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Rudy Giuliani on the Attack Tonight; CNN Poll, Mueller Investigation; Tale of the Tape; President Trump Says the N-Word is Not in His Vocabulary; Trump and Omarosa Feud Over Purported N-Word Tape; Vermont Makes History With Transgender Nominee For Governor; Trump Campaign Taking Legal Steps Against Omarosa. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I am Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. We are live with the breaking news for you. The President's attorney, Rudy Giuliani on the attack tonight, swinging around a lot of claim and what appears to be an attempt to distract and deflect former ex White House aide, Omarosa's allegations and in the process making a bigger mess.

Claiming an interview with Chris Cuomo that Donald Trump knew nothing in advance about the Clinton campaign e-mails released by WikiLeaks and at the same time claiming that if he did, it would not be a problem anyway and claiming against the evidence that President Trump never talked to James Comey about Michael Flynn. So all of this is a smart strategy as Giuliani represents the President who just might find himself sitting down across Special Counsel, Robert Mueller eventually.

Let us discuss now. I want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst, Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor and attorney Bradley Moss.

Good evening to both of you. So tonight, President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani was asked about Omarosa's claims that she has been interviewed by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Omarosa also claims that Trump knew about the forthcoming leaks of the Clinton campaign e-mails before WikiLeaks released them to the public. Rudy Giuliani says this. Watch this.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: If she has some piece of proof that demonstrates that the President was aware of what e-mails they had, what would that mean?

RUDY GIULIANI, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: 100 percent confident that she does not. It is not true. He did not know. I know he did not know.

CUOMO: And if he did?

GIULIANI: I know it even beyond being his lawyer.

CUOMO: If he knew, is it a problem?



GIULIANI: I am not going to get into the hypotheticals.

He did not know.


LEMON: So, he didn't know, but if he did it would not be a problem, does this defense makes sense, making it better or worse for the President?

JENNIFER RODGERS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: These is a legal defenses, right? These sorts of arguments are made in front of judges, when you are in front of a judge and you are trying to get a case, you would say you know a, the facts support it, but b if they don't the law supports it. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes the judge will rule for you on the legal question. I don't know if it makes a lot of sense in the court of public opinion. No one wants to hear someone say, oh, he didn't do it but even if he did, it is OK. So I don't know if it makes sense than that.

LEMON: Let's make no mistake about this. This is about -- what Rudy Giuliani is doing is about the court of public opinion, he is just planting seeds that are not true and that don't make sense.

RODGERS: Absolutely. I mean he is not in the court of law. When he is in the court of law, if that ever happens, things will change dramatically. He won't be even in the (inaudible) anymore, he is a spin guy and that is his purpose.

LEMON: OK. Bradley, here is more from Rudy Giuliani tonight, watch.


GIULIANI: I know she was lying.

CUOMO: You know she is lying.

GIULIANI: I know she is lying, because I was on the campaign more than she was. I was closer 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. I heard some reporters on CNN or Fox or I don't know where saying that there is a practice of putting out the weakest ones first and he builds it up and builds it up. I said I think this guy may have more than that.


LEMON: So Bradley, the president's attorney potentially -- is he a witness to a significant event here? BRADLEY MOSS, ATTORNEY: He is making himself into a witness. You

know, certainly not how I would handle it in terms of a P.R. standpoint and as a primary attorney to the case, but this is Rudy Giuliani, this is who he is. This is the spin he is doing, but he is making himself to be someone who is a material witness to numerous parts of the campaign. Who would have been there when, purportedly Donald Trump was learning of things like the fact that WikiLeaks was releasing emails. And he is putting himself in the position of possibly getting contradicted both in the public and eventually may be a repeat proceeding on the facts.

Remember, in July of 2016, Donald Trump was talking about, you know Russia, I hope you can find the 30,000 e-mails and he is also, you know, talking about the idea that there is going to be a huge releaser and a huge discovery and he got some big bomb shells coming up. Well know this happen in all of the context of the Trump tower meeting. Does this prove that he knew in advance? No, of course not. Anything Omarosa says should be taken with a massive grain of salt. But the steps taken here by Rudy Giuliani are simply not helping his client except with the president's political base who will eat this up every single day.

LEMON: So, Jennifer, today, Trump continues his attack on the Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying if we had a real Attorney General, this witch-hunt never would have been started.

[23:05:05] But the fact is that he has not fired Jeff Sessions. So listen to Rudy Giuliani, he talks about Sessions, watch this.


GIULIANI: So Clinton went to two people, before he got the Attorney General. He got two of them with nanny and Donald Trump --

CUOMO: And Donald Trump put Sessions in there who was supposedly his best friend and now --

GIULIANI: It would be better if Pete Sessions have nanny though. --

CUOMO: Jeff Sessions. Not Pete Sessions, is a Congressman in Texas.

GIULIANI: If Jeff had a nanny problem, probably a lot better. Remember the first two Clinton people had nanny problems and they ended up dealing --

CUOMO: He had to recuse himself from an entire investigation.

GIULIANI: I don't know why he did not come to the president with that, I really don't know. I don't know what the hell he is doing now.


LEMON: Better if Jeff Sessions had a nanny problems?

RODGERS: Look, Jeff Sessions went to the people, to whom he should not have gone. The ethics expert on the DOJ told him he had to recuse base on circumstances. He should gone to the President without. The President is far from an ethics expert. Sessions did in this particular instance, exactly what he should have done and the President has to live with that or not, he can fire him.

LEMON: You said Bradley that anything in your last comments that Omarosa says should be taken with a huge or massive grain of salt. So do you think that someone like Omarosa could be a key witness in this investigation given her role in the Trump campaign?

MOSS: Only if she, one, has actual documentary proofs or actual some other audio recording. She appears to record everything and anything on the phone in various places especially in the situation room which is a huge protocol. But also the idea if she could provide, you know, testimony to Special Counsel that corroborates with other people far more credibility. Look, Omarosa was once one of the tough TV villains of all time. Robert Mueller is not going to base this case on what Omarosa said, but if she can provide some additional supplemental evidence, then certainly it could be helpful to the case if there is anything.

LEMON: She is going to be under oath too. So, I mean I think that makes a difference. I want to put up this poll, Jennifer. It is a CNN poll. Two thirds of Americans think that Mueller should try to wrap up his work by the midterms, 57 percent Democrats, 72 percent Republican agree, what do you think this says of the mood of the country and the majority and people saying it is time to wrap it up.

RODGERS: Well, I think everybody wants to wrap it up for different reasons. I think Republicans want it to be gone. I think Democrats want it to be done, because they think that the Mueller report is going to be explosive and damaging to the President. So they want to see that too and everyone is ready for it to be done. These things take time and we need to let Mueller do his work. He has not spoken to Roger Stone yet, for example, so there is still more to do.

LEMON: But don't you think both sides are setting themselves up for maybe something that is anti-climactic. Because we don't know what Mueller is going to do in the end if he is going to write a report? We don't know what Congress is going to do or the senate is going to do? We don't know of any collusions or anything. No one knows what he is doing. But -- so, people who think that they are going to drive this President out of office because of something Mueller did, I think that might be a problem.

RODGERS: We done even know if we are going to see the report, because there are some sign has to agree to released it. I mean, I think you are right, but you know, people are waiting and one of the problems with Mueller investigation is he can't really talk. So everyone is kind of spins things in their own head and we will have to wait and see.

LEMON: Bradley and Jennifer, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

MOSS: Good evening. LEMON: So, I want to bring in now Congressman Eric Swalwell. He is

California Democrat who is on the Intelligence Committee. Good evening sir, good to have you on.


LEMON: So, the president's lawyer, let us talk about Rudy Giuliani. He says former FBI director, James Comey flat out lied about the conversation where he says the President told him to lay off Flynn which Comey just testified in front of Congress under penalty of perjury documented at the time with memos -- contemporaneous memos, who has more credibility in this case?

SWALWELL: Don, in America, we believe the people who raise their right hand and goes under oath and tell their version of events. Director Comey has done that. Other witnesses have as well. And the President who has been given the question that they want to ask him which is where, that never happens in an investigation, he is still unwilling. So, right now, as the evidence stands, I think America trusts James Comey. It comes down to who you believe. Bob Mueller or the President. The credibility with five guilty pleas and two dozen indictments and a verdict that is about to come in the Manafort's case is with Bob Mueller.

LEMON: So, Congressman, today Omarosa claims that President Trump knew ahead of time that WikiLeaks would release the hack e-mails of Hillary Clinton's. She did not provide a shred of proof. Is that credible? What are your thoughts on that?

SWALWELL: Well, you can say that again about her credibility because she is certainly a situation and so I don't know a warrant is taken into the situation room to fire her.

[23:10:00] But what she is alleging of Donald Trump knew beforehand that actually matches up with some of the evidence that we heard in our investigation which was that there was a deep obsession among the Trump team to understand just exactly whether the 30,000 deleted Hillary Clinton's e-mails were out there or not. That is something we want to learn more about. I would not you know, bank any cases on Omarosa's words.

LEMON: Rudy Giuliani said that Omarosa's claim is untrue, he also claim that he was with Trump when the e-mails released. So, does that make Giuliani a potential key witness in this investigation?

SWALWELL: He is certainly conflicted Don, and I also just don't believe what most of what he says, he keeps on changing the version of the events because the original version starts to look more guilty.

LEMON: I want to put up the polls again, because two-thirds of Americans want Mueller to try to finish this investigation by midterm. I mean that is big. Has the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani been successful creating a deadline for this investigation, do you think?

SWALWELL: Well, I hope not. I understand why Americans believe that. Right now this President because of all of his actions have basically taken our country into a Trump-slump. You know aside from the Russian investigation, healthcare costs are going up because of the tax cut. Wages are going down and because of just rampant corruption of the White House, people are exasperated and they look to the Mueller investigation to kind of shine some light on some of the prior disturbing contest of the president had. So, but he had to do it the right way.

I will say this Don. When you lie to investigators, when you tamper with witnesses Paul Manafort did and when you obstruct justice and the president seems to do each tweet, the investigation is going to take longer. He can actually bring this to a conclusion.

LEMON: I am glad you said that, because 70 percent people say in the same poll that Trump should testify in Mueller's investigation which would probably help move the investigation along, what does it tell you?

SWALWELL: It tells me that most Americans believe what Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton. If you take the fifth amendment, you are doing what the mob does. So, if he want to prove the American people that he is above the mob, he should go forward to Mueller and raise his right hand and come clean to the American people.

LEMON: Congressman, the White House is defending President Trump calling Omarosa a dog. They insisted the insult is not about race. You tweeted this and you said, local man proves he is not racist by calling a black woman who called him racist a dog. Talk to me about that.

SWALWELL: Well, Don, We know what he is saying when he calls Omarosa a dog, I mean he insulted my colleagues like Fredericka Wilson and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. It is dog whistling is what he is doing and he knows what he is doing. It is wrong. And what is really surprising though, because Senator Jeff Flake tweeted out today, calling a woman a dog is wrong and other Republicans should speak up. Too silence. No Republicans spoke up. And I actually, Don, I called on Jeff Flake, time to come over and switch parties. Come across the aisle, if your colleagues don't think it is wrong to call an African- American woman a dog, you should think about who you want your colleague to be.

LEMON: Congress, what did he say? Did he respond?

SWALWELL: He has not responded. He has been quite honorable on all of this. But actions speak louder than tweets, Don, we got a big open ten on our side. And we love to have him with us.

LEMON: Congressman Swalwell, thank you for your time.

When we come back, the tale of the tape. Is there actually a secret tape of Donald Trump using "n" word while he was on "The Apprentice?" Well, Omarosa claims that she heard it, but offers no proofs. We are going to dig into the facts, next.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: President Trump claims the creator of his reality TV show "The

Apprentice," called him to say there are no tapes of Trump using the "n" word.

We have reached out to Burnett to ask him to confirm or deny the president's claim and to ask him to come on this show. He has not responded to either request. Well, tonight CNN National Correspondent, Athena Jones sorts out the tale of the tapes for us.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a tape that may or may not exist.

A story that just won't die. The mythical recording has never been released publicly, but former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault- Newman says she has heard the tape in "The Apprentice" and that in it Donald Trump uses the "n" word.

(Inaudible) contestant, Quamay Jackson (ph). It is an allegation the President strongly denies. Tweeting the show's creator Mark Barnette called him to say there are no tapes of "The Apprentice" where I used such a terrible and disgusting word. As contributed by whacky and derange Omarosa. I don't have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up.

Jackson himself says in 2016 he never heard Trump used the "n" word, but said Trump's actions like taunting the false claim that President Obama was not a U.S. citizen, suggest Trump held a racist views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never used the n word or said something racist to me. What I did get from Donald Trump was what I saw through the birther movement.

JONES: Still rumors of such a tape or tapes surface in 2016. After the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape on which Trump was heard about bragging about grabbing women genitals. A former Apprentice producer tweeted, as a producer on seasons one and two of "The Apprentice", I assure you when it come to the Trump tapes there are far worse and Trump critic, comedian Tom Arnold, told Seattle radio station KIRL in late 2016.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the out takes to "The Apprentice" where he says every bad thing ever. Every dirty and every offensive racist thing ever.

JONES: But Arnold has not backed up his claim by releasing the supposed tapes in his possession. And despite intense public interest in Apprentice outtakes. When Clinton supporter David Brock promised $5 million to cover the legal cost of anyone who would leak the tapes, he found no takers.

[23:20:00] While not answering the question directly this morning, White House Councilor, Kellyanne Conway soon to acknowledge discussing the rumors with Trump during the campaign. KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: I talked to him about it

with his campaign. It is my job to tell the President every rumor, and feedbacks or fiction.

JONES: In her new book, Manigault Newman wrote about on October 2016 conversation, she says she had with fellow campaign staffers Lin Patton, Jason Miller and Katrina Pearson about how to handle the fallout with such a tape to be released. But no one on the call had heard the alleged tape at the time.

Pearson said on Monday night on Fox, that call never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katrina curse and said, he said it. Did that happen?

KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: No, Ed. That did not happen. It sounds like she is writing a script for a movie.

JONES: This morning, Manigault Newman sharing with CBS a sniffed of what she says is a recording of the conversation.

PIERSON: I am trying at least of the context is abusing. To help us maybe try to figure out (inaudible).

JONES: Lynne Patton now held in an urban development department official, said on the call that she had a conversation with Trump about whether he had ever used the racial slur.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, well, can you think of any time that this may have happened and he said no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that is not true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think I should handle it, I told him exactly what you just said, Omarosa. What is your (inaudible) depends on what scenario you are talking about and he said, why don't you go ahead and put it to bed. He said it and he is embarrassed.

JONES: A new segment Pierson acknowledged there were rumors of such a tape during the campaign, but said they were quote, always being circulated by Omarosa and her alone. And that she was merely trying to play Manigault Newman to move the discussion in law. Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


LEMON: Thank you, Athena for that.

When we come back. President Trump claims the N-word is not even in his vocabulary, I am going to ask my next guest if he believes that.


LEMON: President Trump denies using racist language during the tapings of "The Apprentice". He is attacking Omarosa Manigault Newman as wacky and derange for claiming that he did. So here to discuss now, CNN Political Commentators, Mark Lamont Hill

and Alice Stewart. Good evening to both of you.


LEMON: So, Alice, he says the N-word is not in his vocabulary, do you believe that?

STEWART: No, I don't. Look, just based on his actions and the way he has talked about African-Americans in the past and we didn't need the "Access Hollywood" tape to verify that he says vulgar and crude things about women and we don't need the "n" word tape to verify that he says racially insensitive things about African-Americans.

And the reality is, Don, unfortunately, there are a lot of people of his base, it that does not matter to them. They are more concerns about results than the rhetoric. And I don't see his numbers changing even if something does come out about this. And the problem is, we have a liar on the one side and a liar on the other. And I don't think we'll ever get to the bottom of this, but tape or not, I don't think his bases will change.

LEMON: You should have seen our faces when you said, (inaudible) wow. I mean it is true, you think he has said that. The word? And do you think it matters if there is a tape or not.

STEWART: Not to his base. Look, you know, he campaigns using the same type of rhetoric he is using now and he won. And look he is got the 42 percent approval rating by the people across this country. That is higher than Reagan and Carter and Clinton at that time during their presidency and the reality is a lot of people are not looking so much at his tone and tenor, but at the results that he has in the White House and that is the most important thing to them.

LEMON: Mark, you know, we heard from both Katrina Pearson and Lynne Patton this evening and they said Omarosa says she taped the conversation. Presumably that is the purpose, I don't know -- but it is plausible, what do you think?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Anything is plausible when you talk about Omarosa and Donald Trump. I don't have to have deep investment or faith in Omarosa to believe that he could be using the n word. Everything he says and everything he has done, everything is base and said and done has reflected in a particular world view of ideology that certainly consistent with using the "n" word and even if he does not use the "n" word, but he certainly treats people with the "n" word. So if you treat people like the n word and your policy -- when all that happen -- I would not surprise that he uses it a whole lot.


STEWART: Are we surprised that we are having this conversation that we have in the past 24 hours.

LEMON: Yes, and no. May I answer that? STEWART: Sure.

LEMON: I am surprised though and this is my question to you. I am sure this the way you are going, because Alice, Sarah Sanders said today that she cannot guarantee that we will not hear President Trump saying the "n" word on a tape as a former communication director, I mean what is your reaction, what sort of reality are we living in?

STEWART: An alternative reality. What I cannot imagine under what universe I would ever work for someone that I can look them square in the face and ask them, can you guarantee me if I go out there and say this to the world that I am not saying something that is factually inaccurate and to be able to have a situation where that is the case it is unfortunate.

And, furthermore part of what we heard today was pushing this off and the highlight on this on the media saying that the use of the medium that the media is using is what is furthering this narrative and the reality is the President has tweeted about this eight times in the past 24 hours and he has 53 million Twitter followers. That is an aggressive use of his platform that is furthering this narrative.

I would much rather be talking about something much more important to the American people like jobs and economy than a reality star book that is filled with inaccuracies but this is where we are.

LEMON: I mean, the whole idea of this whole Omarosa thing and taping and -- listen, the fact that she has had a job in the White House, that's all really absurd, but the issue of racism I think is also an issue that's very important as well.

HILL: Absolutely.

LEMON: But can I ask you about Mark Burnett? Because he -- the president said that he assured him that there was no tape. This is a tweet -- he put up this tweet yesterday, that he called him and said that there were no tapes or whatever, and he called Omarosa wacky and deranged.

HILL: You know, I don't have that word in my vocabulary.

LEMON: That's what he said.

HILL: That's hard to believe. I don't know a white man over 50 who got it in their vocabulary, use it. But to act like it is a foreign concept, you know, to Donald Trump, all the people who are close to him, all the people who kind of spill the beans of the internal workings of his business prior to entering D.C., have said that he has used racial slurs and other offensive language.

So for him to faint outrage of that level, I think, is a little bit unbelievable. I believe that either Donald Trump -- there is no tape or Donald Trump has paid someone to say there is no tape, or perhaps Donald Trump is lying. I mean --

LEMON: Burnett has not responded.

HILL: Which again, I don't know. I am not saying that Donald Trump has said it or not said. What I will say is Donald Trump affirming that it didn't happen doesn't make me feel any differently. His words mean nothing to me because he consistently lied on Twitter, sometimes over 48-hour period. So, no, we don't know at this point.

LEMON: You know, in 2005, President Trump, was a private citizen, he was on "The Howard Stern" show, and he talked about how he wanted to have an apprentice show with blacks verses whites. Let's listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): There was a concept, OK, thrown out by some person. Nine blacks --


TRUMP (voice-over): -- against nine whites.

STERN (voice-over): This I like.

TRUMP (voice-over): And it would be nine blacks against nine whites, all highly educated, very smart, strong, beautiful people, right?

STERN (voice-over): Yes.

TRUMP (voice-over): Do you like it?

STERN (voice-over): Yes.

TRUMP (voice-over): Do you like it, Robin?

ROBIN QUIVERS, AMERICAN RADIO PERSONALITY (voice-over): Well, I think you're going to have a riot.


STERN (voice-over): I like it. I like it.

TRUMP (voice-over): It would be the highest rated show on television.

QUIVERS (voice-over): Oh, yeah.

STERN (voice-over): Let me ask you a couple of questions if I may, because I'm pretty good with this stuff. Very dark blacks or light- skinned blacks?


TRUMP (voice-over): Assortment.

STERN (voice-over): Assortment of blacks.

TRUMP (voice-over): Against whites.

STERN (voice-over): And whites. QUIVERS (voice-over): How many blondes?


TRUMP (voice-over): Probably nine. I'd say nine.

STERN (voice-over): Wouldn't that set off a racial war in this country?

TRUMP (voice-over): I don't think -- see, actually I don't think it would. I think that it would be handled very beautifully by me.


LEMON: By him.

HILL: It would be handled very beautifully by me.

LEMON: Very beautifully by -- so, listen, it is Howard Stern, and if you ever listen to "The Howard Stern Show," you know there is -- you know, it is a free for all.

HILL: Yeah.

LEMON: But still, there is a concept of pitting blacks versus whites on a reality show, Alice.

STEWART: Yeah, it is unfortunate. Look, we'll give him the fact that this was well before I am sure he considered running for president and he was more of a reality T.V. star want-to-be than anything else.

But that being said, that tape really is pretty damming in my view when he's trying to offset criticisms about whether or not he has said the N-word. And the fact that we are here today talking about this after 24 hours is not a surprise.

We have two money grubbing back stabbing fame staking reality stars who are no longer members of the mutual admiration society and here we are having this conversation.

HILL: Including the president himself.

LEMON: I just want to make sure, this is the president you supported, right? I just want to --


STEWART: That is true. I supported his policy and I voted for him. I wish that we are not having this conversation.

LEMON: Are you stunned, Marc, when you hear -- listened to what he said on Stern? What do you think of that?

HILL: I'm --

LEMON: Do you think it reflects the man we know today? HILL: Yeah. So is the show. He said he is going to have a reality show where he competes (ph) blacks against whites. This is what president he is (ph).

LEMON: Are they going to be light skin or black skin?

HILL: An assortment.

LEMON: Yeah.

HILL: An assortment. The way he talks about them is deeply troubling and dangerous but surprising coming from Donald Trump. This is part in parts of his presidency.

LEMON: Thank you.

STEWART: I will say this, Don, one quick thing, not that it makes it better, but he has a mutual -- he is across the board, blacks, whites, men, women insulting a person --

HILL: I disagree.

STEWART: -- not that it makes any better --

HILL: I disagree, Alice.

STEWART: -- but he insults everyone.

HILL: He may insult people but -- OK, there is difference when you're saying a white guy got fired like a dog and calling Omarosa a dog.

[23:35:03] There is a difference between having discriminatory language and having discriminatory policy in everything else which he has done in real life.

LEMON: I have to run. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

STEWART: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: When we come back, history is being made tonight. CNN projects that a Vermont Democrat will be the first transgender major party nominee for governor. There it is. She is Christine Hallquist and there she is right there. I'm going to talk to her right after this. Thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you on the other side of the break.


LEMON: Here is the breaking news, CNN projects Christine Hallquist, won the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Vermont, making American political history as the first transgender nominee for governor of a major party.

[23:40:04] I am joined now by Christine Hallquist. Congratulations to you. Thank you for coming on.


LEMON: This is a huge victory for you personally, but do you see this as a victory for all transgender Americans, all Americans?

HALLQUIST: Yes, I do see it as a victory for all Americans. But I will tell you, it is no surprise to me living in Vermont, I love Vermont and this is pretty typical for what Vermont is. Vermont has been a loving state, a leader in civil rights, and we're going to continue to show the rest of the country what good democracy looks like.

LEMON: Christine, you are a former energy company executive, right? You are the CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative. Tell me why you went into politics.

HALLQUIST: My passion was to show how the electric grid can solve climate change. We actually got to the point when I left in March that we are 96 percent carbon-free and we are offering incentives to move away from fossil heating and cooling transportation. We did that without rate increase for five years.

So, you know, that was my passion. But when I look at what's happening to the rest of the country and in our state, November 9th of 2016 really changed everything. And I really probably spent 2017 in a bit of denial. But if I look at what's happening in Vermont, we are being impacted by what's happening to the rest of the country and our governor is actually using the same tactics as the national GOP.

LEMON: You are talking about the Republican incumbent Governor Phil Scott, right?


LEMON: Yeah. Why should they vote for you because you are going to take on the incumbent? Why should people vote for you instead of him?

HALLQUIST: Well, you know, our governor, his motto is no new taxes and of course we are going to -- he's kind of attacking our public education system. Now,, I am not a person that talks about taxes because certainly being physically responsible is important.

But, I want a leader who has a long-term vision. You know, a 20-year vision. How are we going to get more food on the table and how are we going to raise the living conditions for all those people on the lowest economic ladder?

So I think we need to have leaders who have visions beyond their own gubernatorial shift and beyond their own life span. We need to have long-term visions about how -- what our states are going to look like.

LEMON: You ran as a transgender woman. You are one of more than 400 LGBTQ candidates running in this cycle. How important is it that LGBTQ folks have a seat at the table in politics?

HALLQUIST: You know, I like to talk about all marginalized communities. Certainly, one of the things I learned in my transition is, it is one thing to talk about the gender hierarchy, it is the other thing to experience it. So I think we should be talking about all marginalized communities.

You know, certainly, if I look at what's happening certainly at the national level, you know there is a systematic attack and it is going to start with the most marginalized of the communities. So the fact that our president has gone after the transgender community is no surprise. And I think everybody should be afraid.

LEMON: You know, other Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York also had a historic win. Is this the right time now for new voices and new ideas?

HALLQUIST: Oh, absolutely. I think, you know, in the physics world, every action, there is an opposite opposing reaction. What we are looking in our political world is a definite reaction to what happened in 2016. People like myself and people like -- normally would not be in politics rising up all over.

And I think that's what a healthy democracy looks like. I am hoping that years from now, we can look back and say, isn't American democracy wonderful? We survived the death spot (ph).

LEMON: You talked about Vermont and why you think Vermont is the right place to show the country. What do you want people around the country -- because people are watching all over the country -- what do you want them to know about transgender people that you have this opportunity right now?

HALLQUIST: Well, I want -- I just want people and the rest of the country to know that we are a small percentage of the population, but, you know, that really, I would want people to look beyond that. You know, many people have not met a transgender person and I understand that it is different.

But, at the end of the day, we can contribute to the betterment of the world. When you think about it, if we write people off because of who they are, we may be writing off the next cure for cancer or the cure for climate change.

LEMON: Christine, thank you for joining us. Good luck, OK?

HALLQUIST: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. When we come back, the Trump campaign taking legal steps against Omarosa, claiming she violated a non-disclosure agreement. But is this the kind of thing that's just business as usual for team Trump?


LEMON: Team Trump is announcing taking legal action against Omarosa Manigault Newman. President Trump's campaign filing for arbitration, accusing his ex-aide of breaching a 2016 nondisclosure agreement with the campaign. Omarosa has been on a publicity tour to promote her new tell-all book and has released several tapes of conversations she had with Trump and campaign aides. And sources tell CNN, paranoia is spreading in the White House over those tapes.

Joining me now is CNN Contributor, Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump," Barbara Res, who worked for Donald Trump for over a decade, eventually becoming executive vice president of the Trump Organization. She is the author, by the way, the book is called "All Alone on the 68th Floor."

[23:50:02] Good evening to both of you. Thank you so much for joining us. Michael, I'm going to start with you. I talked about the atmosphere around, you know, that people are paranoid around this presidency.

Getting more sordid (ph) by the day. Everyone involved in the saga, blind, shifting stories inside the White House, aides are guarding for the next Omarosa's tape. Is this business as usual for Donald Trump?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: As far as I can tell, yes, it is. He is a paranoid individual and believes in conspiracy theories and tries to manipulate reality to reflect his favorite scenarios. So he is going to have around him people becoming quite paranoid as they try to deal with him and then deal with each other.

There is going to be so many cross currents and so many lies told in various directions that it is not a surprise to me that someone was recording these conversations. There is probably a great many recording devices being used in these encounters because people don't know what they're going to have to prove tomorrow was said yesterday.

LEMON: He is suing Omarosa to keep her from talking or to keep her from releasing any other tapes, saying that she violated this nondisclosure agreement. Is that a standard tactic in Trump's playbook?


LEMON: And to have this nondisclosure agreement?

RES: You know, there were no nondisclosure agreement when I was there. I mean, if somebody got to let go or something, you would sign an non-disparagement to get your (INAUDIBLE) pay but since I was not a let go, I didn't have any.

LEMON: But for suing, you said that is --

RES: Oh, this guy got to be the plaintiff the minute anything would happen. I have to be the plaintiff and he would sue.

D'ANTONIO: One thing that I think is important to remember is that threats are so much a part of the dynamic here. This is a man who threatens everybody. He threatens nations, he threatens NATO, he threatens Canada, Mexico, but he also threatens individuals. When Tony Schwartz started talking about his engagement with Trump in "The Art of the Deal," he threatened Tony Schwartz. He had Michael Cohen threatened me. This is a person who foments paranoia and makes people really kind of crazy around him because he prefers it that way. He prefers people to be insecure.

LEMON: You said, Michael, that Omarosa is the latest defector from Trump's 'cult.' Explain what you mean by that.

D'ANTONIO: Well, by now it has become a personality cult around the president. And this is true in many administrations but not to this extent. You know, people are judged upon their loyalty, not upon their competence.

And so the president makes these demands, you are supposed to deny reality. I think you are supposed to lie if necessary. If you stand up for yourself, you are likely to have your legs cut out from under you.

So, this is very much like a cult. He has got people running scared and the end will come when so many of the defectors start to tell the truth and regain their dignity and their power, and Omarosa, I think, is doing that.

LEMON: Barbara, why Omarosa and Michael Cohen, why do people feel the need to tape this president?

RES: I think they know that they can't trust him. He will throw anyone under the bus to protect himself. You know, you got to be a certain kind of person to want to go out and tape your boss, but you got to be that kind of person to be in that environment.

As Michael said, it was a whole environment of deceits and lot of sick offense, lot of -- nobody challenging him. Very different from what I was used to many years ago.

LEMON: Especially to record your boss but also in the White House, in the Situation Room. That wraps it up to an entirely -- can you believe we are having this conversation?

RES: No, absolutely not.

LEMON: Someone recording someone and then the press secretary today cannot definitively say that there is no tape of the president using the N-word.

RES: Yeah. I am not surprised that she can't definitively say that.

LEMON: Why is that?

RES: Because of the way he carries on. And also, even back when I worked for him, he did disparage racism and nationalities. I don't remember whether he used that word or not in front of me, but I know he did disparage black people, Italian people. You know, he had that way about him.

LEMON: Did he use racial epithets?

RES: You know, I don't really remember. I just remember him talking about the Germans of (ph) being clean and the Italians of good hands (ph) and this kind of thing, the Jews this and the blacks that. It was common.

LEMON: Trump is now planning Michael, he's opening up another legal battle. This one is now against Omarosa. But he's already currently tied up in a number of other legal battles. The Mueller's investigation, Cohen's investigation, Stormy Daniels, and the list goes on. Is it another legal battle the last thing this president should want?

[23:55:06] D'ANTONIO: Well, this again, I think, is a threat. I would be surprised to see actual follow through where Omarosa is concerned. But, you know, there is an exhibition streak to all of this. This is a display more than anything else. He wants to get everybody's attention just as all exhibitionist do.

The idea is, hey, I am the biggest and scariest person around. I am going to get your attention by doing this often. The papers are not even filed and if they are, the lawsuits are pursued in a very desultory way. So I don't think we're going to see them squaring off, and I don't think that Omarosa has a thing to worry about.

LEMON: Real quickly, Barbara, I have to ask you, this no guarantee that there is a tape that, you know, that exists --

RES: Right.

LEMON: -- or doesn't exist. How do you think the president reacted when he heard that remark from Sarah Sanders?

RES: That she said about --

LEMON: I can't guarantee that it does not exist.

RES: He's probably upset about that. I imagine he wanted her to say that -- what he said. It does not exist, it's impossible.

LEMON: Why do you think she didn't say that?

RES: You know, I can't imagine because she has never absolutely (INAUDIBLE) the truth, has never held her back from anything. I can't imagine why she didn't say that. I think maybe because they're all afraid that there is something out there and he's not telling them that.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.