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Bigotry and Racism, the Trademark of Trump?; From Being Best Friends to Best Enemies; Donald Trump Attacking Omarosa; Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Stating an Apology; Trump Continues the Attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 14, 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)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Demand that from our leaders. Demand they disagree with decency. Demand they help us to be better, not worse.
Don't let Trump off the hook by forgiving his language as a form of leadership. It isn't. Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I hope people are listening, Chris. I hope that's not falling on deaf ears. But I'm sure you'll probably going to get a lot of blow back from, you know, some of the Trump supporters that are going to say you don't understand us. This is what we want.
I think one of the most important things you said in there is that he is playing you. And I think what he is learning from Omarosa is that you can't play a player. She is a player just like him and she is serving it up just as good as he is, as he can.
CUOMO: Right. Just the same with her as with him. Talk is cheap.
CUOMO: He only know what she shows. But if she has proof that he knew about e-mails she better put it up, otherwise it's a skirmish allegation.
LEMON: Talk is cheap and B.S. runs a marathon. That's what they say. Thank you, sir. You know why I'm never afraid of you? Because you're always the guy talking trash in the room.
CUOMO: This dog bites. This dog bites.
LEMON: Thank you, Chris Cuomo. See you, my friend.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
What does it say about this president that his own press secretary says she cannot guarantee that there isn't a tape of Donald Trump using the n-word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people they will never hear Donald Trump utter the n-word on a recording in any context?
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can't guarantee anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what does it say that the smarter move is for the president's spokesperson to leave open the possibility that such a tape exists rather than to deny it and say of course, there is no such tape? That's impossible.
What appear members of the Trump campaign took rumors about the existing of such a tape, a tape allegedly recorded while Trump was working on the apprentice, so seriously that they questioned then- candidate Trump about it. The conversation secretly recorded by former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm trying to find out at least this context it was used in to help us to make try to figure out a way to spin it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, well, sir, can you think of any time that this might have happened? He said no.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, that's not true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He goes how do you think I should handle it? I told him what you just said, Omarosa, which is, well, it depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, well, why don't you just go ahead and put it to bed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's embarrassed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And in true Trump fashion, the president of the United States went on to attack Omarosa tweeting, quote, "When you give a crazed, lowlife a break and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn't work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog."
And listen, Omarosa has done things that are really inexcusable. And there are serious questions about her credibility, let's be honest.
But the president of the United States calling a black woman a dog is really once again, beneath the office.
This is President Trump and that's the kind of language he uses. It would be rational to think that if this purported tape of Trump using the n-word exists and there is no proof that it does, but if it did, it would be a bombshell, right? Right? It would have to be. Or would it? What if I told you that I have a tape of Donald Trump calling Mexicans criminals and rapists?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Mexico sends its people they are not sending their best. They are bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They are rapists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What if I told you I have a secretly recorded tape of him bragging about sexually assaulting women?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.
And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What if I told you I have a tape, a tape of him mocking a disabled person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't know what I said, I don't remember. Please don't lie. I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What if I told you I have a tape of him calling African- American athletes and I'm quoting here, "son of bitches"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of (muted) off the field right now? Out. He is fired. He is fired!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:05:02] LEMON: What if I told you I have a tape of him encouraging violence by his supporters?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK. Just knock the hell. I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And what if I told you I have a tape of him calling white supremacist who killed a young woman in Charlottesville very fine people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me -- excuse me. I saw the same -- (Inaudible)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I would you could say that it would make a difference if on top of all of that there ever did turn out to be a tape of the president using the n-word. That Americans would never tolerate language like that from a candidate or from a president?
But maybe the truth would be very different. Maybe it wouldn't change anything. Why would that tape would be diverge too far. We already know that this president seems immune from even the broadest standards of decency we had in the comment in the past.
Another tape wouldn't change anything. Think about it. Am I wrong?
I want to bring in now CNN Political Commentator, David Swerdlick, CNN Legal Analyst, Laura Coates, and CNN Presidential Historian, Douglas Brinkley. Good evening.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Don.
LEMON: I don't think I'm wrong, David.
SWERDLICK: No, Don, you're not wrong. Look, today in the press briefing, the White House press briefing room and on the air all day, Trump surrogates and supporters ran this line down that look, the dog insult toward Omarosa was just par for the course. That he is an equal opportunity insulter.
He said the same thing to Mitt Romney when he said he choked like a dog. He said that this is just the president counter punching. Here is the problem. We reached the point -- we reach this point a long time ago, but especially now that we're a year and a half into his presidency.
The president because of all the statements about women and about people of color he is no longer entitled to the benefit of the doubt. You had him talk about Megyn Kelly, about Rosie O'Donnell, about Carly Fiorina in the debate.
You had him talked about Katrina Perry from the Irish network RTE, for people of color. You had him talked about Representative Fredericka Wilson calling -- starting a fight with her. You had him calling Representative Maxine Waters low I.Q. several times, three or four times at least.
He came after LeBron James. He came after you, Don. All of these comments suggest that he relishes insulting people of color and women in a particular way even if he does it sometimes to other people. And because he has this long track record all those you just played you can't give him the benefit of the doubt at this point that it's the most innocuous interpretation when he says Omarosa is a dog.
LEMON: Douglas, you hear the story, what is the president's language and behavior doing to the Office of the Presidency? Are we witnessing the denigration of this office in real time?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: We really are, Don. It's just horrific. You know, I was reflecting on past presidents today. And since the Civil War we haven't had a president at least since Andrew Johnson right after the Civil War that is a full-fledged bigot. And we have that with Donald Trump.
There been presidents that, you know, are slippery on the race issue that didn't move the arc of justice forward, they took a step back.
But Donald Trump has a career of just doing racially insensitive and hateful comments towards people. We have to realize he just doesn't like Mexican-Americans. He doesn't like anybody of color. He doesn't like African-Americans. He doesn't like the LGBT people. He doesn't like Puerto Ricans, he doesn't consider America.
Countries around the world where if they're not white, like Norway, he doesn't really want you here if you are from Haiti or Nigeria or elsewhere.
This is a -- there is no way around the fact that Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist. And the excuse is that the economy is doing pretty well, that you know, that's just Trump being Trump.
But I think, Don, it's starting to accumulate the number of instances, we could go on here for an hour within.
BRINKLEY: In the midterm elections they are coming. We will see if he lose, if the Republicans lose, Congress, Democrats get a hold of it they very well will move to impeach him and he will down in history and the bottom among the presidents like James Buchanan or Warren Harding, maybe even the worst president of all time.
So I don't really feel he has oxygen in his tank when he is running at 40, you know, 40 percent approval rating when the economy this well.
But it stuns me, Don, that so many Republicans are timid. Where is George W. Bush to denounce the racism? Where are other Republicans last Friday who should have been defending John McCain, the great war hero when Donald Trump wouldn't utter his name in a service like military service like that.
[22:10:04] The cowardness of Republicans right now is what shocks me. Because Donald Trump has always been (Inaudible) craved to, you know, Trump university and other scams, puts his name on buildings that he didn't build. But it's the deficit in the Republican Party the silence that's really hurting the country right now.
LEMON: Laura, I just think this bears repeating, the press secretary for the president of the United States cannot deny that there is -- that there's possibly a tape of him saying the n-word. That is to me is unprecedented.
And I just, before you answer I'm going to play this because Anderson and Erin spoke with Lynne Patton and Katrina Pierson. The woman heard on that audio with Omarosa talking about this alleged n-word tape. They say Omarosa kept bringing up the tape. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE PATTON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN FAMILY ADVISOR: There were a lot of times that we talked about this tape because Omarosa was literally obsesses with it. She brought it up constantly. It's clear now that the reason she did was because she was surreptitiously recording us.
KATRINA PIERSON, SPOKESPERSON, AMERICA FIRST ACTION: Your viewers I'm pretty sure have run into an individual that is the complete epitome of annoying to where you absolutely have to finally give in, in order to get on about your day. That happened a number of times because Omarosa is a bully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So given what -- so what's Omaroa's motivation to get this on tape and talking, what do you think about this .She can't deny that the president maybe on tape somewhere saying the n-word?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm shocked by a number of things. Number one, the condescension that came from the press secretary today talking about him being an equal opportunity offender. As if, if you have universal bigotry towards the number of groups or all groups somehow the American people should be placated by the fact that that person holds the highest office in the land.
And the notion that someone being the epitome of annoying. Well, the epitome is ignorance to me, is that category of people who refuse to acknowledge what is really a foregone conclusion and to acknowledge the statements, the context, the context of all the things that have been stated and the history of the commentary towards all sorts of people.
When it comes to Omarosa Manigault Newman it's very evident that no human being should be treated in a way or call to describe as subhuman.
But as Doug can talk to you the history of American presidents there has been a concerted effort on behalf of many presidents dating back to the 1800s to try to make at least African-Americans appear to be subhuman, to have their intellect to be akin to that of a dog, and also to impose literacy tests and the whole sort of other things to talk about why we are an inferior race, none of which is true but has been attempting campaign rhetoric promise.
Well, the confusing thin to me and frustrating thing to m is that the president's numbers have not changed although the rhetoric is very evident about what it displays about his character and who he believes to be inferior or superior or worthy of respect.
And for that very reason I am the epitome of annoyed to use her words as an American citizen, as a voter, as somebody who departed the informed electorate that there are not more people who are unwilling to accept this new state of America that says we must placate and essentially just acquiesce to what's really beneath us -- and I thought -- I thought we have progressed to a time, or perhaps I hope that we have progressed to a time where America was a little bit closer to its aspirational ideals than it is today.
LEMON: Much more to discuss. Everyone, stick around. When we come back, Rudy Giuliani on the attack tonight and why he claims he knows Omarosa's line and why that could attract the attention of the special counsel Robert Mueller.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news. The president's attorney Rudy Giuliani responding tonight to fired White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's claims.
Back with me, David Swerdlick, Laura Coates, and Douglas Brinkley.
So, David, I want you to take a look. This is Omarosa on what she on MSNBC earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you been interviewed by the special counsel?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: I have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have. And what sort of questions were they asking you?
MANIGAULT NEWMAN: That's the extent I can't go and discussing that as well. I feel like my hands are tied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So she works on trump's 2016 campaign and in the White House. Would she have anything of value to contribute?
SWERDLICK: I mean, perhaps, Don. Look, what's so striking about the last couple of days is that there are no good guys, right. You have Omarosa who is going on this world tour proclaiming how much dirt she has on the president and how skirmish the president is in her view even though she was eager to work for him and sang his praises all the way until she left the White House.
Then you have the president who people are at least prepared to believe a lot of the things that she is saying about him and at least a couple of things have looked like they might be true based on some of these tapes. I think there's more information to come in.
And then you have all of the people around the president having to sort of, you know, backtrack and sidestep and spin including a few minutes ago we were talking about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary not being able to just, you know, flatly say there's no way the president said the n-word.
In terms of special counsel Mueller of course he would want to talk t Omarosa. I don't know what he has to her. None of us do. But if she works on the campaign and in the West Wing this is someone you're going to bring in and talk to as part of this wide investigation.
LEMON: But she hasn't really presented any evidence that she have to spoke to the special counsel. We're taking her at her word.
SWERDLICK: We are taking her at her word that she was contacted--
LEMON: We don't know if she actually was.
LEMON: So, listen, Laura. Omarosa also claimed today that Trump knew about the Clinton campaign e-mail leaks before WikiLeaks release them to the public. She provided no evidence to back up that claim either. Never mentioned it in her book. This is what Rudy Giuliani just said to Chris about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: I know she was lying because I was on the campaign more than she was. I was closer to him than she was. I was from about June to November. I was with him 24 hours a day.
The first WikiLeaks exposure he was completely surprised. He asked me, do you think there will be more? I told him I have no idea. But I heard some reporter at CNN, Fox, I don't where, saying Assange he has a practice of putting out the weakest ones first, that he builds it up, builds it up, builds it up. And so I think this guy may have more than that.
We were surprised every time he did disclosure. She was not as close to him as I was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:20:04] LEMON: So he is trying to knock off Omarosa's claims but did he open up a whole new bunch of questions about who knew what when?
COATES: Yes. You have the battle of the blanket assertions here. And it sounds almost as if they're battling for who gets what side of the best friend heartbroken necklace chain that you hand out when you're in sixth grade, who was closer, who knew him better, who was around him.
And all of that leads me to believe and ask the question, Rudy Giuliani, are you the president's attorney or you're going to honor attorney/client privilege conversations or are you a witness which means that Mueller would have to ask you questions about any discrepancies between what the president has said in Twitter or in other public statements or even through you or what you have now said in the numerous interviews you've given that has given conflicted testimony to the court of public opinion.
You know, that's one of the thing I think it's so interesting about that, while Rudy Giuliani constantly talks about the notion of a perjury trap and whether or not Donald Trump will sit down for an interview.
The more he talks and talks about his observation firsthand or his conversations outside of the attorney/client relationship particularly when he wasn't his private attorney, he was on the campaign trail, while he himself made it's like an invitation perhaps a subpoena from Robert Mueller's team to say well, tell me more of what you know as a firsthand witness.
LEMON: He is with him 24 hours a day he said for -- from June to November. That's a lot. Where is Melania? So, listen, Doug, why is everything around this president always so chaotic? Is it by design?
BRINKLEY: A lot of it is by design. He, you know, he can't help his own narcissism. It's a disease. He's had a lifetime of success. He's been trained by people, you know, about whether still learning the art of the pre-nup or the art of the deal of how to kind of screw people over, how to live a fantasy life.
You know, when you're a casino guy you're making people think you can get rich quick in that. And then you conquer by dividing. And he has done a good job of it perhaps with the help of Russia and WikiLeaks.
But the country is very divided right now. When he wakes up every morning trying to see how he can get more divided, how -- what kind of inflammatory word, you know, discredited tweet he could make just to get us talking about him.
So we are in a crisis in our country right now. The crisis of the presidency institution that we've all look up and had kind of bipartisan respect to as being soiled right in front of our eyes every day.
But again, I believe in this country. You know, I write, Don, about the, whether it's the Civil War or World War II and Civil Rights movement and we're going to get through Donald Trump because there are a lot of great Americans out there that are leaning toward right now. People are waking up.
You had Spike Leon last week and he rightly said, wake up, people, this is happening in the United States right now. In the end he is going to get tripped up on his own B.S., his lies, his hatred. It will doom him in the end.
And I say that because dictators and people with dictatorial bent all over the world and history end up falling on their own sword.
LEMON: And history shows us. We have lessons from history and these lessons would be learned. By the way, "BlacKkKlansman" go see it. It puts everything into perspective as to what is happening now. I appreciate your insights. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, David. Thank you, Douglas.
SWERDLICK: Thanks, Don.
COATES: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, Rudy Giuliani shifting stories and contradictions all part of a strategy by the president's lawyer? I'm going to ask former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. He's next.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Rudy Giuliani coming out swinging tonight contradicting a key claim by former FBI director James Comey.
Let's talk now with CNN's National Security Analyst, James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence.
Good evening, sir. Good to have you on.
I want to play what the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani told our Chris, Chris Cuomo tonight claiming that former FBI director James Comey never even had a conversation with Trump about Michael Flynn. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: We're worried about the perjury trap because the president says he didn't have the conversation about Flynn.
CUOMO: The way -- the way--
GIULIANI: Comey says he--
CUOMO: The way that Comey says he had the conversation he didn't have it. Not that they never spoke.
GIULIANI: Didn't have it at all. CUOMO: For this to be true. Jim Comey has to be a crazy liar.
GIULIANI: OK. I'm going to tell you why he is a crazy liar.
GIULIANI: Because he put that in his statement and in May of 2017 he testified before Congress, I think, that Trump never said anything to him that influenced him, tried to influence him, tried to obstruct him. If it had happened in February and also, if Comey had been felt that he was being obstructed--
CUOMO: He said he took it as a direction.
GIULIANI: He had a duty to report it. He got a serious problem. He didn't report it.
CUOMO: I don't see that as a big problem.
GIULIANI: It is a big problem.
CUOMO: Help me understand.
GIULIANI: OK. I'm the U.S. attorney.
GIULIANI: Somebody calls me up and says fix the case.
GIULIANI: I write it down and I bury it for four months. That's a felony.
CUOMO: But you do not fix the case.
GIULIANI: Yes. But the attempt to influence me is a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There is already an investigation going on. Anyway -- anyway, that's -- director, I digress. That's quite an accusation, isn't it?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it is. It's hard to characterize it. I -- I wonder, I was thinking back over this and I recalled the presence of what turned out to be an empty threat about tapes, the taping system in the White House.
And if the conversation never took place why would the president have ever brought up the possibility of the conversation having been taped which apparently it wasn't.
[22:29:55] I'll just say this, that I know Jim Comey pretty well. I'll say two things. I know him pretty well and I think he accurately rendered what occurred in the conversations that he had with President Trump. And you know, I had a grand total of three one on one conversations with President Obama over six and a half years.
And let me tell you, you remember every word. I didn't feel compelled to write it down at the time contemporaneously, but I certainly remember those conversations very distinctly. So when you're in the Oval Office, and particularly when you're boss is excluded and you have a conversation like that, you remember that.
And Jim, to his credit, wrote it down contemporaneously. And I have no doubt about his accuracy. And I think what's (Inaudible) obviously is the reason that Giuliani brought on in the first place was to obfuscate, deflect and to sow doubt and confusion. But it's -- so now this boils down to a he said he said proposition.
LEMON: Let me ask you this. I wonder if it is, you know, I think about someone of your caliber, if it's frustrating for you to have to come on and try to decipher what Rudy Giuliani is saying, because there were many parts of Rudy Giuliani's interview with Chris that were pretty hard to follow and somewhat contradictory.
Is that the whole point? Is that the strategy, muddying the waters? I mean it has got to be frustrating for you, and I know for the American people to watch, because it doesn't make sense. We are sitting here like OK. We have to make sense out of this. But maybe there's no sense to be made out of it.
CLAPPER: Well, you know, I have said this before, that my preferred memory of Rudy Giuliani is when he was Major of New York City during and after 9/11. And he provided great leadership, not only in New York City but the entire country. And the reason was because of his clarity and his coherence. And initially, I thought, you know, this incoherence was just kind of sad.
But now I'm beginning to believe it's intentional. And it's, you know, almost like a favorite Russian information operation campaign tactic, (Inaudible) discord. So gee, I just can't know the truth here. Well, at least from my part, I believe I know what the truth is. But what he is doing, and unfortunately it is having an impact.
It is casting doubt, muddying the waters, and deflecting from what's really true here.
LEMON: Yeah. You know, the President tweeted, Director, 8 times in 24 hours about Omarosa, calling her a dog, excuse me, whacky, deranged, crazed, crying low life, vicious, and not smart. I asked you a similar question that I asked Douglas Brinkley. Are we witnessing the degradation of the Presidency?
CLAPPER: Well, I don't think there's any question about that. That's been the case actually going back to when he was a candidate and then became the President-elect, and certainly during the year and a half of this administration. You know, I have taken some criticism from my tribes, both military and intelligence, about not being respectful of this President. And when he demeans and marginalizes and compromises the office of the
Presidency as he is currently doing, yet another example of this. It makes it very hard for me, as someone who has served this country for 50 plus years. And to -- I have always been very respectful of the Presidents as Commander-In-Chief. And this one makes it pretty tough.
LEMON: Yeah. I think many people have more respect for the office than he does, because if he did respect it, he wouldn't conduct himself in that manner.
LEMON: Yeah. Omarosa revealed that she had the secret recording from her time at the White House even in the Situation Room. From a security perspective, what kind of a threat is it to bring a recording device into the Situation Room? Could national security interests be compromised?
CLAPPER: Well, this is a very serious thing, Don, because of what mobile devices can be in terms of recording and also as an intercept and even transmission means even if the user doesn't know it. So it is a serious, serious threat. And I wonder where all of the people are that got all exercised about Hillary Clinton's private email server, where they are on this one, because the White House Sit Room is the focus for the most sensitive conversations, most sensitive discussions, and where all the nation's secrets can be laid out.
[22:35:18] And so this to me is a very serious violation. And what I wonder about is just how widespread this practice might be in the White House and whether others as a matter of routine bring mobile devices into the Sit Room.
LEMON: James Clapper, thank you, sir.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, it is impossible to overstate just how un- presidential it was, for President Trump to call Omarosa a dog, but it is part of a long history of his brutal language aimed at people of color in particular. We're going to dig into that next.
[22:40:04] LEMON: The way the President described Omarosa today, a woman he hired to work in White House, as shocking, crazed, low life, a dog. But it's not the first time he has used language like this against women of color. So joining me now CNN Political Commentator, Angela Rye, Former New York Gubernatorial Candidate, Rob Astorino, and CNN Political Commentator, Tara Setmayer.
Good evening, all.
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good evening, Don.
LEMON: So the President has called Mitt Romney a dog, Ted Cruz a dog, Erik Erikson a dog. They're like dogs, right? He said they're like dogs in some cases. But it takes on a different context when the insult is applied to a black woman, Angela, do you agree with that?
RYE: I think that we have just to look at pattern and practice, right. So, Don, this is the same man who has come at Congresswoman Frederick Wilson, Congresswoman Maxine Waters multiple times, Jamel Hill on ESPN, you, Lebron James, and NFL players that are overwhelmingly black. He has a pattern and practice of saying disparaging things disproportionately so based on statistics put up on CNN earlier about black people.
So he very clearly has issues with black people. And yes, I think he has them with black women as well. Him calling someone a dog, either way, like he is saying something disparaging, the name calling coming from that particular office is ridiculous.
LEMON: What do you think, Rob? Was it a racist attack or should he refrained from doing this?
ROB ASTORINO (R), FORMER GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, NEW YORK: I don't think it was a racist attack. I think he's an equal opportunity offender, and that goes after...
LEMON: His words have a clear effect, stirring and normalizing bigotry while preserving (Inaudible) deniability for himself and the followers who take up his call. This is why in some ways it is almost irrelevant whether there is any truth to his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman's explosive content in the book that he may have used the N word, right?
And Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she cannot guarantee the tape. Donald Trump says these things. He realizes that he can say them and he doesn't have to use a strong language where people would actually say oh, my gosh. You're a racist. He doesn't have to use the N word because it stirs up the same forces and the same response from his base. They know what he is saying. He doesn't have to say it.
ASTORINO: Let me tell you something. God's honest truth, I had no idea the word dog (Inaudible). I had no idea it was a racist term. I don't think most people took it as...
LEMON: Didn't you know that? You're an aware person.
ASTORINO: I actually looked it up in the dictionary.
LEMON: You should be aware...
ASTORINO: And nowhere does it say it is a slang or racial word.
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Hold on. Hold on. Certain words used against certain people have a different context than if it is used on a person who is of a larger culture. And so as Americans, especially someone who is going to come on television and, you know, be an authority, shouldn't you know the nuances of that?
ASTORINO: No. I think the quick answer is at some point we're going to get to the word the, and the is going to be racist.
RYE: Oh, come on.
ASTORINO: Because (Inaudible) just said, look, is it (Inaudible), yes.
ASTORINO: He meant it as that. He meant to punch back at her figuratively, because he was upset. He knew her and she let him down.
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Are you OK with that though?
ASTORINO: Well, I -- look, I think there's three things, honestly.
SETMAYER: It's a simple yes or no question.
ASTORINO: The three T's, OK. Trump with Twitter, tone, and I will start with two T's, right, Twitter and tone, if he could work on those two...
LEMON: And temperament.
ASTORINO: And temperament. That would be my third T. You're right. I think he would be unstoppable.
SETMAYER: OK, but I didn't get an answer to my question though. Are you OK with the way the President tweeted at Omarosa and others. The language that he uses, his tone, and temperament and Twitter, are you OK with that?
ASTORINO: I would prefer...
SETMAYER: Coming from the office of the President?
ASTORINO: I prefer that he didn't do it.
SETMAYER: But are you OK with that? Is the answer no?
ASTORINO: It's not what I would use. And I would prefer that he didn't do it, because we are spending all day today on CNN and elsewhere talking about this tit for tat between him and Omarosa.
ASTORINO: Honestly, there are so many other things we should be talking about.
SETMAYER: Well, here's the other thing. You said that soon the word, the, is going to be considered racist. Well, to be honest with you, Donald Trump used the term, the, describe black folks, the blacks. That is not OK in modern day (Inaudible) when you are doing that. So yeah, Donald Trump does have a history of making very racially insensitive comments.
[22:44:48] Not only that, the idea of dehumanizing your opponent, whether it's a political opponent or someone you disagree with, is rooted in very ugly history. That -- what that does is that allows people to look at someone as less than human, so it's easier to oppress them. This is a tactic that Donald Trump has used.
This is a tactic that Nazi's use. It's a tactic that dictators use. This is a dangerous precedent for us to normalize Donald Trump as just punching back or being tough or being a fighter. No. What he is doing is diminishing the office of the Presidency. It's not what we do as Americans. And you should be able to simply say no, I am not comfortable with the President of the United States behaving this way or speaking about anyone this way.
LEMON: I want you guys to listen to what Donald Trump had to say. This is back in 1989 to Bryant Gumbel on NBC about black people in the job market. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage in terms of the job market. And I think sometimes a black may think that they don't really have the advantage or this and that. But in actuality today, currently, it is a great -- I said (Inaudible) thinking about myself.
If I was starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Angela. RYE: Come on. Like what? OK. I am sorry. First of all, can I just
say again? Don, how many times have we told folks like this is not a new Donald Trump. This is the same as (Inaudible) for years like he said that his black accountant was lazy. These are terms that he's used to describe people of color for eons. And I just think it's so bazaar that we trivialize (Inaudible) I will own (Inaudible) Jason Miller, right?
(Inaudible) come on, doc. It's colloquial. That's not what he was doing, right? This is completely different. Tara, you mentioned him kind of, you know, dehumanizing the opponent. They also (Inaudible) opponents, Jason in that same conversation asked me if I was Canadian to authorize me, right? And I think that at the end of the day, people have to be responsible for their language, particularly when those people sit in seats of leadership.
SETMAYER: And the people who support them need to be responsible and call those people out when they use irresponsible language like this. I mean we are engaging in politically adolescent dialogue coming out of the White House.
LEMON: Let Rob respond.
SETMAYER: -- to get away with this. Could you imagine if Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton said anything like this? I mean Republicans would be calling for impeachment. So Republicans need to stop this and stop normalizing what Trump is doing, and stop trying to make excuses. Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, all of these people trying to say that well, he just punches back. No, I am OK with what he said. That is not OK, because what happens when it turns on them.
LEMON: Rob will respond right after the break. We'll be right back. Don't go anywhere.
[22:50:00] LEMON: The White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders offering a rare apology tonight for touting false numbers on African- American employment as proof that the President is an advocate for people of color.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: This is a President who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies in place that help all Americans, particularly African-Americans. Just look at the economy alone. This President, since he took office in the year and a half that he's been here, has created 700,000 news jobs for African-Americans.
When President Obama left after eight years in office, eight years in office, he had only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans.
LEMON: So for the record, three million jobs for African-Americans were added during the Obama era. So back now with me, Angela Rye, Rob Astorino, and Tara Setmayer. So here's my (Inaudible) Rob, you could say your piece about everything here, because this was used, and they were asking her about Omarosa. And then she had to apologize for this misleading statement about the job numbers.
And she gave a misleading statement. Now she's having to apologize. More jobs were indeed created in the first 19 months under Trump than under Obama, but that ignores the fact that Obama inherited a recession while Trump inherited a growing economy. Why are they so intent on misleading us about job numbers?
ASTORINO: I don't think they are misleading. Look, numbers can be stretched and they are by every administration in any way that they need.
LEMON: She said I gave wrong information.
ASTORINO: Let me expand on this. I think President Obama inherited a very bad economy, obviously after the crash. And he did grow the economy, and he should get credit for that. It did not go as fast as it could have but it should have. And I think the policies that have been reversed have helped this economy explode right now.
But I do think, you know, one thing that's frustrating is -- as controversial as Donald Trump can be, and clearly he is, and we are dealing with that tonight. You do see support in the African-American community rising. It is in the last poll. It's at 21 percent. Now Mitt Romney got six percent. I know, Don...
LEMON: The reason I'm doing that is because you are touting those numbers, but then you say numbers can be manipulated.
ASTORINO: No. No. No. No.
ASTORINO: Well, I'm just going by the polls.
ASTORINO: So Romney got six percent.
(CROSSTALK) ASTORINO: Trump got eight percent. He's at 21 percent now, and that's because the economy is growing. And people are saying you know what, look, I may not like what he says, but things are actually moving a little better right now for me personally.
LEMON: Why wouldn't his supporters then -- because Barack Obama could not run again. Why didn't they like Barack Obama better then, because if you look at just the sheer numbers, as you're saying, Barack Obama was much better for jobs for more Americans than this President has been? And employment was on an upswing. Shouldn't people love that? Shouldn't Trump supporters love that?
[22:55:10] ASTORINO: Well, no. Let's put this in perspective. It was a 1.9 percent annual growth. Wages were flat. So people were working harder but not making...
LEMON: Wages are still flat.
ASTORINO: Wages are going up. Unemployment is going down in all respects. So you can argue about the economy, but clearly, the regulatory rollbacks that he has done has taken the foot off the economy and that's helped things expand. And we should all want that by the way.
RYE: A good economy does not excuse bad behavior.
LEMON: You got ten seconds here.
SETMAYER: Really, because that's what Trump defenders are using as a way to say well, it does not matter what he says. It does not matter if he says the N word on potential trade.
ASTORINO: It does matter.
SETMAYER: It should matter.
ASTORINO: It does.
SETMAYER: I am glad to hear you say that, Rob. But a lot of Trump supporters say it does not matter, because the economy is up. And look, black unemployment is down. And it does not matter if I have a history of being racist my whole life or a bigot. And that should matter.
LEMON: When we come back, a lot more -- thank you, all. I appreciate it. When we come back, a lot more to discuss, including President Trump continuing his attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, and what Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani had to say about new claims made by Omarosa.