a lot of the people who don't agree with me don't share my faith. Daniel spoke to Nebuchadnezzar. Elijah spoke to --

LEMON: Now you're preaching.

GRAY: No, I'm not preaching. What I'm saying is that my faith, there are times when people who have faith speak to leaders who don't subscribe or agree or even align up with that. So for me, it wasn't about being seen. Clearly, that did nothing for me. So, I believe in something higher than myself.

LEMON: And let me say this to you. And I spoke to someone who I really respect today and talking about faith. Look, I'm a person of faith. He said there is a reason that people would teach you about the bible, would let you congregate on the plantation, but would not allow you to read. Do you understand the meaning of that?

GRAY: Absolutely.

LEMON: It means they believe that religion keeps people in chains and that fighting back and saying I'm not going to deal with this, turning the other cheek, because they don't want you to leave the plantation. What do you say to that?

GRAY: Well, I was never on the plantation.

LEMON: What I'm saying is because people keep overlooking so much. Overlooking, you know, when it comes to women. Overlooking what it says about gays, overlooking what it says about Muslims, overlooking what it says about, just about everything.

[22:25:02] GRAY: Absolutely.

LEMON: There's so much you just keep overlooking. People in faith- based community, evangelicals, all of these things, about affairs, adultery, all those things and then there is -- because what? At what cost? At what price?

GRAY: And I think that's the key. I wasn't on the presidential evangelical advisory board. I think that what you said are valid. I can only speak for me. With everything that I could have lost and could still lose, I believe that my voice was necessary because I was there for people who could not fight for themselves. That was my intention in my heart.

LEMON: Thank you. We've gone really long. All I'm saying is that turn the other cheek, fine, but sometimes you just -- if you keep turning the other cheek, all you do is get bruised and swollen. And at some point you say enough is enough. Thank you.

GRAY: Thank you.

LEMON: I really appreciate you joining us.

When we come back, while the president is distracting and deflecting with talk about hoaxes and complaints about the media, his administration is changing crucial policies, how they are chipping away at Obamacare and how it could affect you. That is next.

(COMMERCIAL BRAK)

LEMON: So while we watch the president and his lawyers attack the Russia investigation, while his press secretary slams the press, while the lies just keep piling on, this week the administration quietly introduced what could be called Obamacare.

[22:30:07] A new -- Trumpcare, excuse me. Trump care. A new federal rule clears the way for short-term health insurance plans that let consumers buy coverage for just under a year at a time. They're expected to be a lot cheaper than what's currently offered. The premiums are around half of the average cost of plans sold under Obamacare.

So, what's the catch? Well, you get what you pay for. And these plans, they don't pay for much. So here we go. One analysis shows that only 57 percent of the plans cover mental health care, 38 percent cover substance abuse treatment and none of them, zero percent, cover maternity care. You probably won't be able to buy them if you have a preexisting condition. And if you buy this insurance and then need to use it, watch out, there are limits on how much your plan will pay.

Some plans don't cover immunizations or even injuries from playing organized sports. There's even a plan in Illinois that doesn't cover hospital stays that begin on weekends. Not surprisingly, doctors and advocates don't approve. According to The Los Angeles Times, a whopping 98 percent of groups had weighed in on the proposal to make sure it health plans more available or either critical or outright opposed. But the administration and a lot of insurers are eager to sell these plans. The president tonight boasting about chipping away at Obamacare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You know how many people have come up to me and said, thank you very much for getting rid of the individual mandate? Sounds so nice. Isn't it a beautiful term? The individual mandate is wonderful. I'm acting presidential now. The individual mandate. The individual mandate is a disaster. It sounds good. Like the Affordable Care Act was not affordable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So now the administration is out with Trumpcare. Will Americans like what is in the fine print? So let's discuss now, CNN's senior economics analyst Stephen Moore, and Jason Kander, a Democratic candidate for mayor of Kansas City. Good evening, gentlemen. Thank you so much.

Jason, what is the likelihood that people will choose these plans based on cost and pay the price later when they get sick or need the coverage?

JASON KANDER, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR OF KANSAS CITY: That's the whole idea here, Don. It's basically a scam. You know, it's a piece of paper. It's not insurance coverage. Folks will say, well, this I can pay for it, it costs a lot less, and then they walk around with a piece of paper that doesn't actually give them access to a doctor.

When I was in the army, we had this saying that we used which is, checking the box is one of the worst forms of lying. What it means is, is that if you pretend to solve a problem, in some ways that can be worse than doing nothing at all because if you pretended to solve the problem, then people walk around thinking the problem is solved but it's still there. That's exactly what the Trump administration is trying to do here. They want to pretend that they did something about the fact that -- for instance, here in Kansas City, we have huge pressure on emergency services because, you know, we didn't expand Medicaid in the state, so a lot of folks don't have health care, they end up using emergency room. That's a real problem.

LEMON: Yeah.

KANDER: But they're pretending to solve it. And in a lot of ways, that checking the box, that is more dangerous than even if they were to do nothing.

LEMON: All right, let's bring in Stephen. Stephen, you know, Democrats call this junk insurance. That's what they say. That's called junk insurance. Among the shortcomings, they don't cover preexisting conditions. Doesn't that leave out an enormous pool of people who won't be able to get coverage?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, look, what you and Jason have been talking about actually would apply to obamacare. Jason, every promise that was made under Obamacare has turned out to have been a lie.

KANDER: Preexisting conditions?

MOORE: Well, I'm talking about the fact that everyone would be covered. There's still 25 to 30 million people who don't have health insurance. By the way, that's the group of people that were trying to get insurance for. But why are so many people looking at these cheaper plans? That's very simple. Because the cost of Obamacare plans has doubled over the last five years.

So, it is ironic that this was called the Affordable Care Act because for so many millions of Americans, health care is not more affordable. I mean, you guys remember when Barack Obama was campaigning on Obamacare, remember he said it was going to save the average family $2,500 a year, and now we have a situation where for the average family the cost of health care has almost doubled in most states.

So, what we're looking at is trying to provide -- look, we all want to provide more coverage for people. And it seems like what you all are saying is unless this is a gold-plated health plan, it would be better for somebody to not have health insurance at all.

LEMON: I'm just reading the stats, Stephen. I'm giving facts. Jason is here as the Democratic person. Maybe the facts don't line up with the way you want them. That doesn't mean that I'm espousing or supporting anything. Those are the facts.

MOORE: Look, all I'm saying is people --

LEMON: Hold on, hold on, hold on, Stephen. You spout out all of the statistics about what's costing more.

[23:35:00] But also there are people out there and insurers and big medical companies who are refusing to join this plan because they want to keep their profits, and so getting rid of the individual mandate and all those things, that is causing the markets to collapse or Obamacare --

MOORE: Wait a minute.

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: That's a big part of it.

MOORE: The Obamacare system was in a spiral two years before Donald Trump even begin --

LEMON: That's not true.

MOORE: Yes, it was.

LEMON: OK.

MOORE: Look --

LEMON: I want to talk about the merits of the system. I don't want --

MOORE: I mean, it's not affordable for people, that's why people want these lower cost plans, because they can't afford Obamacare.

LEMON: Stephen, I don't want --

KANDER: Don, I never get tired --

LEMON: Hold on, hold on, hold on.

KANDER: OK, go ahead.

LEMON: I don't -- we get sidetracked with these things. I want to talk about the merits of this program. By the way, all the facts show that what you said is completely false, that Obamacare wasn't a death spiral. That is a Republican talking point. That is absolutely --

MOORE: Well, the costs have doubled, Don. That is absolutely true.

LEMON: Go on, Jason. Let's talk about this policy.

KANDER: Let's talk about this health care, Don. But if we're going to do that and if Stephen is going to sit there and say a bunch of stuff that's not true and pretended the problems that exist with Obamacare, there are a whole bunch of them, were caused by a bunch of stuff the Republicans did over the last few years on purpose, if we're going to do that, then I would prefer that he and the other people defending this Trumpcare plan just be honest about what they want.

What they want, Don, is to go back to 2009. They want to go back to when insurance companies were in charge. They want to go back to when preexisting conditions were a reason not to give you health insurance. They want to go back to when you thought you were covered for something and weren't and then you got sick and you got dropped. So I would just prefer that they actually make an argument for what they're for rather than pretending that they're for something else, rather than checking the box and just pretend all the time. If we're going to have a debate, why don't they just stand up and say what they're for?

LEMON: All right. Stephen, I want to get your response. I'll give you the last word. Go ahead, Stephen.

MOORE: Unfortunately health insurance is so expensive right now. People can't afford the plans that were supposed to be more affordable on Obamacare. So what we are trying to offer people is plans that they can afford.

Now, they're not going to cover for everything that Obamacare requires coverage for, but if -- my point is, wouldn't a plan that provides you with some basic coverage be better than no health insurance at all? And I guess you guys say it would be better if people don't have health insurance at all.

LEMON: OK. That's got to be it. Wasn't that the whole idea of Obamacare --

MOORE: But it doesn't do it. People can't afford it. That's the whole point.

LEMON: But you're not telling the viewer -- you're just selling a part of it that fits your narrative. You're not telling people why it's not affordable. That's what you're not telling.

KANDER: He thinks it's fine if people can't get health insurance because they used to be sick.

MOORE: I'm not saving $2,500 a year on my health insurance. Everybody raise your hand if you are. I don't think many people are.

LEMON: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: We'll be right back.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The president's eldest son, his namesake, Don Jr., is no stranger to shocking and false statements. But this one is truly stunning. As if -- I don't know. It gets worse. So listen to as he compares Democratic Party platform to Nazis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You see the Nazi platform in the early 1930s and what was actually put out there. You look at it, compared to the DNC platform of today, you're saying, man, those things are awfully similar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I want to bring in CNN political commentators Peter Beinart, Tara Setmayer, Scott Jennings. He was comparing the Democratic platform to the Nazi platform. Can I just read to you guys real quick the Nazi platform?

The National Socialist German Workers' Party which was commonly referred to as the Nazi Party was built on dictator Adolf Hitler's belief that Aryan Germans were superior to non-Aryans particularly Jewish people.

The party's ideology was built on the central promise (ph) that Jewish were responsible for the problems facing Germany following World War I, and that belief eventually spiraled into the government-run genocide against the Jews known as the holocaust.

So, Democratic Party platform? Is that what it is?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What you said captures it, right? The essence of Nazism is dehumanization. Dehumanization of vulnerable groups. Which political party in this era is doing more dehumanization of vulnerable groups? Is it the Democrats who are comparing Mexicans to insects who are infesting the country?

Is it they who are basically involved on a large scale campaign to make people hate and associate Latinos with criminals? No. It's the Republican Party. If you're going to make this analogy at all, the dehumanization is coming from the Trump administration.

LEMON: Scott, this is from a man who's father could not condemn Nazis marching in Charlottesville. So I want you to look at this moment again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So Trump went on to blame both sides. We know the whole thing after that rally. How does any supporter of this president defend this propaganda?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. It's not the -- it's not what I would choose to attack the Democratic platform. Lord know there's enough to attack the Democrats on without resorting to call people a Nazi.

Of course, if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone on the American left like Peter just did, call Republicans Donald Trump or even the president that I work for, George W. Bush, a Nazi, I guess I'd be a rich man. I think we ought to all stop calling each other Nazis because none of us are Nazis.

[23:45:01] We're all Americans and we're all in this together.

LEMON: It's the president's son. Scott, this is different because it's the president's son.

JENNINGS: I agree. I don't like it. I don't like it. I don't want anybody to call people Nazis.

LEMON: I know but you're comparing an average citizen -- it's all awful, but you're comparing an average citizen who doesn't have a voice, who doesn't have a platform that's not going to be talked about on the news to the president's son, the sitting president's son comparing a Democratic platform to Nazism. That's different. That's false equivalents there. I had to tell you that.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, of course it is.

JENNINGS: I don't know what you want me to say. I disagree with the rhetoric. I disagreed just now when Peter who does have a platform says Republicans are more Nazi-like than Democrats. I don't like any of this. And I don't think most people want either party to be calling the other ones Nazis.

LEMON: Let Tara get in here. Tara, go ahead.

SETMAYER: Well, look, I'm no fan of the Democratic platform. I haven't been for years. That's why I'm a conservative Republican. However, for the president's son to throw out that the Democratic platform is similar to Nazi Germany is absurd. It goes to show you that he doesn't really understand history.

First of all, it's like projection. Because if you read through the 25-point plan of the Nazi Party back then and the Republican, all those those things, there's a whole lot in there that unfortunately is awfully reminiscent to some of the things that Donald Trump has actually advocated for.

I mean, the whole idea of the tribalism and nationalism and what Steve Bannon and those guys were perpetuating during the election, that's a lot closer to the Nazi platform than what Democrats are asking for today.

And not only that, the whole idea of the press being called the enemy of the people, I mean, it was Hitler who called the press the "lugenpresse," right? The lying press. That is a freaking Nazi propaganda rhetoric that the president of the United States is using from the bully pulpit every day. So the president should -- I mean --

LEMON: Are you making the point though by comparing people to Nazis?

SETMAYER: I'm using the example based off what the president's own son and what the president has done. If you really want to get into let's compare things to Nazi Germany, there's a whole hell a lot more going on with what's coming out of Trump's mouth and out of his son's mouth and his some of his supporters like what we just saw than anything the Democrats are proposing. I'm no fan of what the Democratic platform is.

LEMON: OK. Scott and Peter will respond on the other side of the break.

[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Back now with Peter, Tara, and Scott. So, Scott, why isn't the Republican Party correcting the record on this, or can no one contradict a family member of this president?

JENNINGS: I think people are free to speak their mind. I don't like it when we resort to the tactics that the left resorts to, which is this stupid name calling that is not rooted in the historical record. I don't like it when we do what they do. But, you know, everyone is free to speak their mind and correct it if they want.

I don't think it's going to put a stop to it unfortunately. I mean, we are having a panel tonight. I say I don't think anybody should do it. And two people here call the Republicans Nazis. I mean, I just --

SETMAYER: I didn't call the Republicans Nazis.

SCOTT: Yes, you did.

BEINART: I didn't call Republicans Nazis. Let me tell you --

SCOTT: Both of you did.

SETMAYER: No.

BEINART: Let me explain. I'll explain. I believe there is a spectrum of dehumanization and persecution based on dehumanization. The Nazis are one extreme. The Republican Party is nowhere near that.

But Donald Trump has moved us in America further in that direction by his continual equation of Mexican immigrants with criminals and rapists and even insects. And we see the bitter fruit of that in this brutal inhumane child separation policy. That is moving America in the direction that we don't want to go. Not to where Nazis are, but closer than we were before Donald Trump. That's what I believe.

SETMAYER: And I used the example of the propaganda that the Nazis used and the word that Donald Trump is using, that mirror exactly what the Nazis used in their disinformation campaigns in the 30s and 40s.

So, I mean, if we're going to go there, I use historical precedent. I mean, Hitler did use the term "lugenpresse" which means lying press. I mean, that's exactly what Trump is doing now, calling the press the enemy of the people, is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. That's just historical facts.

LEMON: So let me ask you a question here. How do you think -- let's just say that Sasha and Malia were grown and working for the Obama when he was president and then said -- called Republicans Nazis, or maybe a better example would be Chelsea Clinton doing the same thing as she was working for her mother if her mother was the president of the United States or when her father was president.

What do you think would happen on the right, Scott? JENNINGS: People would go crazy about it. And that's why it's wrong. I mean, how many times --

LEMON: But no one is going crazy about it.

JENNINGS: It is wrong for one party to call the other Nazis.

LEMON: You're saying that but no one is going crazy about it. No one has come out and said anything. I mean, you are a, you know, a contributor here on CNN --

JENNINGS: You know why no one is going crazy about it? Because our civil discourse has gotten so far off the rails that everybody yawns about this stuff. I mean, we can all get exercise about it and I hate it. But that's the problem with American political discourse. It is so off the rails that even calling each other Nazis is no longer out of bounds.

SETMAYER: Based to the president of the United States. He sets the tone. It wasn't off the rails like this in other presidencies.

JENNINGS: No.

SETMAYER: I mean, it wasn't. It starts from the top.

JENNINGS: Sure it was. Do you know how many times I had to endure listening to people call George W. Bush a Nazi?

SETMAYER: I did too. I did too. But it was not coming from the president of the United States.

[23:55:01] Have you watched the Trump rally lately?

BEINART: George W. Bush said nothing like what Donald Trump says. In fact --

JENNINGS: Yet he was still called a Nazi. Yet they still called Bush a Nazi. George Soros, Keith Ellison, you name it. Numerous members of Congress.

LEMON: Scott, let's just give you the point. Let's just say that people did call George W. Bush a Nazi.

SETMAYER: Well, they did. That's true.

LEMON: But who did it? Was it a sitting president's son or daughter or family member?

SETMAYER: No.

JENNINGS: It was some of the most wealthy wealthy financiers of the Democratic Party. George Soros did it. Keith Ellison did it. Compared 9/11 to the Reichstag fire, for goodness sake. I mean, these things did happen. The civil discourse was broken before, and it's still broken today.

BEINART: I think you're missing the point. We're talking about how presidents talk and president's behave.

SETMAYER: That's right.

BEINART: And Donald Trump is totally unlike Barack Obama or George W. Bush in that regard.

LEMON: All right, I have to go. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

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